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dragonstar57

atheists and religious holidays

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should atheists retain religious holidays/festivals just because they like them/want to and can they do so without compromising their opinion? and should atheists be offended by religious elements to religious holidays that they celebrate?

while i do not believe in god/ Jesus i have no problem hearing a song about the birth of Jesus around Christmas (quite possibly the best holiday ever).

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For me, I don't see much point in being offended by works of fiction. I do realize that unfortunately, some people are offended, so I can have empathy for them and adjust accordingly. So, I enjoy Christmas just as anyone else, but I do know some non-Christian religious people and I understand that they may not feel the same way. So saying "happy holidays" seems very reasonable to me. If someone is offended by that, well they can join the Taliban.

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Atheists enjoy vacation days just as much as any religious person does. IMO atheists shouldn't be offended by religious elements of religiously based holidays, but some are and some of the religious people are offended when the holidays aren't religious enough or that atheists participate. Almost all the holidays are now more secular than religious IMO.

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I never understood why non-religious people were offended by Merry Christmas. I'm not offended when people get wasted on New Year's Eve.

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Many of the stories in the UK press about non-religious intolerance for religious holidays (or one religions intolerances for anothers holidays) are just make believe. At least one newspaper every year will run a story about a council banning christmas - or at least calling the holiday something else normally Wintertide- and on closer inspection they are just false. Anyone offended by someone wishing them happiness and good cheer by saying Merry Christmas is, frankly, a bit weird. I am a fully-signed up atheist - yet in a twelve month period I have been to Christmas parties (with carol singing ), diwali celebrations, joined in an eid feast, and was invited to a sri lankan buddhist celebrations host by my catholic sri lankan neighbour

 

PS David Cameron say multi-culturalism has failed - to be honest in London it seems to be doing just great.

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I never understood why non-religious people were offended by Merry Christmas. I'm not offended when people get wasted on New Year's Eve.

 

I don't know anyone who's offended by "merry Christmas." I know lots of people who get in a giant tizzy over "happy holidays," though, since apparently acknowledging the existence of non-Christian holidays (or the fact that there are several important holidays in a short period of time) is anti-Christian somehow. And it's that attitude, if anything, that can be offensive to non-Christians.

 

To answer the OP, atheists should celebrate whatever they feel like. They don't have rules like that. I would also advise them to be as tolerant as possible of others forcing religious stuff onto them, since it's better for their blood pressure that way.

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should atheists retain religious holidays/festivals just because they like them/want to and can they do so without compromising their opinion?
Of course. Considering the amount of Pagan traditions that Christians have adopted (the "Christmas" tree being the biggest example) , there should be no problem with Atheists sharing some of the Christian ones.

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I never understood why non-religious people were offended by Merry Christmas.

 

It's a capitalist celebration of a pagan-based winter solstice celebration named after a messianic figure who probably has nothing whatsoever to do with it. What's not to like? It's a good holiday celebrated for a good reason.

 

Let's play a game! Find the Christmas tree! Winner gets to pretend that Christmas trees have something to do with Christ.

 

I'm not offended when people get wasted on New Year's Eve.

 

I'm only not annoyed when people get wasted if they aren't trying to interact with me. New Years or not, I don't really care.

 

I don't know anyone who's offended by "merry Christmas." I know lots of people who get in a giant tizzy over "happy holidays," though, since apparently acknowledging the existence of non-Christian holidays (or the fact that there are several important holidays in a short period of time) is anti-Christian somehow. And it's that attitude, if anything, that can be offensive to non-Christians.

 

I do know a few people who like saying "happy holidays" or "x-mas" specifically to annoy that demographic.

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I do know a few people who like saying "happy holidays" or "x-mas" specifically to annoy that demographic.

It's kind of funny that people get so upset about using x-mas, since it's a Christian convention that's been in use forever. X is the first letter in Christ.

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I get annoyed by the use of xmas, but not of Xmas and so does my spell check.

