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Jeff Westover 12-14-2011 07:05 AM

Atheists Amongst Us?
 
We have been pounded the past two weeks with info from pro-and-anti atheist folks who want more coverage and highlighted information posted about the annual anti-Christmas campaigns that are sweeping the U.S.

To be candid, I have held back on reporting much of that information because I find it inconsistent that these arguments only happen in the heat of the season -- thus taking away from what should be an enjoyable time for those who celebrate.

In addition, I have a sense of a growing number of atheists amongst our numbers who celebrate Christmas secularly.

This has been a subject we have kind of danced around all year. We had a whole podcast dedicated to the sacred versus secular side of Christmas and to me it boils down to this: Christmas is celebrated both ways and we should celebrate THAT.

We have worked hard over the years to welcome as many as possible to My Merry Christmas. There are divisions in religious thought, political beliefs and even Christmas itself. But I feel we can celebrate what common ground we share.

I bristle at those who are critical of Christmas. From those who get "offended" by Christmas in stores in September (how silly) to those who can stand Christmas music in July, it just seems a bit much to me to make a big deal over.

But when Christmas is used as a tool for promotion -- from those driving political agendas to those who think a manger scene is offensive -- then I think I don't want to be part of the discussion.

What do you think?

Jeff

GingerMel 12-14-2011 12:51 PM

Man, I'm telling you...my friends on FB are a bunch of Debbie Downers about Christmas. They post all this negative stuff about how the war on Christmas is overblown and make it seem like anyone who wants people to be able to say Christmas instead of Holiday must be a serious zealot.

It bothers me a LOT when everything has to be politically correct so that no one offends anyone. What's the harm in letting kids have Christmas parties in schools? It just lets kids have fun...it doesn't incite some war on other religions. What's the harm in calling the tree outside government offices a Christmas Tree? It's an evergreen dressed up in decorations...that's a CHRISTMAS tree and we should be able to call it that. I'm not religious at all but it doesn't bother me when someone says Christmas. For me it's more about TRADITION. I love it...love the entire season and everything about it. I will defend anyone's right to say Christmas but it has nothing to do with religion, honestly.

I might get blasted for having this opinion but whatever...it's my opinion.

I don't get offended when people celebrate Christmas for religious reasons. Rather, it's the opposite...I will defend everyone's right to celebrate Christmas for any reason they want.

Jeff Westover 12-14-2011 01:59 PM

You are correct in that the political correctness is overblown.

But I think there are some fair boundaries that should be respected when it comes to religious symbols or practices in places like schools and court houses.

The word "Christmas", like it or not, is now a secular term. It isn't even much used in the Catholic church as a religious term. Our own government recognizes it as a secular term. For anyone to take offense at the word itself is just silly. But silliness seems to reign in this argument.

As for the existence of a "war on Christmas", I'm one of the majority who thinks there isn't a war on Christmas. If there is, Christmas is winning hands down.

But what's really going on is a war on religion -- and Christmas just happens to be a convenient marketing launch point for those who want to fight any mention of religion in our society. As a member of a persecuted minority religion I've fought bigotry and hate my whole life from those who shout "freedom from religion" as a right.

The Bill of Rights is absolutely clear. It is freedom OF religion, which means we're all free to believe what we wish, regardless. That to me means I don't have to take down a Nativity no matter where it is and that I don't have to remove the word "God" from our money. The Constitution forbids the government establishing a state religion. A nativity or the word God on the currency is a far cry from establishing anything close to a religion.

I am fiercely against those of the Freedom From Religion Foundation who insist there can be no sign of religion anywhere where the public sees it. That tramples on several rights. The imposition of no belief is more of establishing a state religion than putting up a Christmas tree.

Over the years the polling we've done on this matter clearly shows that the vast majority don't think there is a "war on Christmas". And it will always be that way because Christmas is so broadly defined. Some celebrate it in a sacred way. Many others do not.

The real war is on religion -- and that's a bigger topic meant for another place, and, dare I say, another season -- than Christmas.

I find it rather interesting that in the course of the past ten years that we've gone from "no nativities" to "Christmas trees" and "Santa Claus" being religious symbols by extremists who want no visible Christmas. I know there are many non-religious who would take broad exception to such silliness.

Christmas-A-Holic 12-14-2011 02:41 PM

I chose the first option, which is the way I observe Christmas, but I will celebrate it with everyone around me no matter what religion they follow or not follow.

Merry Christmas to all! cheesy

GingerMel 12-14-2011 04:24 PM

I don't think there's some serious plot out there to destroy Christmas.

When I say I think there's a bit of a war on Christmas, I just mean on using the word itself really. People are still putting up trees and celebrating like mad...
THANK GOODNESS!!!

RadioJonD 12-14-2011 04:52 PM

Jeff, your point about using this time of year to drive home a point with ultra hype, malice, and otherwise lack of compassion sums the situation nicely. In such behavior is no goodwill.

