Well, I named this post “The “War on Christmas”, and how it’s wrong”, and I guess I should specify that it’s “how I think it’s wrong”. You see, I am an atheist who have no trouble with greeting people with a smile and a “Merry Christmas”. I have no problem walking past a christmas crib at the mall, outside a church, or on someone’s lawn. I have no problem with huge billboards telling me I need to shop until my wallet bleed, because it’s christmas, and that’s what you do. If I knew people celebrating hannukah, kwanzaa, or whatever, and they said “Happy Hannukah” or “Merry Kwanzaa” or what it is they say, I’d reply politely, and smile back. You know why? Because that’s the polite way to be.
That’s the way to act in a society – you give and you take. And you try to be polite while at it. We wouldn’t like anarchy, now would we? Not that I think there’ll be anarchy in the street if people had to say “Happy Hollidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, but some people might be a bit grumpy about it.
“But, aren’t you an atheist?” you might ask. “Aren’t you supposed to hate Christmas, you satan-worshipper?” To that I’ll have to answer: “Well, no!” or “Yes, I’m an atheist, but no I don’t hate christmas. I think it’s fantastic to get some days off from work, spend them with the people I love, eat a bit different than the rest of the year, go meet friends and have a drink, and end the whole thing with fireworks on new years eve. I just don’t believe Jesus was born – or that he is/was the son of god.”
“But, we atheists don’t like having christmas showed down our throats! Let’s get rid of the whole crap!” Yes, I’ve heard atheists say this, and well… I sort of agree. We shouldn’t have to waddle through Jesus, cribs, carolers (although some of them really know how to sing!) and stuff like that if we didn’t want to, but forcing them to stop right at this moment is wrong.
Take a look at the christmas your parents celebrated as kids. Then your grandparents when they were kids. Your great-grandparents. Do you note anything? Yes, the religious aspect is falling apart. The way we celebrate christmas today, and the way they did it a hundred years ago, is so different a priest from a hundred years ago would condemn us all to hell. Church-goers and atheists!
Let me tell you a story, and see if you understand where I’m going:
I used to love meat. Beef, pork, bacon, you know – with gravy, and mashed potatoes. Hold the veg. I claimed I was a carnivoure, so I should eat lots of meat. Then I met a girl. A girl I fell in love with, who fell in love with me. We live together, and although she’s not a vegetarian, she’s quite fond of vegetables. She decided to make me eat my greens. Now, there are a few different ways she could do this. She could stop serving meat. “Sorry, only vegetarian food from today!” How long do you think I’d last before I went to the nearest junk food joint? Or, she could plant the seed (sorry, no pun intended!) playing the health card. “You know, if you eat some veg, you’ll loose a few pounds, your heart will love you, and blah, blah, blah!” (You have heard it, right? The vegetable health card!) Then she could add some vegetables to my meat, and reduce the amount of flesh.
She did the second option, and now – 5 years down the line – while I still enjoy a great steak once a while, I love cooking and eating vegetarian food! I would never have thought that five years ago.
This is what we should do with religion and christmas as well. Plant the seed. Let people change over time. It’s already happened over the last hundred years or so, so why not give it some more time to change? If we say “No! Bad christian! Stop!” they’ll (pun intended!) crucify themselves, and never move an inch.
Think about it. There is no war on christmas. Christmas is in effect a dead tradition. We use it to shop way more than we need, eat way more than we can take, drink more than we should, and argue with our family over what tradition is better right here, right now. (Watching Disney’s christmas cartoons, or doing the dishes? Or whatever else people argue over during christmas). Who got the biggest gift, who got the most expensive gift? Or even better: Who gave the most expensive gift! We don’t have time for religion anymore. No need to fight a war over christmas, because in essence, the atheists have won.
Merry Christmas from me!