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?
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.”
“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.”
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]