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Reasons to celebrate christmas for the Atheist.

I'm an ex-Christian and an atheist. This Christmas I have two overly decorated 9’ tall Christmas trees complete with twinkling lights and circled by a battery powered toy train. Perched in locations all around my house, dozens and dozens of Nutcrackers of every height and description keep vigil while festive smelling candles taint the air. A thick layer of snow blankets the ground outside my window, and holly and ivy decorate my neighbor's porches. It's holiday time at an atheist home!

What? An atheist celebrating Christmas?

Christ's Mass. The Catholic Mass held on the eve before Christ's birth. That's what Christmas means, doesn't it? I mean, isn't an atheist who is celebrating Christmas about as hypocritical as one can get? Aren't we always hearing "Keep Christ in Christmas" and "Jesus is the reason for the season?" Isn't there even an atheistic "War on Christmas?"

Well, I suppose this is all just because of ignorance. Not my ignorance — Christian ignorance. You see, when I was a "True Fundie™," there were several years when I refused to celebrate Christmas, and for good reason too! Regardless of the name that's been glued on to the so-called holy day, the roots of this celebration are deeply pagan.

Long before the arrival of the two now famous Jewish peasant cousins who itinerantly preached on the hillsides of Judea for a couple years, the Norse were celebrating Yule from December 21 through January, honoring the return of the sun and in Germany people were celebrating the god Odin.

"Jo Saturnalia" (pronounced yo) would have been the December greeting in Jesus' neighborhood. With Romans marching all over Palestine, Jesus and his band of merry men would have been quite familiar with this idolatrous holiday honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture.

From the History Channel:
Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a month, slaves would become masters. Peasants were in command of the city. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could join in the fun.

Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. [...] For some Romans, Mithra's birthday was the most sacred day of the year.


Interestingly enough, Mithras was always portrayed as an infant during this festive time.

As a good, Yahweh fearing Jew, I sincerely doubt Jesus or his cousin would have dared light up a Yule log, or mix a potent batch of eggnog, or whatever the Roman revelers would have used to usher in the traditional holiday season.

Reason for the Season

From the Catholic Encylopedia:
Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday.


According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, sporadic feasts commemorating Jesus' birth began to crop up in various locations beginning in 200 CE, but the dates assigned to the feasts varied widely, and there was no general consensus on when Jesus might have been born, or even if the event was appropriate for Christians to commemorate.

Christmas celebrations spread to Egypt by 432, to England by the end of the sixth century and to Scandinavia by the end of the eighth century. By the Middle Ages, Christmas had, for the most part, supplanted the older pagan celebrations. But, it was still celebrated in the traditionally pagan way, with raucous Mardi Gras-like drunkenness and partying. Of course, that was after the church service.

During the 17th century, Puritan forces took over England and vowed to rid the land of the decadence of Christmas. Christmas was condemned by Oliver Cromwell and forbidden by an Act of Parliament in 1644. The day was to be a fast and a market day; shops were compelled to be open; plum puddings and mince pies condemned as heathen. Even after Charles I took the thrown and re-legalized Christmas, Yuletide was called "Fooltide" by the faithful.

When the pilgrims arrived on the shores of America, Christmas was not one of their holidays, and in Boston, the celebration of December 25 was outlawed. Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under the new constitution. Christmas wasn't declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.

In the 19th century, Americans began to embrace and re-invent Christmas. In 1819 Washington Irving wrote "The Sketchbook of Geoffery Crayon, Gentleman," a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. Irving's fictitious celebrants enjoyed supposed "ancient customs" that in actuality were fictitious inventions from the mind of the author. No such ancient customs existed prior to Irving's book, but because of the popularity of his stories, his invented Christmas "traditions" took hold.

Also around this time Charles Dickens hit the scene with his classic "A Christmas Carol." These two authors, more than any pope, prelate, or peasant preacher, are responsible for what those living in the west have come to regard as a traditional Christmas celebration.

Just as an added point, even with 2,000 years of evangelism, to this day oriental countries do not celebrate Christmas the same way we do. In Japan, people generally work on Christmas, and Christians may or may not attend church that day or on Christmas Eve. Japanese and Chinese more enthusiastically celebrate New Year, which has no Christian connotations whatsoever.

Cel-e-brate, good times... Come on!

For thousands of years, people have been making merry in December, celebrating with joy their lives, their families, and the change of seasons by gathering together with friends against the cold. Regardless of the name of the holiday or whether the general population is celebrating Marduk, Mithras, or Messiah, all the gods are myth anyway, so why should an atheist miss out on the fun?

