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Atheism Vs Christmas

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SonjaMarie
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Atheism Vs Christmas

Post by SonjaMarie » Sat December 6th, 2008, 7:07 am

Right now in my state there is some argument going on about a message about atheism that is up at the Capital Building, not far from a Nativity scene. The Governor Christine Gregoire says it's freedom of speech, but others are very riled up about it and the sign was even stolen but was found and put back. To read more about the controversy go here:
http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&tab=w ... earch+News

Do you have an opinion on this? I guess I don't really care but I can't understand why the atheists see the need to bother.

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Post by Misfit » Sat December 6th, 2008, 2:23 pm

I think Gov. G did the right thing in allowing everyone to "participate" in the festivities, although I can't see why the atheists think they need to bother. Much ado about nothing. Gotta wonder who had to steal the atheists sign and deliver it to the radio station.

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Post by Divia » Sat December 6th, 2008, 2:57 pm

I agree. The atheists don't believe in anything so why go to all the trouble. If one celebrates the season through X mas, Soltice or Haunnak (did I Spell that right) then groovy throw up all your symbols. But one saying religion is a myth is kinda pointless.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat December 6th, 2008, 3:18 pm

As a former athiest, I will weigh in here. I will borrow a comment form a 'stop smoking' book: there are two kinds of non-smokers: never-smokers and former smokers.
And there are two kinds of athiests. Those like I was -- never really thought about god, couldn't care less, and those who were raised with the concept of diety and then got mad at God because of the behavior of people.

I have my mom with me for Christmas. She is the latter. I am just realizing how different a viewpoint that is from my onetime 'never-believed' stance. The people who object to other people's religious holidays are also of that stamp. They are seriously pissed off at God and can't stand the sight of anybody else worshiping him. My guess is that if they are going for the Christian symbols but not the Muslim or Jewish ones, they were raised in some denomination of Christianity and that draws their ire.

I watched a debate between a Christian physicist and Atheist Richard Dawkins recently and walked away shaking my head. He sounded nothing like what I had been. He was not uncaring about God; he was positively rabid, to the point of being astonishingly rude, embarrassing to watch a grown man make such a jerk of himself. I thought: "It's not that he doesn't believe in God -- it's that he is really, really mad at him."

It's hard to debate somebody when the other side is speaking out of their pain. So I just treat rabid atheists like I would Islamists or white supremacists: I refuse to discuss the subject on which their fury is focused. It's like trying to explain broken bones to someone who has just stubbed their toe.

As to the nativity and the sign? Well, God will manage with or without either. Eventually, when the toe stopps hurting, the sign-posters will move on.

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Post by Ash » Sat December 6th, 2008, 5:09 pm

It's hard to debate somebody when the other side is speaking out of their pain. So I just treat rabid atheists like I would Islamists or white supremacists: I refuse to discuss the subject on which their fury is focused. It's like trying to explain broken bones to someone who has just stubbed their toe.

MLE, I totally agree with you about the latter kind of atheists. I actually did come to it late so don't quite fit the mold. But I respect people's beliefs and in fact envy their faith sometimes. I think the kind of atheists you are talking about are not just mad at god, but they are in the same pot as all the evangelists from any religion: they can't stand it if do not believe the same thing, and they must 'save' you from your belief. I keep a far distance from these folks, whether they are atheists or true believers. I have my beliefs, let me alone with them please.

But on the other side, and as an atheist, I can well understand why the sign was put up. Its not to spit on another religion, rather to remind people that there supposedly is separation of church and state in this country. Signs of religion should not be in places of government. I do have a problem with trees, menorahs, buddahs or any religious symbol in a building that is paid for with my tax dollars.

That being said, the people who put up the sign, well, lets just say there are better ways to show their belief. Be active in the ACLU which is involved in these issues, and let people know that yes they are atheists, but that their belief in the separation of church and state is not a dig at anyone's religion.
Last edited by Ash on Sat December 6th, 2008, 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Ash » Sat December 6th, 2008, 5:19 pm

I will say that I dislike the title of this thread: its not Christmas against Atheists. Its separation of church and state. Most atheists I know have nothing against Christmas or any other holiday.

I also really really dislike the annual 'war on Christmas' tirade of some people (a war that I think got started by the media, who push its buttons every year). Getting upset because cashiers say Happy Holidays is just ridiculous (esp when the phrase has been used since the 1800s, along with Season's Greetings). Making a big deal of saying Merry Christmas to someone who you know does not celebrate the holiday is just being rude, arrogant and silly. Say what you'd like, let people greet others how they like, and let it go for heavens sakes

Ok, end of rant. Going to help my hubby wrap some presents :)

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Post by SonjaMarie » Sat December 6th, 2008, 5:51 pm

Ash: sorry you dislike the title, I was posting it late last night and I had no idea what to call it so hence what got put.

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Post by LCW » Sat December 6th, 2008, 7:01 pm

As a person who leans towards athieism, I can say I have nothing against Christmas. Christmas is part of my culture and my upbringing and I embrace it to the fullest! I say Merry Christmas and I think it's disingenuous of the retail stores and society as a whole to make the generic "Happy Holidays" the only acceptable greeting. The stores and the economy get a big boost because people are celebrating Christmas, not a "holiday" but Christmas! Yes, there are other holidays around this time, particularly Hanukkah, and I have no problem celebrating that too but to deny that the main reason the stores are packed and the economy generally gets a boost this time of year is in fact because of Christmas is just really hypocritical in my opinion. I think if someone wishes you a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or whatever, you should take it in the spirit it was given and be grateful, regardless of whether or not you personally celebrate that holiday.

There is though particular disrespect and vehemence by the religious community against those who are agnostic or athiest. When that same vehemence is turned back at religion everyone is all up in arms. Religious people don't have a monopoly on what is good, just, or moral, and they don't have any more right to respecting their POV's than those who are not religious or don't believe in God at all. Respect is a two way street! Just like some people have a problem celebrating Christmas, there are those who have issues with any religious celebration at all. Personally, I think that's stupid but just as, for example, someone who is Jewish may be offended by the overwhelming "Christmasy" atmosphere this time of year, just think that there are those who feel the same way but don't subscribe to any religion at all and their views and feelings deserve respect too!
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Post by donroc » Sat December 6th, 2008, 7:19 pm

It is the placement of the crudely worded sign that attacked all religious beliefs next to the creche that offended. It could have been placed anywhere else in the building.

Neither an Orthodox nor Conservative Jew, I have always enjoyed the Christmas season. My assimilated parents even provided a decorated tree with ornaments for me from age three to nine, and I believed in Santa Claus until age six when I discovered where they hid my presents.

No big deal about Hannukkah in the 1930s.

Perhaps we need a new term for those who are anti-religion. If they are specifically anti-Christian, then the word is bigot.

It is impossible to do or say anything in our country without offending one person. Have fun sometime. Create a letterhead for a fictional group. Sign and mail a letter to a public official demanding something be changed, and you may see instant action on your behalf. I have seen it done.
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Post by Emily » Sat December 6th, 2008, 7:34 pm

What I have a problem with is people taking Christian holidays and making them secular. Christmas and Easter. If people want to celebrate "Christmas" in a non-Christian way, they don't have to do it on December 25th. I know that has nothing to do with this topic...

I agree with MLE that God doesn't need the sign and I agree with Ash about the crazy evangelists. People need to just leave other people alone and worry about living their own lives instead of "fixing" other people's.

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