 

As an atheist I can take my holidays whenever I like. It's convenient for me to take them at the same time that the Christians are celebrating the Solstice (by burning logs) or vernal equinox (by messing about with eggs, maypoles and other fertility symbols). They get the dates a bit wrong, but why should I care?- I'm not an astrologer.

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I don't know anyone who's offended by "merry Christmas." I know lots of people who get in a giant tizzy over "happy holidays," though, since apparently acknowledging the existence of non-Christian holidays (or the fact that there are several important holidays in a short period of time) is anti-Christian somehow. And it's that attitude, if anything, that can be offensive to non-Christians.

perhaps because it supports the idea that their religion has taken elements from other religions?

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It's kind of funny that people get so upset about using x-mas, since it's a Christian convention that's been in use forever. X is the first letter in Christ.

 

It's funny they get upset by "happy holidays," too, since "holiday" comes from "holy day," and they are apparently not bothered by the idea that, according to scripture, Jesus wasn't born in the wintertime.

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I'm an athiest. But I'm a Christian on Christmas, I'm Jewish on Hanukka, and Muslim on Ramadan as long as there are days to be had off work and an excuse to enjoy a large meal and or drinks.

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I don't know anyone who's offended by "merry Christmas."

 

The guy who complained to my district manager at Walgreen's about me for saying, "Merry Christmas", when I was working 12 to 8 on Christmas day. He was offended.

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The concept doesn't only apply to religious holidays.

 

Australia is a Constitutional Monarchy so we get a day off for the "Queens Birthday". Republicans (as in those who want a Republic, not the American kind :D ) are quite happy to have the holiday along with us Monarchists. We have "Labour Day" to celebrate the 40 hour work week which means all the communists crawl out from under rocks to express their joy. I really, really hate being called "Comrade" by these people but what the hell, it's only one day.

 

I'm sure other nations can supply a similar list.

 

WRT the OP, I think it's not so much a case of should Atheists enjoy or take religious holidays but a more general "Should people take advantage of holidays for things they don't believe in?"

 

My answer is "Why not?" If it's a general holiday the chances are that anybody you want to talk work to isn't at work, so it's pretty pointless going yourself.

Edited by JohnB

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While an open and tolerant state should generally try to maintain religious neutrality in its public persona, a complication arises where originally religious symbols and rituals have taken on the character of widely-practised cultural usages which now seem more historical than religious. Examples of this include the U.S. government erecting a Christmas tree on the White House lawn, the Quebec government conducting provincial business in a legislature with a cruxifix prominently displayed, or the U.S. retaining the motto, 'In God we trust.' These are all ambiguous cases, since some of them may be too religious for a neutral, secular state to tolerate being funded by public taxation, while others have lost so much of their historical character that they are essentially just part of a quaint cultural legacy.

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I don't know anyone who's offended by "merry Christmas." I know lots of people who get in a giant tizzy over "happy holidays," though, since apparently acknowledging the existence of non-Christian holidays (or the fact that there are several important holidays in a short period of time) is anti-Christian somehow. And it's that attitude, if anything, that can be offensive to non-Christians.

People used to say 'Merry Christmas' and have Christmas parties at work every year. Then it became politically incorrect to say 'Merry Christmas' and Christmas parties became 'holiday parties' due to the fact that some non-Christians might be offended. I think the people who get in a tizzy over 'happy holidays' object that such an important celebration in their religion is something that should be hidden or is somehow offensive to others. It is not the non-Christians saying 'happy holidays' that is so objectionable to Christians, it is the Christians who say 'happy holidays' due to political correctness, instead of openly acknowledging the holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ.

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One thing to remember, the Weekends were originally a religions holiday (the Sabbath). Nobody (at least that I have known) objects to having a weekend, even though it is historically a religious observance.

 

To me, Christmas or other religious holidays are a cultural observance (and yes not all see them the same way). They also fulfil a social need to break up the monotony of working. They essentially raise the morale of the society and for that they are worthwhile.