The only thing I will say about my personal opinion about political involvement from any government will be hard for some folks to accept. So be it. I'll also will NOT debate it. The sole purpose of any earthly government is to get us to Armageddon on time. All the turmoil generated by entering into areas of our lives that don't need government intervention (like Christmas) is following a schedule that is not ours to know or for most to understand. I could reference Balaam and quote scripture but I won't

I am not atheist. Whether or not I am a Christian in the eyes of the world is dependent upon the denomination/religion judging me at the time. Alas, it is not their judgment that matters. More than likely I will feel a whole lot better in the hands of just God than I feel right now in an unjust world.

Offended at others for not celebrating Christmas as I do? Not in the least! Offended when they are in my face with it? Not really. It's the way of the world as foretold long ago. I have no choice but to accept. Likewise you have no choice but to accept that I will celebrate Christmas the way I feel lead. Your words, resources and acts to dissuade my belief will have no effect.

I do find it humorous that atheists are offended enough to place adds/billboards denouncing God and scripture. If they do not believe, what's the point? Do they feel threatened? In my opinion, the ads are to appease their own conscience. By the same token, any Christian organization that would respond to anything of the kind is beyond my understanding. Do they feel threatened and does their conscience bother them too? The simple gesture of kindness and goodwill that each side professes is negated with such nonsense.

The ads/media campaign from either prospective certainly has no impact on me...not even enough to get upset if and when I see something I oppose. After all, collectively we have a schedule to keep until the appointed time we will individually have to choose or loose.

Like Jeff, I do not believe there is a war on Christmas. The root issue is well beyond one season. Christmas is just the time to showcase our prejudice and ignorance.

How is it then that we can all be together here at MMC with differing views about how to celebrate Christmas? It's the simple kindness, compassion, and goodwill illustrated by:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Christmas-A-Holic (Post 406172)
I chose the first option, which is the way I observe Christmas, but I will celebrate it with everyone around me no matter what religion they follow or not follow.

Merry Christmas to all! cheesy

Collectively we transcend the world's trappings.

Christmasstar 12-14-2011 05:47 PM

have any of you read the blog "I'm a Christian unless you're Gay"?
http://www.danoah.com/2011/11/im-chr...youre-gay.html

This blog is less about gays and more about how we treat others who we see as different from us. It is well worth the read.

I have often asked similar questions as RadioJonD, confuses me too.

Mother Teresa says it best....

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

Bradmac 12-14-2011 06:25 PM

I chose #1. My family and I faithfully observe and celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we also enjoy Santa Claus. Just like we enjoy the Easter Bunny and egg hunts while celebrating the resurrection of the Lord.

I've never felt that one was mutually exculsive of the other, even though the organized atheists try hard to make it so.

You'd think their "humanist" faith would be better served helping other humans through charitable acts for those in need, rather than hateful acts against we of faith in the Lord. Oh well.

sugar142286 12-14-2011 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradmac (Post 406233)
I chose #1. My family and I faithfully observe and celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we also enjoy Santa Claus. Just like we enjoy the Easter Bunny and egg hunts while celebrating the resurrection of the Lord.

I've never felt that one was mutually exculsive of the other, even though the organized atheists try hard to make it so.

You'd think their "humanist" faith would be better served helping other humans through charitable acts for those in need, rather than hateful acts against we of faith in the Lord. Oh well.

I think Brad said it very well here. My family and I are Catholic and try to go to church as much as possible. We're very religious and do observe Christmas and Easter for Jesus. I am bringing up my children to understand the real meaning of these holidays as well.


Not only do I see the importance with Jesus and Christmas, but I also, like Brad want my children to understand the history of Santa Claus and what the meaning is to Christmas as well. I want them to know why families get together every year, why there is so much tradition, and so on. I want them to know it all.


I chose # 1 too, but I feel there are two sides to Christmas and I want my children to know both, with Jesus the main reason for the season.

MrsH 12-14-2011 08:32 PM

I feel that I was very lucky growing up. I was raised, and still am, Catholic. My mother believed that we should not only understand our Catholic faith but learn about and understand other religions. We not only celebrated Christmas and Easter, but learned about and participated in Hanukkah and Passover. We read about other faiths and even lack of faith. I still enjoy reading about religions. It is because of how my parents raised me that I can appreciate how other's celebrate. However, tell me that I can't or shouldn't say Merry Christmas and you will get an argument from me. I am not insensitive to the fact that there are other faiths and beliefs by doing so. In fact, I chose to say "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays", which acknowledges the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas, yet still allows me to express MY beliefs.

I agree with Jeff that it isn't a war on Christmas, but a war on religion. As a Catholic, I often feel the sting of peoples insensitive comments about my beliefs. I don't push my beliefs on others. I choose to live by example. Yes, I am Catholic, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I do hope, without knowing my religion or beliefs, that when people think of me they think, "Kathy is a good person. She's kind, generous, and has made a positive imact on my life". I think THAT is what I want to leave as my legacy.


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