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Author Topic: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle  (Read 7471 times)

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Offline Stattick

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2012, 10:13:09 AM »
Maybe.. but it is a belief.. just like religion..and I think we've demonstrated that Atheists can be just as rude, outspoken and zealous as any worshiper of a given faith.

Atheism isn't a belief; it's a lack of belief.

Let's imagine it this way: Take a huge group of people, and then separate them according to belief. For the first group, it's everyone that believes in Muhammad. For the second group, it's everyone that doesn't believe in Muhammad. These two groups are nothing alike. One group has a lot of common beliefs. They're far more likely to all know Arabic, have a familiarity with the Koran, and so forth. Sure, they'll have some internal strife - the group that believes in Muhammad is going to contain both sunni and shia, and possibly some others as well, such as Kurds, Dervishes, and Bahá'í.

Meanwhile, the other group is composed of Christians, Jews, Pagans, Buddhists, Atheists, Hindus, Shamans, Agnostics, Catholics, Mormons, Scientologists, Heathens, and so forth. There's no commonality there, except that they don't accept Muhammad as their god. They don't worship together, have rituals in common, have language in common, or anything. One group is a group with significant religious, philosophical, ritual, and traditional ties, and the other is just a group of random people.

Now apply the analogy to atheists. Atheists are just a random group of people. They don't worship together. They don't have any significant religious, philosophical, ritual, or traditional ties together. They have no community. They don't get together on Sundays to have sing alongs, and to study Darwin's theories. Furthermore, when you add in the agnostics, undecideds, and the people who only go to church/temple/services/whatever because they don't want to make waves in their family and/or community, you get a huge range of different belief systems. You have Jews that go to service because it's expected of them, but they don't believe in the faith at all. I've known nonbeliever Catholics that just go to church a few times a year to satisfy their religious spouse. I've known people that just go to church once in a while because their parents expect them to, but they don't believe. There are plenty of people who just aren't sure what to believe, and when you get right down to it, they might believe in some sort of ill defined and nebulous higher power, but they don't believe in the God of the Bible that they were raised with. Then you have people that are strictly atheist, that don't believe in anything that even smacks a bit of the supernatural. But when you get down to the philosophies of the atheists, you discover that they have a wide range of different philosophies. Some might be atheist Buddhists, others are secular humanists, while others yet might follow LaVey style Satanism. They have no commonality or community in regards to morality or ethics. They're just a random group of people that have a single, common trait - they don't believe in God.

It's like gathering together all the people with brown eyes, and calling them a cohesive group. They're not. They just happen to have a single trait in common.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2012, 01:07:05 PM »
It's not that simple. The lack of theological symbols in a public places is a representation of atheism. So by removing the ten commandments, bible verses, nativity scenes, and whatever from public places is still the government favoring one religion over another.

No, that's a representation of secularism.

That you find anything special about its lack is actually the core of the problem.

Imagine if, everywhere, you saw a murdered child nailed to a stick, along with public displays of vaginas, because these things are important to some faith. And if you didn't like seeing murdered children nailed to sticks, or public displays of vaginas, and wanted that taken down, that was called you 'promoting' your religion over theirs. You are un-murdered child nailed to a stick/anti-public vaginas, and wanting those things not shoved so forcefully in your face - i.e. your tax dollars going to them, is 'religion' according to you.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2012, 01:52:59 PM »
Shoving it into a person's face is different than having it somewhere as a symbol... not to mention that a declaration of religious laws, against it though you may be, are entirely different than what you are saying...

Atheist require just as much faith as theists, btw... because, well, if I was to ask you to prove that there isn't a God, you would be equally as stumped aas I would be if you asked me to prove that there is a God... hence, you 'believe' that there is no God... Faith has nothing to do with religion... it has to do with how you follow it... Atheists do so differently than the others, and that is what makes them special...
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 01:56:12 PM by Deamonbane »

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2012, 01:56:42 PM »
No. Proving a negative is a logical impossibility. Atheists don't have faith that there is no god. They're unconvinced that there is one.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2012, 01:58:30 PM »
As is proving that there is a God... So where does it end?

