There is no God. The Absence of God: Should Atheists Celebrate Christmas?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Should Atheists Celebrate Christmas?


I was raised in an atheist family where we always celebrated Christmas. From the delicious Christmas Eve dinner, to the unwrapping of presents Christmas day, it has always been the time of year that I look forward to the most. But with the launching of this blog and my new-found commitment to the atheist movement, I step back and wonder whether I, or any other atheist, should celebrate this deeply religious holiday.

Christmas is quite simply not what it used to be. Today, it is a deeply commercial holiday where people all around the world offer each other presents, eat good food, and have great fun. What is profoundly ironic about this day however is that almost everyone, even non-Christians or non-believers celebrate this Christian holiday without the least bit of reservation. But on this universally loved day, something goes on that is oblivious to us non-Christians. Churches are full, prayers are being said, and sermons are being given. What cannot and should not be avoided is the fact that Christmas is not a day that one should theoretically be celebrating. The fact that it has become the biggest international holiday gives Christianity more credibility than it deserves, and frankly, makes no sense.

But then again, everyone needs a day to celebrate. Christmas has undeniably become that universal day and because it has become so commercialized, its message and deeply flawed story have long been lost to the average person. So the fact that so many people are celebrating a day without knowing the background of the holiday should not disturb us as long as those same people are enjoying themselves. Or should it?

The world is full of traditions that people follow without any questioning or doubt. Such tradition, like Christmas, display the worse in us all: plain ignorance. That is why every year, on December 24-25th, we should take a step back and think about what we are celebrating. I, like many of you, will celebrate Christmas. But this year, I will not allow myself to do so ignorantly. I do believe it is fine for us to celebrate Christmas, even if we are non-believers. But on this Christmas day, I challenge you to learn about what you are celebrating. The idea of Christmas is not simply the day Jesus was born, it has a deeper, more outrageous story. So if you are indeed ready to learn more, reading the Fifth Horsemen of New Atheism's new essay on the Christmas Story will be a great start.

Have a merry non-religious Christmas and enjoy your holidays!

-The Atheist Crusader

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