Is God a Trigger Word?


God. Three letters, one syllable. So simple and yet, so complex. If you asked people to define “God,” they most likely would all give very different responses. To Christians, God is supposed to be known as the creator of the universe and source of moral authority. But this meaning has started to go into a gray area over the years.

Personally, when I hear the word “God,” it stimulates positive feelings; however, for others it triggers emotions that cause them distress or even rage.

Recently, there has been a plethora of outbreaks surrounding this year’s Starbucks cups. In the past, Starbucks has often chosen to depict wintery symbols on their cups such as snowflakes, reindeer or ornaments. However, this year the company decided to go with a very simple red design.

According to a released statement from Starbucks Vice President Jeffrey Fields, through the cups’ conservative design, the company “wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

After the recent protests, however, it is quite clear that “all of our stories” are in fact not welcomed. Opponents of the red cups are criticizing Starbucks for overlooking what Christmas is all about: God. Hence, the term, “Christ-mas.”

However, this argument lacks substance. Yes, Christmas is not about snowflakes, lights, presents or trees. But it’s also not about what cup your grande Pumpkin Spice Latte comes in.

The truth is, a blank red Starbucks cup is not anti-Christian. Shocking, I know. But it is this kind of overreaction that reveals how in contemporary society, we get too caught up in the technicalities.

As a Christian myself, I believe that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Savior who was destined to die on the cross for our sins. For this reason, Christmas for me is one of the best times of year.

But when I heard about this “war on Christmas,” it truly disappointed me. Some Christians these days are getting too caught up in trivial details. And as a result, the true meaning of Christmas is getting overlooked and overshadowed by all of this relentless uproar.

Religion is often considered one of those “avoid discussing it at the dinner table” topics, and this is definitely justified. Everyone has their own belief system and questioning which one is superior will only create discomfort and disagreement.

The reason people cannot define “God” is because everyone interprets it in their own way. The original Christian meaning of the term has become one of many interpretations.

I think that this “war on Christmas” scandal has risen up now because of the build-up of emotions that are triggered when the topic of God or Christianity is brought into discussion.

Perhaps it stems from our incessant need to have the answers to everything. How did the first humans end up on Earth? Why is there sin in the world? How was the universe created? Or to be more precise, who created it?

As humans, we have an inherent need to have everything explained, and if our predisposed beliefs are challenged or dismissed, we get defensive and lash out. That’s exactly what Christians participating in the war on Christmas are doing.

They feel like their entire belief system is being questioned, so they are using these cups as a defense mechanism to avoid dealing with this. Why? Because everything they have believed to be true is seemingly being challenged.

As a result, these cups have become the catalyst for a religious movement. The war on Christmas is not just about these silly red cups; it’s about God.

Perhaps we will never settle on one exact, clean cut definition for the word “God,” and that’s okay.

Commentaries are the expressed opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Fourcast staff, its adviser or any member of the Hockaday community.