Offline Moraline

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2012, 01:59:20 PM »
Just to comment on what happened.

I'm not religious, I don't believe in any God.

With that said, I would have kicked over the anti-religious signs in broad daylight, right in front of the people that posted them.

The lots are given out for Xmas displays. It's supposed to be a fun holiday time. Yes, I know the religious types like to cram their religion down peoples throats this time of year.. but whatever... I just wish them a Merry Xmas and be on my way.

There's a time and a place for protesting. This wasn't one of them.

The lots this year were given out in a fair and equitable manor through a random draw. Now go to your lots and put up your holiday displays or give it to someone else that wants to.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2012, 02:09:03 PM »
As is proving that there is a God...

No. You can prove that something exists by producing evidence for it. Now, it may be a practical impossibility, but it wouldn't be a logical one.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2012, 02:11:58 PM »
Point... however, even if I did show you what would amount to me to be evidence that God exists, you would immediately point out that I am wrong, either by disbelieving that it happened, or placing tags such as 'coincidence' and 'luck' and other such things... which means that, to me, to be an unbeliever, you have a great deal of faith...

Offline Valerian

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2012, 02:17:08 PM »
Atheist require just as much faith as theists, btw... because, well, if I was to ask you to prove that there isn't a God, you would be equally as stumped aas I would be if you asked me to prove that there is a God... hence, you 'believe' that there is no God... Faith has nothing to do with religion... it has to do with how you follow it... Atheists do so differently than the others, and that is what makes them special...
Well, no, that isn't the point.  You're getting caught up in semantics, I think.  'Believe' does not automatically have religious connotations.  Scientists believe that dark matter exists, but they can't conclusively prove it as yet.


Point... however, even if I did show you what would amount to me to be evidence that God exists, you would immediately point out that I am wrong, either by disbelieving that it happened, or placing tags such as 'coincidence' and 'luck' and other such things... which means that, to me, to be an unbeliever, you have a great deal of faith...
You shouldn't assume what the reactions of others would be to truly conclusive proof.  Also, if the proof doesn't stand up to questioning or leaves room for doubt, then it isn't really proof.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2012, 02:25:08 PM »
And Christians believe that God exists, and yet lack the power to prove it in a way that will convince people that don't want to be convinced... You want me to produce physical evidence of God's existence? I can't. However, I can prove to you that my believing in Him has changed my life, and that of many people that I know for the better, if only with what you would consider to be false hope. Would you take that as evidence that a God exists, or would you simply jot it down do a sudden attack of conscience appeasement? To me, it leaves no room for doubt, and is very conclusive... for you, well, that be up to you, and I will respect what you believe until you give me reason to do otherwise, by either ridiculing me for believing differently than you, or by considering me to be inferior because of it...
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 02:26:23 PM by Deamonbane »

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #60 on: November 28, 2012, 02:27:56 PM »
Would you take that as evidence that a God exists ...

No, because it wouldn't be. It would be evidence that believing one exists has changed your life.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #61 on: November 28, 2012, 02:34:28 PM »
My point exactly.... How am I supposed to make you believe in something that you will refuse to believe in until you see concrete proof of it? It is like trying to prove someone's motive for committing a crime in the court of law when they don't want to talk about it... Not only is it a moot point, it is impossible... I could go on and on about how happenings worldwide were predicted by the Bible, about modern-day prophets, and talk until my jaw falls off, and it wouldn't make a lick of difference, because, to you, it won't come up as concrete evidence...

That being said, I won't shove anything down your throat. You either want to believe, or you don't... I won't waste my time trying to make the proverbial horse drink water(forgive the proverb), and know that if you do the same, I will respect you all the more for it, and we could even become friends...

