I’m an atheist and I don’t care if you wish me a Merry Christmas. In fact, I actually take it as a kind gesture. I understand that people who are saying it do so with good intentions. I also understand that Christmas is a big part of American culture.
Additionally, I think Christmas is heavily secularized. Christmas season is overwhelmed by Santa Clause movies, shopping, and gift giving. As an American, it doesn’t feel like Christmas is connected to Christianity at all unless you are at church. And this isn’t just my opinion. Pew Research found that less than half of Americans think Christmas is a religious holiday. Overall, Americans are considering it be more of a cultural holiday instead. Also, 8 in 10 non-Christians celebrate Christmas in some way as well!
So the vocal minority of atheists who rant about how they hate “Merry Christmas” do not represent all atheists or non-Christians by any stretch.
Unfortunately, this vocal minority then is given more attention by the other vocal minority of Christian conservatives who are so offended that someone is offended! And it becomes an awful cycle of shouting past each other instead of trying to understand each other. There is so much chaos and suffering in the world. I genuinely appreciate someone taking a moment to share a positive sentiment with me in the form of a “Merry Christmas.” I’d also feel the same way if they said Happy Holidays or Happy Hanukkah!
When I write these types of posts calling out my own side, I’m often accused of not being a “real atheist.” So let me state that I am an atheist. I have an atheist blog. I’ve done atheist activism (church and state separation). I’ve spoken at atheist conferences. I regularly fight against the unfair advantages Christianity has in our country, but I simply do not consider wishing someone “Merry Christmas” to be one of those.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!