Alternachicks - mini vent: Being an atheist at Xmas...




bopeep
12-24-2008, 03:14 AM
So apparently, I can't have people over for tasty food and drink right now, because I am an atheist!?! :?: :mad:

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!!! :censored:

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! :D Bah humbug! :devil:

BP


joyra
12-24-2008, 03:48 AM
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!

MissusO
12-24-2008, 04:10 AM
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.


bopeep
12-24-2008, 05:15 AM
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! :lol: That removes any outward element of religion from my gift giving and dinner hosting! :devil:

BP

featherz
12-24-2008, 06:22 AM
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! =)

staja
12-24-2008, 09:08 AM
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!)

chris313
12-24-2008, 09:17 AM
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.

bargoo
12-24-2008, 09:27 AM
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.

SoCalBigGal
12-24-2008, 09:31 AM
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.

Rock Chalk Chick
12-24-2008, 10:00 AM
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?

kittycat40
12-24-2008, 11:10 AM
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..... :)

DisgruntledOne
12-24-2008, 11:12 AM
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?

PhotoChick
12-24-2008, 11:16 AM
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.

.

RN BSN 2009
12-24-2008, 11:20 AM
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!

DisgruntledOne
12-24-2008, 11:23 AM
Besides what are you doing an another forum. You know 3FC is the only place to be!!!!!! :yes:

Suzanne 3FC
12-24-2008, 11:25 AM
Have a happy holiday, bopeep, and celebrate this season of love and joy any way you wish :hug:

junebug41
12-24-2008, 11:30 AM
How silly of them! Don't believe a word of it (to the OP).

Just as many Christians at Christmas time celebrate in non-Christian ways (outside of church and at the mall), I think this is a time of year for people to just enjoy the season no matter what the religion. If Christmas is supposed to be about giving and celebrating time with family and generally promoting the "season's greetings", I would think everyone would be on board with that. With all the bad in the world, we can all make room for those that want to participate in the good.

Kumbyah ;)

Schumeany
12-24-2008, 11:54 AM
No one person, group, nation, etc. owns a single day of the year. We each get to walk this path through life any way we choose...and that means that as long as we do no harm to others, we each get to celebrate or not celebrate any darn thing we want to in any way we please. While governments, religions, organizations, etc. may try to deny, hijack or even subjugate the outward trappings of that celebration from time to time, it is a simple truth that what we celebrate, the things that bring us joy, cannot be taken from us because they are not really about outward trappings. "Getting together with friends and family" is just an external manifestation of the feeling -- an outlet for your enjoyment of a very special, cozy and sparkly time of year. If you don't like the commercialism, ignore it. If you don't like the secular aspects, don't include them in your family's choices. If you don't like the religious aspects, avoid them. If you want to celebrate Casper the Ghost, have at it. The world is a big place, and there is room for ALL of it. It is diversity of belief and diversity of thought that makes it such an amazing place. I, for one, am waiting impatiently for Santa to come down my chimney so that I can see the looks of unbridled joy on the faces of my three little boys. It is a complicated issue, but it is, in a very fundamental way, very simple too.

junebug41
12-24-2008, 12:06 PM
No one person, group, nation, etc. owns a single day of the year. We each get to walk this path through life any way we choose...and that means that as long as we do no harm to to others, we each get to celebrate or not celebrate any darn thing we want to in any way we please. While governments, religions, organizations, etc. may try to deny, hijack or even subjugate the outward trappings of that celebration from time to time, it is a simple truth that what we celebrate, the things that bring us joy, cannot be taken from us because they are not really about outward trappings. "Getting together with friends and family" is just an external manifestation of the feeling -- an outlet for your enjoyment of a very special, cozy and sparkly time of year. If you don't like the commercialism, ignore it. If you don't like the secular aspects, don't include them in your family's choices. If you don't like the religious aspects, avoid them. If you want to celebrate Casper the Ghost, have at it. The world is a big place, and there is room for ALL of it. It is diversity of belief and diversity of thought that makes it such an amazing place. I, for one, am waiting impatiently for Santa to come down my chimney so that I can see the looks of unbridled joy on the faces of my three little boys. It is a complicated issue, but it is, in a very fundamental way, very simple too.


I think that's going on my greeting card next year ;)

IOW, very well put.

bopeep
12-24-2008, 12:29 PM
I'm a little confused as to why you would want to celebrate something you don't believe in.

See, this is my point. I'm not celebrating Christmas. I'm not a Christian. I have been told many times that 'this is Christmas', and I can't have a good time. It's not all about Christmas. Would you tell a Jew not to have people over for dinner or give gifts at this time? No. What about a pagan? No. A Buddhist? No. So why can I not do it? Why don't I have the right?

I don't give Christmas gifts, eat Christmas dinner, go to church, believe in Santa or any other tradition that is typical for a North American Christmas. But some people seem to resent that I enjoy giving any sort of gift at all (even a bottle of wine in a fancy bag) or host people over for dinner at this time of year.

I give gifts and host dinners at other times of the year, so why do I have to become a hermit for this specific couple of weeks while others have a good time? The answer is I don't, and I won't. But some people have a hard time seperating the Christian religious holy day from general merriment.

BP

junebug41
12-24-2008, 12:44 PM
I don't give Christmas gifts, eat Christmas dinner, go to church, believe in Santa

:yikes:










... ;)

bopeep
12-24-2008, 12:51 PM
:yikes:


... ;)

Hmmm... maybe I better change my mind on that. I suddenly need a new monitor and keyboard. Mine now have tea all over them.

:lol:

BP

bopeep
12-24-2008, 01:00 PM
Have a happy holiday, bopeep, and celebrate this season of love and joy any way you wish :hug:

Thanks! :D Tonight I am having three friends over for dinner - a lapsed catholic, a practicing muslim, and a shinto follower. We are going to celebrate Friends! :grouphug:

BP

mandalinn82
12-24-2008, 01:04 PM
BP - that sounds phenomenal. I'm not particularly religious (exploring things, but not practicing anything), but use the holiday time to reflect on my family traditions, value my family and friends, and generally show people that I care about them through words and deeds.

And I'll never understand why in this world, which is so devoid of love and friendship and good cheer, anyone would try to prevent anyone else from spreading it, no matter what their religion or the time of year.

Schumeany
12-24-2008, 01:10 PM
Bopeep, why so much concern? Are your friends refusing to come over? Are they throwing your gifts back in your face? Is the sheriff at your door, arresting you for your atheism? Have you been refused by any retailer the right to buy the makings for dinner or a nice bottle of wine to share with the people you care about? I am pretty sure the answer to these questions is "no".

We live in a nation where the majority of the citizenry is Christian, but NOT in a Christian nation. This country, at least for now, is, for the most part, secular, and we retain the right to think and say what we please. That means, however, that Christians get to think and say what they please...including that they think you shouldn't be celebrating "their holiday" if that is what a segment of them believe to be truth, but belief is NOT action...it does not harm you unless you give those beliefs power over you, and the fact that their beliefs are different than yours and different than mine and different than Joe Schmoe's down the street, and all of us get to keep believing as we wish, is a thing worth celebrating.

Pretty much everyone goes through life doing the best they can...there are, of course, exceptions...but for the most part, it is true. We each come from a unique set of experiences, traditions and family dynamics...but with the tools we have, we all live our lives the best we can based on what we have to work with. Just embrace who you are and what makes you unique, and enjoy the things that matter to you and yours.

walking2lose
12-24-2008, 01:14 PM
I was raised in a very religious home. I went to church every Sunday, youth group Sunday and Wednesday nights (middle school through high school), went to weekend retreats, summer camps, went to and later taught vacation Bible school. In our home, we always celebrated Lent, not just Easter. Christmas was about Christ's birth and we always attended the midnight candlelight service, but it was ALSO very much about Santa, gifts, and cookies and food galore. Yes, we always had a manger and an angel on top of the tree, but the secular/cultural elements were there as well. As much as it pains my mom (who is wonderfully restrained in not bothering me about it), my faith faded away beginning in high school and was for all intents and purposes gone by my early twenties, despite the fact that I found a church to attend in college and despite the fact that I wanted desperately to believe all that I was raised to believe.