Offline Stattick

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #62 on: November 28, 2012, 02:38:02 PM »
As is proving that there is a God... So where does it end?

No. Proving that something does exist or is real is exactly what science is about. Through science, we can prove that the dodo bird once existed. We have drawings. We have fossils. We have first hand accounts of their behavior. We have specimens. Hell, we might even have DNA of them. The one time existence of the dodo is not up for debate. This is how science works.

As to the existence of God or the supernatural, the evidence is far more scarce. That doesn't mean that God or the supernatural don't exist, but that from a strict scientific standpoint, that it isn't proven. But just because something isn't proven doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

As far as proving the existence of the supernatural, well you have to consider an old maxim in science: the more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the evidence required to prove its existence. So, the claims as to what God can do are quite extraordinary: he can create life instantly, bring back the dead, and apparently ignore some or all of the laws of physics. We'd need a hell of a lot of proof before most scientists would accept the existence of God. As for proof or evidence, all we really have are some supposed miracles that have happened from time to time, and some people that think that they've seen God and/or had him communicate to them or through them, often via dreams or possession. Most of the miracles weren't or couldn't be verified by science. Most of the cases of people claiming to have knowledge of God through some sort of supernatural means have also failed to yield evidence of the supernatural. There's a large volume of prophesies that have not come true, and a volume of prophesies that some claim have come true, but were so vaguely written originally as to make us wonder if it was just wishful thinking on the part of those that claim it came true. There are a rare few prophesies that were clearly written that seem to have come true, but some of those have been shown to have been written after the supposed prophesy occurred. There's almost no evidence in the realm of proving the supernatural that has been accepted as valid proof by scientists. Therefore if one wants to believe in God or the supernatural, they must primarily rely on faith that it exists. Although they might have had direct experiences that seems to point to the existence of the supernatural, in most cases, what they experienced could not be considered direct proof, and even if it could be, in most cases it wasn't studied and subjected to scientific scrutiny.

For instance, I've directly experienced things that lead me to the inescapable conclusion that the supernatural exists. It may very well be that everything that I've experienced has a mundane explanation, but if so, reality is a lot weirder than we give it credit for. But I can't prove anything by my experiences. Hell, I can't even prove that they really happened, and aren't false memories or a short term psychotic break on my part. No scientist would accept my "evidence", because it's all just memory; there were no recordings of any sort that occurred to even prove that events took place as I remember them, much less anything else. Hell, you can't even prove anything by the time I magicked my girlfriend's car into starting despite the fact that it had a dead battery, or two times I've made it rain - all of those could have just been coincidence. And I'll tell you this - I probably couldn't replicate those results on demand, and that automagically means that it wasn't science. Science can be duplicated. Science gives consistent results. Magick doesn't. Or perhaps magick does give consistent results, but we're unable to sense one or more necessary components of it. For instance, maybe a wish for rain will always work, if you've attracted the right kind of spirits to go make the weather change, and they want to help - but if we can't see those spirits, well from our vantage, from the world of science, every attempt at using magick to shape the world around us looks like a crap shoot.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #63 on: November 28, 2012, 02:38:39 PM »
hence, you 'believe' that there is no God...

I have never, in my entire life, made such a claim, or stated such a belief. This is in fact true for many who do not consider themselves theists.

I am not telling you what you believe.

I would kindly ask that you not tell me that I hold some belief that I do not.

This sort of thing is why I label myself a nontheist rather than atheist. At least if someone has the courtesy to ask it can be explained.

Shoving it into a person's face is different than having it somewhere as a symbol... not to mention that a declaration of religious laws, against it though you may be, are entirely different than what you are saying...

Making someone pay for its display whether or not they ascribe to it is the issue at hand. It's not just shoving it in my face - it's charging me for the privilege.

Faith has nothing to do with religion... it has to do with how you follow it... Atheists do so differently than the others, and that is what makes them special...

Faith is belief without a foundation built on empirical knowledge and conclusions logically derived.


