Happy Atheist Forum

Atheism and the holidays

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2008, 02:57:27 AM »
Just found Richard Dawkin's views on the holidays, well at least caroling.

http://richarddawkins.net/article,2044, ... y-Vine-BBC

Lets me celebrate christmas much easier

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2008, 01:24:35 AM »
We've pretty much always celebrated Christmas, even though both my parents are Atheist/Agnostic.  They never bothered with the Santa stuff for my sister or me, so I never really understood the value of telling your kids that.  I think it'd just confuse my sense of logic if they tried to convince me there were a Santa.

We also "celebrated" Easter to the extent of "Hey let's go look for eggs and get candy!", but my sister and I are a bit old for that now.  Never "believed" in an Easter bunny, either.

I mean come on, video games have enough fantasy to last everyone a lifetime. :D  If you need something more physically wondrous, electronics themselves!  Give your kid a breadboard! XD
Make lunch, not war!

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2008, 01:41:04 AM »
Christmas christmas!!!  :unsure:

Lessee... The entire family stands around outside with a raging fire and cast-iron kettle where we all make menudo. Rancheras and con junto music fills the air. I play chess with my cousins, and win and lose, and we play poker and make bets. There's always some luchadore action going on around the neighboorhood too, where you can watch two heavily muscled masked fighters wrestle, and the events get pretty rowdy. Then there's the barbacoa tacos, and the shotgun shooting of glasses and tin cans off the retaining wall. All the little cousins go jump on the trampoline. There's cerveza and whisky, and mariachis highered by the restauraunts we all go eat at!

mmm... almost makes midnight mass worth it. I may be atheist, but, come on, it's midnight mass! Quite possibly the coolest religious tradition ever, and all the little niños and niñas love it so much.

ah... christmas... christmas...
umm.. yeah. :eek:
"What I mean when I use the term "god" represents nothing more than an interactionist view of the universe, a particularite view of time, and an ever expansive view of myself." -- Jose Luis Nunez.

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2008, 06:49:06 PM »
I love Christmas!  Even the carols!  Even though my mom, who raised me, was atheist, you just gotta have Christmas!  You don't need to be Christian to enjoy the spirit of wonder and giving that comes with Christmas.  We've always done it up right with the tree, lights all over, the wreath, the food, the gifts, the family, the visiting, and we've always had a blast.

As far as I'm concerned the actual meaning of Christmas has become so commercialized that you'll really get very little religious mumbo jumbo in the mainstream community other than the nativity scenes here and there or the religious nature of the carols.  My son had Santa Claus and elves and as far as I can tell he's not been harmed by a temporary and childish delight in believing in those things.  He wasn't devastated to find out that I am really Santa Claus (and a damn good one if I do say so myself!).  We even went to some nativity plays so he could learn the "story" behind Christmas.  He didn't walk out praising Jesus.  He is now nearly 30 and a happy atheist, and I'm sure he fully plans to propagate Christmas and Santa and elves when he has his own children, and I'm sure they'll be just as unharmed as he was.

Even atheists can enjoy a little magic now and then!
"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." - Carl Sagan

"It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand." - Mark Twain

Tom62

  • *****
  • 4788
  • Gender: Male
Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2008, 09:55:13 PM »
I like Christmas as well. What I find unbearable are the overcrowded  shopping malls and the horrible Christmas musak that they play there all the time. What I do like are the (German) Christmas markets, where I can warm myself up with some gluhwein (especially the one that is spiced up with rum) while my wife is doing all the shopping. Christmas food is also wonderful, but I always feel a bit guilty afterwards when I gained some additional pounds. My mother in law is a great cook, but what she cooks is heavy on the calories.
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
Robert A. Heinlein

Kylyssa

  • ****
  • 1200
    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Kylyssa
Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2008, 10:03:31 PM »
Hehe, you all know where I'm going to direct your attention.
 :D

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2008, 05:08:32 AM »
Isn't Christmas really a pagan holiday that the church adopted to make it easier to convert the pagans to christianity?

Lessee, I found a page that December 25 was the date of the Babylonian feast of the son of Isis. It was celebrated with raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift giving.  There are also ties to the pre-christian Roman holiday called 'Saturnalia'. The site says that Christmas caroling originated with the ancient (pre-christian) Roman tradition of 'Mummers'. Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers traveling from house to house entertaining the neighbors during the winter holidays.

Yule (as in Yuletide, I assume) predated the spread of christianity in northern Europe. From this we get the tradition of burning the Yule log and kissing under the mistletoe (originally a fertility ritual). It appears that cutting an evergreen tree and bringing it indoors had its origins with the European druids.

All this info and more from a quick google search that put me at: http://www.essortment.com/all/christmaspagan_rece.htm.

See, you don't have to feel strange about celebrating Christmas as an atheist. Most Christmas traditions didn't originate from the church anyway. Let's hear it for the pagans!
Elvis Priestly

Having fun at the expense of established religion]http://www.thechurchofmike.org[/url]

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2008, 07:12:08 AM »
And don't forget to celebrate Festivus. The holiday for the rest of us.
"Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise there would be no religious people."