I simply had too many questions that no one could answer for me. I was always told you have to just have FAITH, and well, I guess I just I just lost that faith along the way. Back to the point at hand -- For me, it would be very strange not to celebrate the season in anyway. It is VERY much a part of my FAMILY TRADITION and has been for 40 years. So, yes,I do celebrate, but I try not to do so hypocritically. I can NOT stand the hypocrisy and consumerism of the season. I have not been caught anywhere near in a mall in December for many, many years. Several years ago, I implored my in-laws and my own family not to exchange adult gifts anymore. It was always such a stress inducing enterprise - running around like crazy a day or two before Christmas buying gifts we couldn't afford that we weren't even sure the other person wanted. My in-laws (who are Christian but who have NEVER attended church) were particularly bad about spending heinous amounts of money on shockingly bad/ugly gifts. What a waste! It was tough for my MIL to let go of the spend spend spend mentality, but when she finally did, she too enjoyed the stress free nature of simply spending time with family at the holidays. My own family embraced the no gifts for adults - if we see something during the year we know a family member would love - we buy it and give it. But there is no pressure to buy just for the sake of buying. We do moderate gift for the 6 kids, ages 10 down to 1.

So, we do celebrate Christmas with my family, and I think it would just kill my mom if I were to say, "Well, you know DH and I don't believe the story of Jesus rising from the dead anymore, so call us next week. We won't be over at Christmas, and sorry, we have no gifts for the nieces and nephews." That would be just nutty. I think it would be equally odd if DH and I did not get together in a celebratory way with our friends (Christians and non) during the holidays. We are off work for 2 weeks - should we just sit home or leave town or something? I have one very devout friend, and I might add that she is one of my closest friends and she is what I consider a "true" Christian (sorry, but I don't believe most of those who call themselves Christian are very devout). Anyway, she and I have discussed this before, and she is understanding and accepting of where I am coming from. I wish everyone could be as tolerant (WWJD?? I don't think he would bash anyone for having friends over--hmm... maybe you present a small xmas gift to your friend, a WWJD bracelet!).

I think most everyone on the thread is of the mindset of live and let live... I'm sorry if I have gotten tangential, but this strikes a cord with me. Celebrate the season - whatever that means to you - and peace and good will to all!

PhotoChick
12-24-2008, 01:22 PM
No one person, group, nation, etc. owns a single day of the year. We each get to walk this path through life any way we choose...and that means that as long as we do no harm to others, we each get to celebrate or not celebrate any darn thing we want to in any way we please. While governments, religions, organizations, etc. may try to deny, hijack or even subjugate the outward trappings of that celebration from time to time, it is a simple truth that what we celebrate, the things that bring us joy, cannot be taken from us because they are not really about outward trappings. "Getting together with friends and family" is just an external manifestation of the feeling -- an outlet for your enjoyment of a very special, cozy and sparkly time of year. If you don't like the commercialism, ignore it. If you don't like the secular aspects, don't include them in your family's choices. If you don't like the religious aspects, avoid them. If you want to celebrate Casper the Ghost, have at it. The world is a big place, and there is room for ALL of it. It is diversity of belief and diversity of thought that makes it such an amazing place. I, for one, am waiting impatiently for Santa to come down my chimney so that I can see the looks of unbridled joy on the faces of my three little boys. It is a complicated issue, but it is, in a very fundamental way, very simple too.Bravo!

.

bopeep
12-24-2008, 02:09 PM
Bopeep, why so much concern? Are your friends refusing to come over? Are they throwing your gifts back in your face? Is the sheriff at your door, arresting you for your atheism? Have you been refused by any retailer the right to buy the makings for dinner or a nice bottle of wine to share with the people you care about? I am pretty sure the answer to these questions is "no".

Of course no one is *preventing* me from doing as I wish, but you would be quite astonished at the hostility I have received over the years as an out of the closet atheist. I have had several family members estrange themselves from me, and actually have lost friends over this. While I take the view that they were obviously not true friends (or family I want to associate with), it is frustrating to see people behave this way. :(

It *does* harm me to be on the receiving end of intolerance. I am not being thrown in jail for my belief, true, but I am being ostracized, and criticized for not adhering to a more common belief, and that is wrong. It doesn't matter if it is one person, ten or a thousand, that is telling me I should not be social now. If I don't stand up and say that I have every right to have friends over and give a gift today, then when should I stand up? What intolerence should I tolerate, and what should I protest?

I think it would be nice if we could all get along and accept everyone's belief's without any judgement. Most people I know already do that, and I am happy to find that as time goes on, that intolerance is becoming rarer. But it's still there, and it won't go away if I ignore it. ;)

BP

Shannon in ATL
12-24-2008, 02:35 PM
Bopeep, I'm an atheist as well, but not 'out of the closet' to everyone in my life. I'm like Claire - my parents pretty much now, but I still celebrate Christmas with them and don't point out that I don't believe what they believe. If people ask me, I tell them. I just don't advertise it. I also celebrate Christmas at home, and actually have a displayed nativity scene that was in my room when i was a small child, and another figure of Mary & Joseph that was a gift from my mother. Both of them are beautiful. I don't believe what they depict, but I appreciate the artistic beauty of the figures.

I have gotten pushback from some of those people, as well. I make my stepson an Easter basket and one of my friends read me the riot act about it, since it was celebrating the resurrection. My basket had nothing to do with the resurrection and everything to do with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. :) I have also had people ask me what I'm doing for the holidays, since I don't believe in anything. Again, like Claire, I believe in spending time with friends and family.

I have friends who are pagan and they receive much less flack for their beliefs than I get for mine. People have more tolerance for them because they believe in something, where I do not. It was explained to me once by a Christian friend that you can try to convert someone who has a basic belief structure, harder to convert someone without one. He sees talking to me about religion as 'casting pearls before swine' or something like that I guess. :)

Have a great time, whatever you do!

Schumeany
12-24-2008, 03:02 PM
Of course you have the right to stand up and say what you believe, but to think that there will not be personal consequences, like the loss of some friends or some family members who will not associate with you, is not realistic. A lot of people simply do not have the resources to deal with beliefs that contradict their own. It is upsetting to them...sometimes threatening to them...even terrifying to them to have to think outside of their own belief system. So you have a choice. Your beliefs are YOURS...to keep personal and private if you so choose or blast to the world if you so choose. It is up to you to decide what is worth losing in exchange for the right to say what you think. You can decide that not everyone has to know what you believe all the time. That it is not necessary to throw your beliefs in the face of those who you KNOW will be disturbed by them...yes, even when they are doing the same to you. It is kind to be gentle with people who cannot accept a wider view of what is possible. As long as our nation's laws remain strong protecting your beliefs and theirs, that is what REALLY counts. If and when the time comes that those LAWS are threatened, and I mean REALLY threatened, not the pissy little "ten commandments on the wall of the courthouse" kind of stupidity, I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with you, protecting your right to believe whatever you want. ****, I'd die to protect your right to believe whatever you want.

I am sorry, by the way, that you have suffered because of your views on the existence of God. Atheism is a VERY hard thing for some people to swallow because it gets to the core fear that is shared by everyone...that we are FINITE, and the possibility that we are finite leads to the ultimate question, "So why am I here?" For the atheist, there is no why...you just are. A lot of people cannot face that concept...cannot listen to it. Even if they do not "believe" it, the little niggling voice in the back of their head still asks the question...and so your beliefs represent the terror of every five-year-old lying awake in bed at night, obsessing about the fact that they are going to DIE someday. Recognize that some people's five-year-old never grows up. But those people, as long as they are given no real world power, are harmless...except in as much as you let them personally hurt your feelings or offend you, and, to some extent, you can control that with what beliefs you choose to voice to them.

choirgirlhotel
12-24-2008, 03:10 PM
And I'll never understand why in this world, which is so devoid of love and friendship and good cheer, anyone would try to prevent anyone else from spreading it, no matter what their religion or the time of year.

