As we approach my favorite holiday(Day of the Dead) followed be a couple more popular ones, I want to know where other Atheist stand on the subject.
I know the dead are not coming back to visit us and I think even most Theist don't believe that either but I still enjoy the celebrations and the reminder of loved ones who have past. I like dressing up, wandering the streets, handing out candy, "visiting" my grandparents, and sharing stories about them with my family. Thanksgiving gives me an excuse to drive half way across the country to spend time with my brother and enjoy a fantastic meal. Christmas forces me to get something nice for my godchildren(please excuse the term if you know a better one let me know) who deserve it. By force I don't mean because of the holiday but because it's a "pay it forward" thing. I did not grow up with much but I was fortunate to have a well off godmother growing up who always gave me the best gifts. I remember how much joy those gifts brought me and how much a few of them still do. It only seems fair if I could do that for a few children who will probably be the closest I will ever have to my own.
Although I find the history of these holidays to be disturbing and sometimes interesting, my personal history of these holidays means more to me.
"christmas" and Easter survived christianity... they will likely survive atheism as well.
Halloween, at least in the way we celebrate it has just been a bastard of a holiday with multiple independent origins.
As for "thanksgiving", this is just a cultural celebration in america of this new land... err... uhh, our alliance with the indians... err, no... our conquest of the americas... wait, wow... really shouldn't say that one... OH, I know! Thanksgiving is our celebration of how Quetzalcoatl did not eat us for what we did to his people... because gods don't exist.
I think you missed his point. Re-read it. The point was that we don't have to do anything. But we can do whatever we want. Whether it be enjoy holidays or enjoy the sun or moonlight. It is a general "experience life for what it has to offer". This key part of the final sentence provides the context for the entire post: "our very human ability to enjoy life in all its marvelous aspects."
I'm picturing Godfried Huxley as scrawny little boy who got beat up by bully's and is out to take his revenge on the internet because he didn't qualify for the police academy.
Realize that the so-called "Christian" holidays of Christmas and Easter were co-opted from pagan celebrations. Constantine, the Roman emperor credited with promulgating Christianity, co-opted the pagan celebrations at the time in order to more easily "convert" them. He also paid people to be baptized, among other things.
Anyway, holidays are more about being with family and friends--not about any god or goddess. Even the symbols many used today are pagan, such as Christmas trees (16th century German) Yule Logs, Easter eggs (Symbol of the pagan goddess Oester) etc.
if we can learn anything from christians it's that holidays can mean whatever you want them to mean
you don't have to believe in anything to enjoy them. . .
I miss the religious attachment to holidays. It brought a level of dimension that they do not have now. I still try to enjoy them. Last night my wife and I carved a pumpkin while watching the charlie brown special on hulu. It was still fun, but Christmas is nowhere near as great and neither is easter.
I still love Christmas.
The gifts, the tree, even the endless Christmas movie marathons on every channel. The great thing about being Atheist is we can celebrate whatever and however we want!
I understand why you're asking this question. You do know that decorating a tree, giving presents, sing songs and giving gifts has nothing to do with the birth of a deity. It's what our pagan anscetors done. Dec 21, Winter Solstice, the Northen Hemisphere They knew that day was the beginning of the days getting longer. So what I have been doing is celebrating that. No Deity, no, Wise Man going to a Manger, and no star of bethelem, and no going to a church. The same with Easter, which is also a pagan holiday, that celebrates the beginning of Spring. So relax and celebrate events that actually happen.
At my age I celebrate just waking up and realizing air is still passing through my nose...... :^ )
some muslims are enjoying Christmas when it's prohibited in Islam...but when I ask myself why muslims do this? I think because it is a cool thing to do it, fun and enjoyable! so in my view, that's why I see that is not necessary to a Christian to enjoy your holidays.. just enjoy your time!
I really don't appreciate it when the religious claim these holidays as their own, and call atheists hypocrites or something similar for celebrating and participating in them. I have as much of a right as anybody else to celebrate whatever holiday I want to, and to enjoy it.
Holidays are no longer religious festivals or purely days of prayer and repentance and solemn remembrance of some ancient idol who heard some voices. It doesn't matter if you're religious or not. The point of Christmas, and what I like about Christmas, has nothing to do with the fact that "Christ" is in the name of it. It's nothing religious.
I grew up in a non-religious family, and I mean that in the most literal way possible. Religion was literally never discussed. We weren't urged towards Christianity just as we weren't shoved toward atheism. My parents never brought up god, or Jesus, or the Bible. We just didn't talk about it. And I am so glad we didn't. Christmas wasn't religious for us - it was simply about giving (and, let's face it, getting - at least from a child's perspective).
December was always a month of family gatherings, cozy nights by the fire, family meals, hanging out with friends, and relaxing. Humans are social animals and are always attracted to social gatherings, which is what December and Christmas have come to symbolize. The Christmas carols, the tree, the star, the stories, these are all so nice to us just because they remind us of these kinds of gatherings, and that cozy, comfortable, social atmosphere that becomes so vibrant around December.
As Rodney said above, there are a plethora of reasons to enjoy the Christmas season beyond mythology and folklore.