An Agnostic (non)War on Christmas

If you don’t pay attention to manufactured hype and are one of the few people that wonder what the War on Christmas is then read A Short History of the War on Christmas. I’ll wait. Now that you’re up to speed then let me give you my view on Happy Holidays, Holiday Trees, and this whole nonsense surrounding secular and religious observations of Christmas. This holiday should peacefully coexist on a common day that’s positive for anyone interested in any aspect of Christmas. However, some people are trying to pick a fight over the true meaning of Christmas and I’m just not taking the bait.

I was raised Christian (lax Catholic really) and am now an atheistic agnostic regarding religious beliefs. I think I can clearly see both sides of this supposed war and wonder why it’s even an issue. The “reason for the season” is as complex as the American public and it goes back to Yule, Noel, and the origins for Christ’s Mass outside this country. Christians adopted various pagan rituals and practices along the way including choosing Dec 25th as the day to celebrate the unknown birth date of Jesus. There’s nothing biblical or sacred about the American public celebration of Christmas this time of year. It wasn’t a holiday created by God or Jesus and was instead developed by their followers. The term Christmas didn’t even appear until about a thousand years after Jesus may have lived in the Middle East.

Things like Santa Claus and stockings over the fireplace have become an American tradition for Dec 25th but they aren’t related to Christ’s Mass. Santa Claus was pushed into more widespread popularity by Coca-Cola in the 1930s and isn’t a character in the nativity scene. Many secular aspects of Christmas are firmly rooted in American consumerism instead of Christian tradition. It’s these secular aspects of Christmas that I still embrace as an unbeliever. I grew up with them in an American family and I continue the gift giving distraction that brightens a dreary winter for human beings. It’s just a human family holiday for me. The only things I’ve had to drop from the family traditions of my parents are the display of little nativity figures, going to mass on Christmas Eve, and saying a prayer before the family meal. Otherwise, my house and the houses of Christians in my family operate the same on Dec 25th.

Go ahead and have a Merry Christmas because it’s both a religious and secular day regardless of the origin of the term. Tuesday’s etymology is from Tiwes or Tiwaz as an ancient Germanic god of war but unbelievers don’t demand the name of that day to change. Why should anyone care that there’s a secular holiday on Dec 25th called Christmas when it’s about as religious as calling a day of the week Tuesday? Sure, there’s also a religious holiday on Dec 25th called Christmas but I don’t celebrate that one. Santa Claus is front and center on my Christmas. I’d much rather see a jolly fat guy in a red suit instead of a tortured man nailed to a cross regardless of who you think that tortured person really was or why he had to endure that death. I don’t believe in it and I don’t have to for my enjoyment of Christmas.

I put up a Christmas Tree because it isn’t a biblical or religious thing. It’s just pretty and the evergreen is a nice symbol of life during the dormant winter. It isn’t really a Holiday Tree because there isn’t a Wikipedia page for Holiday Tree. There’s some sarcasm there but really the tree is only related to Dec 25th so it should just be called a Christmas Tree or Yule Tree if you want to keep to the original terminology.

I’ll say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas since both are just fine with me. There are several holidays around this time of year including New Year’s Day. I hope all of your holidays are happy when I say Happy Holidays. I also say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year individually if I feel like it. I’m only wishing you a Merry Secular Christmas when I say it. You really shouldn’t mind my intent because if you wish me a Merry Religious Christ’s Mass then I’m just going to have a Merry Secular Christmas anyway. We each celebrate Dec 25th in our own unique ways so we can think different things when we hear those words. We all mean well wishes towards each other when we say it, right? That’s the true reason for the season.

Being different and holding to our own traditions should continue to be a shared American tradition. Nobody should try to define Christmas as one exact religious (or secular) holiday dictated by the government (or church). Your secular or religious views of Christmas are right for you and everyone else so just get over yourselves, stop the silly war talk, and have a Merry Christmas everyone!!! What would Santa do? 😉

Happy Holidays!

There are lots of holidays stacked up at the end of the year and it’s more welcoming to everyone to just say Happy Holidays!  Focusing on Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, etc. is a targeted greeting we should keep for the people we know well and know that they’re in the same “club” of beliefs. But since I don’t know who’s reading this then I agree with Penn Jillette and want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays! For me this sincerely includes well wishes to you for whatever it is you celebrate this time of year. Here’s hoping all of humanity has an even better year next year!!!

Virgin Mary Booty Call

Merry Christmas! This is the day Christians celebrate the fact that a married woman who had not yet had sex with her husband was impregnated by God through a Holy Ghost. It sounds like rape to me and if I were Joseph I’d be furious if Mary claimed she was impregnated by God.

Merry Yule! That’s for those of us that don’t believe such an odd story passed down from our more primitive ancestors.

A Holiday Message From Ricky Gervais

I love the British version of The Office and I think Ricky Gervais has always been outstanding. Now I know why I really like him as a person. Here’s some excellent holiday reading for you all:
A Holiday Message From Ricky Gervais: Why I’m an Atheist

Along with the excellent follow-up:
Does God Exist? Ricky Gervais Takes Your Questions

The fact that science can say “we don’t know” is exactly my point. Science doesn’t start with a set of convenient conclusions and try to justify them. It follows evidence. In fact, it tries to prove itself wrong. When it can’t, it’s right. Superstition, religion and blind faith cherry pick the evidence and justify the results by changing the goal posts. There are no cover-ups in science. For better or worse it finds stuff out. It has no moral code as such. It leaves those decisions to society. It discovers life saving drugs but leaves it up to you whether to use them or not. It discovers that splitting the atom can release a massive amount of energy very quickly and leaves it up to governments to try it out or not. It finds out what and how and why. It asks can we? Not should we? This is why it baffles me that some god fearers believe that without a god there is no reason to be good. Really?

If you don’t know what made the universe it seems pointless to say a God must have made it then. You have to then say “But what made God?” If you are then willing to say that God was always around, you may as well say that the universe was too. Saves time doesn’t it? How long did he wait till he made the universe by the way? And where was he? Did it turn out just like he planned? If he had to make another one would he do it any different? Where would he put it?

Since there is nothing to know about god, a comedian knows as much about god as any one else. An atheist however is alone in knowing that there is nothing to know so probably has the edge. An Atheist comedian can make people laugh about belief or lack of it. A good atheist comedian can make people laugh AND think about belief or lack of it. An agnostic would say that since you can neither prove the existence nor the non-existence of God then the only answer to the question “Is there a God?” is “I don’t know.” Basically they are saying just because you haven’t found something yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Well firstly we have to know what definition of God we are asking about. Many can be dismissed as logical impossibilities. In the same way that if you were asked can you imagine a square circle the answer is of course “No.” Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s just say there is a definition of a God that is possible. Does he exist? “I don’t know” in this case is indeed the correct answer. However this must also be the answer to many other questions. Is there an elephant up your a—? Even if you’ve looked you can’t say “no.” It could be that you just haven’t found it yet. Please look again and this time really believe there is an elephant up there because however mad it sounds no one can prove that you don’t have a lovely big African elephant up your a—.

Peace to all mankind. Christian, Jew, Muslim and Atheist.

What about Agnostics?

Uhm?…I don’t know. Only joking. Yes even Agnostics.

Peace and goodwill to ALL mankind.

We love you Ricky! 🙂 Peace and goodwill to you too!