December 25, 2013

Some Atheists Do Not Celebrate Christmas

christmas 2007
christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)
The politics of the "war on Christmas" are well known, and it is no secret that conservative groups have found it to be a lucrative means of separating gullible Americans from their money. To the extent that Christians feel that their holiday has been ruined, a brief look in the mirror should be all that is necessary to identify those responsible. As they have largely turned their backs on their own bibles and embraced the commercial aspects of holiday, they have managed to secularize Christmas far more effectively than the secular progressives they love to demonize ever could have accomplished. That is, Christians have willingly participated in the commercialization and secularization of Christmas.

Meanwhile, many atheists celebrate a secular version of Christmas that is difficult to distinguish from the secular version of Christmas celebrated by many Christians. Others have suggested the creation of other secular occasions distinct from Christmas. For an atheist determined to celebrate something in late December, there are quite a few options.

Much has been made of a divide in the atheist community over Christmas and whether atheists should celebrate it. While the divide seems rather trivial, despite media exaggeration, the subject of Christmas does appear to be a sore spot for some atheists. Some are quick to interpret practically any discussion of Christmas as prescriptive. This has bitten me multiple times even though I have gone out of my way to explain that describing what I think or feel is not the same thing as my telling someone else what they should think or feel. For some atheists, merely hearing another atheist say that he or she does not celebrate Christmas appears to be troublesome. For a few examples of the difficulty some atheists appear to have merely acknowledging the fact that some of us do not celebrate anything in December, I refer you to the comments on this post.

When I have written here previously about how I do not celebrate Christmas, I do not believe I have never argued that other atheists should join me in abandoning Christmas. I've said again and again that if other atheists want to celebrate it, I hope they have fun and don't let anything get in their way. I've assumed that they would take a similar approach toward those of us who do not celebrate any holidays in December, but many seem unable to resist telling me that I should celebrate, that there is something wrong with me if I don't, and so on. I suspect I'm not the only one who hears this. I wonder if I made a mistake by not adding Christmas to the list of big questions that divide atheists.

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