Atheists Like Christmas Too

Santa does not judge.
Photo courtesy of Huhu Uet.

Well, as most of you know, this blog is typically for writing about books. Books are cool. However, I'm actually going to use it to make a bit of a point today. In a way, it involves a book -- the Bible. It also involves the best holiday for presents ever -- Christmas. Specifically, it involves where explicitly in the Bible Christmas is -- nowhere -- and why some people -- Christians -- feel it is rude for atheists to celebrate Christmas. Before I go any farther, I'll disclose that I am an atheist. That way, you can hate me ahead of time if that is your wont. If not, let's discuss a few things that are not your typical "It's a pagan holiday, anyway" atheist rants.

Firstly, I want to say that Christmas is fun. It has very little to do with Christ at this point outside of the church. It is about Santa, presents, friends and family. That might be sad to a lot of Christians and I hope they make up for it by keeping their god in their home over the holidays and doing whatever they do to praise said god. I think that is wonderful. However, we cannot pretend that atheists are somehow horning in on a Christian tradition when they get involved in Christmas. Is Christmas in the Bible? Did the earliest Christians head off to the mall to buy the latest Apple product while surrounded by blinding Christmas lights? No and no. Christmas is a strictly modern concept that happens to fall on the day mistakenly believed to be Christ's birthday. Even Christians know the date is wrong thanks to all kinds of weird interpretations and calendar foibles.

Moving on, don't you think it would be a little crappy to inundate entire countries with music, lights, presents and decorations and then tell people who are not Christian that they cannot celebrate because there is a tenuous connection between the holiday and your god's son? I think it is. If you do not want me to participate, get it off my television, out of public streets, etc. I'll gladly hold hands and sing Kumbayah with you, but if you are going to be exclusionary, you can take it into your house where I can't hear it. I'm not setting up a carnival at the end of your street for only atheists and calling it Nothingmas, am I? Nope and I would not, either, because I'm not a jerk that dangles carrots in front of bunnies.

So, do me a favor, please. I'm not the kind of atheist who refuses to say "Merry Christmas," though I will say "Happy Holidays" if I am unsure of your religion or lack thereof. I'm not an anti-theist. Your thoughts and feelings are not my business. Please feel free to worship as you wish. I just ask that during all of this, you do not exclude me as a person because I do not fit into your club. It hurts my feelings when you say things like, "Oh, atheists must have missed the 'Christ' in Christmas" or "If you do not believe in god, then don't celebrate Christmas." I probably won't take you off my Christmas list for saying it, but I'll be sorely tempted to remind you that Jesus would think you very uncool, if he were real.

Happy Holidays to All People of Every Faith, Lack of Faith, Race, Worldview, Gender, Lack of Gender, Sexuality, Lack of Sexuality and Everything In-Between.

Shelly Barclay 

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