Offline Avis habilis

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #64 on: November 28, 2012, 02:39:18 PM »
That being said, I won't shove anything down your throat. You either want to believe, or you don't... I won't waste my time trying to make the proverbial horse drink water(forgive the proverb), and know that if you do the same, I will respect you all the more for it, and we could even become friends...

Sounds good to me. Better than squabbling about it by a long shot.

Offline Valerian

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2012, 02:42:26 PM »
I have almost zero knowledge of any of the western religions, so correct me if I'm wrong, but don't many Christian groups follow the principle that any proof is impossible and/or contradictory?  In other words, while members of a Christian church standing up and relating their religious experiences might be inspiring, it wouldn't constitute actual proof of god's existence even to other faithful members.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #66 on: November 28, 2012, 02:50:23 PM »
I have almost zero knowledge of any of the western religions, so correct me if I'm wrong, but don't many Christian groups follow the principle that any proof is impossible and/or contradictory?  In other words, while members of a Christian church standing up and relating their religious experiences might be inspiring, it wouldn't constitute actual proof of god's existence even to other faithful members.
To us, it constitutes as much evidence of God's existence as hundreds of witnesses watching someone commit murder, mainly because similar things has happened to the rest...

I would kindly ask that you not tell me that I hold some belief that I do not.

This sort of thing is why I label myself a nontheist rather than atheist. At least if someone has the courtesy to ask it can be explained.

Making someone pay for its display whether or not they ascribe to it is the issue at hand. It's not just shoving it in my face - it's charging me for the privilege.

Faith is belief without a foundation built on empirical knowledge and conclusions logically derived.
I didn't mean it that way(although, reading it now, I see that it came off as that), and I apologize for that.

In my mind, the fact that the universe, apparently so orderly once, and now falling rapidly into disrepair, shows evidence of a Designer, the same way that a car, coming nice and good out of a factory, and, as use begins to wear at it, as well as improper use... Of course, that is my point of view, and I would gladly listen to yours, and not criticize it(if I do, you may smack me over the head*nods*)...

I don't know about that paying taxes part of it, but if that happens, you have every right to tell them to shove off... of course, the same thing happens when Evolution is published in Textbooks for public schools, using my tax dollars(please, I am not trying to turn this into a Creationist vs Evolutionist Debate, but merely making a point)

It is very logical in my mind, but that is from my point of view... not yours, and therefore, you have every right to disbelieve it...

Offline Stattick

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #67 on: November 28, 2012, 03:03:51 PM »
The universe isn't coming apart. All the stars are in the same places we'd expect for them to be, through thousands of years of direct observation. Do some stars move? Sure... and we now have theories that show with a mathematical precision that's downright breathtaking as to how and why the stars move the way that they do, and in almost all cases, we can show exactly why the stars move the way that they do. As a matter of fact, we can even see the slight wobbles in their movement, and know that it's evidence of a planet or other dark body, and then find that planet or dark body in orbit around that star. Biology hasn't gone wonky, chemistry works the same as it always has, physics is as steadfast as always. I honestly have no clue as to what you mean by saying that the universe is falling apart.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #68 on: November 28, 2012, 03:08:39 PM »
I honestly have no clue as to what you mean by saying that the universe is falling apart.

I was interpreting that line as an expression of entropy  (Which has been scientifically researched.)

Offline Vekseid

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #69 on: November 28, 2012, 03:19:28 PM »
I didn't mean it that way(although, reading it now, I see that it came off as that), and I apologize for that.

Thank you.

In my mind, the fact that the universe, apparently so orderly once, and now falling rapidly into disrepair, shows evidence of a Designer, the same way that a car, coming nice and good out of a factory, and, as use begins to wear at it, as well as improper use... Of course, that is my point of view, and I would gladly listen to yours, and not criticize it(if I do, you may smack me over the head*nods*)...

Criticism is fine. It shows you where cracks might be.

