Wherein I try to become a victim

Epcot at night


I’m feeling pretty unhappy right now.


First of all, I had counted on Christmas being neutralized by the Maya apocalypse, and now I find that I have to go shopping after all.


But far worse is what I experienced tonight at Walt Disney World’s Epcot.  First of all, there were signs all over the place for a program called “Joyful,” a concert of Christmas music to be put on by some gospel choir or other.  And there was Christmas music at practically every Epcot venue, some of it distinctly Christian.  (Even if it was instrumental, as it sometimes was, I’ve been so thoroughly programmed that my mind supplied the lyrics automatically.)  And then, at the biggest concert space in Epcot, there was an enormous choir singing expressly Christian music, including Händel’s “Hallelujah” chorus from Messiah.  But worst of all was the fact that the choir’s music was actually punctuated by somebody  (Trace Adkins, as it turns out, this evening; earlier in the week, it was Lea Salonga; and last week it was Gary Sinise) reading the gospel narratives of the birth of Jesus.


Now, I’ve been accused of being callous, unempathetic, and cruel to people who don’t share my every religious and political view, so I found myself at Epcot today trying to think myself into the head of a complete, committed secularist having to endure such horrors.


Here I am, a guy who’s been minding his own business, merely trying to teach his (hypothetical) children that, like me, they’re biochemical units tossed up randomly as the pointless byproducts of a mindless process that commenced by sheer chance in a warm, slimy tidal pool a few billion years ago.  I’ve patiently taught them that there’s no overall meaning or purpose to their lives, and that, when the neural firings in their brains cease, they will disappear and their bodies will rot.  I’ve explained to them that religion is a silly thing at best, clung to by fools, but more often evil, and that it makes people very, very unhappy and has led to virtually all of the evil on our planet.


All well and good.  And then, just when I dare to bring them out of their pleasant godless cocoon, they’re barraged with all this religious nonsense, coming from people who pretend to be happy and to care about one another.


It’s worse than disgusting.  It shouldn’t be permitted.


Posted from Orlando, Florida.



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  • Lovely Laura

    “All well and good. And then, just when I dare to bring them out of their pleasant godless cocoon, they’re barraged with all this religious nonsense, coming from people who pretend to be happy and to care about one another. It’s worse than disgusting. It shouldn’t be permitted.”

    I know you are being sarcastic, but I agree with you if you were being serious. Now, understandably, this line of thinking is extremely depressing to those who’ve founded their life and happiness in religious dogma. I just hope, Dr. Peterson, that one day you realize that there are millions of individuals throughout the world who lead extremely happy and fulfilling lifestyles. If you want to believe in a God, perfect believe in your God, for those of us who choose to NOT believe in a God, then perfect. As for my family and I, we choose to NOT believe in a God and yet our lives are wonderful. I don’t understand why you write what you do, I’ve rarely read something you’ve written where you are genuinely excited about something other than political banter, religious texts, or trying to interpret something you’ve done into your religious box.. I don’t understand how you can call you activities “true happiness.” It seems like your true happiness is “truly consuming” to the point where you are constantly battling some invisible force that is supposedly “tempting” your emotions, brain power, family, friends, government, colleagues, and fellow Mormons. How is that happiness? I don’t know you, and I don’t think I’d ever want to meet/know you, but I do know your writings, and because this is all I know, I assume that your writing is an extension of who you are. If this is the case, I feel sorry for you because I hate to break it to you, the world is moving away from the sort of divisive behavior and attitude that your religion and you yourself seem to preach on a daily basis. I hate to break it to you, but the world doesn’t need your divisive religious beliefs, what we do need is understanding, leadership, and progress. I don’t even know why I’m writing this message to you as I know that more than likely your colleagues and yourself will more than likely attack my viewpoints, political leanings, religion, and my personality–I know you well, Dr. Peterson. Nevertheless, please understand that I’m very well educated, I work at a very prestigious University, you need to see a therapist, I’m better than you, and I’m winning this war. Hugs and Kisses, KK ;)

    • danpeterson

      For those who don’t recognize him/her, this is Kore Kosmou and Kose Kosmou and Jamison Leadberry and Jamison Leaberry and probably at least half a dozen other pseudonyms that I don’t recall off hand. S/he also sometimes sends me personal emails. S/he’s been doing it for about a year.

      • Ryan

        I thought his/her message was hilarious. I thought it was one of your pals with a great sense of humor.

    • John E. Mastkins

      Proper grade A nutter. You feel free to continue that “war” mate. No one else is taking part

  • http://bryanstephenkerr.blogspot.com Bryan Kerr

    Hilarious. It is surprising though that Christianity was so vividly displayed at Disney World. i suppose Epcot Center would be the only place they could get away with it. i wonder what they did from Decemeber 8-16 this year?

  • Stephen Smoot

    What do atheists celebrate, if not Christmas. Festivus, maybe?

    More importantly, why even bother? What evolutionary advantage does celebrating a holiday have over not celebrating a holiday? Will it somehow ensure the survival and perpetuation of your DNA and positive evolutionary traits? Seems like a strictly logical, rational, calculating atheists with no need for participating in silly things like holidays would denounce the entire concept as nothing but nonsense.

    (BTW, thanks for the Christmas card, Bro. Peterson. It was much appreciated.)

    • Stephen Smoot

      Oh, I just realized it’s impossible for atheists to celebrate Festivus, since one of the aspects of the holiday of Festivus is to look for “Festivus miracles” in the world around us. Drat!

  • Lucy Mcgee

    My family has enjoyed Festivus for generations. and this year we have installed a highly polished stainless steel pole (the use of which promises to be dizzying) . We will be web conferencing the airing of our grievances with all family members which will insure that uncle Mike gets his.

    With each passing Festivus, we eliminate one or more of the myriad of cultural artifacts which human kind has grown to love over the decades and centuries and which some of our family has inadvertently collected. We have smashed old records of Brahms, Bach, Beethoven and Mozart and replaced them with a quite astounding library of secularist offerings on MP3. I’ve recently embarked on a personal quest of trivializing human endeavor by gathering and destroying any wondrous works accomplished by those with a religious strain and history. Our home is now 3/4ths empty of the stuff.

    Our bookshelves have been emptied of any authors who express a belief in God and we have, as a family,
    sworn a Festivus oath to read only works written by the most militant of atheists. We have taken our evolutionary expression to a new level and hope the new meme catches on.

    We of course deny all deeply held religious traditions which we find repulsive and arrogant despite the fact that somewhere in our history, those expressing these traditions did once live and believe. We revel in our analytical and cold as a Festivus pole view of the world. And of course, as true Festivus celebrators, we delight when our neighbors Christmas lights burn out in a massive short circuit or their Walmart Santa blowups are swept away by the winds of change.

    And of course, there is always the joy and wonder in my daughters young eyes to contend with.

  • palerobber

    “[...] I found myself at Epcot today trying to think myself into the head of a complete, committed secularist having to endure such horrors.”

    empathy FAIL.

    • danpeterson

      I’ve read some posts from you elsewhere, and frankly doubt that you have much to teach anybody about empathy.