How an angry, bitter, atheist activist spends the holidays.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who spends more time combing the news, reading of the folly of religion, and being good and pissed as I.  So what do mean-spirited killjoys like myself do around the holidays?

  • Watched Love Actually with my fiancee (she’d never seen it).  Now she wants to get married twice.
  • Watched The Hobbit with my family (and my fiancee).  I had heard reports that it was mediocre, but we all enjoyed it very much.  Due to its length, we were worried there would be dead spots, but there really weren’t.
  • Watched Rise of the Guardians with Cambridge.  It’s really good.  I recommend it.  We both left the theater wondering who voiced the bad guy, because he totally stole the show.  It was freaking Jude Law as the bad guy.  To quote Cambridge in talking about Hugh Jackman (who voiced the Easter Bunny): “I’d suck so many dicks to get to his.”
  • One of my two best friends from high school (the only two I still speak to regularly) is visiting from Korea for a couple of weeks.  He brought over a board game called Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep.  I’m far too cool to know what Dungeons & Dragons is, but the game is totally freaking fun.  I want to play it non-stop.
  • The other of my two best friends from high school will drive in from Mississippi today just to spend time with the guys (and my fiancee).  We’ll be play-testing Dungeons & Dragons 5e.  Once again, I’m far too cool for this, and am only doing it because they’re dragging me against my will.  *makes a bluff check*
  • Watched the Razorbacks play with the family (and the fiancee).

And I bought presents and all that jazz too.  I got really good presents for my family this year (will tell you what they are after Friendsmas, since they all read the blog).  Life is good, and it’s better with a healthy family and with friends.

This is what atheist activists do.  Our lives are generally full of joy, with no need to drag our asses out of bed on Sunday morning to hear someone preach at us (contrary to the narrative that people can’t be happy without this).  Though our justifiable rage at the legion of religious foolishness is what gets seen, that is only a sliver of our lives.

This is also why we are activists.  We know the value of relationships, of happiness in this life, and become offended when religion prevents those things in the lives of people who haven’t adopted religion of their own volition.  It also tugs at our empathy and makes us sad when religion prevents happiness in the lives of those who have adopted it on their own (I recall wanting to touch someone I cared deeply about when I was young, but wouldn’t do so because my religion forbade me that happiness).  And we shake our heads at the insecurity of many believers who insist that happiness at any time, but particularly during the holidays, should only be available by adopting their approved routes to happiness rather than our own.  Note, nowhere on that list did I write “stewing over other people not valuing the same things I value during an arbitrary time of the year”.

I should also mention that I’ve never been kissed as the ball has dropped on New Year’s Eve.  I’ve always wanted to do that and, finally, this year I think I’m going to get to.  :)  As I said yesterday: if the blogging gets a little slow over the next week, now you know why.

Happy holidays, everybody.

PERSONAL: Happy birthday, Hitch.
PERSONAL: Sorry to disappoint you, Julian.
PERSONAL: Mid day lab pics from the wife.
PERSONAL: The corrupting power of fame and my love for my commenters.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    If you have time to spare, you could wander over to Hemant’s blog and drop some comments. He has inexplicably granted a lengthy guest post to Teh Stedman.

    • JT Eberhard

      I saw that. It makes me sad, but I’m way too busy right now enjoying myself to give any more time to that passive-aggressive, dishonest guy.

  • UsingReason

    I Love, Love Actually; we’ve been waiting for youngest daughter to get home before we we watch it or she will get mad at us. Then there is the Star Wars Holiday special….

    Probably won’t get to the Hobbit this weekend and will have to go after Christmas, I’ve also heard mixed reviews. A lot of the feelings about the Hobbit seem to depend on reading the book.

  • Larry Clapp

    My wife and I have watched Love Actually annually for the past several years, usually while decorating the tree and/or wrapping presents. It’s a great Christmas movie.

    Have it fresh in your mind at any given time does make it difficult to see any movie with Bill Nighy in any kind of villain role, though. :)

  • Larry Clapp

    Have => Having, whoops.

  • Kaoru Negisa

    Glad you’re having a great time at home. I just showed my girlfriend Love, Actually for the first time last weekend. The inside jokes are now legion. It’s fun to start an impromptu chorus by just going, “I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes.”

