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Christmas
Posted: 21 December 2011 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I did search and found a few fairly recent topics on this subject but I didn’t see anything that appeared at a glance to address my issue(s).

I posted elsewhere that I’m guilty (?) of being happy with the “go along to get along” approach as long as others meet me half way.  When religion rears its head in politics/government, I do get riled up then but, in the normal everyday discourse with others, I don’t care if they wish to express their essentially religious views.  I don’t wish to judge them and appreciate the same consideration.  I don’t normally see the need to express my non-religious views.  I feel that beliefs should be personal… and kept that way.

So how do you feel about Christmas?  I really don’t even see it as a religious holiday anymore for the masses.  I know that some people, including members of my extended family, feel very differently.  I certainly don’t refuse my time off from work for the “holiday” even though I work for a State entity.  Personally, I dread the holidays because of the “expectations” others impose but I have a new granddaughter and look forward to future Christmas celebrations with her.  I’ll have to get over my Scrooge syndrome… I’m sure I will.

There’s a restaurant in Austin, Texas, not far from us owned and run by a woman who I greatly admire.  My wife and I met our daughter there recently and she was cooking for and waiting on six tables (full house) AND taking care of an infant ALL BY HERSELF and ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  Anyway, she also feeds the homeless in Austin every Sunday.  She’s very religious but she expresses it in the way that I think it should be expressed, i.e., by caring for others.  To me, THAT is reason to celebrate this time of the year if not throughout the year!  Last year, my mother’s Christmas gift was a $100 bill donation to this woman to be used in helping her feed the homeless.  Wife, daughter and I were there to repeat that gift.  I give her a self-addressed and stamped thank you card for her to send to my mother to acknowledge the gift, which she did.

I’ve used the word “holiday” a few times in this post and that’s another one I have a problem with.  My daughter-in-law is British and even vacations are called “holidays” for some people such as the Brits.  I know it’s just something that evolved over time but the word holiday is a derivation from HOLY DAY and vacations typically aren’t recognized religious day, they are just time away from work or whatever.  We call Thanksgiving a holiday.  My State employer has a whole list of holidays that we are granted and most aren’t tied to anything religious.  I know it’s just the way it is NOW but it’s kinda strange.

So, where do you stand?  Are you like me and just go with the flow or do you assert your beliefs during this religious holiday season?  I think it would be very wearing, like a salmon swimming upstream, but possibly the right thing to do.

[ Edited: 21 December 2011 08:31 AM by BradMM ]
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― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-believer

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Posted: 21 December 2011 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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P.S.  I just noticed that my post shows a time one hour behind my time.  I couldn’t find a place to adjust that… is there?

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“[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-believer

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Posted: 21 December 2011 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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BradMM - 21 December 2011 08:34 AM

P.S.  I just noticed that my post shows a time one hour behind my time.  I couldn’t find a place to adjust that… is there?

Unfortunately, no. The time in this software has been off for years, and I’ve spoken with the Powers that Be about it. Don’t get me started ...  oh oh

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Posted: 21 December 2011 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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As for your first post, I agree. Though in recent years we’ve basically left off celebrating Christmas, apart from giving presents to a small group of folks, I have no issue with those who enjoy it and want to celebrate. Everyone who knows us well knows we’re atheists. Besides that we have a lot of Jewish friends who don’t celebrate Christmas, either.

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Posted: 21 December 2011 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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dougsmith - 21 December 2011 08:46 AM

As for your first post, I agree. Though in recent years we’ve basically left off celebrating Christmas, apart from giving presents to a small group of folks, I have no issue with those who enjoy it and want to celebrate. Everyone who knows us well knows we’re atheists. Besides that we have a lot of Jewish friends who don’t celebrate Christmas, either.

We send out cards every year but always make sure they are as religion neutral as we can find.  We send to Jewish friends and to others who are not particularly religious but we want to wish them well and share a picture of our family in the process.  For many, that’s the only contact we have throughout the year… and that’s OK, too! grin

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“[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-believer

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Posted: 21 December 2011 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I like Christmas and I like to celebrate it as a Christian holiday. In the Czech Republic, where I grew up, churches get packed with atheists for the midnight mass, and we basically treat it the same way a Star Trek fan would behave at a Star Trek convention, dressed up as a Vulcan or speaking in Klingon. We read from the Bible before our Christmas dinner, most of our Christmas music is religious (if not all of it), we send out Christmas cards with baby Jesus on them and take pride in building (or carving our own) the Nativity scene. We all know it’s not real but we don’t really discuss the irrationality of celebrating it this way, because, well, because we just don’t.

(I know, Brennen, you have been anxiously waiting for this thread!  LOL )

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Posted: 21 December 2011 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Christmas was originally a pagan holiday so I have no trouble celebrating it. As I’ve mentioned in other threads Christmas is a good excuse for parties. I even say “Merry Christmas” to people. Maybe I should replace that with “Happy Solstice” just to see how people react.

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Posted: 21 December 2011 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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George - 21 December 2011 09:10 AM

(I know, Brennen, you have been anxiously waiting for this thread!  LOL )

Did I open the wrong can of worms???  grin

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“[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-believer

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Posted: 21 December 2011 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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BradMM - 21 December 2011 09:36 AM
George - 21 December 2011 09:10 AM

(I know, Brennen, you have been anxiously waiting for this thread!  LOL )

Did I open the wrong can of worms???  grin


Not at all, Brad. It’s just that we do this annually and I almost thought it wasn’t going to happen this year. As I said, Brennen will be relieved.  grin

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Posted: 21 December 2011 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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George - 21 December 2011 09:45 AM
BradMM - 21 December 2011 09:36 AM
George - 21 December 2011 09:10 AM

(I know, Brennen, you have been anxiously waiting for this thread!  LOL )

Did I open the wrong can of worms???  grin


Not at all, Brad. It’s just that we do this annually and I almost thought it wasn’t going to happen this year. As I said, Brennen will be relieved.  grin

Glad I could help perpetuate the tradition!!!

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“[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-believer

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Posted: 21 December 2011 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I watched part of “The History of Christmas” on the history channel last evening.  It did a good job of showing the pagan orginis of Christmas and how the the RC Church took it over in self-defense.  It also showed how the Puritans tried to outlaw it.  People were having to much fun, that can’t be allowed.  (It also shows the the tradition of Xmas lights came from people trying to light up the night in defiance of the winter solstice.) 

Since I am definately not a Puritan, and believe the goal in life is to have fun with my fellow humans, I think CFI should stop promoting Tom Flynn’s attempt to outlaw it and lead the effort to steal it back from the church.  We can take the thief Chirst back out of Christmas and have fun.

There is nothing wrong with promoting Peace and Goodwill to all.  Even Charlie Brown’s Lucy wishes this as a sign on my front lawn points out.

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Posted: 21 December 2011 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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garythehuman - 21 December 2011 10:59 AM

Since I am definately not a Puritan, and believe the goal in life is to have fun with my fellow humans, I think CFI should stop promoting Tom Flynn’s attempt to outlaw it and lead the effort to steal it back from the church.  We can take the thief Chirst back out of Christmas and have fun.

I typically say “Happy Holidays” which was part of the impetus for the holiday rant but I need a new reply to those who wish me a Merry Christmas.  I love the idea of moving this season more towards simply secular FUN!

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“[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-believer

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Posted: 21 December 2011 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Happy Holidays works for me.  No one who knows me wants to argue religion with me anyhow.

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Posted: 21 December 2011 05:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I think for most Americans - even the religious ones, the secular aspects have overshadowed the spiritual.  Personally, I enjoy the materialistic side of the season; I mean that in both senses of the term. Indulgence, gluttony, and lust are all good IMO.  My own contribution to Christmas is fairly minimal nowadays, I don’t have kids and I’m not married, so the only family I have to deal with are my parents, grandparents, and siblings - none of whom are religious. Also I usually end up working (not by choice) on Christmas. long face

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Posted: 21 December 2011 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Well, apropos of the season, someone sent me a joke.  Since I don’t care for blond jokes I modified it a bit:  A graduate of Bob Jones Bible College goes into a post office and asks for fifty postage stamps.  The clerk asks, “What denomination?”  The theist responds, “Delighted to see the government has finally come around.  Twenty-two Catholics, twelve Presbyterians, ten Lutherans, and six Baptists.” 

Occam

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Posted: 21 December 2011 10:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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How could anyone dislike a holiday that inspires Robert Earl Keene to write Merry Christmas From the Family?

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