Im quite new to the no God agenda, but I finally made the switch. I have been looking around this site as along with the rest of the web and I found many Atheists put down holidays as strictly religious. As coming from Catholicism, I will be celebrating Christmas in a few days. This celebration will not be fore Jesus but more or less a bond with my family to show we care and love for one another. My questions are: 1.)Can religious holidays be celebrated and not practiced without offending people and 2.) Would this a good time period to "come out" of the Atheist closet?

Views: 171

Comment by Ryan E. Hoffman on December 22, 2011 at 12:46am

Coming out is so personal, I wouldn't want to tell you when or where to do it. It all depends on your relationship with your family, and how you feel about it. My relationship with my dad was tight enough that I could say over the phone, "I don't believe in God anymore," and I suspect my father has been skeptical for quite some time. Loose Catholic is a loose term. Your family's faith maybe different than mine. I don't know, and think you should follow your own reasoning on that one.

As for number two, we should absolutely have holidays. I honestly think that the Winter Solstice deserves celebrating. The days get longer, the weather becomes warmer (generally), we have a New Year coming around the corner. I'd replace Christmas with a three day holiday for the Solstice. Solstice Eve, Solstice, Day After Solstice. Of course, most department stores would have you work Day After Solstice. However, until that happens, celebrating holidays you grew up with can be done so for nostalgia. Just my opinion.

Comment by Becca on December 22, 2011 at 1:14am

1. The people who are offended by atheists continuing to celebrate holidays like Christmas aren't worth worrying about. Some people are going to be offended no matter what you do. I think you should do whatever you want to do. I continue to celebrate Christmas because it's fun and because my family (even when we were still Catholic-ish) never focused on the religious aspects. We always focused on family, fun, food, booze and presents.

2. Personally I wouldn't choose Christmas as the time to come out. People's nerves are already on end with family being in town, traveling, gifts, food and so on. I'd rather come out to people on an individual basis when I can sit and have a conversation and address their questions and concerns if they have any.

Comment by James on December 22, 2011 at 1:29am

As Ryan said, every family dynamic is so specific that it should really be a personal decision. However, if you do decide to do so, I'm sure I and others would be willing to give you ideas and tips on doing so.

I see nothing wrong with still celebrating holidays. Whether you call it something else, or still celebrate Christmas, but do it for the food, family, and gifts is just fine. I'm from a Catholic family as well, and while I do recognize the Winter Solstice, we do kind of celebrate Christmas as well. But I do tend to use Christmas/Solstice/Yule/Holidays/Saturnali pretty much interchangeably. Remember that Christmas really is just the newest version of the Pagan Solstice festival. If you want to call is something else so people won't misunderstand your godlessness, then feel free. But if you like Christmas/or the habit of the name is too hard to break and a Christian calls you out on it, you can always remind them of the following:

Tuesday = Named for the god Tyr
Wednesday = Named for the god Woden
Thursday = Named for the god Thor
Friday = Named for the goddess Frige
Saturday = Named for the god Saturn
January = Named for the god Janus
February = Named for the Roman purification festival Februa
March = Named for the god Mars
May = Named for the goddess Maia
June = Named for the goddess Juno
July & August = Julius & Augustus Caesar
Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec = Named for when they were the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th month of the year.

So if your friends and family have no problem saying Thursday yet deny Thor, then what's wrong with you saying Christmas but denying the Christ character? Ask them, what really is in a name, and aren't holidays like this really whatever we make of them? I enjoy the gifts, gatherings and grub no matter what you want to call it.

Cheers!

Comment by Valerie on December 22, 2011 at 1:35am

I don't think of the holidays as religious. I look at them as a way to embrace the beauty of earth and the beauty of each season. I love the Solstices! A higher being has no part in this for me. Holidays for me are a great way to gather and celebrate life with good friends. I am not sure why some atheists are so bitter about holidays. The beauty of being an atheist is that you can celebrate (or not) however you choose.

Comment by Atwas911 on December 22, 2011 at 4:45am

The only time i get bitter over the Holidays is when the Christians says.. "Always Remember The REAL reason for the season?"