Entropy is the cost of being able to perceive time, however. We might actually be going backwards in time, continually 'reperfecting', and our perception of the progress of time is in fact backwards.

This is the crux of it - being able to perceive the passage of time means that you must see the overall state of things as one of decay. You can reverse it locally - the Sun for instance provides Earth with a great deal of negative entropy - but Earth gets a mere two billionth of the Sun's light, and of that two billionth, most of that energy ends up being cast off anyway.

I don't know about that paying taxes part of it, but if that happens, you have every right to tell them to shove off... of course, the same thing happens when Evolution is published in Textbooks for public schools, using my tax dollars(please, I am not trying to turn this into a Creationist vs Evolutionist Debate, but merely making a point)

And yet you just did. You're complaining about the teaching of objective facts.

We know all of evolution, save for common descent, to be a fact in the same way we know the Sun rises in the East. Not only is it a fact, our understanding of evolution is critical to our quality of life. We would be worse off without such understanding, as just about every vaccine is made with such knowledge, and the current crisis with antibiotic resistant bacteria well shows. And while common descent has not been observed in its entirety, the evidence for it is still fact, and applying this understanding is profoundly useful for a great deal of research, that also improves your quality of life.

Compare to being forced to pay for idolatry, or actual religious programs.

Offline Vodka

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #70 on: November 28, 2012, 03:38:45 PM »
To comment at the article on hand, I'm an atheist. I'm proud of my atheism. I'll talk about it with anyone who wants and I'll debate about it if the chance arises.

That being said, things like this is what gives atheists a bad name. It sounds to me like this was nothing more than an attempt to get a rise out of a few Christians. Why bother? Is it not enough to simply accept that we live in a world full of different beliefs? Is it really so impossible to let everyone believe what they want to believe without cramming your own propaganda down their throats? I mean, don't get me wrong, there's a heavy saturation of Christianity in the U.S. as well, but this seems like nothing more than fighting fire with fire.

Meh.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #71 on: November 28, 2012, 05:02:36 PM »
Thank you.

Criticism is fine. It shows you where cracks might be.

Entropy is the cost of being able to perceive time, however. We might actually be going backwards in time, continually 'reperfecting', and our perception of the progress of time is in fact backwards.

This is the crux of it - being able to perceive the passage of time means that you must see the overall state of things as one of decay. You can reverse it locally - the Sun for instance provides Earth with a great deal of negative entropy - but Earth gets a mere two billionth of the Sun's light, and of that two billionth, most of that energy ends up being cast off anyway.

And yet you just did. You're complaining about the teaching of objective facts.

We know all of evolution, save for common descent, to be a fact in the same way we know the Sun rises in the East. Not only is it a fact, our understanding of evolution is critical to our quality of life. We would be worse off without such understanding, as just about every vaccine is made with such knowledge, and the current crisis with antibiotic resistant bacteria well shows. And while common descent has not been observed in its entirety, the evidence for it is still fact, and applying this understanding is profoundly useful for a great deal of research, that also improves your quality of life.

Compare to being forced to pay for idolatry, or actual religious programs.

I have been presented with more evidence than I would care to talk about that Evolution is a hoax, a fraud, and the 'evidence' that has been presented for it has been time and time again been disproven by scientists in the field, ones that weren't being sponsored by people interested in them finding evidence that proves evolution. However, as this isn't a Creationist vs. Evolutionist thread, and I would be more than happy to discuss this, in a manner in which religion is not involved (because, well, I am thinking that there is as little chance that you will be convinced that the Universe was created in six days as there is a chance of me believing in the Big Bang)... However, the point remaining is that I have seen, in current Textbooks, facts that have been very firmly disproved by the scientific world 50 years ago, and I don't like that my tax payer's dollars are going to spreading stuff like that. That being said, I agree firmly with you, and if you are paying towards the upkeep of something that you normally would have no business even looking at, then you have every right in the world to get the government on the case of said object, to, if not get rid of it, then at least make sure that you don't have to pay for it.

