Merry Christmas From An Atheist!
Today is Christmas Eve, and I will soon be entertaining with family and friends to celebrate the holiday. Now I could not care in the least about the name of the holiday being Christmas. The holiday has about as much to do with Christ and the Christian mythos for me as Thursday has to do with Thor and Norse mythology. I don’t swing a hammer around while drinking mead on the fifth day of every week, and I don’t recognize virgin births of gods on the 25th of December. They are just another day in both cases.
What I celebrate and enjoy is this amazing trait of humanity to desire a connection between all members of our species. Before the pagan celebrations of the Yuletide were engulfed into the Christian mythos us hairless apes still got together to feast and party! We gave each other gifts, ate sweets and fatty foods, drank it up, and sung and dance the night away! We don’t have holidays because of religions, we have holidays because we are human. Religions just tend to take over our holidays is all.
Nowadays some folks would say that there is a war on Christmas. Bullshit. I see plenty of decorations up throughout the neighborhood. The stores are packed with shoppers. The networks are playing all of our holiday favorites, and more than one radio station has nothing but non-stop holiday music playing.
"But the war on Christmas isn’t about the commercialized Christmas.” Some say. “The war on Christmas is about taking Christ out of Christmas!”
My response is always the same: What comes around goes around.
A bunch of pagan traditions were stolen by the Christian church in the creation of the Christmas holiday. Christians even tried to outlaw the holiday altogether because of it’s pagan roots. Slowly but surely the church whittled away at the pagan inspirations for a Winter Solstice celebration and Christmas as we know it came into being.
So what is wrong with that process continuing? I much prefer the myth of Santa Claus as a toy manufacturer who wants nothing more than to reward good children to the myth of Jesus as a son condemned to a violent death by his own father so that the rest of us are stuck in an eternal I.O.U. just for being born. I am all for renaming the holiday to Santafest or maybe Winter Wonder Week so that we can get five days off instead of one.
And if you think it is unfair that our society is demanding that others not force their religious beliefs on others too bad. I like that public institutions recognize today as just part of a larger holiday season. All of this is what happens repeatedly throughout human history. Popular religions and beliefs eventually fade away to other religions and beliefs. This is why we no longer build pyramids and things like Stonehenge. We also no longer fight religious crusades, or do we?
So today I say to all of you: Merry Christmas! You don’t need Christ in it though. You don’t need Christianity, or any other religion either. You just need to want to see the best in humanity shine forth from all people of all beliefs. That is what this day, and every holiday should be about.
And give some real thought to my Winter Wonder Week idea! Five days off, baby! Five days off!