EXACTLY!!!

And like PhotoChick said in her post -- that is one of the most UN-Christian sentiments ever. Get off your self-righteous high horse and start practicing what you preach.

I don't practice any religion, and yet, I find Christmas to be the most delightful times of the entire year. Everyone is happy, relaxed because they are off work, everyone makes an effort to have dinners and parties and make food and invite people and visit.

In other cultures (I lived in Saudi Arabia so I know) they make an effort to do this ALL YEAR. Unfortunately, in the western world we don't. So when we finally muster up the energy to do it once a year, there shouldn't be anyone tsk tsk'ing about how they own Christmas and we shouldn't be celebrating it. It's silly nonsense.

~CGH~

Shannon in ATL
12-24-2008, 03:11 PM
Of course you have the right to stand up and say what you believe, but to think that there will not be personal consequences, like the loss of some friends or some family members who will not associate with you, is not realistic. A lot of people simply do not have the resources to deal with beliefs that contradict their own. It is upsetting to them...sometimes threatening to them...even terrifying to them to have to think outside of their own belief system. So you have a choice. Your beliefs are YOURS...to keep personal and private if you so choose or blast to the world if you so choose. It is up to you to decide what is worth losing in exchange for the right to say what you think. You can decide that not everyone has to know what you believe all the time. That it is not necessary to throw your beliefs in the face of those who you KNOW will be disturbed by them...yes, even when they are doing the same to you. It is kind to be gentle with people who cannot accept a wider view of what is possible. As long as our nation's laws remain strong protecting your beliefs and theirs, that is what REALLY counts. If and when the time comes that those LAWS are threatened, and I mean REALLY threatened, not the pissy little "ten commendments on the wall of the courthouse" kind of stupidity, I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with you, protecting your right to believe whatever you want. ****, I'd die to protect your right to believe whatever you want.

I am sorry, by the way, that you have suffered just because of your views on the existence of God. Atheism is a VERY hard thing for some people to swallow because it gets to the core fear that is shared by everyone...that we are FINITE, and the possibility that we are finite leads to the ultimate question, "So why am I here?" For the athiest, there is no why...you just are. A lot of people cannot face that concept...cannot listen to it. Even if they do not "believe" it, the little niggling voice in the back of their head still asks the question...and so your beliefs represent the terror of every five-year-old lying awake in bed at night, obsessing about the fact that they are going to DIE someday. Recognize that some people's five-year-old never grows up. But those people, as long as they are given no real world power, are harmless...except in as much as you let them personally hurt your feelings or offend you, and, to some extent, you can control that with what beliefs you choose to voice to them.


Schumeany, I love the way you say things. You just summarized my entire outlook on life, much better than I could have expressed it. :) Thanks. I'm going to copy that post and save it.

Schumeany
12-24-2008, 03:38 PM
Thanks Shannon. :)

bopeep
12-24-2008, 05:21 PM
Schumeany - I think you're bang on in what you say, I just wish it wasn't that way. I don't get why some people are so upset that I don't believe what they do - why they want to deny me my celebrations and traditions. I know it's an unrealistic idea to wish that everyone was more tolerant, but I am an idealist at heart. :o

It is an extreemly small minority of people that have given me a hard time about doing my own thing at Xmas, but it's a very hard to ignore minority. I have openly been an atheist for over 20 years, though I don't push it. I explain when asked, and the vast majority of people have no problem with it, the ones that do, are generally not people I want to be friends with anyway. But we all have buttons that set us off, and this seems to be becomming one of mine. :)

There is a quote improperly attributed to Voltaire, which basically has the same sentiment that you expressed: "I disagree with what you have to say but will fight to the death to protect your right to say it." (actually properly attributed to Evelyn Beatrice Hall). I agree very much with this sentiment, and always will, but I will also try to educate when a point of view is based in ignorance. :D

BP

Haley8203
12-24-2008, 05:36 PM
hey all, i consider myself agnostic but i celebrate christmas because that's the way i grew up. my mom is NOT a church go-er christmas or not i just like the pretty lights and the family get to together and who doesn't love presents! and now that i have a child she'll have fun finding presents under the tree, that's my view anyway.

happy holidays!

Thighs Be Gone
12-24-2008, 05:44 PM
BoPeep, for some the mere discussion of God not being real goes against their religious beliefs. They believe they are called to speak up in the Creator's name.

For For that reason I will have to say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD.

Schumeany
12-24-2008, 06:01 PM
Hey BP,

A couple of years ago I started a book club with some of the women in my neighborhood. We represented a VERY broad spectrum of religious and political views. Some of the women began to suggest books that pushed HARD their religious views and their political philosophy. There are A LOT of good books out there...it wasn't necessary, but they couldn't seem to help themselves. Our meetings began to get contentious. So, as I was sort of the "leader" or "host", I suggested that we have a rule that it was OK to read books that included spirituality and political ideas, but not books that came from a place that espoused ONLY one way of thought to the exclusion of others. The book club fell apart.

This past summer we were hosting the neighborhood BBQ in our front yard, and I was talking to one of my neighbors whose husband is a youth pastor, and they are very active in their church. I mentioned the book club in passing. She got upset and said that she had been offended that I had not respected her religious views. I asked her in what way. She said that I had said I didn't want to read about her beliefs. I said to her that that statement absolutely wasn't true. I was happy to read about her beliefs. That learning about different religious beliefs was fascinating to me, but I was not happy to read anything that claimed there was only one way to think, and I was not happy to have other guests in my home, some of whom had very different beliefs from hers, forced to read the same. I told her that with all the options out there, we could easily have chosen books that satisfied everyone without forcing a single viewpoint. A few minutes later, she and her family left the party.

When we see each other on the street, we are still civil to each other, but that is pretty much as far as it goes.

Oh, by the way, I am an idealist too. :)

JasonsLea
12-24-2008, 11:38 PM
For some reason, this situation makes me so angry and it didn't even happen to me! I consider myself Agnostic but Christmas to me is about being with the people you love and being happy. I love the decorations and buying gifts and just the feeling in the air. The fact that a so called 'Christian' would try to stop you from spreading the love just because you don't believe in God is just bull! No one actually knows what date Jesus was born on anyway. Christians (at least the ones I've met) have a tendency to be very hostile about their religion. They preach tolerance but don't actually practice it. I have a circle of friends with different religions (Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan, etc) and I have never witnessed any or as much hostility towards other beliefs from those religions as there is in Christianity. Okay, I'm getting long winded so I'll stop. Schumeany, you said everything I would want to say quite nicely and intelligently. Bravo!

Optical Goddess
12-25-2008, 12:03 AM
This might get me flamed, but a lot of people celebrate the holidays, but I do feel that Christmas is a Christian holiday, hence the 'Christ' part of it.

Jewish celebrate Hannukah as an example, they don't celebrate Christmas.

It's cool to get together with friends and family, visit, do whatever, but don't call it Christmas if you're not a Christian.

As far as church goes, I believe that God is in our hearts and souls. Ted Nugent finds his sanctuary with God when he's in the outdoors, among God's creation. Does that mean he has less faith than those who go to services weekly?


As far as tolerance goes, tolerance is fine, but just because I don't agree with something does not mean I'm intolerant. It just means I do not agree. I'm fine with people having other religions or lack there of, different traditions, etc. but while no one wants me to say "Merry Christmas" because it's offensive, I'm also not going to say 'Happy Holidays" to avoid offending people either.

I'm not going to go out on the streetcorner grilling people about thier holiday plans, but I'm not going to hide mine either, if I'm asked.

Atheists feel slighted because it's Christmas, the whole Christ thing, but Christians are villified for protecting what we see as the reverence of the day.

If I exchange gifts with friends and family ( of all faiths ), it doesn't mean that I have less reverence and value the day less than if I was in Church all the time.

It goes both ways.