I personally have no idea what you are talking about an expression of entropy, so that means that I am probably wrong, and you are right... however, looking over the everything, showing that everything has balance until man comes around and disrupts it, I find it rather hard to believe that all of this came together by chance, which was my point to begin with. I am not saying that you believe that, I am just saying that I do not.

But I agree with Vodka. The Arguing over these subjects brings out the worst in any kind of person, including myself(I recall very vividly having made a  complete fool of myself not too long ago), and, while discussing these subjects over dinner, with a nice something to drink, is great! But actually forcing what you do and do not believe down someone's throat is bad business for all involved, and I apologize if I have ever seemed like doing this. However, scientific rights and wrongs are not beliefs, and I more than welcome being called a complete idiot if I have it all wrong.

Offline Stattick

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #72 on: November 28, 2012, 06:31:38 PM »
I have been presented with more evidence than I would care to talk about that Evolution is a hoax, a fraud, and the 'evidence' that has been presented for it has been time and time again been disproven by scientists in the field...

No you haven't. You might think you have, but you haven't. Some creationists are pretty good at manufacturing fake evidence, particularly for those that have a vested interest in being told what they want to believe.

Or would you care to provide citations for the creationist scientists that have published their proof in peer reviewed journals like any normal scientist would?

Evolution is the most studied theory in science. It's the most proven theory in science. If evolution is wrong, then it means that most of our other sciences are wrong as well. Biology, chemistry, geology, nuclear physics, dendrochronology, mathematics, and genetics would all have to be dead wrong. Millions of scientists would have to be lying constantly and consistantly, without ever breaking ranks to create the world's largest conspiracy to make it appear that evolution was true if it weren't. I prefer the simpler solution, that creationism is myth rather than to believe that all of science is a lie and that all scientists are liars. Besides, I can point at things that science has created, at things that science has improved upon in my lifetime. Whereas I cannot point at anything that religion has made better. Hell, probably half of the world population lives under the dictates of a religion that says that women are held in such low esteem that they cannot be priests.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 06:35:15 PM by Stattick »

Offline Aiden

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #73 on: November 28, 2012, 06:43:39 PM »
*Note* I did not read the 3 page discussion, just the article.


Dear Atheist,

I am far from being religious, but stopping fucking with my Christmas.

Dear Christians, Catholics, etc belief

Shut the hell up and stop putting the "Christ" in Christmas.

You are all assholes (atheist included), Shut the fuck up.

<3

Aiden

(This would be my billboard)


Offline ulthakptah

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #74 on: November 28, 2012, 06:48:42 PM »
No, that's a representation of secularism.

That you find anything special about its lack is actually the core of the problem.

Imagine if, everywhere, you saw a murdered child nailed to a stick, along with public displays of vaginas, because these things are important to some faith. And if you didn't like seeing murdered children nailed to sticks, or public displays of vaginas, and wanted that taken down, that was called you 'promoting' your religion over theirs. You are un-murdered child nailed to a stick/anti-public vaginas, and wanting those things not shoved so forcefully in your face - i.e. your tax dollars going to them, is 'religion' according to you.
How would I know that that the child was murdered? Am I living in a society where it is legal to murder children? And are they real children or just a display? Because if they are real I would be against it because of the the whole rotting corpse being unsanitary and bad for health.

I can't see a problem with the public displays of vaginas though. Frankly I could do with having more vagina shoved in my face. A better hyperbolic example would be penises, but seeing how I have been to public schools and restrooms, I've seen displays of that so often I'm already desensitized to it.

Anyway if it's just money thats the problem than what about this? http://cnsnews.com/news/article/judge-orders-bible-removed-monument-texas-courthouse

It's a story about a 50 year old monument that has a bible verse on it being removed even though it was paid with private funds.

Anyway back to the nativity, I don't think the state pays for those decorations either. If it's anything like the churches where I live they buy their own nativity scenes and store them when it's not Christmas.