Christmas – My Favorite Secular Holiday

Yes, Christmas is my favorite holiday.  Many atheists enjoy the Christmas holiday, and many choose not to participate in it.  To me, the holiday is about getting together with family to recognize that family is important.  This sentiment has no ties to Christianity or any other religion, and yet it is the essence of what we think about when we think about Christmas today.

When people are asked what they think of when asked about Christmas they think of:

Santa Claus

Christmas Tree

December 25th

Gift giving and receiving

Christmas Carols

Lights on houses

Reindeer

Stockings by the fire

Nativity Scenes

Birth of Jesus

Most of the things we think of have nothing to do with Christianity.  In fact, the holiday as we know it originated in retail.  Good, pious Christians historically, from the years 1000 to around 1850 did not celebrate Christmas, and often Christians such as early Americans and the Church of England banned the celebration of Christmas, because the celebrations were generally filled with violence and debauchery.  When Christmas started becoming popular, it was because retail stores began spreading stories equating Christmas with gift giving.

Therefore, the “Reason for the Season” has never been about the birth of Jesus.  Only in the last 50 years or so have Christians started pushing to make the season have something to do with Jesus.

If you take the non-Jesus things out of Christmas, the holiday would probably not be celebrated much. If you removed gift-giving, family get-togethers, Santa Claus, Christmas Trees, Lights on houses, stockings by the fire, and reindeer, then the holiday would go away, or become about as popular as Ash Wednesday.

Finally, how do I know it is a secular holiday?  Well, the holiday, as it is celebrated today, originated in the United States.  And the United States is a secular nation, our constitution prohibits us from endorsing any particular religion.  Yet, in 1870, the United States declared Christmas to be a National Holiday; thus Christmas is a secular holiday.

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If we had the GOP 150 years ago, we wouldn’t have Oil today. #GOP #oil

Too bad we didn’t have the GOP around when we first discovered that we could use oil for fuel.  If we had, they would have fought passionately against oil and in favor of maintaining our reliance on coal because investing in oil would cost too much.  All of the same arguments the GOP uses today to oppose green technologies could have been used to argue against oil.

What can Christians Learn from the Death of Kim Jong Il? #Christian

Have you seen the North Koreans distressed by the death of their beloved leader?  That grief, for most, is real.  They have lost the One who provided for them, nurtured them, and brought forth more goodness in life than they could possibly have otherwise obtained.  Kim Jong Il was even more dear than immediate family members because he was one of a kind, perhaps irreplaceable, and it is hard to imagine that any other person in the history of humankind can exist to replace him.

These are just some of the thoughts of North Koreans about their beloved leader.  You and I read those and we think to ourselves, “Wow, how did those people buy into that cult of personality so deeply?”  “Once they wake up and see the world how it really is, they will be stunned.”  “You North Koreans are under a mass delusion.”  “You are brainwashed.”  “You would be so much happier, your minds would be free from facts that conflict your beliefs, if you would only let go your belief in a Kim Jong Il.”

But people outside of North Korea have also been saying this for decades.  We have been saying that the North Koreans will surely soon realize they have everything backwards; but the North Koreans have not come to that realization in 50 years.

It is painfully obvious to those of us outside North Korea that the North Koreans are brainwashed and would have happier lives if they could give up their false beliefs, but they apparently don’t know how to.

This is the exact same message that the atheists are telling the Christians.  “You Christians are under a mass delusion.”  “You are brainwashed.”  “You would be so much happier, your minds would be free from facts that conflict your beliefs, if you would only let go your belief in a god.”

Don’t be too harsh on the Republican Congressman

This week the Republicans voted against themselves.  Those in the Senate voted to reduce taxes, and those in the House did not.  But don’t be too harsh on your Republican Senators and Representatives.  Although their task is so simple a monkey could do it, it is also easy to see how this mistake was made.  If you are elected to office as a Republican you have just a few simple rules to follow:

1) Always oppose the Democrats

2) Always lower taxes until they are down to 0% (at least for the upper class)

But what happened this week is that the Democrats presented a bill that lowered taxes.  This led to a bunch of confused Representatives and Senators to have to choose which of their two rules to follow.  Given that Republicans aren’t used to thinking, you can expect a mish-mash of responses and votes, which is exactly what we got.

But don’t worrry.  I am sure that before the next such vote occurs, the money the guides them will give them very clear instructions about how they should vote.

How to be both an atheist and an agnostic

Many people, like myself, claim to be both an atheist and an agnostic.  And many people, especially Christians, don’t understand how this is possible.  I offer this analogy of two questions:

Question #1)  Do you believe that you will be alive one week from now?  Do you know with absolute certainty that you will be alive from one week from now?  If your answer is ‘no’, then you are agnostic.  You are agnostic because you admit that you do not know the answer.

Question #2)  Are you living your life as if you will be alive a week from now?  Are you making plans assuming that you will still be living more than a week from now?  If your answer is ‘yes’, then you are living your life with as if the statement, “I will be alive one week from now” is true.  Similarly, an agnostic atheist says, “I cannot be certain that there is or is not a god, but I am living my life as if there is not a god.”

Allowing Republicans a Role in Government is Like Allowing Termites a Role in Building the Wood Shed

Allowing Republicans a Role in Government is Like Allowing Termites a Role in Building the Wood Shed.

Right-wing Republicans are vehemently opposed to government and attempt to weaken and end government every way they can.  They seek to remove the funds government uses to operate by lowering taxes.  They seek to make government inept by delaying passage of bills, and delaying and obstructing appointments.  They seek to empower businesses to have more power running society than the government and people have.  And that is the aim of the Right-wing Republicans: “Let’s make businesses more powerful than government so that government cannot interfere with our profit.”

If You Work on Sunday, You Should be Stoned To Death! Saith the Christians. #Bible #Christian

From the Book of Numbers, verses 32 through 36:

32Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. 33Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation; 34and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him. 35Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

O dear Christian, does this not put into question the morality of your God?  Is the Christian God moral?  And, why do you disobey God in this day and age?  Is this a Bible passage that you are allowed to ignore?  Who determined which passages of the Bible should be kept, and which should be ignored?