Why atheists can celebrate Christmas

Christina here…

 

There is a sentiment floating around this (and every) holiday season. It goes something like this:

Twitter screencap of people saying atheists are hypocrites for celebrating Christmas.

I find it funny that atheists I know still accept Christmas presents. Hypocrites.

— Princess Problems (@PrincessPrbs) November 26, 2012

How does it make sense that atheists celebrate Christmas? It doesn’t. “I don’t believe in you but let me celebrate your birth” #hypocrites.

— CáitlinMarie (@CaitZamp) November 23, 2012

When atheists celebrate Christmas #what#hypocrites#retarded#pissmeoff

— Jordan Sanford (@jsanfordd) November 22, 2012

 

I celebrate Christmas with my family, and have done so since I was born. Every year, my family (including my parents, siblings, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, and adopted family friends) gathers at my house to visit, eat tons of food, sing karaoke, play pool, exchange gifts, drink alcohol, and have a good time. We put up a Christmas tree and hang lights on the house, and my dad hangs lights up at the entrance to the subdivision.

My family celebration is mostly devoid of any Christian religious imagery except for an angel we put on top of the tree because my mom thinks it’s pretty. When I was young we set up an old nativity set under the tree: a set in which baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary had long been broken and discarded. My siblings and I played with the camels and sheep. Santa and his reindeer got mentioned frequently: Jesus, not at all. Christmas traditions in our family exist not to celebrate Jesus, but to bring joy to our family and give lasting memories to the members of our family.

What, exactly, is hypocritical about atheists celebrating Christmas?

Jesus is the reason for the season clip artDumb atheists, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus: I see, so anyone who celebrates Christmas but isn’t Christian is doing it wrong. That would make Jews, Muslims and Buddhists hypocrites too if they celebrate Christmas. Does this work for other religions as well? For example, if a Christian participates in Passover with his Jewish friend, is he being a hypocrite?

My family does not celebrate the birth of anybody’s Christ. We don’t have to.

Christmas is a Christian holiday, don’t you know: It’s also a secular holiday with pagan roots. I guess this means that if Christians put up Christmas trees (pagan) burn yule logs (pagan) or have a big potluck dinner (pagan) caroling (pagan) kissing under mistletoe (Druid) they’re being hypocrites too! The epic gift-giving bonanza has really only been around for a few hundred years

It’s hypocritical for atheists to get presents on Christmas: Why? The gift-giving tradition didn’t begin with Christianity, it began with solstice festivals. The early Catholic church even tried to outlaw gift giving. Besides, I both give and get gifts: usually I spend more on my friends and family than they spend on me, so it’s not like I’m being “selfish” somehow.

By celebrating Christmas, [atheists are] turning their back on their principles by celebrating a religious holidayThe principals principles atheists have vary, just like the principals principles theists have vary. Maybe an atheist has a standing principal of refusal to celebrate any religious holiday. If that’s the case, then yeah, they’d be turning their back on that principal if they celebrated Christmas. However, I don’t think most atheists have such principals.

 

Christmas is both a religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ and a secular/cultural holiday celebrating cultural and family traditions. People can, and do, take from Christmas whatever they prefer, including nothing at all. My grandpa has dementia, and this very well may be the last Christmas he spends with ours. I guess these Christians would have me stay home or work instead of spending time with my grandpa and the rest of my family.

There is no purity in Christmas: it is a crazy melting pot of tradition and history, culture and religion. To those Christians who believe atheists are hypocrites for celebrating it: Go ahead and hold Christmas hostage in your own family under the false guise of purity, but leave everybody else’s family alone to celebrate it as they see fit.

Also:

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

About christinastephens
  • http://umlud.blogspot.com umlud

    The principals atheists have vary, just like the principals theists have vary.

    Remember, principle and principal are different. Agree with the homonymic statement, though. :)

    • http://umlud.blogspot.com umlud

      Unless you were actually were meaning to compare (for example) Dawkins and Dennet against Benedict and Robertson. If so, I stand corrected. (And that would have been an awesome grammatical slight of hand.)

      :)

      • invivoMark

        I find that sleightly hard to believe. ;-)

        • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

          Heh. :)

      • invivoMark

        Unless that was another grammatical sleight of hand, where you meant to suggest that Christina has small hands.

        • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

          Probably. After all, I do have rather large hands. It’s always difficult to buy gloves when even XL is barely large enough for you. Therefore, in comparison to me, I’m pretty sure that Christina has small hands (although this is merely conjecture based on the assumption that Christina is likely significantly smaller than me and that all the people who are significantly smaller than me that I’ve met also have significantly smaller hands than me). As a comparison of her hand size to that of other women of her general physical stature, I can’t comment, though. :)

        • http://fengardice.wordpress.com Fabio García

          Unless Umlud was using the other meaning of ‘slight’ (‘treat with indifference or neglect’). Which does kinda make sense.

      • Eric D Red

        Actually, it must have been right to begin with. You see, my kids are in a secular school, whereas others are in Catholic schools….

  • http://www.patheos.comblogswwjtd christinastephens

    Grah, I know the difference, I just wasn’t being careful. Will correct it later when I’m home!

    • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

      I dunno: I like the idea that we atheists hide behind “principals of atheism” (which we don’t happen to recognize, we do love to question and challenge, and – when they prove to be arrogate gobshites – we often stop listening to their messages as if they were atheist versions of a messiah; well at least many of us do), just like Christians like to promote, listen to in rapturous engagement, and provide excuses for their hypocritical actions when it comes to their own “principals of Christianity”.

