Tag Archives: christmas

Merry Christmas or Happy holidays?

22 Dec

Merry Christmas or Happy holidays? This is debate that flairs up every November-December in America.

On the side of “Happy Holidays” you have people and businesses who are trying to appeal to the greatest number of customers. On the side of those who take offense to “Happy holidays” and prefer “Merry Christmas”, you have Christians who feel that “Happy Holidays” is an attack on their beliefs. Some on the “Merry Christmas” side have even gone so far as to call for a boycott of businesses that say “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas.” I’m not sure about your locale, but you can often find people driving around with the following “Keep Christ in Christmas” car magnets.

It should come as no surprise that I feel that the “Merry Christmas” crowd is acting like a bunch of angry children. Let’s examine the rationale behind why a person might say “Happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas” :

The idea behind “Happy holidays” is simple. There are several holidays celebrated  in the month of December. Since it is not easy to tell just by looking at someone what their religion is, it is a polite way of saying “I wish you well in whichever of the several holidays you will be observing.” It’s nice, it covers everybody, and doesn’t discriminate.

Now, for the “Merry Christmas” people who take offense to “Happy Holidays” their reasoning is some flavor of the following reasons:

I celebrate Christmas, therefore my holiday is the only holiday that really matters.

This is my country, founded on my religion, and everyone else should bow down to the superiority of MY holiday.

You can have your little Hanukkah, or Solstice, or whatever, but normal people like ME celebrate CHRISTmas!

To say “Happy Holidays” is to spit in the face of that majority’s cultural tradition! It’s an attack on my religious freedom [read as: freedom to oppress, marginalize, and belittle those of different faiths]!”

Now someone who takes offense to “Happy Holidays”  might not hold every aspect of the above self-righteous rage, but their reasoning ultimately stems from one of the above mentioned examples.

When someone takes offense to “Happy Holidays” or any other attempt to include others of differing viewpoints in the seasonal celebrations, they truly are acting like a spoiled child throwing a temper-tantrum. I’m sorry if you feel uncomfortable by the existence of people with differing views. I’m sorry if you can’t stand the thought that your holiday might not be superior to, and deserving deference from, all the other holidays going on during this season.

Grow up.

I pinned a note on a church door

7 Dec

Grace Tabernacle, a church right around the corner from my house, has a marquee where they often post interesting messages. This one (which they have up currently) particularly rilled me:

I decided to write them a letter and put it in their mailbox. (I would have nailed it to the door like Martin Luther, but the door was glass and I didn’t want to vandalize the building. Here is what my letter said:

Dear Grace Tabernacle,

I saw your sign “You should buy an atheist a Christmas gift” and being an atheist myself, thought I would give you my wish-list:

For Christmas I would like Christians to show they are Christians by their love, not by their hate and distrust of others.

For Christmas I would like for Christians to stop demonizing atheists, to realize that not only are we good and moral people, but we’re your co-workers, classmates, family, friends, and neighbors; neighbors you should love as yourselves.

For Christmas I would like to be included as a person with worth and value. I would like Christians, who compromise 80% of the country and a super majority in every government body, school, and business to stop perpetuating the myth that they are a persecuted minority.

For Christmas I would like Christians and non-Christians to stop mischaracterizing one another. For example: When an atheist says “secular,” we do not mean “greedy, amoral materialism,” we mean “equality and tolerance, where no one religious faith is given special privileges over another.” Ask any atheist and they will tell you this.

For Christmas I would like us to work together, as stewards of the earth, to make this place better for ourselves, our children, and our neighbors. Belief in God is not a prerequisite for love and understanding, but love and understanding are prerequisites for improving our lives and living peacefully together.

On behalf of atheists everywhere, I wish you and your love ones a safe and joyous Christmas.

And then I signed it “an atheist”

I can’t wait to see how they respond. Perhaps they’ll change their sign and message me that way.

Christmas, the worst time of the year

26 Nov

Thanksgiving was yesterday, the last finger holding us onto the ledge has slipped; we now freely fall into the Christmas abyss. Over the course of the next twenty-eight days we will reach terminal velocity, culminating in an orgasm of commercialism and religious fervor. Ah…Christmas in America. This truly is the worst season to be an atheist.