 

So to me as an atheist, the origin of these observances are not important, but the function of them is.

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People used to say 'Merry Christmas' and have Christmas parties at work every year. Then it became politically incorrect to say 'Merry Christmas' and Christmas parties became 'holiday parties' due to the fact that some non-Christians might be offended. I think the people who get in a tizzy over 'happy holidays' object that such an important celebration in their religion is something that should be hidden or is somehow offensive to others. It is not the non-Christians saying 'happy holidays' that is so objectionable to Christians, it is the Christians who say 'happy holidays' due to political correctness, instead of openly acknowledging the holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ.

 

Christmas is a holiday, no? "Happy holidays" obviously includes "merry Christmas." The only difference is that it also includes non-Christians holidays, so clearly that's what they have a problem with. That not everyone is a Christian is offensive. Or, according to you, what's offensive is that other Christians are willing to admit that not everyone is a Christian. Or at least, that other Christians want non-Christians to have a good holiday, despite their heretical beliefs, or something. (Though it's more than that, since a lot of the "outrage" is at stuff like corporate stores having signs that say "happy holidays.")

 

While I understand that a Christian might object to implying some equivalency between the "true faith" and false, hellbound ones, that's not a concern that I am at all sympathetic to, and more importantly it's simply not feasible to be so intolerant in a diverse society, even if you are in the majority.

 

And I also get that a lot of people are annoyed by what they perceive as "political correctness." They're told they're supposed to do something different than how they've always done it without being given a satisfactory explanation why, and that's annoying. However, if they thought about it at all on their own, they would see there's no actual reason to be upset.

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Christmas is a holiday, no? "Happy holidays" obviously includes "merry Christmas." The only difference is that it also includes non-Christians holidays, so clearly that's what they have a problem with. That not everyone is a Christian is offensive. Or, according to you, what's offensive is that other Christians are willing to admit that not everyone is a Christian. Or at least, that other Christians want non-Christians to have a good holiday, despite their heretical beliefs, or something. (Though it's more than that, since a lot of the "outrage" is at stuff like corporate stores having signs that say "happy holidays.")

 

While I understand that a Christian might object to implying some equivalency between the "true faith" and false, hellbound ones, that's not a concern that I am at all sympathetic to, and more importantly it's simply not feasible to be so intolerant in a diverse society, even if you are in the majority.

 

And I also get that a lot of people are annoyed by what they perceive as "political correctness." They're told they're supposed to do something different than how they've always done it without being given a satisfactory explanation why, and that's annoying. However, if they thought about it at all on their own, they would see there's no actual reason to be upset.

My background is Catholic. Twelve years Catholic school for me, same for my kids, several priests and nuns in my extended family, and eight years of Catholic school for my wife. My point being, I've been around a lot of Catholics and other Christians over the years.

 

When I hear people criticize Catholics and/or Christians it usually has to do with birth control, one true religion, sex outside of marriage, infallibility, and the other usual topics. But more specifically, the way Catholics/Christians impose their beliefs on others.

 

What I find interesting is that while the Church has very specific views on these topics, I very rarely find any individuals who feel the same way. The last person I knew who followed the rhythm method of birth control was my grandmother. I don't know anyone who abstained from sex before marriage, and I don't know anyone who feels (or at least acts) superior to anyone of a different religion. What I do find is a very diverse, inclusive group, pushing the idea of service to others, forever raising funds to help people in need, with a propensity for drinking beer (sold at nearly every church sponsored event I've ever been to).

 

So it makes me wonder why it is that so many others such as yourself are always running into Catholics/Christians who are "offended" by non-Christians, who have a problem with non-Christian holidays, who feel non-Christians are heretics, who don't want to admit others are non-Christian, who don't want non-Christians to have a good holiday, who feel non-Christians are hell-bound, who are intolerant, and above all, who are apparently expressing these beliefs to anyone within earshot, else how could you and others know that they feel this way.

