Atheist Christmas

Tomorrow’s New York Times will have an article about atheists celebrating Christmas. It’s titled “The Grinch Delusion: An Atheist Can Believe in Christmas”… (Thanks, NYT, for spreading the pleasant holiday cheer.)

So how do notable atheists spend Christmas?

Sam Harris:

With all this high-profile atheism in mind, it might come as something of a surprise to learn what sort of tree Mr. Harris has sitting in his living room right now. Let’s just say that it is not a ficus, that it tapers to a little peak practically begging for a star and that it is currently sporting some lovely ornaments on its branches… And it was really not his idea but a result “of a lost tug of war with my wife,” who likes Christmas trappings and insisted on buying it. But he added that his reluctance “was good-natured all the while.”

Richard Dawkins:

“Presumably your reason for asking me is that ‘The God Delusion’ is an atheistic book, and you still think of Christmas as a religious festival,” Mr. Dawkins wrote… “But of course it has long since ceased to be a religious festival. I participate for family reasons, with a reluctance that owes more to aesthetics than atheistics… So divorced has Christmas become from religion that I find no necessity to bother with euphemisms such as happy holiday season. In the same way as many of my friends call themselves Jewish atheists, I acknowledge that I come from Christian cultural roots. I am a post-Christian atheist. So, understanding full well that the phrase retains zero religious significance, I unhesitatingly wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”

Life of the party, he is.

Gotta love the qualifier Dawkins must add before wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

Why not just enjoy the season and have a good time? Here’s the part with David Silverman of American Atheists:

Many of Mr. Silverman’s fellow atheists celebrate the Winter Solstice, which occurs Thursday at 7:22 p.m. Eastern Time, or HumanLight, a humanist event created in 2001 by a group of New Jersey residents and observed this coming Saturday. But not Mr. Silverman, who feels that any such doings around Christmastime are suspect. “There’s such a Christian flavor to it,” he said of the season, “that it’s just not to my taste.”

But he added that, as with his mother’s Passover, some seasonal participation is just too hard to avoid.

Besides, he admitted, “I do like to go to the parties.”

See religious people? No War on Christmas. Only good cheer.

So… what everyone getting me this year? :)

Or better yet, if you were going to give a Christmas present to an atheist, what would it be…?

[tags]New York Times, Christmas, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Jewish, atheist, Christian, David Silverman, American Atheists, Winter Solstice, HumanLight, humanist, New Jersey, War on Christmas[/tags]

  • beepbeepitsme

    a darwin fish sticker for the car

  • vjack

    Interesting. I like the “post-Christian atheist” phrase Dawkins offers. How true! I don’t celebrate this holiday at all anymore. The religious trappings are a turn-off, but so is the commercialism. Nevertheless, I do enjoy the time off work, the cold weather, and the efforts of at least some Christians to be more civil this time of year.

  • QrazyQat

    Life of the party, he is.

    Gotta love the qualifier Dawkins must add before wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

    Dawkins: “I unhesitatingly wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”

    You find Dawkins unhesitatingly wishing everyone a Merry Christmas to be a party-killer? Takes all kinds, I guess.

  • Paul August

    Nice! I’m guessing this is in Today’s (Sunday December 17) New York Times? I’ll have to pick one up. I’m readin gthe God Delusion currently and am enjoying it. I also just found this blog today… and will become a reader! Peace!

  • Logos

    Here is my Christmas gift to the group
    It’s funny and it makes you think!

  • Shana

    Funny, I just discussed this with a co-worker on Friday:

    “I don’t understand why you like Christmas music! Why do you like Christmas at all?”

    People find it hard to understand that just because I don’t believe in God or celebrating a divine birth, I can still enjoy the holiday season — specifically spending time with family & friends. I love singing Silent Night, going caroling, giving gifts and bringing smiles to people’s faces, and as strange as it sounds, I love the candlelight service at my church when I’m home with my parents on Christmas Eve. It’s not about God, but it’s about sharing a peace and a togetherness with the people in the room. I guess some would say I’m a hypocrite. My co-worker thinks it’s ‘God’s way of talking to me.’
    What do you think?

  • txatheist

    Ask them why they like birthday parties or halloween maybe. It’s a festive event and it’s fun with no consequences is why I like all 3.

  • Shana

    good point…..why does anyone celebrate holidays with pagan rituals?
    i met a woman once who told me that she refused to celebrate halloween because of it’s ‘horrible origins.’ i just thought, you are taking this way too seriously, go put on a costume and eat some candy!

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  • david

    This will be my first Christmas as an atheist. It will also be my first Christmas without being a consumer. We will forego presents for gift to charity. When doubts about my atheism surface, I just ask myself a simple question: do godly men wage war? The answer comforts me in so many ways.