While I may come across as intolerant because I do have passion for what I believe in, I'm also not going to push my beliefs on anyone either.

bopeep
12-25-2008, 01:41 AM
schumeany - that is so sad that your book club fell apart. Isn't that why one reads? To learn something new? I wish your narrow minded neighbour could have her blinkers removed. She would see that the world is an amazing and fascinating place and worth learning about!

I had a very interesting dinner this evening. My friends, DH and I discussed this topic almost all night. Despite the consumption of much wine, we were not able to become wise enough to figure it out :lol:

I think I will have to work on not letting the intolerance of others get to me. I will keep trying to teach them that the world is not black and white, but a rainbow of colours and really worth looking at (to be corny for a moment :D).

And I hope everyone has a great day tomorrow, no matter what you believe in. And the day after that, and the day after that...:hug:

BP

Robot
12-25-2008, 05:44 AM
I don't know why, but this thread reminds me of the time someone tried to set my brother's jacket on fire. Then the guy called my bro a "stupid Jew."

My bro laughs about it now.

choirgirlhotel
12-25-2008, 02:17 PM
It's cool to get together with friends and family, visit, do whatever, but don't call it Christmas if you're not a Christian.

Actually, Christians took a Pagan celebration day and CALLED it Christmas. So, seeing as Christians called it whatever THEY wanted, I am totally free to call it whatever I want.

Regardless, Merry Christmas to everyone here on 3FC!

~CGH~

PhotoChick
12-25-2008, 05:11 PM
Actually, Christians took a Pagan celebration day and CALLED it Christmas. They did the same with Easter. And All Saint's Day. ;)

Pretty much any Christian holiday is one that was superimposed over a "pagan" (i.e. non-Christian) holiday, to aid in converting the locals.

.

Optical Goddess
12-25-2008, 05:12 PM
Totally unrelated to the discussion, but could someone please tell me why people use "XMas", or "Xtians", why is "Christ" substituted with an X?

I'm not trying to rile anyone up, I'm just curious. Even CHristina Aguilera's alter ego is "Xtina"...

PhotoChick
12-25-2008, 05:35 PM
Here you go:

http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/xmasabbr.asp

I personally use it a lot becuase it's faster to type Xmas than Christmas. :)


.

PhotoChick
12-25-2008, 05:40 PM
It's cool to get together with friends and family, visit, do whatever, but don't call it Christmas if you're not a Christian.Just a thought about this sentiment:

What about all the immigrants in the US who celebrate Independence Day. Are they allowed to say they celebrate the 4th if they're not American citizens? I mean, it's ok to get together with your friends or family, but don't you dare say you're celebrating Independence if you're not "one of us" (i.e. an American).

Seriously. That's just silly. :)

.

tryingitagain
12-26-2008, 11:57 AM
Maybe I'm just over tolerant, but as long as people aren't hurting others it doesn't matter what you believe!!! When you actually take someone elses, space and botch it up then it is all our problem...Live and let live...be happy, and respect each other and the world would be a much better and safer place to be.

Optical Goddess
12-26-2008, 02:58 PM
Just a thought about this sentiment:

What about all the immigrants in the US who celebrate Independence Day. Are they allowed to say they celebrate the 4th if they're not American citizens? I mean, it's ok to get together with your friends or family, but don't you dare say you're celebrating Independence if you're not "one of us" (i.e. an American).

Seriously. That's just silly. :)

.

If someone is an immigrant who is working toward being an American Citizen or who is an American Citizen, I think it's awesome that they celebrate Independence Day. It might mean more ( or at least different ) to someone who has seen the other side, and wasn't born here.

But I think that Illegal immigrants shouldn't celebrate Independence day if they have no plan of becoming citizens or going through the process to be legally here.I don't think they should have the same rights as Americans. The word here is Illegal.

painted lady
12-26-2008, 05:29 PM
i use the term "Xmas" because the day is not about Christ to me. it is about family, food, friends, presents, being together, and having a good time. there's a really good Futurama episode about Xmas, and how Santa Claus is a giant murdering robot. i highly recommend it.

also, i celebrated the day yesterday with my boyfriend's family... we said "Merry Christmas" to each other and ate Christmas dinner and had a Christmas tree... but i'm agnostic (as is my boyfriend), and his family is best described as "Christian-flavored." should we have called it a "winter get-together"?

i'm confused about this 4th of July thing... are we going to start going around asking people at parades if they intend on becoming citizens? who would we even ask? would we start with non-white people, even though there are PLENTY of illegal immigrants who are white? "no sir, you can only watch the parade and eat barbecue if you plan on taking the citizenship test."

holidays don't mean very much anymore because of consumerism and the times we live in. the malls opened today at 6am so people could take advantage of sales and make up for the shopping they missed yesterday.

Shannon in ATL
12-26-2008, 05:48 PM
If someone is an immigrant who is working toward being an American Citizen or who is an American Citizen, I think it's awesome that they celebrate Independence Day. It might mean more ( or at least different ) to someone who has seen the other side, and wasn't born here.

But I think that Illegal immigrants shouldn't celebrate Independence day if they have no plan of becoming citizens or going through the process to be legally here.I don't think they should have the same rights as Americans. The word here is Illegal.

Have you ever gone to your local Mexican restaurant and had a margarita on Cinco de Mayo?

PhotoChick
12-26-2008, 05:54 PM
I don't think they should have the same rights as Americans.So wait ... am I getting this right then .. having a party, watching fireworks, grilling dogs and burgers, and enjoying the company of your friends and family is a "right" that you have to be an American to have?

I'm not sure I like the spin this thread is taking.

.

mandalinn82
12-26-2008, 06:00 PM
My personal belief is that, because no one can "own" a day or the actions of others, all we can do is control how *we* celebrate a particular holiday. I believe it crosses a line when we start telling others how *they* can celebrate something. As long as it doesn't cause harm (and I'm not sure how the goodwill, celebration, etc. of a holiday celebration could cause harm), how does one justify saying what another person can do on a particular day?

Your decision on how to celebrate might include not attending a holiday celebration at the home of a non-Christian, and that's reasonable if you feel like the celebration isn't in the spirit of your holiday. But it crosses a line to tell someone that not only will you not come to the party, but they can't throw it at all because it isn't the kind of party you'd like to go to.

Schumeany
12-26-2008, 06:26 PM
Just a point of fact here regarding immigration. Besides being a civil rights and anti-discrimination lawyer, I also did a lot of pro bono work as an immigration attorney. Anyone who uses the phrase "illegal alien" is not, in fact, correct in their terminology. To be in this country without proper documentation is not illegal. At least not in the sense that such immigrants are considered to be partaking in a criminalized behavior -- unless of course they have a "criminal history." That kicks up the stakes a bit and puts a different spin on the situation. In most cases, however, immigration is an administrative process...like licensing your vehicle or getting a permit to remodel your house...only on the federal level. Under federal law, deportation is not considered a "punishment". It is, instead, an administrative procedure. So most of the people who came here outside of the proper channels are "undocumented immigrants" not "illegal immigrants" or "illegal aliens".

In fact, if it was deemed a criminal behavior, in some ways that would be better for the alien. It would mean that they were entitled to the consitutional protections that those in our criminal court systems are entitled to -- such as an actual trial or basic criminal due process. In fact, they aren't entitled to those things. Often, they are not even entitled to an administrative hearing. Which is why I have had clients flown out of the country at 1:00 am and denied their requests to contact me or their families. Which is why people brought here as infants by their parents can be taken away from everything they have ever known and dumped across the border in a country where they know no one and they do not even speak the language. They have no "right to counsel" and have to somehow try to pay for it out of pocket or try to get help from a private, very over-worked legal aide organization. It is why things like "hearsay" can be, and often are, used by immigration courts to make their determinations.

EZMONEY
12-26-2008, 07:21 PM
This is an interesting thread.

I can't say as I have had a margarita in a Mexican restaurant on the 5th of May but I did have a Budweiser in one yesterday on Christmas. Our favorite place just happened to be open...as the owner had mentioned to us the week before.

