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mini vent: Being an atheist at Xmas...

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Old 12-24-2008, 02:14 AM   #1
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Default mini vent: Being an atheist at Xmas...

So apparently, I can't have people over for tasty food and drink right now, because I am an atheist!?!

I was told this on another forum - that I have no right to have a good time during this religious holiday. Because I am a true atheist, and not just agnostic, I should not have anything to do with any merry-making for the next week or so. And you know what really got me steamed? The person that said this is a Xmas and easter only church go-er!!!

None of my friends are practicing Xtians. A couple are practicing jews, one is a shinto follower, another a buddhist, two are pagans, and the rest are nothing in particular (agnostics), or are lapsed catholics. There is no particular religious overtone to *any* gathering I host.

I like being with friends and having a good evening. I like cooking and hosting big fancy dinners for people. I like giving gifts that make people happy. Why do I have to believe there is some dude/chick in the sky in order to do this sort of stuff right now? We don't have a tree, or lights, or giant snowmen or santas up. We don't give gifts on the 25th - before or after, but not on the 25th, and we don't have a xmas dinner on the 25th. So what the heck is the problem with these people?

This isn't the first time I have encountered this attitude, but for some reason, it really ticked me off this time. I don't understand why it's so hard to be tolerant of other's beliefs.

I'm off to have a very un-Xmassy mai-tai and hit the tub with a good book! Bah humbug!

BP
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:48 AM   #2
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I used to be a practicing Christian and used to feel that same way as this person who offended you. But this year I live in another country that is half-Christian, and the rest Buddhist, Agnostic or Atheist and it's amazing the contrast. I used to think about non-Christians, "you have no right celebrating this holiday!" But now I am Agnostic and living in another culture and I can see why Americans (and maybe Canadians) celebrate Christmas: it's marketed to EVERYONE!

Here in Korea the level of consumerism is a fraction of what it is in America. In America, the streets are decorated, every store plays Christmas songs, everything is on sale for Christmas, everyone preps to see family and loved ones... this marketing campaign is NOT just directed towards Christians, it's directed towards everyone. In Korea, there's way less fanfare and it does seem more a holiday for Christians. There's a little bit of that western influence Christmas-is-for-everyone kind of vibe, but it seems more like fun import, like Halloween.

I don't know, it's true that this holiday was originally for Christians. But in America, and maybe Canada, that's just not the case anymore. It's for everyone. If Christians are mad, tell them to blame the marketers, because they are selling Christmas to whomever will buy it!
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:10 AM   #3
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Actually-- it was originally a pagan holiday...
But the thing is, I think life is for celebration, no matter what or when... so celebrate whenever you feel like it for whatever reason!
Being pagan, I face a fraction of what ya'll face... but people are finally coming around... though not all, and sometimes it ticks me off too.
No one has the right to tell you when you can or can't celebrate. That's a personal choice.
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:15 AM   #4
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The consumerist angle is pretty bad here in Canada too. Maybe not quite as bad as in the US, but it's not far behind, if it is at all. The young children of my non-practicing Christian friends have no idea that the holiday is about anything other than Santa and gifts. And why should they when all they see are images of Santa and Frosty.

MissusO - I did point out the pagan origins of the timing and many of the practices, but I think they fell on deaf ears. The birth of Christ bit is of course for Christians, but lots of other cultures and religions have solstice or other celebrations. I shouldn't be celebrating Yule, Kwanzaa, or Haunukkah either, since I am an atheist, but I have never met a pagan or jew that had a problem with me celebrating friends and good times in my own way. I've never called my gifts or events "Christmas" stuff, so I don't know why it's a problem for some people.

Maybe I should start to say I am a New Year Resolutionist and I just like to have fun with friends! That removes any outward element of religion from my gift giving and dinner hosting!

BP
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:22 AM   #5
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I'm pagan and I celebrate Xmas more than any Christian I know. And on the 25th, too, not on the winter solstice/Yule date. Hey, I want in on all the fun! =)
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:08 AM   #6
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Man, I'm a practicing Jew, and I get into the holiday spirit more than any of the (non-Jewish) people I work with. Not necessarily Christmas spirit, but I love the season...and the music! But again, to me it's a time for family and sharing, and I'm pretty darn family oriented.

That being said, I am thrilled when people want to share in with my traditions and I've been happy to explain Chanukah to people (including how it's not an important holiday, just the most well known) and to teach them about the story and traditions. And people are happy to learn, when there's chocolate coins involved!

