Dear Atheists: Let’s Just Shut Up And Enjoy Christmas

Hey, all you anti-Christmas atheists: Get over yourselves.

The idea that you must not only make a show of NOT celebrating Christmas, but take subtle shits on those of us who do is simply asinine. Personally, I self-identified as agnostic for a couple of decades before acknowledging my atheism for this past one. In my adult life, religion has never played a role of any significance, other than as an occasional obligatory annoyance for the sake of others. When I was a child, my family was fairly traditional Catholic, which meant that one goes to church regularly in order to ask forgiveness for being such an ass the rest of the week. Religion never really took with me, as I had serious doubts and questions from the get-go. Nevertheless, I was always a Christmas-loving kid.

Hell, it wasn’t even limited to Christmas. I loved – and still enjoy – Easter as well. I’m not going to belabor all of the pagan roots of both of these holidays; everyone rambles on and on about it. Axial tilt is the reason for the (every) season, yule logs, etc. Druids, Turks, Huns… so many diverse origins of our “traditional” Christmas symbols. You don’t me to repeat all of this to you, ad naseum.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a good heathen. Really, I am. We hosted a Winter Solstice party at my house this year, as usual, with much merriment and gift-giving among our friends. I have absolutely zero gripes with anyone who chooses to celebrate pretty much anything this time of year. Hanukkah? Burn one for me, bro. Kwanzaa? I’ll burn seven of ‘em with you, and celebrate the heritage. I’d even eat Krampus cake. Is that a thing? It really ought to be a thing.



However, I love Christmas. I mean, hands down, favorite holiday time of all. Takes a little work to “feel it” when it is 70-plus degrees outside, but all the same, it is a great time of year. Put aside, for a moment, the reasons why people act this way; simply enjoy the fact that folks will often be nicer to each other at the grocery store, on the street, if not online. People are usually much ruder online than in person, no matter what time of year, due to the “anonymity courage” effect. Nonetheless, people are often nicer right about now. Just bear with me on this.

Christmas is a shamelessly secular holiday masquerading as a religious celebration. The name – which generates the lion’s share of controversy – is just as irrelevant as Thursday, or even Halloween. While we’re mentioning it, that’s another day with a Christian name and pagan roots. Every fellow heathen I know jumps into Halloween headfirst, with joyous abandon. They embrace it as their “favorite” holiday, and I can’t find a lot of fault with it. We have parties at my house, and my kids love dressing up and begging for candy around the neighborhood like a bunch of scary Jehovah’s Witnesses searching for Jesus.

Why, then, the particular sour grapes over Christmas? I get the whole thing about the name. The strident Christian whining to “Keep the Christ in Christmas!” or the bleating about “He’s the reason for the season!” is a pretty tired shtick. I, too, feel the seething anger when the Salvation Army’s beggars ring that annoying goddamned bell at you while you’re leaving the store. I mean, seriously, passive-aggressive guilt tactics in order to coerce people into doing good? I won’t even start in on the Salvation Army’s reprehensible stance on the LGBTQ members of our society. I’ll keep my pocket change, thank you, and continue donating to Foundation Beyond Belief. I like my charities to not condemn portions of our society for their genetic inheritance, if you please. If you care that much about whom I have sex with, it certainly won’t be you.

If you feel hurt by religion and are opposed to ever aspect or mention of things even tangentially related, that’s cool with me. This still isn’t sufficient reason to “kick my puppy.” I don’t like religious displays on public property, much less in public schools. I’m a little less inclined to lose my proverbial shit over “traditional” Christmas things, though, provided they aren’t all loaded with force-fed sermons. I guess I’m an anti-theist, but a little bit of a celebratory plagiarist, if you will.

I also understand that some people take exception to the blatant commercialism that’s wrapped up in the whole “Christmas, Inc.” entity. You’re entitled to your position, of course, but do not condemn me for reveling in the good parts of Christmas without boycotting the entire holiday due to working conditions in Chinese factories. One can always find something to point out, something to object to.

What do you say, maybe we just enjoy Christmas, for a change? I’m an atheist, and I love Christmas.

Just don’t piss on my cornflakes.

Merry Christmas, goddamnit!

 

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