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This Atheist’s Christmas

December 4, 2008

Ready for it? I celebrate Christmas. Now, when I say I celebrate Christmas I don’t mean I celebrate the birth of Christ; that would be preposterous. Christ’s birth is the only event to have caused me more grief and pain than my own. For if I hadn’t been born I certainly wouldn’t be demonized by certain Christians and my civil rights wouldn’t have be constantly trampled on.

Not only would it be silly for me to celebrate the birth of Yeshua because of the trouble he’s caused me, but also because I’m not even sure he was ever really born. There are serious and valid arguments that suggest he might not have existed at all. I’m not saying he did or didn’t exist, I’m just saying there is contention of that fact.

So, why do I celebrate Christmas then, if not over the birth of Yeshua, the son of Yahweh, the Jewish god of war? Tradition, primarily, I am the only atheist in my family and I celebrated X-mas with said family before I officially became an atheist for much the same reasons I do now. I enjoy spending time with my family; I love them all very much. I don’t get to see them very often, the drive to southern Missouri is long and unpleasant, and I don’t get much time off from my job. Any opportunity to see my family is a cherished one.

I also celebrate X-mas because I think the more modern ideas behind it are great, family togetherness and the act of gift giving and receiving. I love seeing the look on my brother’s kid’s faces when they unwrap something I got them and they love it. I love seeing my girlfriend’s reaction to something she’d been eyeing up at the store for the last 6 months being in her hands now. Sitting in front of the TV with my whole family or playing some sort of game with them outside is truly a treasure to be had.

Fortunately for me, my family may be religious overall, but they agree with me that the central theme of modern day X-mas is love in general. We don’t say grace before meals or attend any sort of church service. It’s all wonderfully neutral. My dad does make jokes from time to time about me saying grace for everyone before we eat, which coincidentally is how he originally found out I was an atheist to begin with, but it’s all in good fun.

For a lot of people, being an atheist during the holiday’s can be difficult and possibly very lonely. Whether they oppose celebrating X-mas or because their family shuns them over their lack of faith. I feel very lucky to have a family that loves me for who I am and not who I pray to. I hope for only the best to happen to those of you who are enduring tough times this winter.

Happy Holidays!

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10 Comments
  1. notreallyalice permalink
    December 5, 2008 10:38 am

    I’ve thought about saying grace before a meal, and I realized that if I’m ever asked to do this, I will. It won’t be a prayer, but I will express gratitude. I did this at Thanksgiving, actually; after they prayed, I turned to my host and said, “Thanks for having me!” :)

  2. saintpaulgrrl permalink
    December 5, 2008 12:05 pm

    I have struggled as a non-Christian, and indeed atheist, who grew up in and still has a dysfunctional family to find meaning for years in the winter holiday. I’m ponder this whole season every year and try to put it into perspective in my life. Sounds like you’re going through that same process with good success. Best wishes!

  3. Stacy S. permalink
    December 5, 2008 12:29 pm

    My Dad (I’m 43) is actually proud of me for being an atheist!
    He must have figured the whole thing out when I was about 5 – that’s when we stopped going to church. He never told me that religion was a crock – or anything like that – but just let me come to my own conclusions.
    I, on the other hand, point out silly things to my son all of the time.
    We all LOVE Christmas! Who doesn’t?? I’ve even won the house decorating contest in my neighborhood!! (if only they knew) LoL!!

  4. December 5, 2008 2:26 pm

    My Christmases were never really religious. We would occasionally go to see a play about the story of the religious Christmas, but I think that was more for the entertainment than any real religious motivation.

    I’m still not sure if my mother actually considered herself a Christian though – I think general theist is more likely – so that undoubtedly had an impact on our Christmases.

    Since being married it has all been about family and togetherness. My in-laws are not overly religious either, so it’s been a nice fit! =D

    • December 5, 2008 2:40 pm

      Speaking of plays, I have something to add that I don’t think I’ve ever even told you, Schev. When I was a kid, I’m thinking preschool, I was in a christian day care at a church during the day while my mom worked. They held a play one year about the Christmas story and I was in it. I was Joseph, you know.. God’s dad.. :)

  5. December 7, 2008 12:34 am

    Hey Sisyphus, are you saying that you wish you hadn’t been born? And also, if you don’t mind sharing, could you clarify why Jesus has caused you so much pain?

    You sound unsure as to the question of the birth of Jesus. If he has caused you much trouble, doesn’t that require you to believe that he existed? I know you don’t agree, but I firmly believe that Jesus himself has not caused you pain, rather a twisted idea of who Jesus is or possibly lies that people in today’s religious circle have communicated to you. Perhaps it is the name of Jesus or God that has caused you pain? Or maybe your own unbelief itself.

    I hope that you don’t find your own birth as a burden to you, I pray that you find something meaningful and hopeful to live for, to call your purpose in life. We all have a purpose sisyphus. Real Christians should believe their purpose is to love and bring the name of Christ to everyone in a way that they don’t turn from his name the way you obviously have. Please be careful to not believe right away the perceptions of Christianity you may find in today’s culture. Many think they have it right, when really they are wrong. Take Care Sisyphus. Merry Christmas.

  6. December 8, 2008 12:36 pm

    Andrew, you misunderstand what I said. You’re trying to read into what I’m saying when I was saying exactly what I meant. I was just stating the obvious, if I hadn’t been born none of the strife OR joy I’ve encountered would have occurred.

    Of course Jesus himself has not caused me pain, the idea of Jesus, whether he actually existed or not, has indeed caused me pain and unhappiness. If the idea of Jesus had not existed Christians wouldn’t be here to bully atheists nor would they be able to try and subvert the government and turn it into a theocracy. (Disclaimer: Not all Christians do this)

    I’m very happy to be alive and to have been born. I have a very meaningful existence and I have given myself a purpose as well. I intend to leave the world a better place than it was when I entered it. Christians did not turn me away from Christianity, as technically I was never a real Christian. I thought a god existed because I had been given no other alternative theory to reality. Everyone around me treated it as fact and if anyone disagreed they were fools. I had no faith in a god because I had no opportunity to have it. I am/was completely devoid of faith and once I found theories with real evidence behind them I quickly tossed the baggage that was my “Christian faith”.

    To your last comment, Christians make Christianity what it is. Whether you like it or not, your loudest proponents make your faith what it is.
    “If it walks, talks, and looks like a duck..”

  7. December 8, 2008 3:06 pm

    The way Christmas is celebrated, it bears no relation to Christianity. I celebrate it, too, though I have gotten a little flack over the years for doing so.
    Merry Crissmiss from That Atheist Bitch.

  8. poguemark permalink
    December 8, 2008 10:13 pm

    @ Andrew…

    Newsflash! The mythical Jesus probably wasn’t born on Dec. 25.
    Just because someone doesn’t believe in the Christian story, does not mean they are “in pain” or miserable. It means they are free from one less fairy tale.

  9. December 10, 2008 9:54 pm

    poguemark.

    Read his post, I did not say that because he doesn’t believe in Christ that he is “in Pain”. He said in his post that if Christ or Sisyphus himself had not been born than it would have saved him much grief.

    Don’t come at me with this “newsflash” crap. Don’t take me as some immature Christian who believes everything they here. Dec. 25 is a day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Thats all it is, I don’t know when he was exactly born and many have debated it for a long time, it could be the 18 of october, but I would still wake up with joy and excitement to celebrate the birth of the one who came into the world to free me from my own disastrous self. That brings me joy.

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