Questions for Atheists: Should I Send a Card?

Pastor Mike here again:

So I was going through my Christmas card mailing list last night and wondering if there was anyone I needed to add to it this year. One of the first thoughts that popped into my mind was that I should send cards to some of my new online friends here at this site. Of course this thought was immediately followed by: Wait a minute. Is it appropriate to send a Christmas card to an atheist friend? Would that be offensive? Insensitive? I mean, I don’t think I’d send a Christmas card to Jewish friends either. But then, on the other hand, would it be rude of me to exclude them from my list because they’re an atheist? I really don’t know.

(Please keep in mind that I’m talking here about people I don’t know that well – not close friends or family who might expect a card regardless – just acquaintances like Hemant and others whom I primarily know in the context of discussions about atheism. Also keep in mind that my cards are overtly religious – not just “Happy Holidays”.)

So what do you all think? Should I send a card? Would that be tacky, or is it rude not to? I’m honestly not sure and thought I’d bring it up here for discussion.

  • Kate

    I’m an atheist.

    I love Christmas.

    I love mail.

    I love Christmas cards. :) :) :) I say send it!

  • Siamang

    Heck, Mike, we’re atheists at my house, and WE’RE sending Christmas cards.

    We celebrate Christmas. I also get a lot of Christmas cards from both believing and nonbelieving friends and loved ones.

    A kind thought NEVER is an insult. Unless you wish Happy Holidays to Bill O’Reilly. Then it is.

  • Julie

    I wouldn’t really like a religious card from someone who knows I’m an atheist, because it might seem like a little bit of a prod from that person. But on the other hand, I would be more likely to think the person was just thinking about me, and hey, that’s what Christmas is really about–me!

  • Hrag

    Sure, but a holiday card NOT a Christmas card. I personally prefer New Years cards.

  • Dysentery

    Normal Christmas cards are fine. Ones that include verse and prayers are a little over the top I think.

  • Rob

    I’m an athiest.
    I love Christmas
    I hate Christmas cards (bah humbug).

    I do enjoy getting Christmas letters from people I know that have pictures and updates on what is going on with their life, but a card with some bland “Happy Holidays” message is in my opinion a waste of money and resources.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Good point Rob. I hate bland, generic cards too (though I appreciate that people were thoughtful enough to send something). Just to clarify, my card is a picture from this summer of my daughter at the Renaissance Faire in her fairy costume, with some words about peace, love and joy and a wish of Merry Christmas on it as well. We also send a one page letter about our past year. We figure the picture and the update are more valuable to most of our friends and family than a generic meaningless card would be.

  • JimboB

    I think it depends on the person receiving the letter. Many atheists like myself wouldn’t take offense to a christmas card at all; however, others might not feel the same.
    Given the fact that you’re a pastor, I think your atheist friend would probably anticipate a christmas-y card.
    Besides, I think it’s wonderful to let people know that you’re thinking about them, regardless of the occasion. And so I think you should send the card.

  • Maria

    I don’t mind Christmas cards at all. I think they are beautiful!

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    I’m an atheist and I love Christmas and I love getting Christmas cards. I also send some out. The religious ones aren’t the ones that I’d choose to send, but if I receive them from friends, I still enjoy getting them. If in doubt, just try something like a “Peace on Earth” message. But I think your family photo card is a wonderful idea.

    Don’t ask for money though. I’m not being sarcastic. I have a good friend who is a minister and he always includes a little footnote asking for donations in every card I get from him, and that just makes me sour on the whole idea of keeping in touch.

  • Siamang

    I send “happy holidays” cards to my Jewish friends.

    But then again, some of my Jewish friends celebrate Christmas too.

    My christmas cards are not Jesus-y… I just don’t choose those sentiments. They’re usually snow scenes or the Peanuts gang or something like that.

  • http://www.blueglowy.com Mike B

    As an atheist, I really don’t mind if someone sends me a religiousy card, be it christian, catholic, jewish, whatever. My mom does it, My grandpa did, and I just take the sentiment for what it is.

    1) They are simply saying they are keeping me in their thoughts (albeit with prayers generally attached). There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
    2) It’s sometimes a subtle attempt to “save” me, and I understand that. But as long as it stays at the level, I know they are simply doing what they think is in my best interest, and I respect it as long as doesn’t give the “argh why aren’t you going to church!” vibe.