I work with many men that do not have proper identification. Most of them are good hard working men that want nothing more than to have a decent life. Many of them have been to my home.

I will also tell you very-very few of them have even a clue what the 4th of July means to me. If you ask them about it the answer usually comes back "fireworks"

I don't think it is a secret the point Optical Goddess was trying to make. It wasn't a post about humanity.

Schumeany most of these men have openly admitted their paperwork is not legal. I have even had 2 guys give me 2 different SS# to hand into my office. As you know, as these men get "discovered" they are let go. Does this act make them illegal?

If you don't celebrate the birth of Christ, as a Christian, then you do not celebrate Christmas. You can exchange gifts, have parties, go to a movie....anything you want to. All fine things. It just isn't Christmas.

It used to bother me when people used an X instead of Christ in Christmas. It doesn't anymore. I understand that not all will be believers in Him. I also want to assure Painted Lady that I mean no disrespect to you for the X, I admire you for standing up for your beliefs and I always enjoy your thoughts. I also agree that many holidays have lost meaning because of commercialism and X's ;)

PhotoChick
12-26-2008, 07:30 PM
If you don't celebrate the birth of Christ, as a Christian, then you do not celebrate Christmas. You can exchange gifts, have parties, go to a movie....anything you want to. All fine things. It just isn't Christmas.It absolutely is Christmas. Complete with a Christmas tree, Christmas presents, and Christmas dinner. Sorry if you don't like it or if anyone else doesn't like it, but celebrating a secular Christmas is part of my CULTURAL history. I'm not going to change my culture to accommodate anyone's religious beliefs.

And I wish more Christians would learn their OWN history before they get all offended about things. The use of X as a substitute for "Christ" in Christmas, Christian, etc., was actually COINED BY EARLY GREEK CHRISTIANS. The "x" shape character is the "chi" in written Greek, which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. In a lot of early Greek texts the letter is used as an abbreviation for "Christos" or "Christ". Many early Christians used the abbreviation XP to describe THEMSELVES.

And in fact the labarum, the x/p superimposed on each other, is a common symbol for Christ in a whole bunch of Orthodox churches.

It isn't a way to take "Christ out of Christmas" and any non-Christian who uses it as such is actually just reinforcing the origins of the Greek form of "Christ".

Edited: I had to go find the Greek letters online ... but the Greek word for Christ is written like this: Χριστός
And the labarum, for those who aren't familiar with the word but probably will recognize the symbol, is here:
http://www.tattoosymbol.com/religious/labarum.jpg


.

Optical Goddess
12-26-2008, 07:40 PM
It's obvious my POV is very unpopular, and I don't think I can successfully defend my thoughts or articulate them in a way that everyone would understand.

I have expressed my beliefs, I stand by them. This is what I think. I never said I would go out and interrogate people about thier citizenship status or thier spiritual beliefs. It's just what I think. I never said I'd tell people they couldn't celebrate the holidays. I never anything about race. At all.

While I am supposed to be tolerant of all that is around me, no one is tolerant of my POV. It's fine as long as I feel the same as everyone else.

For that, I'm taking out the odd element, and bowing out of this discussion, taking away the 'bad direction' this discussion is taking.

painted lady
12-26-2008, 07:42 PM
hear hear, PhotoChick!

Schumeany
12-26-2008, 07:43 PM
Yes, EZ. If they are committing fraud, that is a criminal behavior. But that just makes them undocumented aliens who broke a US criminal law -- and they could be tried for the fraud. Of course, it has also been written into the immigration code that past criminal behavior, such as SS fraud, can be used as a basis for not granting a change in their immigration status. None of this, however, provides a basis for linking "illegal" to the front of "immigrant". Undocumented immigrants can do illegal things just like you or I could do illegal things -- such as commit fraud, but their basic status, living here in this country without the proper documentation, is not "illegal". That was my original point.

EZMONEY
12-26-2008, 08:05 PM
Thanks SCHUMEANY...that is what I wanted to know, if they were illegal because of fraud. Now another question if they came across the border, as in over a fence and not through a check-point...is this a crime?

EZMONEY
12-26-2008, 08:16 PM
It absolutely is Christmas. Complete with a Christmas tree, Christmas presents, and Christmas dinner. Sorry if you don't like it or if anyone else doesn't like it, but celebrating a secular Christmas is part of my CULTURAL history. I'm not going to change my culture to accommodate anyone's religious beliefs.

I don't believe I said I didn't like it OR asked you to change your beliefs. Maybe I should have said that you don't celebrate the Christmas the way that I do. I have no problem and surely I have expressed that, with anyone celebrating the day.

And I wish more Christians would learn their OWN history before they get all offended about things. The use of X as a substitute for "Christ" in Christmas, Christian, etc., was actually COINED BY EARLY GREEK CHRISTIANS. The "x" shape character is the "chi" in written Greek, which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. In a lot of early Greek texts the letter is used as an abbreviation for "Christos" or "Christ". Many early Christians used the abbreviation XP to describe THEMSELVES.

I don't know anyone that uses GREEK letters. Thanks, I just look at the X as an appreviated use of the word Christ...which is a word I find special.

And in fact the labarum, the x/p superimposed on each other, is a common symbol for Christ in a whole bunch of Orthodox churches.

Thanks but I haven't seen it written in such a way in my life experiences.


.


Thanks for the input Photochick

Schumeany
12-26-2008, 08:27 PM
"Christmas" is a word. You cannot own a word. You can own your own feelings surrounding words, but not someone else's. That is the basis of freedom.

EZ, the answer to your question regarding crossing the border without entering through a checkpoint may have changed in the last few years since 9/11. It did not used to be classified as criminal behavior, but I am not sure about its status now -- I have not practiced immigration law in a while, and while I try to keep up to some extent because it interests me, I do not know everything. *sigh* If it is considered criminal now, the undocumented alien would have committed a violation of a US criminal statute...but it would be equally illegal for a US citizen to cross the border without stopping at the checkpoints. Which gets us back to my original point. Just being here without documentation does not make you an "illegal alien". How you got here might weigh against you in the administrative procedure because of how it effects your "criminal history", but not the basic fact that you are here.

EZMONEY
12-26-2008, 08:48 PM
Thanks Schumeany....I don't think it really matters much anymore how one got here.

I am working with a gentleman now that is the only one in his family of 5 that is not a legal resident of California. He has 2 older sisters and one brother, one sister younger....all born here. He was not.

His mother was murdered by his father when he was a teen-ager....got into trouble with drugs....served time. A great guy today, 17 years later. But always on the run....sad.

Schumeany
12-26-2008, 08:56 PM
EZ, I could tell you twenty stories as bad as his or worse. Being the only one in your family without proper status, for one reason or another, is pretty common. It is also pretty common to find out as an adult that you don't have proper status...because your parents lied to you or they simply did not understand all the steps of a very complicated process themselves. In some cases, those are the saddest situations. Imagine believing your whole life you were a US Citizen, and then having the Immigration Service show up on your doorstep one day and place you into custody and then fly you to some country that you have never been to in your life...and leave you there with no money and no connections. It would be terrifying.

EZMONEY
12-26-2008, 09:11 PM
That's what makes discussing the "situation" so hard SCHU....trying to separate humanity from laws and the expense of the "situation".

Thank you for your help.

And yes there are many more stories, I have several guys I work with with situations that scare them each and every day. Great guys but caught up in the "buy...buy...buy" of the world today, the collapse of their dreams of homes....high debt... and nowhere to go....papers not legal...companies refusing to hire them anymore because of the crime of hiring "illegal" workers....sad. Going "back" is NOT an option for many of them....staying here is becoming more difficult.

Lori Bell
12-26-2008, 11:04 PM
So apparently, I can't have people over for tasty food and drink right now, because I am an atheist!?! :?: :mad:

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!!! :censored:

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! :D Bah humbug! :devil:

BP

I guess what I don't understand is why do you care what this person thinks? Some cyber message board groupie shouldn't have that much control over you. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the main principals of atheism is that one has no belief in a "god" or power greater than themselves. I would venture to say that you are giving into a higher power if you allow comments about Christmas or anything else for that matter to offend you.