To which i always respond.. "Oh you mean the how we should be celebrating the rebirth of the sun and welcoming springs return, or were you wanting me to celebrate how your religious cult came along and mass murdered tens of millions of innocent people and twisted the event to be the celebration of the birth of your imaginary son of god rather than the rebirth of the sun?"

and remember.. no Atheist should be without pepper spray, stun guns, and or fully automatic weapons when engaged in debate with the religious.. for your own safety of course.

*smiles sweet and innocently*

Comment by Ben on December 22, 2011 at 9:43am

Thanks everyone for the help. Ive got a better understanding now and a better idea on how to handle the situations. Thanks again!

Comment by Jared on December 22, 2011 at 10:23am

I still do Christmas and in fact we normally have the most Christmas Lights in the area up ... like at Clark Griswald levels. You won't find any baby Jesus's or wise men though in our displays. We treat it as a secular holiday at this point because we love the holiday which as mentioned often on here has non Christian origins anyways. Santa is a good way to move focus away from Jesus on Christmas and provides a good life lesson for kid about finding out that even the people who care about you will mislead you about belief. Jesus and Santa can not co-exist because I can assure you little kids love Santa way more then Jesus which is a not okay according to the bible.

Comment by Jared on December 22, 2011 at 10:32am

I don't much worry about if people are offended that I'm not praising Jesus on Christmas. I do have a hard time understanding some people I know who are in a rough spot and post things on Facebook about not being able to afford much for their kids etc for Christmas and not being able to pay bills and then move on to thank Jesus for all they have or have someone comment about god's love being all they need. I don't normally bring up god etc around some in the family but I don't shy away from saying something if they say something totally insane or attack someone. Of course since my dad, grandfather and I don't believe and my mom doesn't really care either way I'm not alone in calling people out for things. Its more a pick your battle thing.

Comment by Rocky Oliver (LotusGeek) on December 22, 2011 at 1:45pm

1. Can religious holidays be celebrated and not practiced without offending people

I know I've said this before, and I run the risk of sounding like a broken record, but my feelings remain the same: No matter what, remain true to yourself. Do not put yourself in a situation where you're wind up being hypocritical; and if you do find yourself at that "fork in the road", maintain who you are and be strong. Wear your atheism with pride - you have nothing of which to be ashamed. Remain tactful and non-confrontational, and also make sure you're respectful of others and their beliefs just as you want them to be of yours.

As far as the holdiays themselves go, don't forget that pretty much all religious holidays have pagan beginnings. Xmas? Xmas trees and "Yule logs" are all based on pagan traditions; in fact, the date itself was originally a celebration of the Winter Solstice, which celebrates that you've "turned the corner" and the days will begin to get longer and longer towards spring.

Easter? Celebration of the Spring Equinox, a time of rebirth, fertility, and growth - hence the inclusion of eggs and rabbits (two strong signs of fertility).

My family and I love celebrating the giving and loving nature of the xmas holiday tradition without the need for the Jewish Zombie - and I'm sure you'll find this is comfortable for you as well.

2. Would this a good time period to "come out" of the Atheist closet?

I would recommend to do this either awhile before or after the holiday itself. Why? Because this time of year is stressful enough for everyone without adding this extra stressor to the mix. I believe that if you were to try this in the midst of the holiday season your relatives will feel that you're being selfish and they may view it as an attack on their "holy day" itself - and could even view it as a personal attack on their Sky Daddy and his split personality/son. Not a good way to broach this type of conversation.

If you choose to wait until after the xmas holiday season, then I guess you'll have to "go through the motions" for one more xmas season. Once things settle down you'll have an entire year to get them used to the idea, and you won't have to be a hypocrite any more. Besides, one more season of biting your tongue isn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things - but I wouldn't continue this "double life" for much longer after this holiday season because this is the type of thing that will become more and more uncomfortable, and could even foster resentment of your own if it drags out for too long.

Hope this helps. Best of luck!

Comment by Valerie on December 22, 2011 at 3:08pm

ATWAS911 I enjoyed your post! Especially the pepper spray! Everyone has made such good points. It's fun to be on the same page with people (pun intended) for a change

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