    So I say send’em, and wish everyone a happy ramakwanzahanamas or whatever holiday :) If they take offense, they should probably lighten up a little.

    EDIT: and I agree 100% with writerdd, don’t ask for money, that’s not a nice touch :P

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Given our passion for social justice issues, our cards these past few years have tended to be “peace on earth” themed… however, that to me is still a “religious” message, since that’s one of the major things I think the biblical Christmas story really is all about. Don’t forget that “peace on earth” is a Bible verse after all. :)

  • http://my-faith.blogspot.com/ Should I Really Use My Real Name?

    Hey Mike, send ME a card…. please…..

  • koz

    You’re a cowriter of an atheist blog… I think your intentions will be well-received. ;)

    I am atheist and celebrate Xmas and send and receive cards. Mine aren’t Xmas-specific, so I do send to all my friends regardless of religion. But I would anyway.

    If someone were truly anti-Xmas card … well, I think you’d know.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03859405216390259275 Intergalactic Hussy

    Are these e-cards? Because that would be so much better on the environment. :)

    In any case, a card is always nice. But maybe a “Happy Holidays” e-card for those you don’t know very well?

  • http://www.mirrorrorrim.org Mark J. Seydel

    Send them! A card is not for you it’s for the person(s) receiving them. I agree that anything biblical is over the top, however. Happy Holidays everyone!

  • Miko

    I wouldn’t be bothered by that. I’m slightly bothered by those cards with both Christian and Jewish symbols, as they seem to implicitly suggest that they’re representing the gamut, but even then I’m more interested in what’s on the inside of the card than what’s on the outside.

    Given our passion for social justice issues, our cards these past few years have tended to be “peace on earth” themed… however, that to me is still a “religious” message

    It may be a religious issue to you, but I doubt you’d find many atheists who would consider peace a religious issue. (I await the chorus of nay-sayers?) And since it’s the recipient’s reaction you’re concerned with, you’d probably be in the clear there even if religious content were an issue.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Definitely send the cards. As long as there’s no heavy baby Jesus content, I don’t think any atheists would mind.

    As for myself, everyone at my work is getting a Happy Festivus card!

  • http://www.acosmopolitan.blogspot.com Anatoly

    I think that really would depend up to an individual person whether or not they’d appreciate it. I’m an atheist and don’t celebrate Christmas but if I’m going to get a Christmas card in the mail I’m not going to grumble about it – I might even consider it cute.

    Christmas seems to be such an entrenched norm that I really don’t try to go out of my way and chase down every person who wishes me “Merry Christmas” and say “No, no, no, I don’t celebrate that, take it back!”

  • Richard Wade

    Mike, your card sounds really lovely. I enjoy your postings on your blog about your family and your cute daughter.

    I guess some people send cards about themselves and some send cards about the person receiving the card. There’s no hard and fast rule about that or one being a better orientation than the other. If you send a different kind of card for the different kinds of people then you end up with a big box of old unused cards like the one I talked about in my Scrooge post.

    Send whatever you want. It’s not like a religious card is going to burn the hand of an atheist like something out of a Dracula movie. If I was offended by anything as innocuous as a religious card I’d be dead by now.

  • Mriana

    I’d prefer a Human Light card, but I’ll settle for an Christmas Card since they are hard to find unless you send an e-card from http://www.humanlight.org :) Hint. hint. I have yet to receive a Human Light card.

  • Richard Wade

    Try a sentiment like, “Wishing you whatever you wish I would wish you.”

  • http://blueshifted.org Andy

    Thanks for asking, Mike!

    In my experience, the vast majority of atheists celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday. I’ve never cared much for all the contrived attempts to invent a new secular holiday (Solstice, Festivus, etc… HumanLight? *vomit*)

    I’ve also never met an atheist who takes umbrage at being wished a Merry Christmas; I think such a creature is the product of Bill O’Reilly’s overactive, malevolent imagination. But as some other commenters have suggested, the best bet is to avoid overt religious references. “Merry Christmas” is a wonderful sentiment; “Jesus died for your sins, now get down on your knees, you ungrateful heathen,” not so much ;-)

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Well if you are sending it to someone who is familiar with your postings on this site, make it as religious as you want. It might give the person a chuckle. Just be true to who you are.

