A few random threads on Christmas all in one:
- Guess who celebrates the holiday?
Scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins has admitted he does celebrate Christmas — and enjoys singing traditional Christmas carols each festive season.
‘I am perfectly happy on Christmas day to say Merry Christmas to everybody,’ Dawkins said. ‘I might sing Christmas carols — once I was privileged to be invited to Kings College, Cambridge, for their Christmas carols and loved it.
‘I actually love most of the genuine Christmas carols. I can’t bear Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and you might think from that that I was religious, that I can’t bear the ones that make no mention of religion. But I just think they are dreadful tunes and even more dreadful words. I like the traditional Christmas carols.’
- Jesus wasn’t the only deity to be born on what we now call December 25th. Turns out the date was a popular date for the birth of other ancient Gods, too.
- Slate’s Torie Bosch talks about the joy of celebrating a godless Christmas:
Even without believing in the divinity of Jesus, I think that I mark the holiday the same way as many of the faithful — a time to donate to causes I believe in, to welcome the winter from the comfort of a warm home, and, most importantly, to reconnect with family and friends. It’s not that I dislike or have anything against religion. I admire, even envy the faithful, and I don’t consider myself an atheist. But I can’t fake a religious feeling I don’t possess. And I’d rather celebrate Christmas my way — with gifts, a tree, and eating and drinking too much — than to lie to myself and to whatever god is out there by hypocritically going through the sacred motions of the traditional holiday.
- NPR ran a short piece on HumanLight yesterday.
The secular holiday known as HumanLight began eight years ago. And while there are no set traditions, many of these gatherings use familiar rituals such as singing and candle lighting to highlight reason and human achievement.
Because humanists don’t have a bible or religious doctrine, there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate HumanLight. Gary Brill, who co-founded the holiday, says the parties are usually family occasions. However, some humanists ignore the holiday, saying it feels too much like religion.
- Marty Beckerman explains why the Festival of Christ is *way* better than the Festival of Lights.
(Thanks to everyone for the links!)