PhotoChick
12-26-2008, 11:07 PM
I would venture to say that you are giving into a higher power if you allow comments about Christmas or anything else for that matter to offend you.Being offended by ignorance and intolerance means you're "giving in to a higher power"? Could you explain that further?

I am quite annoyed at the repeated expressions of "why do you care" that keeps being thrown out there.

Let me ask this: If someone came here and said "on another board someone told me I didn't have a right to eat holiday food because I'm fat" everyone on this board would be up in arms ... giving support and comfort and telling the OP that she should be strong and ignore those who are clueless and ignorant. But because someone is annoyed or upset because she was slammed for her atheism, then she is instead given various versions of "why do you care" and "it's your problem" and "it's just a message board".

So is support here only for those who believe in some god or gods? Or is it for everyone, regardless of their religious choices?

.

Beautiful Ace
12-26-2008, 11:09 PM
PhotoChick.... I had the same ideas in my head, and wanted to post them, but I didn't know how to word it. You can express yourself so well!

So yeh, what she said.

bopeep
12-26-2008, 11:10 PM
PhotoChick - If I had a dollar for every time I had to explain that the use of X for Christ is as old as Christianity itself, I'd be rich!! :lol: Another one I have to explain a lot is that the Immaculate Conception refers to Mary's conception, not Jesus' conception. I'm not very familiar with most American Protestant denominations, but it seems they aren't teaching the history of Christianity as much as they ought to...

Optical Goddess - I don't understand why you would want to deny any celebration to anyone? That seems just plain mean spirited. I understand you take pride in certain things you feel are important to you, but my natural thought would be to share them. One time I visited the US on the 4th of July, and I was invited to participate in your holiday. I'm not an American, nor will I ever be, but I enjoyed the traditional barbeque and fireworks - I was made to feel very welcome by the Americans I was with and I left with a great opinion of them. No one said "Go away, this is my holiday and not yours". You are always welcome to your opinion (and I would never say everyone should have the same opinion - that gets boring fast...), but to use it to try to deny something to someone else that wants to participate is unfair.

If we look at our lives carefully, we'll see a huge portion of what we do is a taken from somewhere else. I recently started belly dancing, but I'm not from the Middle East. Anyone do yoga? That's got some serious roots in Indian practices. What about katate? Judo? Anyone like French cinema? Italian opera? Sushi? Tacos? We all share and participate in things that come from somewhere else. It's one of the great things in life - sharing and exchanging ideas and practices.

And I would loooove to be able to go to a local Mexican restaurant for a margarita on Cinco de Mayo, but we don't have very many Mexican Restaurants here in Montreal, and the few that do exist can't make a decent margarita to save their lives.

BP

PhotoChick
12-26-2008, 11:20 PM
I'm not very familiar with most American Protestant denominations, but it seems they aren't teaching the history of Christianity as much as they ought to...Hardly at all. It's kind of sad really. I grew up Catholic and then in high school I began going to an independent Baptist church (mom was Catholic, dad was Southern Baptist - an odd combination). In college I found a better balance in the Episcopal church and, as of right now I'm still a registered, baptized member of the Anglican Communion, although I don't attend church. I do find the ritual to be beautiful and oddly comforting at times, but that's more about the sense of tradition and childhood comfort, I think.

I don't believe any more (and i don't really care to get in depth into my belief system on a public board for reasons you probably can relate to! :) ), but I do think my personal experience both in and out of the various denominations gives me a pretty interesting perspective.

Combine that with my degree in History and my passion for social and cultural history ... religion in all it's forms fascinates me.

All of that to say, that no, most American denominations have no clue about the history of their various belief systems. Most of them have no idea about the various shades of meaning in the original texts of the Bible and have no idea HOW the translations of the texts they use to substantiate their faith came about. Christianity is one of the only religions I know of where the faithful aren't expected to read their religious texts in the original forms and to understand the history of their faith.

Oh and the thing about the Immaculate Conception makes me crazy. ;)


.

PhotoChick
12-26-2008, 11:25 PM
Oh and about denying the celebration ... it seems to me that attitude is the very opposite of what a real Christian attitude would be. I would think that encouraging people to celebrate the day and using it as a jumping off point to share your faith with them would be much more effective than pointing fingers and crying "you can't play in this sandbox because you don't believe what I do".

I dunno. Color me crazy, but I don't believe the Jesus of the Bible would tell anyone that they couldn't celebrate "his" day because they didn't believe in him.

.

bopeep
12-26-2008, 11:36 PM
I guess what I don't understand is why do you care what this person thinks?

Because it is wrong to tell me that I cannot have friends over for dinner at this time of year. If this was one singel person that had said this, I might not be as bothered by it, but it is an attitude I have encountered *many* times.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the main principals of atheism is that one has no belief in a "god" or power greater than themselves. I would venture to say that you are giving into a higher power if you allow comments about Christmas or anything else for that matter to offend you.

I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense. I am supposed to stifle my emotions and feelings because I am an atheist? Am I not allowed to be happy either?

An individual's comments *will* have the power to irritate or upset me if they attempt to infringe or deny me something I believe is important. That's life - we all get upset at comments sometimes. I have feelings and emotions, and denying them is unhealthy. When someone tells me I'm fat, I get upset because my feelings are hurt. I might try to deny it or shrug it off, but I *will* be bothered to some degree by it. When someone tells me *I* can't have a dinner party because *they* are having a religious celebration, I am upset by that.

I'm human, and I feel, just like everyone else.


BP

bopeep
12-27-2008, 12:08 AM
PhotoChick - Catholic, Anglican and Scottish Presbyterian were the big ones where I grew up, and they are all BIG on history. Like all denominations, they all have their opinion on why their version of Christianity and the bible are the 'true' version, but those big ones all insist on drumming their histories and theologies into their parishioner's heads! :lol:

I'm also a history fan, and a history of religion fan (re-reading Josephus' 'Antiquities of the Jews' right now actually (translated of course - I can't read Ancient Greek :D), so I often find myself having to explain what the origin or meaning of some practice is. :dizzy: I've not ever formally studdied these things - I just find them fascinating.

BP

recidivist
12-27-2008, 12:16 AM
Shumeany said:
Recognize that some people's five-year-old never grows up. But those people, as long as they are given no real world power, are harmless...except in as much as you let them personally hurt your feelings or offend you

Bopeep, what Shumeany said here is the key to this whole thing. If you let what people say to you have power over you, then they win. You have absolute control of how you let others affect you. If you don't believe what they say, then those words should hold no power over your feelings. (unless you let them).

I too am an atheist and I love parts of Christmas (good will and peace on earth, sharing good times and food with family and friends, and the bright lights and glitter), and hate parts of it (the commercialism). It will always be Christmas to me.

There is nothing religious about a Christmas tree, exchanging gifts, cooking a meal, or having friends over. So to do any of those things does not mean you are celebrating Christ's birth...just that you are celebrating a secular holiday that is most likely a family tradition. And a lovely one at that.


Optical Goddess said:
while no one wants me to say "Merry Christmas" because it's offensive, I'm also not going to say 'Happy Holidays" to avoid offending people either.

I have no problem with people saying Merry Christmas. And I think it's silly to say happy holiday to make sure you don't offend someone, so feel free to express it any way you like. :D

Atheists feel slighted because it's Christmas, the whole Christ thing, but Christians are villified for protecting what we see as the reverence of the day.I don't feel slighted at all. I love the holiday and the feelings of warmth and cheer. The fact that it's a secular holiday to me and a religious one to you is fine with me.

Totally unrelated to the discussion, but could someone please tell me why people use "XMas", or "Xtians", why is "Christ" substituted with an X?
As a kid I used to write xmas, because it was easier and I was lazy, and I was a Christian at the time, so I would not have meant it to be an offense to Christ. It doesn't mean a thing to me except as an abbreviation for the day, just like I often write bday for birthday.