  • Jen

    My feeling on the topic-if they were cards out of a box, I would suggest a more Holidayish card. After all, you would probably buy several boxes. In this case, though, since they are more personalized cards, I don’t think it as weird to send a more religious card, especially since there is generally a discount on one style of card verses several personalized cards.

  • ellen

    Everyone likes a holiday card. What non-Christians of any variety don’t appreciate is getting holiday cards with baby Jesus and/or bible quotations. as long as you’re respectful of others beliefs, there’s no reason you can’t spread a little joy. Many atheists have secular winter celebrations at this time of year. You Xians didn’t invent the winter holiday ya know, you just usurped it. ;-)

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I’ve never cared much for all the contrived attempts to invent a new secular holiday (Solstice, Festivus, etc… HumanLight? *vomit*)

    I’m pretty sure solstice is a religious holiday too… at least in the Wiccan and neo-pagan traditions. And c’mon, Festivus is just fun! Especially the feats of strength.

    “Jesus died for your sins, now get down on your knees, you ungrateful heathen,” not so much ;-)

    Dang it! and those were the ones I had bought this year. :(

  • http://steingrueblwe.blogspot.com Heather

    I love getting mail and good wishes too.

    ‘Course, I got confused by them years before coming “out” as an atheist and started sending Groundhog Day cards instead…

  • http://blurper.blogspot.com/ Zeolite

    I don’t really enjoy getting religious holiday cards because sometimes I can’t tell if it is an innocent kind gesture or a deliberate method to force religion upon me. But I don’t have the most healthy relationship with some family members …

    This year a friend sent out religious cards and he wrote a little note in mine saying I know you’re not into this but I wanted to stay in touch. That was very cool.

  • Steven Carr

    Is Mike really worried about sending Christmas cards to atheists?

    Why? What’s wrong with sending Christmas cards? I shall be sending some soon.

  • Mriana

    Zeolite, I fully understand. My mother is always sending religious holiday and birthday cards with Bible verses. :roll: This year it is Mother Mary (or is that Isis?) with the Bible verse Luke 2:11 (KJV) and signed it “Love and Prayers, Mother/Grandma”. Now, I know she means well, but it get old after a while. Why not a cute kitty dressed a Kitty Santa wishing me a Merry Catmas or something cute? I think it would be a nice change and compromise without denying her her Christmas.

    By the same token, she complains about my cards- only directly to me. She wants something religious- specifically Jesus, because it “is the reason for the season”. Um… No, it’s a pagan holiday, but I won’t tell her that. She doesn’t understand why I don’t send religious holiday cards and I won’t tell her exactly why.

    Personally, her cards go in file 13 more often than not, but I’m not telling her that. It’s hard to tell if it really does come from her heart or from her head. Who am I to say.

  • Stephanie

    Wait, Christmas is a religious holiday??? You haven’t been to the mall lately, have you.

    I love getting Christmas cards. I send them out as well. Heck, I just sent out a Russian Orthie icon to a very religious friend for her holiday enjoyment. Respect works both ways, ya know. I may not believe it, but it’s something she will actually want and love.
    I have a Christmas tree in my living room. I also have a telescope with garland on it right next to the tree because I was too lazy to move it this year. I’m telling people we’re multi-faith- we like both Santa and Science in this household.

  • anti-nonsense

    I wouldn’t mind myself, I love Christmas as a purely family orientated thing, but I’m also a sucker for Christmas carols including the overtly religious ones. Christmas cards are fine

    My only major problem would be if I felt the person was sending the card in a direct attempt to convert me. If I feel that the person is genuninly just wishing me well and is doing it in a religious way because that’s the only way they can think of to send a holiday well-wishing then fine, but if they are trying to hit me over the head with their religion then that’s not cool. Just try not to get preachy and you’ll be fine by most people I think.

    As for the Bible verses the verse about “and God so loved the world…etc, would be a bit too preachy for me. If you want a bible verse then pick “Love thy neighbour as you love yourself” or something would probably be better, at least it would be for me.

  • Irving Kliptoman

    Definitely no religious card. A Happy Holidays card would be fine; even better would be a Happy Solstice card. But keep the religious messages to yourself, please.

