Atheist Holiday Traditions

I would *so* love to see this special:

Picture 1

That and several other “atheist holiday traditions” can be found at Brian McFadden‘s Big Fat Whale.

Is there anything not on Brian’s list that you do with your family over the holidays? I’m assuming, of course, that everyone builds snowmen versions of Richard Dawkins

(via Heaving Dead Cats)

  • Alex

    I think the FSM can work well as a substitute. I made those FSM treats using rice noodles and malt balls, the kids love them. I have a FSM on the top of our holiday tree. And it seems like old Saint Nick is more like a swashbuckling pirate flying around in the sleigh

  • Peregrine

    I like the atomic wreath. I’ll have to do that next year.

  • Bekka

    Growing up as the daughter of a not-particularly-religious mixed marriage where the choice was to raise us officially as reform Jews, my parents gave in to the Christmas tree alongside the menorah until about the age of five, so we wouldn’t feel left out. Then, we transitioned to a nice little winter village, with the little houses and a train – it was lots of fun to put up, completely non-denomenational, still involved decorations and we added to it every year. We even painted lots of the little figures ourselves! Definitely a tradition I plan to pass on to my own (eventual) family

  • Alec

    I don’t really have any atheistic holiday traditions because this will be my first year as an atheist towards all religion (It’s pretty exciting!). Being an [amateur but future professional] astronomer, I’ll go out and observe the beauty and wonder of our natural Universe on, and in honor of the Solstice.

    That whole strip is clever and humorous, yet it makes me feel a bit uneasy. It seems like it’s implying some sort of doctrine within atheism, but I’m just taking things too seriously. I need to loosen up. Not many people are laughing these days, after all, the comedian is dead. :)

  • Bella

    The best thing about gingerbread-Darwins is that the beard allows for gratuitous amounts of icing.

  • Shawn

    Is there anything not on Brian’s list that you do with your family over the holidays? I’m assuming, of course, that everyone builds snowmen versions of Richard Dawkins…

    No, that’s much too close to the Christian tradition of building straw man versions of Richard Dawkins for my liking!

  • http://frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com/ Leia

    This is my very first holiday season as an Atheist!

    I am very cautious with starting any kind of ritualistic traditions with my kids (2yr and 3 yr). Maybe it’s because I am so new to being free of religion, I am worried about paving the way for my children to fall into it. I am trying to give my children the Christmas I had growing up, without the ‘Christ’… trying to bring it back to its pagan roots. We have a tree and the stockings, but our angel is Tinker Bell and the gifts are ALL from Mommy and Daddy.

    I LOVED the FSM treats that were posted earlier last week!

    I adore that atomic wreath! I have found that Christmas is very non-religious once you take out the freezing half naked baby. So we are learning about Saint Nicholas and Winter Solstice and the Maccabees. I want to raise open minded children who know enough about the myths to laugh them off, like many people do regarding Thor and Zeus.

    We have Spaghetti and Meatballs for Christmas Eve Dinner, which my grandmother always made, it just now has new meaning thanks to FSM. My husband always had Bagels and Lox Christmas morning… I think we will just end up taking our family traditions and keep on going as though we were never Christian. :o ) Making Christmas more about celebrating each other, rather than a baby who wasn’t even born Dec. 25th.

  • Claudia

    To the newly atheist, happy solstice as free minds!

    I think that maybe, just maybe, we over-think the issue of Christmas with kids. Yes, I know it’s a shock. Atheists. Over-thinking something.

    /snark

    Moving on, much more important than whether we have trees or even Menorahs or wreaths or whatever is what children see and hear every day, not just Christmas. If you put up a tree and explain to your child in an age appropriate way about the many different light festivals of mythologies, including the Christian mythology, I don’t see that any harm will be done. Likewise, if you keep a home where curiosity is central, learning important and questioning and critical thought essential, you won’t really have to mention religion much. You just have to give them the tools to distinguish good reasoning from bad and let them loose.

    So I say light that tree and even put up that manger if that’s your tradition. Just take a few minutes to tell your children about the mythology.

    That said, I wish someone would have the massive cojones to put up the evolutionary manger and send us all a pic. That would really make my solstice.

  • Peregrine

    I barely remember my first Christmas as an atheist. It would have been 1993, since I was in 10th grade. Still being dragged to church by my parents against my will every Sunday, I remember dreading being dragged to church again over Christmas.

    And being a kid, I vaguely remember having the inkling of a notion in the back of my mind that God would strike me down for not believing anymore. Or maybe I’d get visited by three ghosts, or angels, or something, and be forced to have a change of heart.

    It was nothing my parents drilled into me specifically… I don’t know where I got the idea from; probably from the cultural milieu or something. Needless to say, whatever I was uneasy about, it never happened.

