Halloween is upon us, my fellow atheists, which can only mean one thing: the holiday season is about to open up, leaving us with packed malls, congested highways, and perhaps a few more notches loosened on our belts. Being atheists, however, this can present a problem for us. Whether it's Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Diwali (which I know has passed, but is in the same time period and will fall on Nov 5 next year), Yule, or whatever obscure winter holiday your family or friends may observe, this time of year always seems to magnify a person's choice to not believe in god. I find that my family is more persistent in asking me why I choose to be an atheist, implying that I am going against the rest of the family dynamic by rejecting my Catholic roots. However, for some people I must imagine the situation is more intense than my own, perhaps even being excluded from family holiday events. So my first question for all of you is, how does your family or your friends react this time of year to your decision to be godless? If you don't like how they handle the situation, how do you wish they would?
And another quick question for all of you: whatever your family celebrates, do you refer to the holiday by name and actively participate in its rituals? For myself, I still wish my family and Christian/ Catholic friends "Merry Christmas" and take part in decorating the tree with my family as well as exchanging gifts, but I do not read any religious meaning into it; rather, I see it as a time to reflect upon how thankful I am to have these people I care for so much in my life. On the flip side, I would never wish someone on the street Merry Christmas, as many people around my area do, as I would not want to impose that ritual on someone who does not believe in it.
I can't wait to hear your feedback, and until then, Happy Halloween, fellow heathens!