Merry Christmas, my fellow heathens! I say Merry Christmas because that is what I will celebrate. I’m visiting my parents’ house, celebrating my third Christmas out as an atheist (and my fifth one as an atheist total). I felt like sharing some of my thoughts, but I couldn’t think of anything to delve deep into. So instead, here are some disparate thoughts I felt like sharing for the holidays.
- If you celebrate something other than Christmas, happy holidays! If you don’t celebrate, I wish you happiness and good will.
- If you actively disparage atheists who celebrate Christmas, then from the bottom of my heart, you can sincerely go fuck yourself.
- One time when I was still a closeted atheist, I was at a Bible study with my family before Christmas, and some of the more conservative members of my group wondered aloud where the Christmas tree came from. Being an insufferable know-it-all I eagerly began to tell them about the pagan traditions that the Christians stole, only I remembered where I was. I gave them a watered-down version without insinuating that Christians did anything bad.
- Members of my Bible study attend a Catholic church on a Native American reservation, where the priest there integrates Apache traditions into his Catholic mass. I was more or less raised going to this church, and yes, this is thoroughly unorthodox. When I told my Bible study friends about this, they compared the Christian takeover of pagans and appropriating their traditions to this church which had an Apache-friendly environment. I didn’t say anything.
- I also didn’t tell them that my namesake book of the Bible says fairly clearly that we shouldn’t have Christmas trees.
- I’m going to Christmas Mass again this year. Mostly because it’s a family tradition, and I actually enjoy Christmas Mass at this nontraditional church. Sorry, David Silverman. Christmas Mass where I go is light on the preaching and heavy on the celebration.
- This contrasts with the Catholic Wedding I attended earlier this year. It was less of a wedding and more of a completely ordinary Mass where two people kissed at the end. It wasn’t my wedding, but I was disgusted nonetheless that a ceremony all about two people had almost nothing to do with them and almost everything to do with their god.
- My mom actively told me that I didn’t have to go to Mass, so I’m not being coerced.
- It’s still strange for me to cite family for reasons to go to Mass. I’ve definitely valued blood relative relations less and less over time and feel more like family around the friendships I’ve made in the past couple of years. I’m put in a strange position because while I value my immediate family, I don’t feel terribly close to them any more. So it’s not enough that I feel like I need to break it off with them at all, but I don’t particularly care to take so much time off for them when I have more and more friends across the country that I feel closer to. But I haven’t said anything to anyone besides my therapist, cause I don’t want to stir the pot.
- The worst Christmas presents for me are small, plastic things that my mom puts in my stocking. They’re usually novelty items that I won’t use a week from now, and all I can think is that it contributes to landfills. I really need less stuff taking up space and creating a mess already, and it would make me happier to get less of it.
- While my dad is Christian, he’s been getting interested in skepticism and listens to the Skeptics Guide to the Universe every week. He expressed an interest in The Demon-Haunted World, but I couldn’t find that before I flew home. I got him a different book for Christmas instead.
- On a separate holiday note, I’ve also rang bells for the Salvation Army. I did not know that they are bigoted antigay shitheads at the time. For those who are curious, the sound of the ringing bells kind of goes into the background after 2o minutes.
- You know the charities people ask you to donate to at checkout? It seems like a good thing since it probably works really well, especially if the cashier asks you verbally if you want to donate to a certain cancer charity and you sound like an asshole if you say no. However, that really gives me anxiety, and it’s not helpful because it doesn’t give you time to research whether or not it’s an effective charity.
- For those looking for a good secular charity that actually does some good regardless of gender and identity status, please consider donating to Modest Needs.
- On that note, did you make a large donation to a charity for the holidays? Consider picking a charity and setting up a monthly recurring donation to them throughout the year, instead of a large one-time donation. This allows them to have a more sustainable source of income, and it might make it more affordable for you.
Happy Noodlemas to all, and to all a good night!