  • K

    A quick google search finds that Atheists have made xmyth cards:
    http://slumbering.lungfish.com/?p=254
    http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/12/10/happy-hubble-holidays/
    https://lightning.he.net/~atheists/catalogue/shop/prod7010.php
    http://www.evolvefish.com/fish/cards.html
    http://www.cafepress.com/orderofstnick/3688619

    So yeah, THAT’S a question that’s been done to death and easily answered by common sense.
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061102082911AA727Ks

    Will the next question be, “Do Atheists enjoy Valentine’s chocolate because it’s a religious holiday?”

  • Mriana

    Luke 2:11 is not “an god so loved the world…” it’s “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” I will admit, “love thy neighbour…” would be better.

  • Vincent

    Send.
    I receive overtly religious cards every year from relatives and I accept them happily because they represent an affectionate sentiment from the sender.
    I send cards that are non-religious because that’s my expression of affection.

    Plus, it’s not like anyone is going to be shocked to get a religious card from you. Why would you be any more reluctant to send a religious card than to speak your belief face to face?

  • http://merkdorp.blogspot.com J. J. Ramsey

    I’d say that it depends. If you know that the atheist in question celebrates Christmas, then go ahead and send the card.

    Mr. Mehta might be a trickier case, since he was raised by Jains and doesn’t have quite the cultural Christian background that most atheists in the U.S. have had. I’m not sure he even celebrated Christmas as a kid. OTOH, he isn’t exactly quick to take offense at well-meaning gestures, with him being the Friendly Atheist, after all. :)

  • http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/ vjack

    If I received a religious card from someone who I knew was aware that I was an atheist, it would piss me off.

  • http://groundedinreality.blogspot.com Bruce

    If I received a religious card from someone who I knew was aware that I was an atheist, it would piss me off.

    Yes, blatantly religious card would be somewhat offensive. But Christmas isn’t really a religious holiday anymore, it has been secularized. Santa and flying reindeer and Christmas lights have nothing to do with Jesus. When I drive around the neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights, I see one, maybe two nativity scenes at most. The Christians tried to force their religious holiday onto the rest of us and the inevitable happened, it lost all of its religious meaning.

    So Pastor Mike, go ahead and send those Christmas cards to your atheist friends. I made my own Christmas cards this year. It is a picture of Frosty holding a present just out of the reach of a crying child and the text inside the card says “Merry Christmas from Frosty the Snow Jerk”. Nothing religious about my card and everyone who has received it has told me how much they enjoyed it.

    Christmas isn’t about Jesus anymore. It’s merely an excuse to have some fun and give presents during the dreary winter months.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    But Christmas isn’t really a religious holiday anymore, it has been secularized. Santa and flying reindeer and Christmas lights have nothing to do with Jesus. When I drive around the neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights, I see one, maybe two nativity scenes at most. The Christians tried to force their religious holiday onto the rest of us and the inevitable happened, it lost all of its religious meaning.

    That’s an interesting theory on how Christmas got “secularized”, though I’m not sure it’s all that accurate. What do you make of the fact that most of those people putting up Christmas lights, Santas and flying reindeer are probably Christians too? I’d say we spoiled our own holiday personally, not through “secularism” per se so much as simply through crass consumerism.

  • Richard Wade

    “Merry Christmas from Frosty the Snow Jerk”

    ROFLMAO!!

  • Richard Wade

    Mriana, why not have a little harmless fun messin’ with your mom’s mind just a bit? Find the sappiest, corniest, most saccharin sweet, sweeeeeet, make-even-a-chocolate-covered-cherries-addict-gag-in-nausea card with a doe-eyed baby Jesus glowing in the dark like something out of a 50′s sci-fi movie titled “The Attack of the Radioactive Midgets” and send it just to her. Then if she says something about it just be nonchalant and say you thought she’d like it. ;)

  • Richard Wade

    Stephanie,

    I also have a telescope with garland on it right next to the tree because I was too lazy to move it this year. I’m telling people we’re multi-faith- we like both Santa and Science in this household.

    You’re an astronomer too? Cool. Picture Santa squeezed into a too-tight white lab coat saying “HO HO HO! Follow the evidence wherever it goes, Stephanie!”

