When I came out as an atheist a little over a year ago, one of my first “out” acts was to post this video to my Facebook profile. As a response to all of the “Keep the Christ in Christmas” and “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” proclamations, I acknowledged that it may be difficult for believers to grasp what joy a nonbeliever can possibly derive from the holiday season. The wonder and joy, however, is that the reality of nature is awesome. And reality needs no season. I am in a constant state of wonder at the world around me, and ever more curious about what makes it so. Thanks to science we have ways of attempting to understand our existence and our surroundings that don’t include just making shit up.
As a former christian, I can only shake my head at the rabid, angry response by many believers in the face of the perceived secularization of christmas. I honestly think one solid history lesson about world religions and the evolution of winter celebrations since ancient times would put many on the path to less mouth-foaming, nativity-bumper-sticker-sporting, and general denying of every other culture and belief system not their very own. Hell, a brief overview would probably do. Twenty minutes tops. But alas, time and again I’ve observed that beliefs not based in reason are difficult to reason away.
Last year at this same time, someone at work wished me a merry christmas to which I responded in my sweetest, cupcakiest way “happy holidays.” She looked confused for a moment and then said, “Oh, I don’t even know what to say anymore.” Why oh why is this so difficult? Not everyone buys your kookie, god-baby birthday story. What I consider standard politeness many believers feel constitutes a personal attack. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read the phrase “war on christmas” in the media this year and its not even the winter solstice yet (did you see how I snuck solstice in there?). For my part, I’ve resolved to continue my cupcakey efforts and to not be a dick. But I don’t think there is anything dickish about wishing someone happy holidays.
So, what DO atheists have to celebrate? Reality.
Watch this video. It features some of the greatest communicators in science today.
Feel free to leave comments about your winter experiences. How do you celebrate?