It also means that I put aside my personal decision to never switch shifts with people, and work on the 24th, 25th, and 26th, so people who do celebrate whatever with their families can do so in a non-rushed manner. (Also, I make the big bucks for putting in my 8 hours on Christmas!)
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:17 AM   #7
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I'm a little confused as to why you would want to celebrate something you don't believe in. As a Christian I have absolutely no interest in celebrating a Pagan, Jewish, or Buddhist holiday, and quite honestly wouldn't want to participate in a religious holiday I don't truly believe in. I think you're mixing the marketing of "holiday celebration" which almost all of corporate America and beyond, has tried so hard to blend into something other than the celebration of the second most important day in our religion next to Easter.
There's nothing wrong with getting together with friends for food and drink, but please remember that for those of us who believe in Christ, we see this as a religious holiday that should be celebrated with reverence.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:27 AM   #8
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I am a Christian and will be celebrating the birth of Christ.

However, I see nothing wrong with non Christians having guests in for dinner.You can do whatever you want. But call it what it is, a dinner with friends. Remember that to millions of people over the years this is a jpyous holiday.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:31 AM   #9
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I've come to believe over the years that holidays have become a marketing strategy/technique for big business to generate revenue. My true spirit of any holiday, be it Christmas, birthdays, or any other special occasion, comes from my heart and not my wallet.

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Old 12-24-2008, 09:00 AM   #10
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I certainly don't understand why a non-Christian doesn't have the same rights to the Santa-gift-Christmas stuff as any Christian out there! The majority of "Christmas" stuff is very secular - a lot of people are even opposed/upset when the religious elements are prominent (including the average "Christian"). While a lot of things have traditional religious-based backgrounds (whether Christian, pagan, etc), the current incarnations of a decorated tree, gifts, and Santa are about as secular as it gets.

While I wouldn't expect an atheist to put up a Nativity scene, I have a number of friends who celebrate the secular aspect of Christmas when their beliefs are not Christian - tree, Santa, and all. Regardless of the sacred vs secular intent, what is wrong with any excuse to be a little happier and show appreciation for those around you?
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:10 AM   #11
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Of course you can use the opportunity to get together with friends!! I am and I don't "celebrate Christmas" in a religious way AT ALL.
I also get together with friends for Easter so my children can have fun with eggs. But we don't "celebrate Easter" at all either.

No one can tell you how to spend your time. Bah!! to that person!!

Enjoy life.....
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:12 AM   #12
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WOW! I was raised Christian and am now an athiest. When I celebrate with my family I am celebrating being with my family and the fact that they are still alive. I am not celebrating Christ.
Plus it bothers me that many Christians are all about what they are getting and what they are buying for their various family members and I ask oh so does your church have a special service they say they don't know they can go anyway cuz they are busy. I wonder if these people should be banned from celebrating too?
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
I'm a little confused as to why you would want to celebrate something you don't believe in.
Because whether you or any other Christian like it or not, American culture (and to some degree western culture) has made Christmas into a secular and cultural holiday as well as a religious one. You can protest that however much you want - but it's a fact. You cannot walk out of your home today w/out being slapped in the face with Christmas EVERYWHERE. So the choice is to get pissed off about that - or to learn to appreciate and enjoy the non-religious elements and the "spirit" of the season - peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

If Christians (or *some* Christians) really want non-Christians to stop celebrating "their" holiday (which is one of the most un-Christian sentiments I've ever heard, btw), then they need to make more effort to get Christmas out of the secular world instead of protesting their "right" to celebrate their religion anywhere and everywhere they want.

You can't complain because schools want to take Christmas out of the winter holidays and not have the kids do Christmas plays or sing carols or put up creches, protest your right to put religious themed decorations up on city property, etc., etc., ... and then complain because *gasp* non-Christians are celebrating YOUR holiday. Christians force their holidays on non-Christians and then whine when we try to make them palatable for ourselves.

You can't have it both ways.

.

Last edited by PhotoChick : 12-24-2008 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:20 AM   #14
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Yes! It's a free country, do whatever you want on christmas!!!

It's a good day to have parties because you know damn well near everyone is going to have the day off of work anyways!
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:23 AM   #15
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Besides what are you doing an another forum. You know 3FC is the only place to be!!!!!!
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