April 16, 2017

Atheists Mocking Religious Holidays

Easter eggs
Atheists only mock [insert name of any particular religious holiday] because they are jealous of those of us who are celebrating it.
Have you heard this one before? I hear it quite often, which probably shouldn't be surprising given the sort of thing I tend to write about religious holidays like Easter and Christmas. While I suppose it is possible that some atheists might mock a religious holiday for this reason, I have three issues with this line of argument which I will share below.

First, by referring to "atheists" rather than "some atheists," the person appears to be making a claim about all atheists who mock religious holidays. Even if it was true that some atheists who mocked did so out of jealousy, it is quite a stretch to assume that this is true for every atheist who does so. Essentially, the person making this claim is overgeneralizing about atheists.

Second, the claimant appears to be asserting that the only reason an atheist might mock a religious holiday is out of jealousy. All it would take would be one other reason for mocking a religious holiday to expose this assertion is false. Can you think of any other reasons an atheist might mock a religious holiday? Yeah, me too.

Third, the charge that atheists are jealous of people who celebrate religious holidays is difficult to sustain for the simple reason that most atheists are free to celebrate any religious holiday we wish. Atheists can join in religious celebrations if we want (e.g., attending church with religious family members). We can also celebrate any religious holiday in a secular manner (e.g., buying gifts for friends, violating the biblical prohibition against decorating a tree, or even hiding Lucifer's testicles for our children). Based on what I hear from atheists every December, the vast majority of them celebrate Christmas in a secular manner and are beyond content to do so.