Schumeany said:
Besides being a civil rights and anti-discrimination lawyer
I knew there was a reason I liked you! :lol:

It absolutely is Christmas. Complete with a Christmas tree, Christmas presents, and Christmas dinner. Sorry if you don't like it or if anyone else doesn't like it, but celebrating a secular Christmas is part of my CULTURAL history.
Exactly!

I have expressed my beliefs, I stand by them. This is what I think.

While I am supposed to be tolerant of all that is around me, no one is tolerant of my POV. It's fine as long as I feel the same as everyone else.
Optical Goddess, I'm not sure I'm understanding your comment. You are not being intolerant when you disagree with some of the people here, yet you think they are being intolerant when they don't agree with what you say? No need to bow out. Just understand that some of us are no more inclined to agree to your beliefs than you are to ours.

An individual's comments *will* have the power to irritate or upset me if they attempt to infringe or deny me something I believe is important.
Bopeep, no one has the power to deny you the right to celebrate Christmas. Their words have no power over your actions. The only power anyone has over your feelings are you. I understand your idealism, but why not just stand up for your beliefs and state them proudly, and accept that others have the right to state their beliefs too, as Optical Goddess has done here. If you are not ashamed of your beliefs and feelings there is no reason to feel defensive (or angry).

lizziep
12-27-2008, 12:16 AM
Well- I celebrated Christmas yesterday with my husbands family- some Christians, some agnostics, a pagan, a Buddhist, and some athiests. We had a christmas tree, presents, and a nice dinner together. None of us non-Christians burst into flames, Jesus did not smite us, and we all had a great time enjoying the holiday and whatever it means to us as individuals.
Not one of them decided not to come over to my house because they knew I wasn't Christian.
A lot of interesting points brought up here- and some of them make me really question how people come to believe what they believe.

two side notes- July 4th has always just been fireworks and alcohol for me and most people I know. And I once did read an article that outlined why it was immoral for Christians to practice yoga. It was totally serious and written by a Christian who truly believed that spending that time was opening yourself up to the devil.

Happy Holidays- whatever you celebrate and however you decide to celebrate it.

PhotoChick
12-27-2008, 12:21 AM
And I once did read an article that outlined why it was immoral for Christians to practice yoga. It was totally serious and written by a Christian who truly believed that spending that time was opening yourself up to the devil.Yup. I mentioned above that when I was in high school I started going to a fundamentalist Baptist church. I started taking a yoga class after school and I remember being called into the youth pastor's office and "counseled" on how I was opening myself up to demonic influences by doing so.

.

PhotoChick
12-27-2008, 12:25 AM
Oh cool. I read Josephus in college. That and Eusebius' history of the church, which is really interesting when you read it at the same time as you're reading Augustine and the Venerable Bede for another class. :)

.

Schumeany
12-27-2008, 01:27 AM
Demonic yoga? :dizzy:

PhotoChick
12-27-2008, 01:39 AM
Demonic yoga? :dizzy:

Here you go:
http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-yoga.html
Yoga originated with a blatantly anti-Christian philosophy, and that philosophy has not changed. It teaches one to focus on oneself instead of on the one true God. It encourages its participants to seek the answers to life's difficult questions within their own conscience instead of in the Word of God. It also leaves one open to deception from God's enemy, who searches for victims that he can turn away from God

And the more .. um ... intense version:
http://www.macgregorministries.org/cult_groups/yoga.html
Christians practicing yoga need to cease immediately, repent of it, and ask God's forgiveness.

.

Schumeany
12-27-2008, 01:59 AM
Thanks Photochick. I had never heard that before...demonic yoga. Who knew?

Hey Recidivist, I like you too. :) For the sake of true honesty, I should have said that I WAS a civil rights and anti-discrimination attorney. A couple of years ago, I gave up lawyering to become the executive director of a non-profit that helps children with disabilities expand their educational opportunities and helps guarantee their legal rights.

bopeep
12-27-2008, 02:05 AM
Oh cool. I read Josephus in college. That and Eusebius' history of the church, which is really interesting when you read it at the same time as you're reading Augustine and the Venerable Bede for another class. :)
.

I read Eusebius four or five years ago - I think it took me a whole winter to get through (LCL version - tried to learn some of the Greek, but without a teacher... Yikes!)! I have never actually read Bede - every time I remember to look for a copy of the Ecclesiastical History, I can't find one! :lol:

I love my copy of Josephus - it's a 150 year old William Whiston translation and is really hard to get through with the 300 year old usage! I keep thinking I should get the newer translation, but then it wouldn't be my beautiful old book... :o My brother gave it to me for my birthday several years ago, so I have an attachment to it anyway, and I couldn't really replace it.

All this reminds me - it's time for a pilgramage to the local used bookstore. They specialize in buying and selling the university students literature and history books, and it should be packed full now since the fall term is over. Maybe I will finally both remember to look for Bede and find it! :lol:

BP

bopeep
12-27-2008, 02:18 AM
Wow - demonic yoga. I would laugh if it wasn't serious. :(

There is a perfect example of some people really not paying attention to their history. How could something that originated before the Christian era be 'blatantly anti-Christian' in it's philosophy?

So I guess tai chi is out too ;)

BP

Schumeany
12-27-2008, 03:58 AM
BP, the whole Atheism thing is all well and good, but I went back and read that you're...*gasp*...Canadian! And I offered to DIE for you? What was I thinking? ;)

JasonsLea
12-27-2008, 04:16 AM
Schumeany and PhotoChick ~ I <3 yall! :hug: :D History is my favorite subject so thanks for the lessons.

A online friend of mine was given a pamphlet by her therapist (of all people) and in it they had a list of anti Christian practices that included yoga, martial arts, and Islam! W.O.W! :dizzy:

Schumeany
12-27-2008, 06:01 AM
Thanks JasonsLea :) I have been enjoying the history lessons myself. I never linked the Orthodox symbol, which I had seen before, to the Greek letter "chi". I learned something new today. Love that!

zoesnana
12-27-2008, 11:34 AM
I am not a christian. I do however resect everyone's beliefs. I consider myself to be a mixture of Athiest/Agnostic/Pagan/Buddist all rolled into one. But I would like to ask all you Christians why you celebrate the birth of Christ in December instead of March which is technically when he would have been born?

bopeep
12-27-2008, 12:47 PM
But I would like to ask all you Christians why you celebrate the birth of Christ in December instead of March which is technically when he would have been born?

Christmas has been celebrated on December 25 since at least the year 336, when Emporer Constantine converted to Christianity (January 6, Epiphany, was the other popular date). The reasons for that date are not 100% clear, but the most widely accepted one is that several popular Roman holidays fell on or around that day.

And as to the 'real' date of Christ's birth. Well, that is a very hotly debated subject! The March date comes from the linking of Jesus' birth to the birth of John the Baptist, and that puts it at either September or March. The historian Josephus' linked the date of Christ's birth to the death of King Herod and an eclipse, putting it in late December. Clement of Alexandria states that the the death of Commodus (a Roman emperor) falls some exact number of years and days after the birth of Christ, also making it December 25th. Several other historians accounts of the timing put it at either December 25th or January 6th.

BP

bopeep
12-27-2008, 12:51 PM
BP, the whole Atheism thing is all well and good, but I went back and read that you're...*gasp*...Canadian! And I offered to DIE for you? What was I thinking? ;)

Yup - I'm an evil Canadian Atheist :D We hold nothing sacred, except maybe hockey and poutine. :p

BP

Schumeany
12-27-2008, 02:07 PM
Poutine...on 3FC? Have you no shame?