Atheists are always aware of how different they are in a country as awash in Christian privilege as America; December is the month that the rest of the believing populace becomes aware of this difference too. This is the time of year when the separation of church and state comes under the heaviest attack. Tis the season when the willfully ignorant come out in droves to proclaim the marriage of America and Jesus. Defiantly they make their stand against political correctness. Through their eyes they are the majority, the only ones who matter. America is a Christian nation founded by god himself! The non-Christians should be grateful that they are allowed to live in such a wonderful country, and they must humbly show their respect by being quiet during this most Christian time of the year.

To the rest of us, they come off a belligerent and rude, like a man wearing a offensively sexist t-shirt to meeting of professional women. This is the time of year they will demand that nativity scenes and Christian signs be placed on government property, to the exclusion of other faiths. Never mind the fact that there are conflicting accounts of the nativity story and that the government must remain neutral in matters of religion (heaven forbid they actually read the bible or the constitution). When the secular stand up and call foul, we’re accused of having a “war on Christmas.”

In the past, people have gone so far as to organize boycotts of stores that instruct their employees to say “Happy Holidays” as apposed to “Merry Christmas.” Belligerent ignorance. I’m sorry you’re unaware that there are, in fact, other holidays going on in the same general time frame, thus “Happy Holidays” would be more appropriate. But again, to them this is a Christian nation, and Christmas is the only holiday of importance. Nevermind the fact that Christmas is actually an old Pagan holiday.

Despite this minor historical point, this is the time of year signs like this start popping up all around the country:

I have no problem with Christians celebrating Christmas. I have no problem with them decorating their homes, or erecting nativity scenes on their lawns, or on their church lawns. While I would prefer that people realize that not everyone is Christian and said the more generalized “Happy Holidays,” I’m not overly offended if someone says it to me with the best of intentions. I don’t even have a problem with Christians erecting a Christian display on government property for Christmas, as long as everyone is then allowed to erect a display. In order for the government to remain neutral, as it serves everyone, not just Christians, it must allow all or none. Unfortunately the belligerently ignorant insist on preventing some groups from displaying signs depicting beliefs contrary to their own. This is the time of year that the belligerently ignorant go out of their way to make you feel like a second class citizen. The nonbeliever is not only constantly bombarded by visual messages reinforcing this, but by audio ones as well. This is the time of year that the radio stations and stores switch over to playing almost exclusively Christmas music. You cannot listen to the radio, or enter a place of business without hearing some Christmas tune.

This bombardment will last for the next twenty-eight days. The only thing an atheist can do is hunker down, stay in doors, rent some movies, crank up the secular podcasts, and wait for the frenzy to pass.

The Rape of the Virgin Mary

15 Feb

Rape is non-consensual sexual activity. If a man or a woman does not give consent, then it is rape. (Same if they are unable to give consent, like drunk or passed out)

In the annunciation god just announces to Mary that she is pregnant.

Luke 1:26-35

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called [a] the Son of God.

There was no asking Mary “Hey, do you consent to this?”, she had no choice, god just knocked her up and told her afterwards.

I can foresee people saying “Oh, but she was fine with it! How can it be rape if she’s ok with it?” Simple. Did she consent to being impregnated before she was impregnated? No. Then it’s rape. It does not matter if she is ok with it afterwards. I know a girl here at college that was drugged and raped by a guy she liked. She refused to press charges afterwards because she thought he was “a nice guy” but that does not change the fact that she was raped. Just like Mary.

Presents make me depressed…

22 Jan

It’s almost my birthday, and presents are starting to come in. I don’t know why, but presents have always made me depressed, be it birthday, christmas, graduation, whatever. I always feel like I haven’t really done anything to deserve a present.

