Tom Flynn - The Trouble With Christmas

November 14, 2011

Host: Robert M. Price

Ebenezer Scrooge once called Christmas "a false and commercial holiday." Is it? Should Humanists refuse to observe it? Should they wage war on it? Should they celebrate "Sanka" versions of it like Solstice and "HumanLight"? Christians complain that the holiday has become secularized—so should Secular Humanists just say "Thanks!" and enjoy listening to "Let It Snow" and "Winter Wonderland"? As always, Tom Flynn brings new and well-informed perspectives to a difficult issue!

Tom Flynn is the Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism and the editor of Free Inquiry magazine. He is the author of the science-fiction novels Galactic Rapture and Nothing Sacred, which involve the lore of Mormonism, on which Tom is an authority. He is also a historian of the Freethought movement and a frequent speaker in humanist circles. You would be well advised to mortgage your home and purchase a copy of The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief, which Tom edited. Perhaps his most notorious book, though, is The Trouble with Christmas, which has a lot to do with this episode.

Books Mentioned in This Episode:


Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum
The Freethought Trail

Comments from the CFI Forums

If you would like to leave a comment about this episode of Point of Inquiry please visit the related thread on the CFI discussion forums

I imagine it must be very difficult for people like Flynn who don’t have kids to understand why others like to celebrate it. I feel very sorry for you, Flynn.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 at 4:24pm by George Comment #1

This is a really boring interview, I only got half-way through it.

I’m sorry but Flynn is just kind of a curmudgeon. The reason most atheists (as well as many Jews and Muslims) celebrate Christmas is because holidays are fun. If you don’t want it to be religious, it doesn’t have to be. Call it something else if you want, change the meaning, change the theme if you want. I wonder if Flynn has a problem with Halloween as well.

Like any child (or the maturationally stunted adult I am), I like presents, candy, costumes and flashing lights. And if/when I have kids, I will tell them there’s no Santa Clause, but that’s okay because their parents are the mildly-insane products of a highly-commercialized society and are happy to pretend to be Santa and bring them presents, so long as they play along. See? Problem solved.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:42pm by Sarcen Comment #2

I haven’t listened to the interview and don’t plan to, but I’m with George and Sarcen on this one. Like any maturationally challenged adult, I like presents, tequila, cigars, costumes and flashing lights. And playing dominos with my friends while the musicians among us are trading songs in the background, which is what I plan to do over Thanksgiving weekend. The group I hang with has an annual Christmas party, and some of us go to Big Bend for a few days to relax and hang out. No need to get stuffy about a holiday. As I keep saying, any excuse for a party is a good excuse for a party.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 at 6:04pm by DarronS Comment #3

Flynn is right, Christmas is worse than Hitler, you people should hang your heads in shame! ;-P

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 at 7:15pm by mid atlantic Comment #4

I think the idea of ignoring Christmas is a brilliant idea for anyone who wants atheists to seem stuffy and unhappy.  I can’t wait for the followup interview: “How to make your children unhappy and ostracized”.  Perhaps the children of atheists will be so unhappy with their parent’s “let’s ignore Christmas” attitude, that they’ll become happy little Christians who love the idea of leaving that dismal atheism stuff behind.  And then, we’ll eliminate Valentine’s Day (it’s named for a Christian saint!), so that your girlfriend or wife will leave you.  That’ll teach her to never, ever date an atheist ever again.  Is Tom Flynn a secret agent working for a Christian organization?

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 at 7:40pm by tinyfrog Comment #5

I like Christmas too, but my religious family members have pretty much spoiled it for me.  Not so much because of the religion, but their obsession with the materialistic aspect of it.  I really hate having to submit a list of things I want so that someone can run out and and buy it for me.  Where’s the fun or mystery in that?  And my nieces and nephews just get so much stuff…..a Christmas at their house, then at the in-town grandparents, then a third one at the out-of-town grandparents.  They don’t really appreciate anything, and I think it undermines the understanding that the Holiday should be about people and relationships, not getting loot.

But their religion does put a damper on it, too.  My mother likes to continually remind everyone that the season is really about Jesus and not Santa Claus or snowmen.  As the only non-believer in my family (both nuclear and extended), there has been a widening gulf over the years between my idea of Christmas and theirs to the point that I dread the season.

So I empathize with Tom Flynn to some degree, but I do think that it’s possible to celebrate in a secular way and have it rewarding to everyone.  Last year, I spent Christmas with like-minded friends, rather than family, and it was the best Christmas in many years.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 at 7:45pm by Taylor Comment #6

I can think of no more effective way for the secular community to alienate itself from the rest of Western society than to attempt to cancel Christmas.

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 at 5:45am by Chuck P. Comment #7

I’m happy to help celebrate anyone’s holy daze; just wouldn’t sacrifice my life for any of them.

Posted on Nov 19, 2011 at 9:28am by dPappy Comment #8

I found the history very interesting.  His points about the Solstice being Northern biased was very good.  I love to hear Tom Flynn, he does a great job.  A very honest man, and deep down (alright, deep, deep, deep, deep, very very deep down) I think that the skeptics realize that the all too ignored and so hard to swallow fact that… Tom… is… well, ah… he’s right.  :lol:

I had a wonderful conversation with Tom once, as he brought up one religious extremist idea about Christmas after another, I put each point away with ease and friendly graciousness.  My family’s Christmases were quite secular, with just a couple of little religious symbols on the tree and an aunt who always sends a religious Christmas card, and nothing else.  Tom being a bit surprised about that but quickly accepted it.

Then he pulled out the zinger on me, he asked me to give it up for strategic reasons.  Where else could be a better place to take a secular stance other than the family Christmas celebration, I had to wonder?  I lost the argument there.  :)

The skeptics here, I’m sure, will be enthusiastically mentioning the settlement at Jamestown, VA, and the Clovis people, who the anthropologists have been digging up for years, during this Thanksgiving family gathering.  We can’t let those nasty Puritans take the holiday over, can we?  When the Puritans were kicked out of England because they were, hard to live with to say the least, then why do we celebrate them here?  Can we all get together on that one, at least?  :)

The butcher was open on Christmas day in Dickens’ story, I’ve always wondered about that, good one Tom!

Personally, I’m all for a winter holiday (and another one for the Southerners), but I do wish it could be done without being so wrapped up in the Holiday Season.  I’m getting more turned-off each year.

“In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia’s James River.”

Oh that lucky number thirteen, Jamestown beat the Puritans with a permanent British settlement in the New World by thirteen years.  :)

Posted on Nov 19, 2011 at 8:54pm by jump_in_the_pit Comment #9

It would have been nice if Bob Price had used this episode as an opportunity to ask some pointed and skeptical questions about Tom Flynn’s attitude toward Christmas.

Instead we were presented with softball questions and continuous heaping of praise.

As atheists, the full spectrum of the world’s holidays is available for us to enjoy. It is a ridiculous notion that we should have to reject anything that might once have been associated with a religion or superstition.

My wife and I particularly enjoy solstice and equinox celebrations. What better way to appreciate the continuation of life and our place in the cosmos than to celebrate the changing of seasons?

Posted on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:19am by 1000 Needles Comment #10

Instead we were presented with softball questions and continuous heaping of praise.

That is Robert Price’s MO, and the reason I delete his podcasts soon after they appear in my iTunes library. I listened to this one and to the Richard Johnson interview because of the respective threads. At least Richard Johnson had some interesting things to say. Tom Flynn came across as reaching a conclusion then searching every nook and cranny of his brain to justify the conclusion. He answered a question no one but he cares about.

As atheists, the full spectrum of the world’s holidays is available for us to enjoy. It is a ridiculous notion that we should have to reject anything that might once have been associated with a religion or superstition.

My wife and I particularly enjoy solstice and equinox celebrations. What better way to appreciate the continuation of life and our place in the cosmos than to celebrate the changing of seasons?

http://www.planetsmilies.com/smilies/party/party0003.gif

Posted on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:39am by DarronS Comment #11

I know from listening to Price’s other podcast that he actually does celebrate christmas.  II’m surprised he didn’t give Flynn a few hardballs.

Personally, I fall in with “fun” crowd that celebrates holidays.  I think humanists have more important things to do than to kill a good party, especially since that party is being secularized already on its own.

I have several issues with Flynn’s reasoning, but I’ll focus on the solstice.  His two main problems with the winter solstice are: a) pagan origins and b) regional basis.

For point (a), it goes without saying that some pretty badass stuff has come out of pagan culture.  Euclid anyone?  By his reasoning, it seems like The Illiad and The Odyssey would be off limits too, since they were once considered to be religious texts.

On point (b), I have to ask why there is a problem with regional holidays.  Different countries have different independence day celebrations for obvious historical reasons.  Harvest festivals vary regionally depending on the climate and the product.  Not all holidays have to be global, just like not all birthdays have to be celebrated on the same day.

Just a few of my thoughts, I’m still in the middle of listening to it…

Posted on Nov 20, 2011 at 8:14pm by julian_the_hellene Comment #12

Then he pulled out the zinger on me, he asked me to give it up for strategic reasons.  Where else could be a better place to take a secular stance other than the family Christmas celebration, I had to wonder?  I lost the argument there.

But why stop at celebrating Christmas? What about the irrationality of saying “good morning” or “happy birthday”? We know that wishing somebody a good morning won’t make their morning good nor will wishing for a happy birthday make the birthday happy.

No, there is no problem with Christmas. There is a problem (a psychological problem) with Tom Flynn.

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 6:18am by George Comment #13

But why stop at celebrating Christmas? What about the irrationality of saying “good morning” or “happy birthday”? We know that wishing somebody a good morning won’t make their morning good nor will wishing for a happy birthday make the birthday happy.

I just see “happy birthday”, “good morning”, “good-bye”, “gesundheit”, etc. as polite and kind, there’s nothing supernatural about them.

Actually I want people to attend the holidays and participate, I asked that people enthusiastically mention Jamestown, VA during this year’s Thanksgiving gathering.  I think that Flynn is so critical about all the holidays at this time of the year because he sees so little movement from the skeptics about them, I think he’s responding to the rest of our behavior.  I think that he’s just being honest by taking a stand on the holidays, such a prominent and brave act, rather than silently blending in with the holiday season, like you’re just one of the devout.  Is it psychologically healthy to just blend with the celebration of Christ’s birth, or is it healthy to speak your mind about the truth to your family, during a big gathering? 

No, there is no problem with Christmas. There is a problem (a psychological problem) with Tom Flynn.

And your diagnosis is, doctor?

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 8:02am by jump_in_the_pit Comment #14

Pope Julius I[337-352] chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival.”

“When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas.”

History.com: Christmas

Celebrating the Puritans settling in the Americas, and then celebrating Christmas is in direct conflict, if you look at it from the historical view-point.  I mean the Brits drove out the Puritans, in part, because they canceled the Christmas celebration, so why do we celebrate the Puritans at Thanksgiving, but then celebrate Christmas after that?  :lol:

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 8:28am by jump_in_the_pit Comment #15

I like pow-wows….people, bearing gifts to family and old acquaintances, coming together to eat, dance, and be merry (it is forbidden to bring alcohol).

And it is a truly American tradition….. :cheese:

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:13am by Write4U Comment #16

Is it psychologically healthy to just blend with the celebration of Christ’s birth

If that’s what Christmas is to you, then by all means, don’t celebrate it. Have a nice, quiet day at the office like Mr. Flynn.

is it healthy to speak your mind about the truth to your family, during a big gathering?

Yes.

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:46am by 1000 Needles Comment #17

I am relieved to see that most here share my dislike for Flynn’s hard-line stance against Christmas. As I listened to this episode I was thinking, “if this is how most humanists feel, then I’m in the wrong movement.”

One of the main lessons I take from my new world view is that nothing in the universe has inherent meaning. Everything just exists. “Meaning” is something created by sentient beings. Any meaning contained in the celebration of Christmas or any other celebration, comes from those who celebrate. I will celebrate it my way and I refuse to give it up because others choose to ascribe a different meaning to it.

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:52am by FreeInKy Comment #18

Psychologically speaking, is a loving friendship and family supposed to be based on honest and open communication, or is it based on Humanists just blending in completely uncritically?  Does anyone care about Enlightening their loved ones about the good facts that you’ve learned?  Maybe there’s hope, maybe there’s some of your loved ones who will surprise you, maybe things could be better, maybe there could be honest and open communication in our futures?  :)  There’s got to be a better way than just silently blending in.  Do the gays just blend, I admire the gays very much.  :)

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:52am by jump_in_the_pit Comment #19

There’s got to be a better way than just silently blending in.  Do the gays just blend, I admire the gays very much.  :)

As do I. And many of them do in fact choose to “just blend in.” I work with one such person.

As with any other group, “gays” do not all behave the same way. Not do/should humanists.  :)

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:01pm by FreeInKy Comment #20

Does anyone care about Enlightening their loved ones about the good facts that you’ve learned?

Is this what you do with your Christmas holiday? No wonder you don’t want to celebrate it.

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:23pm by 1000 Needles Comment #21

Does anyone care about Enlightening their loved ones about the good facts that you’ve learned?

Is this what you do with your Christmas holiday? No wonder you don’t want to celebrate it.

Stop twisting my words Needles.

Some of the gays blend, but I do admire the gays who do not blend, they have shown bravery, conviction, and purpose.  They are making good changes happen.  I’m not saying its easy, but if it makes progress, then isn’t it worthwhile?  :)

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:36pm by jump_in_the_pit Comment #22

I do admire the gays who do not blend, they have shown bravery, conviction, and purpose.

The analogy falls apart when using it to support quitting Christmas. Homosexuals don’t “not blend” by quitting dating or quitting having sex simply because those are things that heterosexuals do.

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:48pm by 1000 Needles Comment #23

I do admire the gays who do not blend, they have shown bravery, conviction, and purpose.

The analogy falls apart when using it to support quitting Christmas. Homosexuals don’t “not blend” by quitting dating or quitting having sex simply because those are things that heterosexuals do.

Again you twist my words Needles, I have clearly encouraged communication and participation, clearly and repeatedly.  Stop twisting my words.  I like the idea of a good party, I like the idea of a Saturnalia-like party, I supported two winter celebrations, one Northern and one Southern.

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 at 1:03pm by jump_in_the_pit Comment #24

I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and therefore did not celebrate Christmas while I was growing up.  Witnesses consider Christmas an evil pagan festival, therefore have nothing to do with it.  I’m in the unusual position of only celebrating Christmas since I became an Atheist.  I love Christmas, so don’t take it away from me Mr Flynn, you grumpy old bugger! :D

Posted on Nov 26, 2011 at 11:16pm by Matty Comment #25

I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and therefore did not celebrate Christmas while I was growing up.  Witnesses consider Christmas an evil pagan festival, therefore have nothing to do with it.  I’m in the unusual position of only celebrating Christmas since I became an Atheist.  I love Christmas, so don’t take it away from me Mr Flynn, you grumpy old bugger! :D

Welcome to CFI, Matty,

Seems you have managed to break away from the “guilt” associated with religion…...Happy Holidays…!!!!

Posted on Nov 26, 2011 at 11:40pm by Write4U Comment #26

I am slowly beginning to feel that without O’Reilly’s War on Christmas and Flynn’s Trouble with Christmas, it wouldn’t be Christmas at all.  :-)

Posted on Nov 27, 2011 at 6:48am by George Comment #27

George, those two make Christmas more entertaining, but without them we’d still have Black Friday, too much junk mail (the paper kind that kills trees), several of my friends scheduling Christmas parties, incessant It’s a Wonderful Life airings, and those Salvation Army old farts in Santa Costumes. That said, I understand your point and agree with you. There are annoying people on both sides.

Posted on Nov 27, 2011 at 9:42am by DarronS Comment #28

I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and therefore did not celebrate Christmas while I was growing up.  Witnesses consider Christmas an evil pagan festival, therefore have nothing to do with it.  I’m in the unusual position of only celebrating Christmas since I became an Atheist.  I love Christmas, so don’t take it away from me Mr Flynn, you grumpy old bugger! :D

Thanks for sharing a good story Matty.  Its refreshing to hear such a skeptical story.  :)  But do go easy on Tom people, he’s a good and amiable man.

On the other side though, the Puritans had something right, Christmas is not the birthday of Jesus, so it isn’t valid.  (Not that they got anything else right.)  The date is just competition for the Roman Saturnalia festival, a rockin’ good party from what I hear.  :coolsmile:

Posted on Nov 27, 2011 at 10:52am by jump_in_the_pit Comment #29

Christmas can’t be all bad, if it wasn’t for christmas we wouldn’t have this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A8KT365wlA

Not kidding either, I love it.

Stephen

Posted on Nov 28, 2011 at 4:34am by StephenLawrence Comment #30

I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and therefore did not celebrate Christmas while I was growing up.  Witnesses consider Christmas an evil pagan festival, therefore have nothing to do with it.  I’m in the unusual position of only celebrating Christmas since I became an Atheist.  I love Christmas, so don’t take it away from me Mr Flynn, you grumpy old bugger! :D

  THIS!!!  Sir we are in your debt!

Posted on Nov 28, 2011 at 5:32am by mid atlantic Comment #31

Thanks for sharing a good story Matty.  Its refreshing to hear such a skeptical story.  :)  But do go easy on Tom people, he’s a good and amiable man.

On the other side though, the Puritans had something right, Christmas is not the birthday of Jesus, so it isn’t valid.  (Not that they got anything else right.)  The date is just competition for the Roman Saturnalia festival, a rockin’ good party from what I hear.  :coolsmile:

I’m sure Tom’s a lovely chap - I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek there! :)  The Witnesses don’t celebrate Easter either for the same reasons - they are rather obsessed at the “pagan” origins of celebrations and holidays, although they seem to pick and choose what they condemn and what they don’t - for instance they exchange rings when they marry which has very clear pagan origins and is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible.

Posted on Nov 28, 2011 at 10:31am by Matty Comment #32

The Witnesses don’t celebrate Easter either for the same reasons - they are rather obsessed at the “pagan” origins of celebrations and holidays, although they seem to pick and choose what they condemn and what they don’t - for instance they exchange rings when they marry which has very clear pagan origins and is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible.

No wedding rings in the Bible?  Good one Matty :).  Yeah, religion is totally arbitrary when you get down to the details.  No-one really adheres to the Bible, that’s impossible to do:

1) The Bible is big and complex, filled with conflicting ideas, starting with the obvious conflict between a vengeful vicious racist sexist homophobe war-mongering egotistical tyrant god on-high (Yahweh), versus the mostly loving amiable benevolent inclusive profane god (Yeshua, Jesus).  Which one you choose is arbitrary, the Jewish god or the Christian one.  The complex layers of arbitrary choices would be impossible to unweave, if anyone ever tries to.

2) The trinity unites the main gods of Christianity into one, a clear violation of the laws of mathematics, along with all the other “miracles” that violate the rest of the laws of physics.  Then they ignore all the other gods, the angels and the demons would have been called gods at any other time in history, except in these Christian days.  And so the monotheism is arbitrary too.  How can anyone adhere to the math errors, the physical conflicts, all those gods and the conflicts between each of their ideas?

3) The early Christians had disagreements about the religion.  It started as an oral tradition and largely remains so today, most people learn about the religion by hearing the mass or lectures in school, not by reading the text.  The oral tradition is in flux, that flux is the same today as it has always been in the past, a long unbroken history of change.  Now who could possibly adhere to that changing system of laws with so many sources of change (Vatican, Anglican, Methodist, Quaker, Church of Latter Day Saints, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, etc.), so many conflicts, so many translation errors, honest mistakes, and intentional manipulations.  The early Christians had lots of ideas, polytheistic Christianity was popular, monotheism wasn’t the favorite among the people in ancient times, but monotheism was Emperor Constantine’s favorite, you know how that choice turned out.  The orthodoxy was an arbitrary choice.  The conflicts between oral and written Christian tradition continue, the oral is used to revise the text, and the text is used to revise the oral.  That feedback loop can amplify and promote any idea from the Bible to become the big idea of Christianity.  The conflict between monotheism and polytheism continues: are Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Yahweh, angels, demons, Mary (and her magical mother fertilized by an angel to birth the messiah), Methuselah (magically long lived), Archangel Michael, Archangel Lucifer, all the other Archangels, Pope John Paul II (did he really have divine powers of healing), the rest of the Saints, are they all the gods of Christianity, or just one of them?  There’s no way to tell which is right, mono or polytheism, the choice is arbitrary.  How can anyone adhere to all the muddy ideas about the variety of gods?

4) The only distinction I see between Pagan and Christian at the Christian roots is the math error of the holy Trinity, there’s nothing else.  Pagan examples older than Christianity for all the big Christian tenets exist:  there were messiah myths, there were creator gods, there were gods that make natural processes work, there was animal sacrifice, there was human sacrifice (Jesus is said to have been human, Abraham tried to sacrifice Issac), there were ceremonies, holy structures for ceremony, there were leaders and power struggles, it was all there before Christianity existed.  Then one tribe among many tribes in Arabia, each tribe had their own unique ideas and characteristics, one Israeli tribe look to Abraham and his god and said they were monotheist, this minor tribe was not popular then and still isn’t today.  Christianity and Islam are much more popular than the Jews, today.  The choice of tribes was arbitrary, there were lots of Pagan ideas to choose from in Arabia and in Rome.  Why not adhere to an African tribe, an American tribe, an Australian tribe, or an Asian culture?

It’s not just the little arbitrary ideas that are problematic, it’s the big ideas too, arbitrary is the rule in religion, not the exception.  The Witnesses are just being arbitrary when the take digs at the Pagans, the Witness have close Pagan ties too. 

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.  A fun holiday is a good thing.  :)

Posted on Nov 30, 2011 at 11:24am by jump_in_the_pit Comment #33

...The Witnesses don’t celebrate Easter either for the same reasons - they are rather obsessed at the “pagan” origins of celebrations and holidays, although they seem to pick and choose what they condemn and what they don’t - for instance they exchange rings when they marry which has very clear pagan origins and is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible.

Thanks for this fact. I have a couple choice places to use it…

Posted on Dec 01, 2011 at 4:34pm by 6ball Comment #34

I haven’t listened to this podcast, but could swear I’ve heard one like it before… <shrug>

I like Christmas. I don’t care that it has roots in many religions. I’m not religious so why should I care? ;) Although I do enjoy the history of how various holidays came to be. I enjoy putting crazy amounts of colored lights and decorations in our front yard. I enjoy seeking out those gifts that my children and wife will go all wide eyed at. I like Christmas music, even some of the religious stuff. I like a nicely decorated (and real because of the pine smell) tree in our front window. I like that we watch the Santa Clause every year on the 24th. I love seeing the looks on my children’s faces Christmas morning. I even embrace the unrealistic sentiment that people are a little kinder, a little more friendly, and a little more generous at that time of the year.

Actually regardless of my enjoyment of Christmas, you should all give up all holidays with the exception of one: MY birthday anniversary. (I’ll send you a list of ‘what I’m into’ to save you grief in your shopping.) :cheese:

Take care,

Derek

Posted on Dec 01, 2011 at 6:45pm by harry canyon Comment #35

I celebrate the holidays I was raised celebrating because to me they are a time of fun and happiness with family, friends and loved ones. It is a time of good food, good talks, and the odd gift or two. I have never taken it seriously to mean anything other than a time to spend with those I love. I was raised in a religious house and rarely if ever did the whole “true reason for the season” thing get brought up. Frankly those who take such issue with it are entitled to their opinion, and don’t have to celebrate if they don’t wish to. Nothing is forced on them, unless you count the public displays which show a very unreasonably thin skin if that’s all it takes to annoy you. What other people do on their holidays and what they believe in is of little relevance to me. I honestly couldn’t care less were I dead. That would be the reason I don’t get all up in arms about something, what’s the point when I feel so arbitrarily about it.

One point I would like to point out though is this, when you link craziness like this to gays not blending in it gets a little rankling to those of us who are actually gay. To me the issues inherent with homosexuality and revealing said homosexuality to friends and loved ones are on an entirely different level to petty crap like whether or not it’s ok for an atheist to celebrate a silly holiday. Please think about how your words might come across to someone before you say such things. I hope you don’t think I am being antagonistic or rude, but that’s truly how it feels when someone says something like that.

Posted on Dec 02, 2011 at 5:45am by CyborgDreamSt8 Comment #36

I live in Dawson City Yukon, in the far north of Canada. My husband and I are both atheists and celebrate Christmas only as an excuse to eat and drink for a week with our friends and family. The timing of Christmas for us couldn’t be better, December is dark all but three or four hours of the day and bitterly cold, often below -40*C. If there was ever a time to get drunk and overeat, the last week of December in the Yukon is certainly it.

Christmas aside, I take exception to the comments about celebrating the winter solstice. Although we do not celebrate the solstice with any ceremony or pagan tradition, we do often gather on the 21st to mark the beginning of the light returning. What could be more worth celebrating than the natural phenomenon of the days getting longer, after weeks of almost perpetual darkness? We have bonfires, paper lanterns, and often are treated to a display of northern lights, it is a wonderful excuse to gather and marvel at the natural world.

Life is short, celebrate often.

Posted on Dec 09, 2011 at 2:49pm by yukon Comment #37

Celebrate the variety, if you want a party then why limit yourself!  Celebrate all the late December holidays Christmas, the Solstice, Human Light, Roman Saturnelia, Taiwan China has a national holiday, Christian Candlemas, Christian Epiphany, Germanic Yule, Hindu Pancha Ganapati, Jewish Hanukkah, Muslim Ramadan, Persian Yalda, Slavic Koleda, secular Festivus, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Flying Spaghetti Monster Holiday, Freezingman, heh heh heh.

Tell us about the Northern Lights yukon.  :)

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 at 12:31am by jump_in_the_pit Comment #38

I love the holidays, any holiday for that matter. It ties us to the positive elements of our past and for a brief moment in time we drop our weapons and toast our fellow humans. It brings us together and allows us to hope that maybe we’ve got a chance to survive another day! We celebrate our families and the fact that we’re still alive and enjoying life at least for a day! Holidays are the pulsing heart of the calendar that we all look forward to from St. Patrick’s day to Christmas. Call it what you will, athiests can celebrate ANY holiday without restraint. I can drink a green beer to the Irish and decorate a christmas tree to my heart’s content and not worry about its pagan roots. Its my past, it’s traditions I grew up with and it reminds me of home.

Cap’t JAck

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 at 8:48am by Thevillageatheist Comment #39

I love the holidays, any holiday for that matter. It ties us to the positive elements of our past and for a brief moment in time we drop our weapons and toast our fellow humans. It brings us together and allows us to hope that maybe we’ve got a chance to survive another day! We celebrate our families and the fact that we’re still alive and enjoying life at least for a day! Holidays are the pulsing heart of the calendar that we all look forward to from St. Patrick’s day to Christmas. Call it what you will, athiests can celebrate ANY holiday without restraint. I can drink a green beer to the Irish and decorate a christmas tree to my heart’s content and not worry about its pagan roots. Its my past, it’s traditions I grew up with and it reminds me of home.

Cap’t JAck

You said exactly what I have been feeling but wasn’t able to put into words. It annoys me to no end when people get uppity about this, because honestly it just seems like they are trying to destroy all of the fun and happiness just because they are insecure in their own beliefs and feel that other people celebrating such things will test them or in some way harm them.

Posted on Dec 15, 2011 at 3:15pm by CyborgDreamSt8 Comment #40

I can drink a green beer to the Irish and decorate a christmas tree to my heart’s content and not worry about its pagan roots. Its my past, it’s traditions I grew up with and it reminds me of home.

Cheers, Capt’n. http://www.planetsmilies.com/smilies/party/party0005.gif

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 at 6:25am by DarronS Comment #41

Thanks Darron and cheers to us all! Have a happy one!!! :-)


Cap’t JAck

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 at 7:11am by Thevillageatheist Comment #42

HO HO HO oh ho oh no

MERRY CHRISTMOSIS Mr Grumpy!

Posted on Dec 24, 2011 at 10:54am by B9K9 Comment #43