House M.D.

karadan

  • ****
  • 1866
Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2008, 10:07:52 AM »
Quote from: "Libera"
My family, while not very religious, does in fact celebrate christian (christmas, easter, etc.) holidays. I usually go along with the holidays for the fun of it, just ignoring any religious aspects. Now I'm questioning if its right to celebrate these holidays that promote such superstition.

I was just wondering how everyone else here handles holidays. Do you celebrate them ignoring religious aspects, make your own, or just not celebrate at all? Eventually when I live on my own I'll substitute religious holidays with secular holidays of my own or others. Does anyone have any ideas on secular holidays?


I'm pretty sure most people in the UK celebrate christmas because it is a public holiday rather than a religious one. Sure, some people go to church and praise jebus, but most just give presents, eat and get drunk with their family. I'm quite sure 90% of people never even mention the lord at crimbo. Over here is has become something unto itself regardless of its origin as a religious holiday. An entity in its own right, if you will :)
Quote
I find it mistifying that in this age of information, some people still deny the scientific history of our existence.

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2008, 10:22:42 AM »
Christmas isn't a Christian festival and more - well apart from a church service or 2. the family getting together, tree, presents and Santa are all secular things. (IN fact the bible bans bringing trees into the house!) I mean Santa is  even an anagram of Satan so this is clearly no religious. We enjoy out Christmas time as a family and it would be a shame not to.

As for other holidays, well in Scotland holidays are not really centred on religious festivals so there is not real problem. In fact the most significant time in Scotland is New Year which is completely pagan! Personally i think we need festivals and holidays to break up the year so let's celebrate something every time we can!

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2008, 05:32:41 PM »
Quote from: "Kylyssa"
Hehe, you all know where I'm going to direct your attention.
 :D

I totally understand where you're coming from, Kylyssa... and usually, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you have to say.  But when it comes to Christmas, I like that we decorate, have a tree, and all of the trimmings (minus the manger scene, bible story, etc.).  It's a nice tradition that I place no more philosophical relevance than I do my morning bagel.  

I know... in the face to contemporary atheism, I maybe SHOULD put some thought into the why and wherefore.  But why?  If I enjoy it, it gives me pleasure to make my family happy, our family enjoys the little rituals we've developed (like putting the dinosaur topper on the tree  :D ) when why not?
**Kerri**
The Rogue Atheist Scrapbooker
Come visit me on Facebook!


Kylyssa

  • ****
  • 1200
    • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Kylyssa
Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2008, 07:46:55 PM »
Truthfully, we'll be putting up a tree and having a nice dinner, making cookies and perhaps exchanging a few gifts.  If I had children, I'm sure I'd be more gung-ho about it.  The commercialism is really what bothers me about Christmas, not the religion behind it.  Americans already indulge in commercialism enough throughout the year without dedicating a holiday to it.

I'm kind of new to the satire thing but I'm giving it a shot.  So far, I've gotten some pissed off emails about the piece from Christians plus a few from a few well-meaning folks who think I actually have respect for the idea of Christmas as a Christian celebration who've tried to explain to me that Santa isn't a Christian figure.

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2008, 09:29:07 PM »
Hey, if it helps the economy, why frickin not?
"What I mean when I use the term "god" represents nothing more than an interactionist view of the universe, a particularite view of time, and an ever expansive view of myself." -- Jose Luis Nunez.

Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2008, 05:39:40 AM »
Quote from: "Kylyssa"
Truthfully, we'll be putting up a tree and having a nice dinner, making cookies and perhaps exchanging a few gifts.  If I had children, I'm sure I'd be more gung-ho about it.  The commercialism is really what bothers me about Christmas, not the religion behind it.  Americans already indulge in commercialism enough throughout the year without dedicating a holiday to it.

I'm kind of new to the satire thing but I'm giving it a shot.  So far, I've gotten some pissed off emails about the piece from Christians plus a few from a few well-meaning folks who think I actually have respect for the idea of Christmas as a Christian celebration who've tried to explain to me that Santa isn't a Christian figure.

Satire is great... I LOVE satire!  I got that, I really did!

Unfortunately, you've chosen a medium through which you will get instant feedback, both positive and negative.  It comes with the territory.

And Santa isn't a Christian figure?  SAINT Nicholas?  ROFL!  Oh right... Catholics aren't Christian to the fundies and gellies.  :confused:
**Kerri**
The Rogue Atheist Scrapbooker
Come visit me on Facebook!


curiosityandthecat

  • *****
  • 3052
  • Gender: Male
  • Curiosity killed the cat, but I was a suspect.
    • The Icarus Array
Re: Atheism and the holidays
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2008, 03:32:50 PM »
Quote from: "rlrose328"
And Santa isn't a Christian figure?  SAINT Nicholas?  ROFL!  Oh right... Catholics aren't Christian to the fundies and gellies.  :confused:

Made me think of this hilarious David Sedaris essay that revolves somewhat around Christmas, "Six to Eight Black Men":

[youtube:25w8aocn]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbJpRLhaSqs[/youtube:25w8aocn]

[youtube:25w8aocn]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU1D1HKTDCY[/youtube:25w8aocn]

[youtube:25w8aocn]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g17Pl7MFMco[/youtube:25w8aocn]
-Curio