In their attempt to become, in effect, a socially-acceptable religion–getting military chaplains, vaunting how moral they are, and evangelizing the unenlightened–atheists are trying to start a holiday. May 5 is the National Day of Reason!
I love holidays and I love reason, so I am willing to celebrate. . .uh, what is it we are celebrating? I will try to set aside time to think. But don’t we need something more to inspire our observance, to give it some meaning? It turns out that May 5 was chosen simply to counter something else that is on that day, the National Day of Prayer. The atheists are protesting that by trying to take over the day for themselves.
This demonstrates the weakness of atheism. It is purely reactive. Its doctrines are purely negative (there is no God; there is no life after death; there is no meaning in life). And even when its teachings are put in a positive way–we believe in reason! we believe that material things are all that exist!–there is nothing, really, to celebrate, or even to be happy about.
Actual holidays, on the other hand, commemorate some meaningful event and we celebrate the meaning. They usually involve some kind of story. They are deeply, richly, human, evoking family and good memories and inspiration. And Christian holidays–widely recognized even by devotees of other religions are the best of all–are full of wonder and joy. The root of “festival” is “feast.” “Holiday” means “holy day.” You can’t have a holiday without some sense of holiness.
It’s hard to celebrate an abstraction, such as “reason.” But, hey, let’s give it a try. How could we do to make the Day of Reason work as a holiday? What would be the equivalent of a Christmas tree or Easter basket for the Day of Reason? What foods should be associated with this day of rationality? If it ever rates a day off, what should individuals and families do?