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Atheism Vs Christmas

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Tue December 9th, 2008, 12:27 pm

I'm Jewish and love Christmas! I'm not offended by the celebrations (except that all the commercialism and consumerism starts way too early) and as the UK is still a pre-dominantly Christian country I don't see why it should be hidden away in case it offends other faiths; all the shops where I live stock provisions for Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu festivals as well as the relevant greetings cards; personally I can't stand the phrase "happy holidays"!

I must admit that,sadly, some of the most bigoted people I have met have been religious ones, who seem to forget that most religions claim to have tolerance as one of their strong points!

I don't mind what people believe in, as long as they don't try to foist it on other people, and they're not doing any harm with it.

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Tue December 9th, 2008, 1:40 pm

[quote=""LCW""]I don't think it's fair to lay the blame entirely on Kwanzaa for that! But, IMO, Kwanzaa is not even a real holiday. It's only 40 years old and was invented as a black alternative to the "white" Christmas. The man who invented it is known to have negative views of the larger more established religions, particularly Christianity and Judaisim. And while I understand the racial tensions and social unrest in the '60's that helped create this holiday, IMO, nothing good can come from something, even a holiday, that is so heavily based on race to the point of excluding other races or skin colors. We need things that are unifying and positive for our society as a whole not divisive and exclusionary! JMO![/quote]


No I wouldn't blame Kwanzaa for anything, but my parents are a bit on the racist side. Especially my mother who is the one who's done most of the complaining.

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Tue December 9th, 2008, 2:38 pm

I've always felt the insistence for political correctness in the public arena is the very essence of self-absorption and can be quite dehumanizing (as well as impractical to implement) when taken to the extreme. I just don't have it sewn into the fabric of my being to be that way.

I'm not religious, but I don't get offended if someone wants prayer time, or says bless you (I take it in the spirit it's intended, and I'm enough of an adult to know when someone is just trying to follow their traditions and not proselytizing).

I grew up in an agnostic household and have leaned toward atheism my entire adult life; religion and spirituality are still very interesting topics to me though, and I don't begrudge anyone their religion, or the right to talk about it. We don't celebrate a holiday in my family. We celebrate Christmas.

I used to visit an atheist board until I found most of them to be just as rabid as the people they complained about. Life's too short to spend it on petty grievances.

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princess garnet
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Post by princess garnet » Tue December 9th, 2008, 7:53 pm

[quote=""Madeleine""] personally I can't stand the phrase "happy holidays"![/quote]

Me neither!

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Post by gyrehead » Mon December 15th, 2008, 5:43 pm

[quote=""LCW""]But there are so many aspects of Christmas that are not Christian but derived from the Pagan religions that dominated before Christianity was forcefully spread through Europe. Dec. 25th is not even Jesus's real birthday. Besides, there's nothing in the Bible that says to decorate a pine tree, bake cookies, have a big celebration, give gifts, burn a yule log etc. Nevermind the whole Santa Claus thing. The Christmas holiday and tradition is just as much secular as it is religious as has been since it was first celebrated. I may not be Christian but Christmas is part of my culture and I have just as much right to celebrate it as anyone else![/quote]


And dare I say that anything to promulgates the notion of goodwill toward men no matter what day of the year should not be deemed belonging to a specific faith or freed.

Now if only that goodwill toward men was in existence from the people who lately seem to throw hissy fits if I dare wish them a happy holiday. 1.I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas and adhere to the world culture notion of the holiday as a day devoted towards peace and acceptance as the true gifts we bestow on each other that day and 2.I have no idea if Christmas is a holiday they celebrate or want to celebrate let alone that somehow that single day is only one I can wish someone well on.

I think the awareness stems from the fact that more and more people realize that the world has more people in it than just those people that are "people like us". A phrase that in another generation or two will hopefully lose almost all meaning. In the US there has always been a considerable number of people who are not Christian or who do not celebrate Christmas as the sole holiday in that time. But have been pretty much ignored and steamrollered into the assumption that they too must follow the supposed norm.

However I do love me a good "war on Christmas" paradigm simply because the outrageous level of idiocy is just too good not to sit back and watch like some inane but addictive funniest home video of dad getting his family jewels knackered by some baseball bat swinging tyke. I love hearing the screeching and shrieking of the hypocrites whose knickers get knotted because they think that simply because someone else resists letting them dictate their belief system on him or her, it somehow is an assault on their belief system. Thankfully even with the rabid reactionism that pops up from time to time, this seems to be dying off incrementally; particularly in the face of the real troubles and woes we must solve in the not so distance future.