      I re-read that paragraph by substituting “Dennett” and “Robertson” as the respective principals, and it added a whole new meaning to the entire piece. :)

  • mercurianferret

    This non-argument presented by (some somewhat simpleminded) theists is akin to also saying that only US citizens can celebrate the Fourth of July, and that all non-citizens living in the US are committing treason against their countries if they celebrate their host country’s independence celebration. It’s as bat-crap crazy as to say that I committed treason against the United States when I attended a Chilean independence day celebration that was held by Chileans living in Ann Arbor (and – by extension – the Ann Arbor Parks Department committed treason by allowing these Chileans to rent a shelter area to have their celebrations of another country’s independence day).

    • mercurianferret

      And if I go and buy one of those Advent calendars that has little chocolates in them, does that make me a hypocritical atheist or just an atheist that likes to have a little piece of chocolate each day (with each day being a little surprise as to what kind of chocolate I’ll be getting)?

      And if I want to engage in a “Secret Santa” event at the office – along with the Hindu, the Muslim, and the other atheist – does this mean that I’m a hypocritical atheist (along with all my other hypocritical co-workers), or do we all come from societies that have cultures of gift giving, or do we just like the fun of what a Secret Santa event is? Oooh, and what does it mean if one or more of my Christian co-workers choose not to attend? Are they being hypocritical Christians? Somehow, I doubt that these simpletons will say that these particular Christian co-workers aren’t being hypocrites, because, well, “blah, blah, blah, Christians can do no wrong, because blah, blah, blah, they’re Christians, blah, blah.”

  • http://www.andysocial.com Gary

    I just had this conversation with my coworker this week, in the context of the Santa Monica nativity silliness. Since Christmas is a federal holiday, the government has made it secular anyway. To tell someone that all the banks and post offices are closed because it’s a holiday, but you aren’t supposed to celebrate it…that’s nuts.

  • http://mrtact.com/blog Tim Keating

    Don’t you guys listen to Bill O’Reilly? We celebrate Christmas because we’re stealing it from the Christians. We need their stuff to fill up our vacant lives, since we believe in nothing.

    • Kodie

      We didn’t steal anything – it was imposed on us by Christian privilege as if nobody else’s discomfort or alternate/non-belief mattered, and we happen to like sharing, our families, eating and drinking, presents, etc. If “Jesus” is the only reason anyone gives someone a present or spends time with their families, or puts lights on their rooftops and balconies, that’s actually sad. Winter is dreary, and I consider Christmas a secular holiday that Christians are trying to spoil. That is after Christians try to steal abstract terms and institutions like love, family, truth, marriage, peace, etc. from the secular, pretend to have invented, purified, or standardized those things (among others) and the rest of us ought to behave like wild animals just because we know we are.

  • Makoto

    They say I’m a hypocrite for celebrating the holiday at all, I sarcastically reply that they are for celebrating it as a specific day when they can’t even agree what year it was supposed to have happened in their own holy book, much less the day (and don’t get me started on calendar reforms)…

    I suppose I could just celebrate the solstice instead, but I get Christmas off from work, as do my friends and family, so I’ll celebrate with them on that day, despite all the religions or not that we represent. And I love blinking lights, you’ll have to pry those from my frostbitten fingers.

  • John Horstman

    And some of us don’t personally celebrate Christmas while still agreeing to attend family Christmas gatherings because people we love want us to do so, simply viewing them as another family gathering (I good-naturedly respond to exhortations to have a merry Christmas with wishes of a happy solstice). Really, if Christians get to redefine any of various pagan (or even non-religious) solstice holidays as a Christian one, anyone and everyone has the same right to do so with Christmas. I appreciate the Passover analogy, as I do the same with Passover (all of my Jewish-identified relatives – I myself have some Jewish ancestors a few generations back, though none of my immediate family identifies or is identified as Jewish – are atheists, though some go to temple weekly and all observe the major holidays). At any rate, if I could get everyone in my family to ditch Christmas in favor of a solstice celebration on the solstice, I would, but I’m not about to force the issue when it really doesn’t matter much, nor snub my family so some imperious Christian jackasses won’t consider me a hypocrite.

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I celebrate Christmas for Christian reasons in the same way Christians celebrate Easter for Pagan reasons.

  • Cindy

    Christmas is a combination of many things, and each persons perception is a little different than the next persons. What is supposed to be so wonderful about our country is that we are each FREE to celebrate it however we choose. If a nativity scene is displayed in a public place, and an atheists is offended, then he certainly has the right (or should have) to put something up next to it, stating his beliefs of what ever Christmas means to him. I don’t care what religon you are, or are not. HUMANITY, is about tolerance. I allow each individual I come in contact with to openly share his or her beliefs. If it is something I chose not to hear, I have the right to walk away. If something is displayed that offends me, I have the right to avert my eyes. I do not go to church, and I do not follow all Christian principles, in fact I tend to lean more towards Wiccan beliefs than anything. But the term God does not offend me, nor does praying with the members of my Christrian Family, it makes them feel better and I am happy to oblige. I am ok with prayer in schools because even an Atheist could use a quiet moment each day for soul searching, or meditation. I am ok with prayer in public functions if the facilitator of that function has decided to put in there. If I chose not to pray with them, I can stand and watch and laugh at their silliness inside my head, I can stare up at the sky, I can say my own silent prayer to a goddess, or at the very least I can feel gratitude for how wonderful my life is today, whether I beleive it was God’s doing or my own. The fact of the matter is, it is impossible to be a hypocrite over something that is as personal as a beleif system. But I am bothered by the fact that so many Athiest want Christians to respect their right to openly NOT worship, yet they are not willing allow Christians or any other religon the right TO openly worship. It is a two way street and the only way to keep from crashing and clashing is to pave it with TOLERANCE. Merry Christmas is how Christians wish another person a holiday of good cheer. SO WHAT! Happy Hanuka is how the Jewish people wish others a holiday of good cheer. SO WHAT! Look at it this way, if someone says to you “Aloha” Are you offended because they greeted you a different language? Sheesh People, get over yourselves!!!!