    This is a really fantastic post and one of the things I like and try to emulate about your style: you invite your readers into your life. It *is* important to show people that being an atheist, and even being an activist, is about more than just being mad all the time. We’re angry because we know that the world can be so much better. We fight so more people can enjoy time with family and friends without having to worry about what a nonexistent deity or a neighbor who believes in it thinks.

    “I should also mention that I’ve never been kissed as the ball has dropped on New Year’s Eve. ”

    You should fix that. My first kiss with the Sewing Goddess was during that on last New Year’s Eve. Though we were at an SCA event, so we didn’t drop a ball, but rather a Count that we put in a harness and lowered from a tree (a “Count-down”, get it?). But just think, not only can you have a New Year’s kiss this year, you can have them for the rest of your life, now! How awesome is that?

  • Ken

    Come on, are you like in Evil Atheist Preschool or something? Sounds like you need some serious help on the whole evil villain front. RPS has a nice summary of evil video games which can give you a little guidance:

  • Amyc

    What?! JT is not enraged all the time about everything!! This is going to ruin your ‘cred among all the cool kids.

  • The Schwa

    “Watched the Razorbacks play with the family…”
    Why were the Razorbacks playing with your family?

  • Stogoe

    I really enjoyed The Hobbit, too. Looking back at all the concern over why they were doing three films instead of two, I completely understand why there are three films now. I’m looking over everything in the movie, and I can’t see anything substantial to take out. If you add in Beorn, Mirkwood, Spiders, Elves and Barrels, that’s easily another hour or 90 minutes of film. A few places are too silly for the take-it-super-seriously people, and the film-the-book-exactly people would cut a bit, but what those people want to leave out doesn’t add up to twenty minutes at most. So we’re looking at a 4 or 4 1/2 hour long movie, which is completely beyond sanity. Three movies gets you to less than 3 hours each, and plus you get to see Gandalf be a badass some more.

    • Nate Frein

      Rankin and Bass told the story in 90 minutes. Jackson told less than half the story in twice the time.

      I honestly have no interest in seeing “Gandalf be a badass” more. Jackson masturbated to Gandalf in the LoTR trilogy and I really was hoping he wouldn’t make Bilbo’s story about Gandalf.

      But he did.

  • UsingReason

    With all the Hobbit talk, did anyone see Ian McKellen on Colbert report. Colbert asked him about going back to being Gandalf The Grey after being Gandalf The White and his response was hilarious.

  • Stogoe

    Rankin and Bass left out Beorn entirely. They also gave the trolls, rivendell, the misty mountains, the goblins, mirkwood, the elves, the barrels, and laketown less than a minute each. Plus it was awful.

    • Nate Frein

      If you say so. Return of the King was awful. Hobbit told the story, hit the message, and did so in a reasonable amount of time. Beorn was about as necessary to the story as Bombadil was to LoTR.

      Now, I could reasonably see making a trilogy of movies for the Hobbit. Each 90 minutes long. First runs through the misty mountains. Second goes from Beorn to the escape from Mirkwood. Third would be Laketown through the end. 90 minutes each is plenty of time to tell those stories.

      But Jackson is less interested in making a Hobbit movie and more interested in using the Hobbit as a backdrop for stories from the appendices and the Silmarillion. In the end, the whole message is lost.

  • Bemused

    Good grief, can you get more self-righteous? You atheists just crack me up. Atheist, most of them, are bitter crumudgeons who enjoy nothing better than be angry, rude, disrespectful and trying to bait Christians and pass along negative and untrue stereotypes about them. I say if you don’t believe in the One whom Christians celebrate as the Son of God on December 25, then why bother buying presents for people on that day? Why don’t you wait until your own special holiday…April 1? Also no one is putting a gun to a Christian’s head to go to church. They’re there by choice. Why can’t you see it as a valid choice instead of being such a douche?

    • Nate Frein

      No one forces my grandfather to drink so much his liver is giving up. And yes, it’s his choice to drink until his liver gives up. Doesn’t mean I have to respect his choice.

    • Jac

      I like how you xtians call us bitter all the time. But until now I still don’t see why o.o
      If anything, you lot are the bitter ones. For one, you’re easily the most bitter person on this page.
      And because I want to, Happy Holidays!
      Don’t get too bitter over that eh :)

  • Hugo

    Another atheist “activist” that bundles all the negative sects of Christianity into one denomination. Can’t love unconditionally without following guidelines? Please.. That is exactly the opposite of Christ’s message.