So, as far as I'm concerned, the next time someone tells me to remember the reason for the season, I'll point to the sun, raise a full mug of spiced wine, and toast to the health of the ignorant well wisher. If that person joins me in the toast, who knows, maybe he or she will finally understand the real meaning of Christmas.

http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2006/12/ho-ho-ho-merry-christmas.html
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Comments

  • micketymocmicketymoc Oversized Member PExer
    We have a Christmas tree and lights at our home too. In two weeks, we'll be flying home to Davao, to celebrate the season with our loved ones.

    Someone in the office asked me once if I didn't believe in Christmas. He was wrong - I do believe in celebrating togetherness with my family once a year, and Christmastime is the best time to do that.

    Just because I'm an atheist does not mean that I'm a grinch! :)
  • ayaneayane Member PExer
    my theology professor has more or less told me the same story years back. :lol:

    i just celebrate it because it's a very good time to go all out shopping and people will nod and understand when you say you've used up your money on buying stuff for other people! :lol: i don't really care who i'm buying the stuff from... as long as i'm shopping, i'm happy! :rotflmao:
  • Lucca YamazakiLucca Yamazaki die boy abunda die! PExer
    Isn't it also Newton's birthday?

    Happy Newtonmas!!!
  • loc0loc0 loc0.deviantart.com PExer
    #1 reason:

    To spite people by receiving gifts without having to believe.
  • layerlayer doc PExer
    "Christian ignorance"? Bakit wala bang internet ang mga Kristiyano?

    Remembering the "reason for the season" does not necessarily imply ignorance on its pagan roots.
  • tophe_17tophe_17 ΛuЯoR™ PExer
    Charles Stanley
    In Touch

    Imagine throwing a birthday party for a friend,
    inviting hundreds of guests, preparing an abundant
    supply of food, and decorating for hours on end,
    without ever inviting him or her to the party. That
    would be crazy!

    Yet year after year, many of us celebrate the birth of
    Christ without acknowledging the person for which this
    meaningful holiday was intended. The sights and sounds
    of Christmas surround us: from fully decorated malls
    and downtown plazas to television specials and
    theatrical productions. However, the name of Jesus is
    hardly spoken in this environment.
    Sure, we may attend church once or twice during
    December. We may even recite the second chapter of
    Luke on Christmas morning, but how often do we thank
    God for the amazing gift He gave us over 2,000 years
    ago? How often are our lives a display of this
    gratitude?

    To some, Christmas is nothing more than tradition and
    ritual-an opportunity to stock up on the latest gift
    ideas and sample all varieties of food. The holiday
    season simply involves one-day sales at the mall,
    overpriced eggnog, and images of flying reindeer. It's
    an occasion to take a few days vacation from work and
    catch up on the latest movie rentals.
    It's easy to get pulled into the festivities of
    Christmas without realizing the significance of this
    precious day. December 25th isn't celebration just for
    the sake of celebrating; it is the day that we observe
    the birth of the Son of God-the Savior of mankind.

    The more time that passes since Christ's birth, the
    more watered down and over-commercialized Christmas
    becomes. Why? Many have failed to accept the most
    important gift they could ever receive: Jesus Christ.

    From the beginning of time, God prepared the exact day
    and time of Christ's arrival. He knew mankind would
    rebel. Sin blanketed the world, as it still does
    today. Before Christ, however, man's only hope was to
    work his way to heaven by following set rules and
    regulations. We were in dire need of a Savior. God
    provided One.

    In the Old Testament, Isaiah foretold Christ's coming:
    "For a child will be born to us . . . and His name
    will be called Wonderful Counselor" (Isaiah 9:6).
    Micah, as well, wrote of Jesus' coming incarnation:
    "But as for you Bethlehem . . . from you One will go
    forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth
    are from long ago, from the days of eternity" (Micah
    5:2).

    The birth of Christ had been anticipated for
    centuries. Many had spoken and written of His coming,
    yet this extraordinary event occurred in the presence
    of only two, Mary and Joseph, and within the simple
    confines of a stable.

    From these humble beginnings, Christ went on to
    dramatically change the spiritual landscape of the
    world forever, offering salvation through the grace of
    God rather than the effort of man. He endured torment,
    humiliation, and unthinkable pain to reconcile us,
    unworthy sinners, to His Father, God.

    Yet when we celebrate on December 25th, how much of
    our focus is truly on Him? Do we thank and praise Him
    for sacrificing Himself for us? Do we glorify and
    worship Him for being born in such unsanitary, meager
    conditions-all so that we could one day have the
    opportunity to experience His presence in heaven? Or
    is Christmas merely another opportunity to spend more
    time focusing on our worldly concerns, such as food
    and entertainment?