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      I think you have it backwards. It’s the Christians who freak out at “Happy holidays”, not the atheists who freak out over “merry Christmas”. And Christians can openly worship! Do you think atheists drive around every Sunday throwing bricks at churches? Do you think atheists go around smashing nativity displays in department stores, or breaking into someone’s house, Grinch-like, to steal their decorations to crush their spirits?

      Do you get all your information about atheists from Fox News or something?

      • Art Vandelay

        Isn’t it scary to think that people actually buy that shit? I’ve never seen so many straw men in one paragraph in my life.

        • Cindy

          At the risk of sounding stupid, explain what you mean by “straw men” . I didn’t get it, and I’m not afraid to admit that I didn’t get it.

          • Art Vandelay

            Sure. You’re basically arguing against fabricated issues. Your arguments are valid…for instance I would agree that an atheist being offended by someone saying Merry Christmas to them is absurd and they need to chill out it’s just that this doesn’t represent any atheist I’ve ever met or encountered. There may be a miniscule percentage but that are like that but it’s not because they are atheists…it’s because they are douchebags.

          • Kodie

            Use this to avoid pitfalls in the future:
            http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster

      • Cindy

        No sir, I do not watch the news at all.
        I get my information from watching real people in their daily lives. So let me apologize now if I seem like I am being one sided. The truth is, there are fanatics on both sides of the fence. And from what I see watching REAL PEOPLE , It is getting harder and harder for a Christian to openly worship because Athiest are constantly saying that they are “Offended.” I hear Christians say that Atheism is being crammed down their throats, and I her Atheists saying the same thing. The truth is no one is cramming anything down anyones throat, they are all exercising their right to openly worship their own way.
        My point here is that any religon or no religon is ok as long as no one is forcing anyone to beleive differently than how they choose. Did you miss that? My point is that we ALL have to exercise a certain amount of tolerance towards all faiths and to those who chose to have no faith.
        Did you not see where I said it is impossible to be a hypocrate over a personal belief system? That was in defense of the Atheists who are called hypocrates for celebrating Christmas in their own way. It seems to me that you only skimmed my comment or picked out the part of the message you could react too. The truth is I don’t think either side is wrong, or maybe they both are. Regardless you missed the message. So let me help you. THE MESSAGE IS TOLERANCE!!!

        • Art Vandelay

          No atheist that I’ve ever known is offended by a Christian worshiping in any way that they chose as long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights or break the law. Give me one example where an atheist tried to put a stop to Christian worship where not one of those two things were prominently involved.

        • Kodie

          You’re a little keyed up to convey what this mysterious “tolerance” message is that we’re all missing.

        • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          The message is nothing to do with tolerance. I don’t have to “tolerate” Christians. They don’t need my, or our, permission. They have the right to be Christians and act as their faith dictates, as long as it isn’t in violation of the law.

          You seem to be missing an important point here – in violation of the law. They break the law, they should be called out, and stopped, and if necessary, punished as the law requires. It’s when they break the law we get angry. Nativity scene in department store: Private entity endorsing religion on private property – legal. Nativity scene put up by Christians in public park: Private entity endorsing religion on public property – illegal if this is a special right only Christians have. Nativity scene put up by Town Hall: Public entity endorsing religion in public property – illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and probably fattening.

          • Cindy

            Tolerance is a frame of mind, not a law.

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            Toleration implies an adversarial relationship. Do you “tolerate” Mexicans? Do you “tolerate” the French? Do you “tolerate” the Moon?

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            I strayed from the point. Returning:

            So what if I don’t tolerate them? Who cares if seeing a Nativity scene through a random neighborhood window (perfectly legal religious display) drives me to apoplectic rage? They don’t need my tolerance. They don’t even want my tolerance; If I’ve learned one thing about the fundies it is that being offended by them makes them redouble their efforts and triple in volume.

            I don’t go around spraying Silly String on worshipers at church, and I don’t blast an air horn every time I hear a prayer in public. Even if they break the law I have no intention of acting against them or confronting them directly – that’s what the law is for.

            If they’re not breaking the law, who gives a flying fuck what I think about them, or whether or not I tolerate Christians, as long as I let them do their thing in peace?

          • Kodie

            Christians not only tend to want to break the law this time of year, they also complain and try to punish businesses for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. Those stores do business with everyone. They are not “Christian-only” stores. They probably have non-Christian employees. Are only Christians allowed to work in stores or own stores or shop in stores? Are all stores Christian-only for the month of December? Should they just not say anything to their customers? Would that be better?

            There is no “war” on anything. They’re 100% delusional about their persecution or the exclusivity about this holiday and everyone who celebrates it in any way they like. Nobody is taking away their churches or their religious decorations from private property or disallowing them from saying “Merry Christmas” but they say it like… out of spite. Which is stupid and… fucking stupid.