It’s even worse when I get a present I don’t want. It’s not that I get angry like a spoiled brat that I didn’t get what I asked for, I just feel bad that people spent money on me, and imagine the present feeling hurt and rejected, which I know is silly. Sorta like a puppy, opened up at christmas, and then rejected by the child it was intended for, so the puppy is then put in a box and on the curb to whimper in the rain, alone, unwanted, and cold…

I’ve have had a bad history with present and my family. I’m not saying they give bad presents, no, we’ve just had a bad history around present giving.

My dad used to travel a lot for business. He would always stop and get me presents to bring home. I remember the first time I got a present I didn’t really like. It was a t-shirt or something, can’t remember what it was of, but I finally worked up the courage to tell him thanks, but I didn’t want it. That made me cry. I felt so horrible.

(I remember watching some Nickelodeon game show as a kid where they were blowing up RC cars. I remember crying over this because I imagined a nice small group of people at the toy factory, putting a lot of love into making these little RC cars in the hopes that children would enjoy playing with them, only for these innocent cars to be blow up in a heartless manner for some amusement.)

Anyways, the worst I remember was my 12 year old birthday. I got nothing that I asked for, and all the presents were weird little things including this plane that hung from some fishing line and flew around. It was very heavy in the back and I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work. It kept wanting to go backwards. I cried about that, thought it was stupid how they made it so heavy in the back. That broke my parents’ hearts. And then it broke mine for breaking theirs.

The next present giving occasion I fucked up was one in which my parents got me a video camera. I again had made a list of things I would be interested in as presents, and again got nothing on the list. (My parents always used to ask us to make a christmas list, I was especially hard to buy presents for because of my extremely niched hobby) Anyways, I had written this list of possible presents, all of which were not very expensive, and my parents went out and bought an expensive video camera that I didn’t ask for. At the time I didn’t think I would need one. Yeah my friends and I were making movies, but we already had a camera. (My “friend” and I were always in a “keeping up with the Jones-es”  war, he always had to have the newest and best thing, better than mine, and so he relegated my camera to backup camera)

Well I got upset with my parents for spending this much money on a camera I didn’t want, instead of a whole list of possible things I did want that were drastically cheaper, and that broke their hearts again, and again mine. My mother broke down in tears, and my dad just left the room, silent. I still haven’t forgiven myself for saying anything. I did end up liking the camera, and it did come in handy.

You’d think I would have learned. I got upset another christmas later when I got an ipod instead of a more basic mp3 player. I hated the popularity of ipods, and was trying to resist. I figured I only needed a CD worth of music, not a could GB. (I later would change my mind) But I again got upset and approached my parents about it, wanting them to return it and get a cheaper one as so to save the money) My mother again broke down in tears, and my father, furious, came out and said how they had been a gift to from a business client, that he didn’t spend any money on them. I felt like shit. Again.

I think I’ve finally learned to just shut up and accept presents. My girlfriend pointed out that she thought this practice of “making a list of the things you’d like” and asking people “what do you want for X” was particular, and that presents were not supposed to be given that way. They aren’t supposed to be something you ask for in advance, they are supposed to be a surprise gift that someone thinks you will enjoy, that they are giving to you because they care.

I fucked up presents so bad in the past with my family they just make me depressed now. I wish I hadn’t said anything and just enjoyed them for what they were.

Christmas is no reason to celebrate

30 Nov

A) Why do christians celebrate Christmas?

B) Because it is the day the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated.

A) And why is that such a big deal?

B) Because it’s the birth of the savior.

A) Savior of what?

B) Humanity, he will save everyone from their wicked sins and sinful nature, this way you won’t burn in the excruciating torment of hell for all eternity, if you accept him and join us of course.

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So basically, celebrate because despite the fact that you’re a rotten, worthless, horrible sinner that deserves only to burn in hell and suffer forever, Jesus has come to forgive you for whatever you have done (or haven’t done) and save you….

Well excuse me for not being so merry. You might want to go on a masochistic, self-hating guilt trip, but not me, no thank you! I’m a damn good person. I don’t need a system of rewards and punishment to make me care about my fellow human beings. I don’t need some eternal man in the sky looking over my shoulder all the time to make sure I do the right thing.

Go ahead, celebrate how little you think of yourself and all humanity has accomplished, I’ll pass.