    Certainly, there is nothing wrong with the traditional
    ways we celebrate Christmas: lights, trees,
    gift-wrapped presents and plentiful food. However,
    when these festivities overshadow the real meaning of
    the season-the birth of Christ-then it is time for us
    to reexamine our priorities.

    Where is Christ on your Christmas to-do list? Is He
    just part of a one-hour service on Christmas Eve, or
    do you make it a point to stay centered on Jesus in
    your day-to-day life throughout the season-and, more
    importantly, the entire year?

    Take some time this Christmas season to readjust your
    focus. If you find yourself spending more time
    stressing over recipes, shopping sprees, stocking
    stuffers, and guest bedrooms than truly celebrating
    Jesus' birth, then ask God to center your mindset on
    the true significance of Christmas.

    Without Christ in your Christmas, how can you be
    merry?
  • blue[]ceblue[]ce Member PExer
    Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday.


    According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, sporadic feasts commemorating Jesus' birth began to crop up in various locations beginning in 200 CE, but the dates assigned to the feasts varied widely, and there was no general consensus on when Jesus might have been born, or even if the event was appropriate for Christians to commemorate.

    Christmas celebrations spread to Egypt by 432, to England by the end of the sixth century and to Scandinavia by the end of the eighth century. By the Middle Ages, Christmas had, for the most part, supplanted the older pagan celebrations. But, it was still celebrated in the traditionally pagan way, with raucous Mardi Gras-like drunkenness and partying. Of course, that was after the church service.

    Without Christ in your Christmas, how can you be
    merry?

    Perhaps without Mithras or Saturn in your christmas, how can you be merry as well?
  • micketymocmicketymoc Oversized Member PExer
    tophe, it is entirely possible to celebrate Christmas without Christ. I've been doing it for the past ten years! You mean to say that I'm wrong in finding these celebrations meaningful?
  • kaningbrownkaningbrown Member PExer
    loc0 wrote: »
    #1 reason:

    To spite people by receiving gifts without having to believe.
    You might be surprised how many people would give a damn about it. Not.

    Atheists celebrating Christmas? GODLESS HAM FOR THE WIN!
  • FenixFenix Member PExer
    Ok I admit, when i was still a christian (catholic), christmas meant a cool pleasant weather, merrymaking, yummy dishes my mom would only make during this season, and the gifts. If I weren't reminded that it's supposed to be the celebration of jesus' birth, I would forget. Then again, when I do remember that it is the celebration of jesus' birth, I could only care less. Is it only me or why are people so happy and the air so festive during christmas even if we don't give a damn about the 'real' reason behind it?
  • payterpayter Banned by Admin PExer
    even if christmas is a pagan thing
    pagans have their own gods too
    so your still borrowing from theists
    even if their not christians
    looks like you really are a
    hypocrite hehe

    and if atheism is so wonderful
    why do you have to post an
    apology/explanation here
    for your actions?
    make your own holiday
    idiot

    merry christmas :)
  • JongaJonga Banned by Admin PExer
    i like yuletide or the celebration of the sun god because

    single unattached women or so hot during these seasons...its easy to get laid with them and leave them right after New Year :lol:
  • vinta18vinta18 What the frell?!? PExer
    I celebrate it as a Filipino, same with fiestas and baptisms. While I don't subscribe to the religious meaning behind these celebrations, I acknowledge them as an essential part of Philippine culture that celebrates family.
  • FenixFenix Member PExer
    ^ Yup, agree.
    Ang hypocrite ay yung nagsasabi na nagse-celebrate sya ng christmas dahil lang birthday ni jesus at hindi dahil din sa mga pagkain at regalo. :naughty:
  • blue[]ceblue[]ce Member PExer
    Christmas is good for business ;)

    Christmas is bad for my wallet... :(
  • blue[]ceblue[]ce Member PExer
    Christmas is good for business ;)

    Christmas is bad for my wallet... :(
  • IscharamoochieIscharamoochie Moderator PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    how 'bout if your business is selling wallets? :crazy:
  • st.angerst.anger Domo! PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    loc0 wrote: »
    #1 reason:

    To spite people by receiving gifts without having to believe.

    hear, hear! *okay*

    i even have the xmas spirit this year and i'm feeling generous :D
  • ..........................upppss.. double posts
  • stillwaterstillwater create in me... PExer
    What could be more significant than to see Christ alive in the hearts of the atheists. Continue celebrating with us. Though it is not in believing that you celebrate Christmas, but in doing where HIS presence is felt. May HIS steadfast LOVE be with all, for that's what Christmas is, to remind us how we are loved by GOD, especially the atheists.

    :ghost:

    I'm Not Perfect

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