            Even businesses are allowed to be Christian and decorate Christian and say “Merry Christmas” but that is no reason to punish other businesses for being open, selling things, and speaking well-wishes to customers. That is something pretend to get mad about, and I think it does Christians an unintended disservice by making them look selfish and petty. They are trying to make atheists look bad, I don’t know how atheism looks worse than Christianity to anyone unless they already have a hate on for the mythical version of atheists, given this reprisal of the annual annoying pretend reason to get mad. If Christianity is supposed to make people warm and loving people, behaving like this definitely makes them seem more petty and selfish.

        • Kodie

          The truth is no one is cramming anything down anyones throat, they are all exercising their right to openly worship their own way.

          You gave several examples of religion imposing itself against the law and you also said in those examples that is a good idea.

          I am ok with prayer in schools because even an Atheist could use a quiet moment each day for soul searching, or meditation.

          Nobody is cramming anything down anyone’s throats? Just do something else while the class is led in prayer. Nothing at all harmful about realizing these things are important to other people while you have “freedom” to think other thoughts instead. Exercising one’s right would be for a child who wants to pray in school to go ahead and pray. Cramming things down everyone’s throat is the school leading that prayer because you think it’s good for children and not at all offensive, but that is not exercising their right to openly worship their own way – that is religion using government to oppress everyone else’s right to openly worship their own way or no way.

          It is a two way street and the only way to keep from crashing and clashing is to pave it with TOLERANCE.

          Why does it seem like you’re not an atheist you claim to be?

        • Nox

          Cindy,

          The thing you seem to be overlooking is that separation of church and state is what protects religious freedom. If you erode that protection, the right to be wiccan is subject to the tolerance of your christian neighbors (who have a long history of torturing and murdering suspected “wiccans”).

          If the government can force you to participate in christian worship, you do not really have the freedom to be muslim. If the government can force you to participate in islamic worship, you do not really have the freedom to be christian.

          The only arrangement which protects everyone’s right to practice their own religion is one where the state does not impose any religion, but rather leaves the decision to practice one faith or another or none up to the individual.

    • Kodie

      The only overall concept about Christmas that’s Christian is Jesus. Everything else can be enjoyed by anybody else, that Christians don’t seem to want to allow the enjoyment of without Jesus. Yeah, there’s no other reason to love anyone, share anything, be of good cheer. Why do Christian persist in the idea, against all evidence, that people other than them can have meaning, joy, a good reason to visit your family, for example. That’s a fairly insulting effect of this yearly complaint about the “War on Christmas”.

      • Cindy

        Granted a lot of Christians think it is there way or the highway. But I think most are a little more tolerant than that. I think the same can be said for the majority of Atheists. But the intolerant ones are the ones causing all the trouble, as they make the most noise.
        Eventually our nation will come to an understanding, but I don’t think it will happen with this generation. I can only have faith in our young people.

        • Kodie

          You seem to be placing a lot of burden on atheists though.

          And from what I see watching REAL PEOPLE , It is getting harder and harder for a Christian to openly worship because Athiest are constantly saying that they are “Offended.”

          Your rant was not even relevant to the article. Did you read the article and have any thoughts or did you just go off? Every single year for a while, and I know you don’t watch the news and know what’s going on, the news reports a “war on Christmas” that is entirely the beef with Christians. I bring it up because it’s a popular enough event that the news reports it, and frames atheists in a negative way. They get confused why we’re happy without Jesus. And they want to break the law and they are impeded and protested from doing so, and they want to punish businesses who promote their wares under an all-inclusive greeting rather than a Christian-specific one. Who is begrudging whom here?

          As for the twitter quotes in the article I think you didn’t even read, or didn’t find important, the sentiment by Christians toward atheists extends past the holiday. They think we have no reason to celebrate and nothing to live for without Jesus. Doesn’t sound like tolerance, sounds like ignorance. There is no war on Christmas. There is an agenda to prevent the Constitution from being ignored. If it’s super important for Christians to impose their beliefs via government institutions, then, yes, we have a problem. If the only way they can feel that it’s “Christmas-y enough” is for a nativity set to be displayed on the grounds of the city hall or any other government property (that belongs to and is paid for by all of us), then they are the ones with a shallow idea of what Christmas means, and they can go ahead and destroy their own holiday, or they can square themselves with the law and relax and enjoy themselves in the manner of their choosing. If they are upset while others are eating sugar cookies and opening presents chosen at stores that say “Happy Holidays,” that’s their really fucked up problem. You don’t seem to understand how freedom of religion works. Christianity is a major religion, and Christmas is a major holiday, but that doesn’t mean the government prefers it, nor is bound to maintain religious traditions, at the cost of everyone else’s freedom. Freedom to look in another direction is not freedom. Freedom to feel like you count less to your country than someone else is not freedom. Putting religious icons on government property is not freedom – it is privilege, and it’s illegal, unconstitutional, and obnoxious. Not tolerance for me; selfishness for them; destructive for freedom. Think on it.

    • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

      … you do know that “Hanuka” is really not at all the accepted way to spell it, right? True, transliterations don’t always have to be exactly the same, and transliterations from Hebrew do suffer from a little more difference-making than other languages, but I mean, your spelling is not even in the top five!

      But what does spelling matter, anyway? I mean I made a comment about “principles/principals” and was corrected on “slight/sleight”. Still, in my opinion, if you’re going to make a commentary about a prominent minority religion’s holiday celebration, it would be useful to the cause of your argumentation if you – I dunno – took the time to spell it correctly.

      • Cindy

        Oops, my bad…..well the world didn’t come to an end. Although I expect the grammer police will be at my door any minute! Yikes!
        The good news is, you knew what I meant and I’m guessing everyone else did too. Whewwww!
        Thanks for the lesson. :)

        • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

          Even with your passive-aggressive attitude, no worries. Hopefully, you can understand that your spelling and syntax were not helping you sell your argument in any way. Grammar police or no, if you want to try and convince any major slice of the skeptic community, at least have the decency of proper syntax, good spelling, and – above all – decent logic. The first to are relatively simple to address. I can’t really help you out on that last one, though.

          • Cindy

            Comments are where we get to say what we feel and what we beleive.
            Agree, disagree, I could care less.
            Correct my spelling because it makes you feel better.
            I could care less.
            This is how I feel about the whole thing. I haven’t once said that anyone else’s posts on here are wrong. How can I? How can you? What I beleive is what is right for me. What you beleive is what is right for you. I spoke of things I have seen recently in my own neighborhood, with my own eyes, and what I wish was different. Maybe my wish for a more peaceful world is childish and silly, but it is MY wish and you cannot take that from me. So you go ahead and stay in your world where conflict abounds. I will stay in mine where I have control over me and my actions, and where my actions promote tolerance.
            Take care.

          • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

            Well, you obviously care about something, else you wouldn’t be trying to get people to recognize your POV in the first place. Pointing out that your manner of trying to get people to recognize your POV in the first place wasn’t actually helpful in syntax and logic is not my problem, but yours. While it does make me feel a little bit better to correct your spelling, it’s not for that reason that I was pointing it out to you.

            You are more than welcome to stop conversing with me, but please don’t lie to me by saying, “I could care less”; the very fact that you made statements and commentary (to the forum in general, to other commentators, and to me) proves your claim of indifference on the matter to be false. (If, however, you actually meant the literal meaning of the phrase – i.e., that you have a level of caring about the subject that is actually less than what you are indicating at this time – then I apologize for my assumption; it’s just that this literal meaning is hardly ever the case when used in the United States, and since you haven’t evinced any indication of being British – and, in Britain, the phrase means the literal meaning in most cases – I made the assumption that you are American and that you were using it in the manner that most Americans use it – i.e., to mean that you literally could not care less.)

            Also, please don’t accuse me of things that I didn’t do. I never tried to “take that away” from you. In fact, I never tried to take anything away from you. I don’t know you, and as far as I know, I have never known you, which makes my taking of your things next to impossible. If this is meant in reference to someone else, then at least do me – and that person – the courtesy of indicating such.

            Finally, if choosing to stop interacting with someone that is trying to help you with something that they recognize as an obvious problem is your solution of going to a place where you have “control over [yourself] and [your] actions, and where [your] actions promote tolerance,” then I wish all the luck, and further wish that I could live in that world of yours. By the way, I don’t see abounding conflict in my world (and your indication that my world abounds with conflict is yet another strawman that you’ve constructed, but that’s a matter of logical argumentation that I said previously that I wouldn’t go into), but if your world has no conflict, then I suspect that you aren’t actually living in reality. (Spoiler alert: in reality, conflict exists; in some places, it even abounds.) Furthermore, if you choose to withdrawal from a world that does have conflict – so that you can draw yourself into a world in which you do have control over your actions – then your world is likely to be a very tiny one, indeed. (By extension, a world in which you have control over yourself and your actions is likely to be a world so small that it can hardly extend to the neighborhood in which you saw things that you have yet to elucidate beyond stating that you saw them.)

            Still, if this means an end to our conversation, then let me say, “Happy Yule! Happy Solstice! Happy start-of-winter! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Christmas! Happy Japanese Emperor’s Birthday! Happy, happy, happy holidays!” and, “Cheerio!”

            (These wishes of happiness are also extended to anyone else who is reading this message, by the way. The “Cheerio” is extended merely to Cindy. Obviously, I hope.)

          • BKsea

            Cindy says: “I could care less.”

            Actually, the correct phrase is “I couldn’t care less.”

            (Comment most definitely not Sarccasm Tags 3.0 compliant)

    • Nate Frein

      I love how you talk about seeing all this with your own eyes. Unreliability of eyewitnesses aside, I’d love to see you actually describe an incident where a known atheist actively worked to prevent a Christian from practicing privately in ANY way.

      Really. Just give a reasonable amount of detail (without horrible run-on paragraphs, please). Not “Oh, I’ve TOTES seen it. TOTES. TOLERANCE, ya’ll.”

      • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

        Apparently, it was something she saw in her neighborhood. Unfortunately, the description she gave was:

        I spoke of things I have seen recently in my own neighborhood, with my own eyes, and what I wish was different. … I will stay in [my world] where I have control over me and my actions, and where my actions promote tolerance.

        Not much to go on, other than Cindy seems to be suffering from a logical failure to recognize that she wishes things in her neighborhood were different, but she wishes to stay in her world where her actions promote tolerance…. which was not in her neighborhood (else, she wouldn’t have seen it in the first place, since there would have been tolerance there in the first place).

        I dunno… but I see that there is either a failure on Cindy’s part in terms of reconciling the boundaries of her world (where she has control and her actions promote tolerance) and her neighborhood (where it appears – through inference – that she couldn’t control things and there wasn’t adequate tolerance) OR there are a whole lot more significant pieces of information that Cindy doesn’t want to share (but yet expects her audience to know).