  • Siamang

    If someone sends me a SUPER-religious card all it gets is a smirk and an eyeroll before it gets put on the mantle with all the other cards we get from loved-ones.

    I don’t mind baby Jesus in the cards I get.

    I even have a nativity scene that gets prominent display at my home every Christmas. I like it. Religious Christmas carols are played and sung in my home interspersed with the Chipmunks and Ella Fitzgerald’s Jingle Bells. I don’t like religious intrusion in government, I don’t like the Pledge having Under God in it… but I reserve the right to include religious art and themes in my personal holiday celebration.

    This might be rare among atheists here, I should take a poll: How many atheists here have a Nativity scene?

  • ?

    I don’t mind baby Jesus in the cards I get.

    hell yeah, tis the season for the feastin’, and as an atheist, baby jesus has to represent one of the finest meat offcuts available…

  • http://ecstathy.blogspot.com Efrique

    …thoughts … that I should send cards to some of my new online friends here at this site. … Is it appropriate to send a Christmas card to an atheist friend? Would that be offensive? Insensitive? I mean, I don’t think I’d send a Christmas card to Jewish friends either. But then, on the other hand, would it be rude of me to exclude them from my list because they’re an atheist? I really don’t know.

    (Please keep in mind that I’m talking here about people I don’t know that well… primarily know in the context of discussions about atheism. Also keep in mind that my cards are overtly religious – not just “Happy Holidays”.)

    I can only speak for myself, but here’s my take on it. If people don’t know I am atheist, then I am not offended by an overtly religious card, even a strongly religious one, but on the other hand if they do know I’m atheist, and they still send one heavy on the religion, then I have to wonder at their motives, because it begins to sound like proselytizing.

    We send cards at Christmas time, but we pay attention to who we’re sending them to and choose cards accordingly. We include our Jewish friends, even the religious ones, BUT we send only “Seasons Greetings” cards to them – since of course they don’t celebrate Christmas, even in a secular way. We generally have at least two sets of cards.

    I would not send a religious friend an openly atheist card, and I would respect a similar courtesy in return – if they know I am atheist, I expect the courtesy of a card that does not contain bible quotes, for example. I don’t get offended if it has a picture of the nativity, though I wouldn’t send one like that.

    Since you seem to indicate that you will send only ONE kind of card (a decision I find surprising, but let’s take that as given), I would suggest that where you don’t know the reaction, you should assume a plainly religious card may not be appreciated; if you can include a brief personal note, that may matter less. If you don’t send a card but want to include your atheist friends in some way, why not send nothing but a short note to tell them you’re thinking of them and appreciate having had discussions with them?

    It’s hard to judge without seeing just what message your card conveys. You may have to rely on empathy to judge better what the impact will be.

  • Karen

    Then if she says something about it just be nonchalant and say you thought she’d like it. ;)

    Richard, has anyone told you yet that you are evil? Pure eeeeevvvvvilllll! ;-)

    This might be rare among atheists here, I should take a poll: How many atheists here have a Nativity scene?

    I have four creches with the various nativity figurines, including an artisan set I bought in Mexico for my husband a couple years ago and a set my mom made for us after she retired. I actually love them and display them around the house in little niches where they can be admired.

    I’m embarrassed to admit this (yikes!) but I was one of those obnoxious evangelicals who always sent an uber-religious Christmas card with a proselytizing letter included. It usually ended with something like, “and during this season of reverence, we are particularly thankful for the savior of the world, who died for our sins” … yadda, yadda.

    We sent these little missives to everyone – work colleagues, relatives, friends – and I never got any negative comments on them. Probably people rolled their eyes and trashed them but were too kind to tell me I’d overstepped with my pushy preaching. Ugh … I cringe thinking about it now.

    My husband, who is still a fundy, and I now have an annual argument about the Christmas cards. I tend to get neutral holiday cards and he sometimes get his own pack of religious cards. This year we agreed on a very pretty “Season’s Greetings” card – so that’s some progress.

