Atheist struggles to explain the pagan origins of Christmas to Fox News

In the video embedded below, American Atheists, Inc. president David Silverman and Marius Forté -- co-author of the book The Answer: Proof of God in Heaven -- went head-to-head about the Christian faith and its wholesale appropriation of the winter season in the name of Christ by way of Christmas.

Discussion began with a billboard that American Atheists put up in Times Square that reads, "Who needs Christ in Christmas? Nobody."

"Spirited Debate" host Lauren Green -- who readers may remember from her notoriously ham-handed interview with religious scholar and author Reza Aslan -- told Silverman, "In all honesty, I have to tell you truly I was a little offended by the billboard, you know. This is my best holiday. I really love this. I really love Christ in Christmas."

"Then you should keep Christ in Christmas," Silverman replied. "If you really love it there, keep it there. What we're saying and putting out there is that Christmas is actually better without the Christ."

The vast majority of nominal Christians, he said, are non-practicing except that they go to church at Christmas and Easter. All of the best parts of what we celebrate at Christmas either pre-date Christianity or have nothing to do with the Bible or Christianity.

Forté replied by holding up an iPad that had gone blank and asking if Silverman could read the news printed there. Silverman and Green both replied that they could not.

Then he asked if Silverman prays and goes to church, to which the American Atheists head bemusedly replied, "No, I'm an atheist. You know what that is, right?"

Forté went on to make a radio metaphor, saying that you can't receive FM signals if you're tuned to AM. Nor, he said, can you really understand the great German philosophers without reading them in German.

"It is impossible to receive God unless you invite him," Forté continued. "God only comes when you invite him."

"Oh, I thought he was all-powerful?" countered Silverman. "It's impossible for me to receive God even if God wants me to receive him?"

Green tried to steer the conversation back to the billboard, which Forté called "highly offensive." The Christian author reminded Silverman that the word "Christmas" comes from "Christ's Mass."

Silverman retorted, "So what time of year was Jesus born?"

He went on to detail how Christians appropriated pre-existing winter festivals to celebrate Christ's birth, even though he was born in the spring, "when shepherds were tending their fields."

The winter solstice, Silverman said, "came first. The winter solstice, with all the trappings and all the gift giving and all the celebration came long before your Christmas holiday."

"This season is not the Christmas season," he continued. "This season is the solstice season and it belongs to all of us, not just Christians."

Watch the video, embedded below via Fox News Channel: