Reflections On Christmas

Now that the season's over, and I've had some time to process it all, I thought I'd take a look back at Christmas.

The first thing that must be said is that Christmas is utterly unavoidable. I don't care how little you care about some guy who may or may not have been born in a manger two thousand years ago- if you live in the United States, you're going to spend the last two months (or more) of every year surrounded by Christmas. 

 Christmas at the mall. AAAAAAAAAA!

Most of us grew up with Christmas. Dozens of little rituals and traditions (most of which having little or nothing to do with Jesus) which are so integral to our culture, that we wouldn't know what December is without them.  And I gotta admit- many of them are nice.

I like the idea that we all are supposed to give.  I dig on the lights hung up everywhere, too.  It's a pleasant way to ward off the gloom of long winter nights.  I like cookies, and the smell of pine, and getting days off from work or school to spend with loved ones. Hell- for most of the folks I know, it's the only time when they can feel comfortable getting together and singing. I like singing.

As a matter of fact, the only bit I really don't care for is the Jesus nonsense. That damned birth story makes less sense every time I hear it.  It's stupid. That all there is to it!

This year's "huh?" moment: Wise men from the East follow a star which they saw in the East and end up West of where they began? And how do you follow a star to a specific location? Was this star hovering two hundred feet over Bethlehem?  'Cause stars don't really do that. They hover light-years over everything, which means that, while one could lead you, say, North, it wouldn't be able to guide you to Winnipeg (not that anybody would want to go to Winnipeg- I was just grabbing at a random Northerly city…).


 From a conservative website-

who's being intolerant, again?

One thing that's really starting to grate on me is the new Christmas tradition of Fox "News" type pundits whipping their lunatic fan-base into a frothy lather over a supposed war we non-Christians are waging against Christmas. You know what, Bill O'Limbaugh? Fuck you.

First- it's obvious to anyone who uses any portion of their brain that no such war exists, this is just another tactic to keep the cowering masses scared and angry; and second- if there were to be a war, Christmas fired the first shots years ago!

The fact is that it doesn't matter how much you love your holiday- NOBODY likes to have someone else's religious nonsense shoved in their faces year after year!  I don't care how warm and cuddly you feel on Christmas, it's your holiday- not mine. Don't look all sad and dejected if I tell you I don't celebrate it, just enjoy life's diversity and leave me the hell alone!  I don't try to make you celebrate my holidays, do I? Honestly! I mean, obviously I don't have holidays… but you get my point. How much would these hypocrites HATE IT if Ramadan shit took over their stores for two months out of the year?  We would, I promise you, never hear the end of it!

Frankly, all this bullshit kind of makes the thought of actually declaring war on Christmas appealing. I'd almost be tempted to do it if A) it didn't require actual effort on my part, and B) I had any idea whatsoever what a war on Christmas even means in any kind of practical terms.

I think I'll just stick with a war on Wheat Thins. That's an enemy I know how to defeat.

What is an atheist?

This is the question that has launched innumerable intensely boring screeds across the world wide web.  Most end up being one of two things: The first is an overly long and mildly apologetic article attempting a desperate neutrality of tone which explains the rich history of non-theistic belief and why atheism won’t hurt anybody.  Written by an atheist, this article is quick to point out all the very nice and influential atheists the author can find, and is very respectful in its treatment of alternate points of view.

This is a man
Fig.1 — This is a man.

The second type is the somewhat snooty believer’s attempt to simultaneously explain and subtly belittle atheists. This is usually accomplished by talking about the “different types of atheists”.  They divide atheists into two or three groups, each one clearly flawed in some way or other. Each of the groups is explained in terms that only barely mask the author’s exasperation that anyone would believe this crap, and usually at the end of the page somewhere you’ll find a harmless looking link offering more “information” about atheists which will direct you to a list of reasons why the bible is way more logical than anything science can come up with.

All these articles are good for a little bit of a laugh (provided they’re not too long), but none really hit the mark for our taste.  That’s why we’ve decided that, since we’re doing an atheist website here and everything, we’d better make it clear what we mean when we use the term.  Here, then, is a glossary of terminology that we’re sure will make frequent appearances on this site (in quasi-alphabetical order):

Glossary of Religious Terms