  • Mriana

    :lol: Oh Richard, that is sooooo good! I like that. Update on my recent Xmas card from my aunt. Are you prepared for yet another that goes in file 13? Well here it is, strongly and blatantly religious and my aunt has an inkling of my stance. Here it is, cover your eyes if you have vampiric reactions to blatantly religious stuff:

    The front of the card: Celebrate Jesus our light in the darkness our peace in the storm our hope for eternity.

    Inside left 2 Corinthians 9:15: Thanks be to God for His indescrible gift! Inside right page: Our greatest gift. Have a Blessed Christmas

    Any atheist not sicken from that one I’d be surprised, but that’s my relatives for you. Say “Aye!” if you’re not sick yet. It’s not even pretty, but rather a dark blood red front with hard to read gold writing. Inside font is is dark blood red. Joy! :roll: Make it hard to read and bloody. Wasn’t he an infant around this time- IF you really believe he was born in Dec? The colour should be for the the Passion, but who am I to tell her.

    OK IF either of them deserves the card you described Richard, it’s my aunt with bleeding ulcers. Oh wait. I um… I don’t want to kill her. Maybe nausea isn’t such a good idea for her. Maybe something earthy will surfice.

    Just once I’d like to receive a card that shows the human/humanistic side of things and not something that is preachy or what have you.

  • Mriana

    Oh I must say, Maria did send me a nice one and it was setting up here for others to see, but my cats knocked it down. :(

    Found it. :) It was a nice one and best so far. :)

  • http://ecstathy.blogspot.com Efrique

    A second thought, Mike – you can always ask “Is it okay if I send you a Christmas card?”.

    Most people will say yes. Atheists – just as any other human being – like to be thought of, and a Christmas card can convey that.

  • Richard Wade

    Richard, has anyone told you yet that you are evil? Pure eeeeevvvvvilllll!

    I am deeply honored.

  • Richard Wade

    Mike, you could write on the front and back of the envelope in between two bands of yellow and black diagonal lines,
    “CAUTION! This envelope contains a religious greeting card. If such material is offensive to you or if it is unlawful for you to view it, do not open it and destroy it by fire.”

  • Mriana

    :lol: That’s bad, Richard, but funny. I don’t think I would go that far. Besides, what if there is money or a gift card in the card?

    See, that’s the catch. You have to open the card no matter what because your pressie might be in it. :D Now you really don’t want to burn your present, do you?

  • Richard Wade

    Maybe asbestos gloves and tongs with which I shake the card without looking at it to see if any money falls out.

    My dad, from whom I probably inherited my evilness had a game he and my mom would play each Christmas. They would open the Christmas card envelopes without looking at the return name and address. They’d look at the front of the card and then the back of the card where the last part of the card number showed the price. Then they’d guess who sent it and finally look inside to see if they were right. They were remarkably accurate.

  • Mercredi

    A holiday card would likely be better-received than a Christmas card; how a Christmas card would be received depends heavily on the individual. I have assorted non-Christian friends who as happy with Christmas cards as any other sort, others who sick of having Christmas-this and Jesus-that shoved down their throats who would be annoyed by even a non-religious Christmas card, and still others who would be upset by a Christmas card for personal reasons having to do with why they are not Christians anymore.

    So I would say “happy holidays” is safest, unless you know the individual. (I also like “Happy Holidays,” because Christmas is generally 1.5 days and at _most_ 12 days, but adding in Hanukkah, New Years, Solstice, Kwanzaa, and any other December holidays, not to mention the synonym “holiday” for “vacation” means you’re wishing or being wished a whole lot more happy. ^_^)

  • http://journals.aol.ca/plittle/AuroraWalkingVacation/ Paul

    Once again the Christian has revealed his complete inability to see beyond his own personal blinkers on the world. We are all a product of the culture we are raised in, so most North American atheists will celebrate Christmas. While we do not recognise the religious aspect of the holiday, we are able to celebrate it as a purely secular celebration. Ironically, we have wrested Christmas from the Christians in much the way they wrested it from its original pagan roots. The ideal of Christmas, that giving is a virtue worthy of practice by us all, is one we all can appreciate. The Christian myth that gives us that message is as much a part of our heritage as the many other “moral” stories we read as children, like Aesop’s fables and Andersen’s fairy tales. As with the others, we are able to recognise and accept the moral message in the story without having to accept the events as true. Just as we recognise that the story of the stork and the fox sharing dinner is metaphorical, we see the same quality in the Bible stories we read.