Religious equality

18 Aug

It is a common misconception that Atheists want to eradicate religion from the United States. All we really want is religious equality.What’s that? Well, we just want the government to treat those without faith with the same respect and dignity that it treats others. We don’t want people getting special privileges that are denied to us, simply because they say they believe in a god(s).

Luckily for us, the First Amendment of the constitution states that the government should be neutral in the “establishment clause”.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

In other words, the government can’t favor one belief over another, and it can’t pass laws that mess with your right to practice your religion.

Take a look at this sign:

Do you recognize it? If you don’t, it was a sign erected in the Washington state capitol last christmas. Why was this sign placed there? Well, Washington state officials in the capitol had allowed a nativity scene to be placed in the building. In order to be equal and follow the constitution, they then had to allow Atheists to put up their sign on government property. All or none. If you’re going to allow one group to put up a sign on public property, you must allow all, thereby not giving a government endorsement of any one group. (Unfortunately, some people were not happy with the inclusion of Atheists and protested. One person even went so far as to steal the sign and throw it in a ditch. Thou shalt not steal?)

As you can imagine, after letting one group put a sign, then another, and another, the capitol building became littered with them. The “all or none” doctrine works great for keeping everything fair and in line with the constitution, but allowing all clogs up space. The best way to archive religious equality is to allow none. This way Atheists couldn’t put a sign, and nor could the religious. People would still be free to put as many signs as they want on their private property, but when it comes to public property that people of all faiths must share, it’s better just not to go there.

While Washington state is a good example of government abiding to the constitution, there are many other places where government blatantly ignores it. If you pull out your wallet and find any piece of money, you’ll find the words “In God We Trust” written on them.

Atheists (and some christians) are fighting to get this phrase taken off of the money and out of the pledge. Some people try and rationalize the phrase by saying “Well, it doesn’t mean the christian God, it means any god.” While this might sound ok, further examination will show you that this is not so. There is a big difference between “God”, “god”, “gods”, “goddess” and “goddesses”. “God” capitalized (like it is on the pledge) refers to a proper noun, in this case the  singular male Jedeo-Christian god. “god” can mean any singular male god, “gods” multiple male gods, and so on. There are only a few religions that have a singular male god, there are others that have a female goddess, others that have multiples of both, some people have none of the above.

Since there isn’t enough room on the money/in the pledge to give Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Athiests, Animists, Shintos, ect, a spot, the best thing the government can do is to just not go there and take it off.

Atheists aren’t trying to dictate what you can do on your private property. There you are protected by the constitution to say whatever you like. On public property, however, the constitution protects the rest of us from the government excluding one group while allowing another. That’s all we’re aiming for, religious equality.

coexist

Sometimes I wish I had a religion

27 May

Sometimes I wish I had a religion, just to be able to claim all the crap modern religions do. For example, there is a scene in Angels and Demons where one of the Vatican police officers warns Robert Langdon to watch his tongue inside the holy Vatican city. Sometimes I wish I had a religion so I could do that. Imagine, being able to tell religious people that they must hold their tongues and be respectful inside a science museum! Damn that would feel good.

But unfortunately science doesn’t work like that. Science by nature wants you to question! Religions ask you to hold your tongue.

I wish that I could have special holidays that I could take off class/work, with party napkins and special cards, along with sales and “Happy _________” signs.

It would be nice to just  demand blanket respect for my views, and my restrictions on criticizing me put into law. I’d be nice to claim a monopoly on morality and influence the government to enact policies we deem acceptable. It’d be nice to have my faith on the currency and in the pledge too.

It’d be nice to have a list of holy sites and symbols, along with old and sometimes secretive orders. All this would be awesome. Especially the respect and influencing law part.

Christmas crazyness

21 Dec

On the way home for the break I drove past this house in my neighborhood and thought I’d share. The pictures don’t do the place justice, it looks worse in person.  I honestly don’t know what to think of this house. I do know that the people are extremely religious, two of their sons are training to be ministers.  Perhaps this display of power waste and running up their electricity bill is an attempt to show their devotion….

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