    I don’t know if it would have been any different if I’d deconverted as an adult, rather than a teenager. But I often wonder.

    Three years later, I’d found a way out of going to church all the time. I still lived with my family throughout my university years, and learned to gloss over the religious stuff, without interfering with them. You get the hang of it after a while.

  • MLB

    I found this website by accident the other week; I am a practicing Christian. I am really amazed that you all just seem to bash Christians all the time on this website. I am curious, why don’t you ever bash Muslims? That’s right, because they , uh…kill and blow up those who dare speak against their “religion”. I also find it really interesting that you all spend so much time arguing and litigating about God and Jesus, when atheists don’t believe in any deity. So, you all are always bickering to prove neither God and Jesus exist, when you don’t believe they exist at all.

    What is it you find so objectionable about God and Jesus. Christianity is a take it or leave it. Jesus does not force anyone to believe in him. It’s your choice.

    Now, if you all are right, and there is no God, and no Jesus , and when we die , that’s it for all of us, well then you have nothing to worry about. BUT if you’re wrong…………….

  • Claudia

    Hi MLB! Welcome to the site. Your comment serves as a great example of why this site desperately needs an FAQ for visiting theists. I say this because your challenges and objections are seen very frequently by us.

    But as there is no FAQ I’ll resolve your questions gladly :-)

    I am really amazed that you all just seem to bash Christians all the time on this website.

    Errr no. We do not bash all Christians. As far as individuals go we do bash Christians or any other theist that seeks to impose their religious dogma in our laws or in our schools. We also bash folks who tell the world that we atheists are immoral and evil. A good hearted Christian who wished to be left in peace to worship as he or she sees fit and lets me go my own way is just fine by me or almost anyone you’ll find on this site. Sure I don’t think they’re right, but I hold no animosity towards them.
    I am curious, why don’t you ever bash Muslims? That’s right, because they , uh…kill and blow up those who dare speak against their “religion”.
    I’m guessing you’re new here. We most certainly do talk about Islam and I assure you we have no qualms about denouncing it’s appalling record, particularly in the matter of the treatment of women. We do speak of it less, but that is merely due to the fact that the blog is centered in the US and its issues. In the US, the vast majority of stories involve Christians (though Scientologists sometimes get attention through sheer insanity). Incidentally, why do you use the quotation marks around “religion”? You don’t think Islam is an actual religion?
    I also find it really interesting that you all spend so much time arguing and litigating about God and Jesus, when atheists don’t believe in any deity. So, you all are always bickering to prove neither God and Jesus exist, when you don’t believe they exist at all.
    The second most tiresome theist argument. You’re unspoken implication is that we secretly believe in god but we’re just overcompensating so we can go ahead and do all the horrible things atheists supposedly do (I’m writing this before my daily rape and pillage regime!) without worrying about a hell we secretly do believe exists and therefore would fear anyway (oh wait…). Let me ask you something: do you talk about Islam? Why would you, if you don’t think it’s true? Because it affects your life. I don’t believe in any religion, but if children are being taught non-science, if stem-cell research is halted, if as a woman I don’t have control over my own body that affects me, and hence the origin of those effects (religion) interests me.

    What is it you find so objectionable about God and Jesus. Christianity is a take it or leave it. Jesus does not force anyone to believe in him. It’s your choice.
    Well yes, according to your religion I do technically have the right to “choose” to not believe, and suffer eternal torture as a consequence. A woman with a gun to her head also has the “choice” to not submit to sex, and therefore can’t be raped, I suppose. In any event as long as religion finds its way onto the laws of the land I live in, as long as millions of women live in bondage, as long as faith is held as higher than reason, I’ll have a problem with religion. The day that all ends and religion is just some private matter for all involved, I’ll lose interest.

    Now, if you all are right, and there is no God, and no Jesus , and when we die , that’s it for all of us, well then you have nothing to worry about. BUT if you’re wrong…………….
    Now this is the most tiresome theist argument. In case you didn’t know it’s called “Pascals Wager” and also in case you didn’t know you’re reaaaally unlikely to find very many atheists online who haven’t seen it before and even less likely to find any atheist even slightly persuaded by it. I’ve written quite enough, for a refutation of this massively weak argument see here.

  • Angie

    I live in a religiously diverse area, and I’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the December holidays in a variety of ways. With kinfolk who celebrate Christmas, a pagan friend who celebrates Yule, and atheist/agnostic friends who celebrate Solstice, this will be an eclectic holiday season!

    When people have a reason (religious or secular) to come together, show goodwill, feast, and exchange presents, it brings joy to an otherwise dreary time of year.


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