        • Nate Frein

          I suspect she didn’t like the welcome she received and has decided to cast her “pearls” elsewhere and tell her friends about this new group of atheists she’s found persecuting religious people.

          Not that I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong.

          • Cindy

            Sorry Nate,
            You are wrong. I found that I had other things to do besides sit in front of a computer all day.

            You are all very intelligent people, and I appreciate the different comments as I am always seeking out knowledge and respect others views.
            I doubt that I will ever be as intelligent as the people on this forum. In all honesty, I find that sometimes ignorance and my refusal to be offended by your comments, or a cross, or a nativity scene, or any thing else…well that my friends is pure bliss.
            I wish you all a wonderful life.
            :)

  • Cindy

    Oh, I forgot to ad….”And it harm no one, do as thou will”

    • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

      … and what does this word-salad mean? I think that I’m safe to assume that you meant, “I forgot to add….” and that you weren’t talking about advertisements. However, “And it harm no one, do as thou will”, what did you mean to write there?

      • Cindy

        “And it Harm no one, do as thou will.” The one and only commandment of Wiccans.
        and yes it was supposed to be add, but once you hit the button no errors can be fixed so I saw it too late.

        • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          I prefer the Discordian One Commandment: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, but nobody likes a jackass.

        • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

          I still don’t know what that means. It appears to be a conditional sentence, but I’m loath to insert an “if”, especially now that you don’t seem to want to do it, either. Also, why is “harm” capitalized? (I assume that it’s supposed to be, since you made it so in your clarification, but that merely makes me more curious as to why you’re capitalizing it.) Also, oughtn’t it better to be written “ye”, since it works better as a statement from one person to many (ye = second-person plural) as opposed to one person to one person (thou = second-person singular)? (I mean, if you’re going to go to the length of using an archaic form of “you”, then oughtn’t you use the form that speaks to an assumed audience of more than one?)

          Also, how do you even go about defining harm, or is it something that is defined within Wicca to mean something more specific than the dictionary definition?

          I ask all of these questions, because (A) you appeared to really want to have people know this one last thing, (B) I honestly didn’t know what you meant initially, and (C) I honestly am left with more questions now that you’ve clarified your original statement.

          • Cindy

            :)
            *shakes head at over analyzer- smiles and walks away*

          • Nate Frein

            If it’s worth living your live by, it’s worth “over” analyzing.

          • Kodie

            I agree with that. It seems nice but it doesn’t cover all the bases.

            “An it harm none” – you went on a huge diatribe about how (whatever you imagined) doesn’t harm you. So “do what ye will” – ok, so the rest of us harmed are wrong and they can do whatever they want. I guess we don’t count since we’re not you.

          • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

            Scratches head at person who is walking away that had made all the attempt at making a point in the first place – something that was apparently important to write and try to explain – but is now choosing to just ignore it because… why?

            Ah well, if Cindy’s not going to explain what she wrote, it couldn’t be that important. Even to her.

          • Anonymous

            “And” is supposed to be “an”
            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/an%20if.

            an it harm none do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law

  • Baal

    The extremely sloppy thinking is a big reason why I usually skip twitter. The hypocrisy charge only sticks (andthen weakly) if you already think Christmas is a purely religious event. It isn’t. If an atheist went to xmas mass and fervantly prayed to the little lord jesus, then they might have a point. But even then, that doesn’t really sound like an atheist. The pious devout act (belief) is not the same thing has having a nice dinner with family when everyone* has work off.

    (*would that service folks and other were also granted the federal holidays (unless you work at a hospital or some such vital service))

  • Kodie

    As I said in another post, I consider the holiday “Christmas” and Christmas a largely secularized holiday. I think wishing “Happy Holidays” is not inclusive or respectful as it sounds. I don’t necessarily like that it’s called Christmas, but there is no real other way around it. There may be a menorah or a kwanzaa sign that is to make others feel not left out, but it is overwhelmingly “Christmas” any way you look at it. There are a lot more Christian symbols around the holiday, but most of the symbols are secular and associated with the holiday called Christmas. I tend to think of real holy Christians’ celebration as like Jews or Muslims and the Hannukah/Kwanzaa thing.

    There is no other time of year more associated with love of your fellow human, and that is not a bad thing. It does not have to go hand in hand with birthday wishes for the lord savior infant. But nobody is kidding anyone that red/green themes, pine wreaths and trees, candy canes, string or icicle lights, and to a different degree, exchanging gifts, sharing meals and spirits, singing particular songs, snowmen and snowflakes, charity, and even wishing “Happy Holidays” are Christmas-related. I doubt we’d be wishing anyone Happy Holidays if Hanukkah and Kwanzaa were the only holidays celebrated this time of year.

    I personally would like certain aspects of Christmas to spread through the winter – the radio stops playing ANY song about Christmas, even songs that do not refer to Jesus, at 12:01 am on Dec. 26th. “Jingle Bells” isn’t about Christmas at all. I like the barking dogs version which has no lyrics. Colored lights on the eave might bring cheer just as well in January and February as they do in December. Winter is bleak and long, so I don’t understand why people choose to be sticklers about when to take down displays while complaining how gray and disgusting winter continues to be. The dead tree in the living room has got to go. I have learned the hard way not to leave it up until March just because I’m too lazy to put my ornaments away and deal with it. Loving and giving gifts is nice. I’ve always been brought up as Christmas is more of a deadline if I want to give/send gifts, but I think people don’t like that you forgot them earlier, but I think they still like a present two weeks later? I can’t think of a good reason to refuse or resent a gift given by the calendar instead of from the heart. Loving, understanding, and tolerance – do those effects evaporate with the carols? Charity – poor families love to eat every single day, but people’s sentimentality causes them to feel bad if people are deprived of a nice Christmas day with a feast and presents, and to hell with them the rest of the year (based on R-commentary surrounding the recent election, etal). Least of my Christmas preferences is pressure. It seems like it should be the lightest time of year for people, but it’s difficult, stressful, and isolating for some people, the latter of which are compounded by being accused of something wrong with them.