PhotoChick
12-27-2008, 02:10 PM
Here a short articles on why the date of Dec 25th:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2000/dec08.html

Also as Bopeep said, there are a bunch of events that have been used to try to pinpoint the exact date. But also keep in mind that different religions use different calendars. The Jewish calendar bears no resemblance to the Western/Christian calendar. Add to that the switch between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The Gregorian calendar wasn't adopted worldwide. I think it was first proposed in the 300s, not officially adopted by the Church until the 1500s and I seem to recall that the US and Britain didn't adopt it until the mid 1700s. Russia was the last to adopt it in the mid 1800s, I think. I could look up the exact dates, I'm sure.

So really the church took a "best guess" ... added in the local religious celebrations ... and the Pope just declared one particular day for consistency.

But then we've done the same with Lincoln and Washington's birthdays, Labor Day, etc., that we've moved by government decree over the years - solely for hte purpose of making them more convenient for people to have 3 or 4-day weekends and so forth.

.

choirgirlhotel
12-27-2008, 03:20 PM
Poutine...on 3FC? Have you no shame?

Poutine is probably why I gained those 10 lb so quickly! I'm Canadian, but just discovered poutine about six weeks ago (hmmm, after gaining 10 lb in six weeks, coincidence? :shrug:)

~CGH~

Lori Bell
12-27-2008, 03:52 PM
Being offended by ignorance and intolerance means you're "giving in to a higher power"? Could you explain that further?

I am quite annoyed at the repeated expressions of "why do you care" that keeps being thrown out there.

Let me ask this: If someone came here and said "on another board someone told me I didn't have a right to eat holiday food because I'm fat" everyone on this board would be up in arms ... giving support and comfort and telling the OP that she should be strong and ignore those who are clueless and ignorant. But because someone is annoyed or upset because she was slammed for her atheism, then she is instead given various versions of "why do you care" and "it's your problem" and "it's just a message board".

So is support here only for those who believe in some god or gods? Or is it for everyone, regardless of their religious choices?

.

Well sure. If you are offended by ignorance, (which is hard for me to understand why you would call someone who believes differently than you ignorant) or intolerance, then the forces of these emotions are more powerful than you are. It's very simple. Why do you care about something that you absolutely do not believe in? I don't give a rats @$$ about boxing and I would never go on a message board where I have openly expressed I don't believe in the violence of boxing and announce I was having a party during the the world heavyweight championship, but it was NOT a boxing celebration. Furthermore get all mad when someone told me I shouldn't have one because I don't believe in the violence of boxing. Like Duh. I don't care about it, I don't talk about it, it is a non-issue. I don't care that you might love it, I don't care if you practice it, I don't care about it period.

PhotoChick
12-27-2008, 04:17 PM
Lori your logic is skewed.

No one was talking about being offended about something they dont' care about. The OP was told that it was wrong for her to have any kind of "celebration" this time of year because it was Christmas and as an atheist she doesn't have the right to celebrate anything.

That's not about her belief. That's about someone who is ignorant and intolerant telling her that she's not allowed to get together with her family and exchange gifts because she doesn't believe what they do.

And yes, she has a right to be offended by that. That's not about her belief. That's about her right as an American and as a human being to do whatever the heck she wants as long as it doesn't infringe on someone else's right.

And that has NOTHING to do with "giving in to a higher power". People have rights as individuals whether they are atheists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Jains, or whatever they happen to carry as a spiritual faith.

It disturbs me that you seem to equate having rights with belief in a higher power exclusively.

Oh and by the way, don't twist my words. I IN NO WAY said that someone who believes differently from me is ignorant. I said that someone who thinks I don't have the same rights they do because I don't believe the way they do is ignorant. But those are two drastically different things.

.

Justwant2Bhealthy
12-27-2008, 04:20 PM
PHOTOCHICK ~ I was wondering if you know when Caesar Augusta (?) demanded the first tax in Rome, for the bible says that was held just before JESUS was born (remember Joseph had to take Mary back to Bethlehem for the census and tax payment); that should have given them a better idea of the day he was born, becuz she gave birth to Jesus just before or after that. Any ideas, as I know you are a history lover???

Uhmmm ... the date was just a guestimate really, from what I know; and they also changed the sabbath to Sunday here in North America as well, and a friend recently asked me why they did that too? :dunno:

And heck, I do a light form of yoga and tai chi for seniors; and there is nothing bad in that. When I meditate, I only meditate on bible scriptures, so what's wrong with that? I think too many people make comments about subjects that they really don't have any clue about. :dizzy:

There is no inherent sin in doing yoga or tai chi. I have a tai chi video by a master, and it's just beautiful movements to beautiful music. And the yoga we do here is mainly stretches, walking, and contemplation of whatever you want to think about; plus my PILATES guide is very similar.

I'm a Christian, but I respect other people's opinions ...

painted lady
12-27-2008, 04:36 PM
is there ANY "sin" in practicing yoga? i honestly can't see where it would even be a factor.

PhotoChick
12-27-2008, 04:39 PM
I was wondering if you know when Caesar Augusta (?) demanded the first tax in Rome, for the bible says that was held just before JESUS was born (remember Joseph had to take marry back to Bethlehem for the census and tax payment); that should have given them a better idea of the day he was born, becuz she gave birth to Jesus just before or after that.Yeah, see that's problematical because there are actually 3 or 4 census recordings that were taking during Augustus' reign as Emporer (I don't recall the exact number, but I believe that Augustus himself listed him as some of the most important things he did during his reign).

But even then, that doesn't pinpoint a specific DAY because taking a census isn't something that is done on a day or even over a week period. Even in the US, our census, which is taken every 10 years, takes 6+ months to complete. I think when the last census paperwork was sent out, our copy said we had 90 days to complete and return it? Something like that.

Ok, I just did a quick google and the generally accepted dates of Augustus' censuses (censi? :) ) are:
28 BC
8 BC
14 AD
(http://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/augdates.html)

So ... there's a rough year there (and this timeline shows Jesus being born about 6/7 BC) but it wouldn't be any aid in giving you an exact date. A census could have taken many years to complete back in those times.

.

Justwant2Bhealthy
12-27-2008, 04:59 PM
Oh, thanks PHOTOCHICK ~ yes, I see what you mean; the census does take some time to do. Thanks for googling that too.

OP ~ you can celebrate whatever you want, whenever you want, in my opinion; I was giggling at some of the responses here. ie Christians jealous of other's stealing their holiday! ;) That's a good one ... :lol:

PAINTED LADY ~ I agree whole-heartedly; I was really miffed when I read that one! :dizzy:

IMHO ~ Now for my personal opinion, not talking to or about anyone or thing specifically, and I mean no offence to anyone -- but, I do think that sometimes, some Christians are a tad judgemental, and hastily so; which BTW, is a sin; which was mostly directed towards Christians in the bible days, and we need to work on that one. Paul, one of Jesus' latter ministers was vehement about not being judgemental about anything! We are encouraged to 'DISCERN' with wisdom, compassion, and mercy: but that's a whole different matter. Finally, we were instructed to do whatever we could to get along with our 'neighbour' ...

Afterall, we share this life and this world ...

JayEll
12-27-2008, 05:01 PM
Wow! Sure wish I had seen this thread before now! :lol:

Well--many of you know I'm Buddhist. (I don't mean I "like Buddhist thinking" or "am a philosophical Buddhist." I mean that I am a practicing, refuge-taking, teacher-following Buddhist.) Now, Buddhists do not believe in a creator god, and therefore technically Buddhists are atheists.

I grew up, however, in a mostly LDS family in Salt Lake. At the time, the entire society was dominated by that sect.

So, I do have personal difficulty with Christians or anyone else trying to tell other people what they should or should not do based on their own religious views.

There aren't any Buddhist holidays around the time of Christmas. However, I see it as a time when many faiths celebrate love and compassion, and that's not a bad thing. What bothers me (and many Christians as well) is the consumerism bit.

But now, it's past for another year. Happy New Year, everyone.

Jay

mauvaisroux
12-27-2008, 11:40 PM
Interesting discussion - I have enjoyed reading everyone's post - good points and history lessons. The thread is getting a little long and we are now moving on to New Year's I'm going to close it now.

Anyone up for a discussion on the origins of New Year's Eve traditions? :D