  • Richard Wade

    Once again the Christian has revealed his complete inability to see beyond his own personal blinkers on the world.

    Paul, I agree with the rest of your remark but in the case of Mike Clawson, I think he is asking this question because he is capable of seeing things from other’s points of view and wants to practice a sensitivity to others based on what he has learned by gazing through their eyes. But he doesn’t want to take his conclusions for granted, so he is asking us our opinion of a proposed action. He keeps his own beliefs but the blinkers are off.

  • Charlotte

    I come from an atheist home and we celebrate Christmas as a family-oriented holiday. I always enjoy getting cards. I don’t mind, say, a card that has a picture of a nativity scene in front of it and no bible verses or something inside. However I would feel slightly bothered by an overly religious card.
    Your idea with the picture of your daughter and the letter sounds lovely. I would really appreciate getting such a card and I don’t know why anyone would be bothered by it.

  • Karen

    My dad, from whom I probably inherited my evilness had a game he and my mom would play each Christmas. They would open the Christmas card envelopes without looking at the return name and address. They’d look at the front of the card and then the back of the card where the last part of the card number showed the price. Then they’d guess who sent it and finally look inside to see if they were right. They were remarkably accurate.

    Yes, Richard, that does explain a lot about you. It’s all in the genes, y’know. ;-)

    Ever get a card from someone and have no idea who the HELL they are, or how you “know” them? That’s happened to me a couple of times (turned out they were work-colleagues-thrice-removed) and it’s a very funny feeling.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Just an update: I’ve decided not to send any Christmas cards to my atheist friends. However, this has nothing to do with fearing offending them or any of your responses here, and only to do with the fact that I just realized my wife only ordered enough cards for the people who were already on our list from last year. So unfortunately we don’t have any extra cards to send to any new friends we might want to add to the list.

    So if you were wondering whether you might be one here to get a card from me, sorry. Maybe next year. :(

    But thanks for the good discussion y’all. It was very enlightening.

  • Richard Wade

    WHAT?!!! We went through all that for nothing?! After 60 thoughtful, earnest, soul-baring (in a manner of speaking) comments, suddenly like Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella you sweetly say “Never mind”??? ;)

    Actually I learned quite a lot from the discussion, such as how many atheists here like Christmas, even love Christmas in a secular way, and in particular getting cards. I was also surprised that more than I expected (though still a minority) are a little thin-skinned about getting religious cards. There were interesting glimpses into “mixed marriages” and how they handle such issues, and how people handle family differences over Christmas.

    Thanks Mike, for tricking (you bastard) us into an insightful and fun discussion. :)

  • Stephanie

    Oh, sure. We know where we rate. If you truly loved all your atheist friends, you’d go buy a $5 pack of cards for us. ;)

  • Stephanie

    Whoops, sorry. My computer is having a bit of a spasm. Please delete this and the next comment if possible.

  • Stephanie

    I have no comment here- I just like saying spam. Sorry, the computer posted three times and I have no way of deleting this.

  • Mriana

    Try e-cards. They are free. :)

  • Richard Wade

    I have no comment here- I just like saying spam.

    Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, wonderful spaaaam, wonderful spaaaam!

  • Mriana

    Ham! Spam! WHAM!

  • http://journals.aol.ca/plittle/AuroraWalkingVacation/ Paul

    So, Richard, are you accusing him of playing Devil’s Advocate?

    Also, I had to laugh at Stephanie’s post and the response to it. I believe she has inadvertantly misspelled a word. I think the word she likes saying is “spasm.”

  • Richard Wade

    Paul, I would never accuse Mike of advocating the devil. If anybody likes to argue just for the hell of it, it’s me. I realized that Stephanie had stumbled into Socrates’ famous spasm/spam paradox, but anything that reminds me of a Monty Python classic warrants an homage:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5627694446211716271

    Why Stephanie just likes to say “spasm” I don’t know.

  • http://journals.aol.ca/plittle/AuroraWalkingVacation/ Paul

    Yes, but I don’t like spam.

  • Kimberly

    What pisses me off is when people who know I’m an atheist send overtly religious cards to me and silly/funny cards to everyone else. Why did I get singled out for the drive by religious shooting?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X