    None of this would exist without the holiday that’s called Christmas even if you try to make it more generic or inclusive. It’s secular, in the way that Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Day is considered secular, with their particular accoutrements and symbols and traditions. Christians of course feel free to add anything about your baby Jesus at home and church, but you don’t own the rights to giving, receiving, eating, baking, singing, decorating, and celebrating.

    • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

      Having grown up in Japan, I always like to offer this collab video to show just a little peek of what Christmas without Jesus (or even Christianity) means:

      http://youtu.be/lmCrIZeob4w

      It CAN work. Especially when you realize that the REAL party is actually the Emperor’s Birthday, held on December 23rd. ;)

      • Kodie

        I liked that a lot! Thanks for sharing, I think that’s how you do it to it!

    • Jabes

      Your comment of “I think wishing ‘Happy Holidays’ is not inclusive” cracks me up. It’s “holidays” not “holiday.” So those holidays might be Christmas, Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and/or Festivus, as the speaker is not making an assumption of the other person’s beliefs or lack thereof and not wanting them to feel excluded. Or, if you’re in an area where it’s supposedly a horrifying insult and assault on religious freedom that one not be wished “Merry Christmas,” because JESUS!!!, War on Christmas!!! or whatever, consider that the speaker may well be wishing you Merry Christmas AND Happy New Year, as they are both celebrated within a week of each other and it takes less time and sounds much less awkward to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

      • Kodie

        I get that it’s supposed to be inclusive. I just think it’s phony. Look around. If you feel obligated to exchange gifts with your co-workers, that’s because it’s Christmas. If you feel like putting an evergreen for some reason in the state building, that’s because it’s Christmas. It looks like Christmas, it tastes like Christmas, that’s what I call it, because that’s its name. That’s because Christmas has steamrolled all those other holidays you list. If you don’t understand that if Christmas went away, nobody would be “inclusive” anymore, then you misunderstand what I say.

      • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

        consider that the speaker may well be wishing you Merry Christmas AND Happy New Year, as they are both celebrated within a week of each other

        And let’s not forget the Orthodox Christians, who celebrate Christmas a week AFTER New Year. So, which one is the real Christian Christmas? And why are Protestant and Catholic Christians continuing to extend the Great Schism into today’s politics? IMHO, that’s the REAL War on Christmas: that of Protestants and Catholics imposing their Christmas date and pagan-infused rituals upon the Orthodox Christians (who have their own Christmas date and pagan-infused rituals).

        As a side note, I wonder if Orthodox Christians buy Christmas present starting on December 26, when – for no apparent reason – all the stores seem to have major sales. :)

  • Art Vandelay

    Oh man…wait until they find out I got blitzed on margaritas for Cinco de Mayo back in May.

  • Art Vandelay

    Oh, and then there’s this…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q

    • Kodie

      Man.

      • Art Vandelay

        Goosebumps every time, right?

    • hyrax

      Hah, I was going to say: Just reply to all of them with “White Wine in the Sun.” You have to be absolutely heartless not to be moved by that song.

  • Chritopher Bartow, Hypnotherapist

    I’m an atheist and I celebrate Christmas. Our family doesn’t do Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ and we don’t celebrate Easter to celebrate the alleged/non-existent resurrection of Christ. We celebrate Christmas because its fun, we get to give and receive gifts, and we enjoy each other’s company. Guess what…we don’t have to believe a single thing to enjoy it….nothing. Now…you Christians…you silly Christians…think that you have to believe in something to have fun? Go back to bed and wait until the church tells you when to have fun and be happy…the rest of us will carry on our lives loving and caring for each other whether you believe that’s okay or not. Kisses.

  • Rolf Boettger

    I wish I was a bear and could start hibernating on Black Friday and wake up on January 7th.

    • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

      So… you want to wake up on the date of Orthodox Christmas? :)

  • http://www.logicandlife101.com Brent

    Why don’t I celebrate Christmas? The same reasons I wouldn’t celebrate Hitler’s birthday, or Genghis Khan’s, or Jack the Ripper’s – even if they made it into a secular, national holiday, even if my family was and always had celebrated it, even if every store and office had been playing Hitler Carols for over a month. And please, no bullshit about “Jesus wasn’t the same as Hitler”; no, he was the inspiration for more millions dead and tortured, by far, including Hitler who declared many times he was “doing the Lord’s work.”

    And I’m sure the shoppers who had a shootout on Black Friday, or got into fistfights, or any of the other participants in this faux joy and pretended brotherhood farce would agree.

    Celebrate Winter Solstice? Sure. Festivus? You bet. But Christmas? Not until, um, never.