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Mon December 15th, 2008, 6:37 pm

I've never been very good at communicating with people outside my immediate family. For years, I didn't send out Christmas cards... the season always seems to be too frantic to get around to it before Christmas, but since my Dad died, and all that's left of us are my brothers and their wives/kids and my husband's family expects acknowledgement of our existence (hee hee), I've made a concerted effort to send something out just to let people know I'm alive and thinking about them. So what I started doing was sending out New Year's cards. It has more to do with my time constraints and utter horror and frustration with the commercialization of Christmas than any desire to be politically correct. Not exactly about the holiday/xmas debate, but this thread makes me think about it.

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Post by Ash » Tue December 16th, 2008, 12:13 am

[quote=""Ludmilla""] So what I started doing was sending out New Year's cards. It has more to do with my time constraints and utter horror and frustration with the commercialization of Christmas than any desire to be politically correct. Not exactly about the holiday/xmas debate, but this thread makes me think about it.[/quote]

I have a friend who does that. She has children and a job, and celebrates Christmas. She has no time for cards, but does a week later. For her the New Year is a time of relection, and a time to indeed connect with loved ones and friends. I think its quite a nice idea actually. Actually I am much more vigilant about Rosh Hashana cards - the Jewish New Year - than I am about Chanukah/Christmas cards. The former means much more to me in terms of connecting with family and friends.

I wish people would let people live, and accept greetings in the spirit they are given. I say Happy Holidays. If someone is offended by it thats their choice. If they respond with Merry Christmas, I nod and smile. Its jut not a big deal. There are more important issues to worry about.

I was in a quandry a few years back when my mom died. The teacher aides at my school sent me a lovely card and everyone signed it. One lady wrote 'in Christs name'. I knew this lady, she was a sweet dear, wonderful with the kids and not a mean bone in her body. The teacher in me wanted to teach her that not everyone is Christian and such a phrase could offend. But that would only hurt her, and I had no desire to do so. So I decided to just let it go.

Re: 'politically correct'. There was a very good reason why certain phrases were changed; not to be pc, but to acknowledge other people. For example, in my field of special education, we do not say a deaf child, we say a child who is deaf. Why? Because the child comes first, the deafness is simply one part of him. 'Colored' has a very different meaning from 'Black', police officer is much more inclusive than 'police man'. Words do matter; they can sting, soothe, or teach. So sometimes what seems ridiculous to some, actually means something to others. I'm not saying there aren't ridiculous examples of pc, of course they are since many people go overboard. But again, words do mean something, and usually such changes in phrases are a direct result of good intentions.
Last edited by Ash on Tue December 16th, 2008, 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ellie
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Post by Ellie » Mon April 6th, 2009, 2:04 am

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.
See I don't really fit into either of those niches. I was raised by a religious family (not that religious, but we went to church when I was a child) so I grew up with family that believed in God and didn't have any athiesm influence but around 11 I started having doubts and by the time I was 13 I didn't have any belief there was a God at all. I wasn't angry at anything, it was just my own personal belief. I have no problem with religious people, I don't try to convert them and if they don't try to convert me it's all good. If I have any problems with religion it's organised religion.

And are the people that are mad at God technically even Athiests? Because to be mad at God you'd have to believe in God to begin with. I don't think that Athiests can be lumped into just 2 categories.

As far as Christmas goes, I celebrate it- as a holiday and family occasion not as a religious holiday. For me its a break from work and chance to catch up with family.

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Post by LoveHistory » Mon April 6th, 2009, 2:40 am

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.
It's not the religious community. It's a certain vocal group within the community who insist on making the rest of us look bad.

Santa Claus actually does derive from Christianity. Goes back to Saint Nicholas, bishop of Smyrna who probably did not wear red and definitly didn't drive a sleigh with reindeer.

I have to agree that it's not about atheism and Christianity/Chirstmas (sorry Sonja). More like one small group of irritable jerks vs another small group of irritable jerks. And the media, which I believe LCW mentioned.

I'm actually thinking of going back to giving gifts on Twelfth Night. But I'll still celebrate my own son's birthday on December 25.

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rex icelingas
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Post by rex icelingas » Mon April 6th, 2009, 1:08 pm

Im not Christian,I dont celebrate Xmas at all

I think Xmas has become terrible,god i feel ancient saying that
In my opinion its a very anti-christian festival as it defies the seven deadly sins so much

I thought it was much better to give, so on the 25th i gave a lot of money to an animal charity instead

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