  • cermak_rd

    I’m a Jew who is married to an Atheist and we both celebrate Christmas. Why not? It’s dark and dreary in Chicago at this time of the year. The pretty lights on the trees and downtown getting all dolled up is a nice antidote to offset the nastiness that axial tilt throws our way. Yes, there is Hanukkah, but it’s a minor festival, and really, how much light can a menorah cast? And yes, it has a canon of songs that I am also cheerfully ruining on my clarinet. I was raised in a culture that was culturally Christian (to be more precise, culturally Catholic Christian). So I even like those old tunes like “O Come, O Come Emanuel” and “Adeste Fidelis” (I am attempting to learn them on the clarinet with regrettable results). Just because I sing or play about or even celebrate something doesn’t mean I believe it. I play “Frosty” too but I don’t accept the reality of talking snow men. And I cheerfully eat (too many) cadbury eggs in the spring without actually believing in a resurrection.

    As for my own religion I can light candles to celebrate a victory in a civil war without believing in any miracles of oil lasting longer than expected (which is really a pretty lame miracle if you think about it).

  • grum fan

    Mithras. Christmas is just a bunch of pagan winter holidays the Catholic Church took over around 300 AD. See the catholic encyclopedia for details. The christian sects that don’t celebrate ‘Christmas’ are technically better christians. Its not the correct date for the birth of Christ and its not a Christian holiday, so celebrate away.

  • Manster

    December 13, 2012

    Atheists sure have a huge disadvantage in this verry long comment thread, spilling so much ink, I mean bits and bytes on the subject of ‘Christmas’ and ‘Winter Solstice’, to be or not to be. It seems to me that having the discussion at all gives the holiday advocates the advantage and at the end of the day, the shortest day, the ‘solstice holiday’ has prevailed and won the argument for some kind of annual observance of some type in late December whether religious or not. The Christians, Jews and Pagans and Secularists appear to all have ‘winter solstice’ and ‘tradition’ as their bulwark sheild and will always keep some kind of holiday observance in late December, that is until the year when ‘Christmas’ or ‘Solstice’ is officially and legally removed and banned as a Holiday and I find that hard to imagine since in the northern hemisphere at the temperate latitudes that have four seasonal cycles there will always take place a winter solstice which will compel homo-sapiens to have some kind of grand festival, holiday or celebration in one form or another. It seems to me the atheists really want to have no holiday observance whatsoever on December 25. It really does not matter how secular the solstice holiday becomes, there probably will always be a combination of various elements of religious, pagan and secular ritual observances in it. Cultural Traditions are verry hard to eradicate if not impossible. What is an atheist to do about the non observance of a celestial cycle? I don’t envision atheists, even in an atheist utopia, ever being able to permanently eradicate in perpetuity an observance of some kind, the winter solstice.

    At best the atheists probably could only a legally achieve a completely secular observance of the winter soltice by banning the holiday and renaming the word to solstice commemoration and outlawing any and all display of religious symbols, then there would be an absurd debate of what constitutues and does not constitute a religious symbol like: Three Wise men bearing gifts, Angels blowing trumpets, Farm animals huddled in a stable, a small wooden bed with straw on it, the wreath, the evergreen tree, the yule, the mistletoe, the gift exchange, the minutia of decorations and lights. Then the Church would start using cryptic symbols like the anchor, the fish, the candy cane, tinsel, the gingerbread man, bells, the stocking, pine cone ornaments, figures blowing trumpets, three wise men displays, gold, frankincense and myrrh gifts. the star on top of the tree, etc. Remember all of this banning and outlawing was tried in Atheist Russia and Communist China. The Russian Orthodox Church outlived Stalin and The Underground Church in China is waiting for their turn to come out.

    Sorry atheists you lose again just like your friends the grinch and scrooge and appears you will continue to lose the ‘solstice holiday’ debate in the future. Even if you were able to through law or decree declare any and all private or public celebration on December 25 illegal the Winter Solstice would still take place and people would still tend to gather together, light a fire to keep warm, decorate, exchange gifts, and hope for a bumper crop, warmer temperatures and longer days in the new year. I have a feeling ‘bah-humbug’ will never be regarded widely as a happy, hopeful, virtuous phrase or greeting.

    Without leaving my home on December 25 this year I can put a log on the fire, water the indoor evergreen tree, get warm, sing a few songs, wrap some gifts and then and drink some egg-nog, read the good book, gaze at the twinkling lights, hang my stockings and maybe even put out a glass of milk for a late night visitor for a guy named Nicholas.

  • Donna

    I wonder how atheists celebrate CHRISTmas because in doing so they must first accept that he exists, one can’t celebrate something w/o some knowledge deep down that he does exist for w/o him we would not be celebrating in the first place! I also wonder when an atheist gets mad what do they say where most people would say the lords name in vain like (Lord forgive me for this) oh my god or Jesus Christ what would an athiest say to that because as I said earlier to do so or say something like that they would have to first believe that be exists in the first place!

    • Nate Frein

      Because, you know, to enjoy the Tanabata festival in Japan, I need to believe that two stars fell in love.

      You don’t have to believe in some 2000 year old myth to enjoy festivities.

      And really. You think someone who spent decades in a xian family is going to just stop using religious oaths? It doesn’t work that way, cupcake.

  • Rudi Affolter

    Christmas is not a christian festival. It was a pagan festival for 1,000s of years before it was celebrated as a christian festival. But I am ok with christian’s celebrating it – the more the merrier. But I do object to their hypocrisy in celebrating it in such a materialistic way whilst hundreds of millions of people are living in poverty and of hunger and thirst. As I understand it their saviour would not approve. I have always been led to believe that he was on the side of the poor and oppressed. Personally I do not have any materialistic celebrations over christmas and have not done so for many years. But I do give “Good Gifts” (look up the website) to help those less fortunate than myself.

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