 

In fact, I see more intolerance on this site toward Christians, than I've ever seen anywhere exhibited by Christians.

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So it makes me wonder why it is that so many others such as yourself are always running into Catholics/Christians who are "offended" by non-Christians, who have a problem with non-Christian holidays, who feel non-Christians are heretics, who don't want to admit others are non-Christian, who don't want non-Christians to have a good holiday, who feel non-Christians are hell-bound, who are intolerant, and above all, who are apparently expressing these beliefs to anyone within earshot, else how could you and others know that they feel this way.

 

I don't know. But I do have several friends whose entire families are like that, and I see those views expressed incessantly on conservative talk shows every holiday season, with calls to boycott stores that say "happy holidays." I also know a lot of liberal Christians who don't care at all. My maternal grandparents were very liberal and very devout Catholics, for example. It's just puzzling to me that you apparently don't know any conservatives.

 

In fact, I see more intolerance on this site toward Christians, than I've ever seen anywhere exhibited by Christians.

 

Well that I find impossible to believe.

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I don't know. But I do have several friends whose entire families are like that, and I see those views expressed incessantly on conservative talk shows every holiday season, with calls to boycott stores that say "happy holidays." I also know a lot of liberal Christians who don't care at all. My maternal grandparents were very liberal and very devout Catholics, for example. It's just puzzling to me that you apparently don't know any conservatives.

I know some conservatives, but they don't tend to be in your face about it. More like they are tolerant of my misguided ways.

Well that I find impossible to believe.

Yeah, that was a bit over the top. It is more like some people on this site tend to be outspoken about why Christians are intellectually deficient (or whatever), and the Christians that I deal with on a regular basis (not talk show blowhards) don't really talk about non-Christians at all. That is, people don't talk about non-Christians just because they are non-Christians. I don't see any distinction being made based on religion. With the people I know, religion is more in the background, sort of the basis for why you do and think the things you do, but not something out front and obvious. Most Catholics I know you would never know they were Catholic unless you asked.

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Christmas is a holiday, no? "Happy holidays" obviously includes "merry Christmas." The only difference is that it also includes non-Christians holidays, so clearly that's what they have a problem with. That not everyone is a Christian is offensive. Or, according to you, what's offensive is that other Christians are willing to admit that not everyone is a Christian. Or at least, that other Christians want non-Christians to have a good holiday, despite their heretical beliefs, or something. (Though it's more than that, since a lot of the "outrage" is at stuff like corporate stores having signs that say "happy holidays.")

 

While I understand that a Christian might object to implying some equivalency between the "true faith" and false, hellbound ones, that's not a concern that I am at all sympathetic to, and more importantly it's simply not feasible to be so intolerant in a diverse society, even if you are in the majority.

 

And I also get that a lot of people are annoyed by what they perceive as "political correctness." They're told they're supposed to do something different than how they've always done it without being given a satisfactory explanation why, and that's annoying. However, if they thought about it at all on their own, they would see there's no actual reason to be upset.

i remember when happy holidays thing being on the news a lot in 2003-2005 and that was because people were offended by merry Christmas i think part of Christians dislike for the phrase is that they feel like merry Christmas should just be taken less literally after all it's just a holiday greeting Christmas is just the speakers preferred holiday no need to get upset about it and they start to feel as if people are atempting to deChristianize things as a way of attacking Christianity

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i remember when happy holidays thing being on the news a lot in 2003-2005 and that was because people were offended by merry Christmas

Do a check and I'll bet there that nobody actually was offended. This push is by people (generally non christians) in a supposed attempt to not offend people. We get the same thing down in Oz "It might offend the non christians", yet every single time I've seen a muslim or buddist interviewed, they said they didn't care.

 

Rather than being about not doing things that offend others, it's about not doing things that someone thinks might offend a third party. What rubbish. Ask the third party, and if they don't care and aren't offended then who are the do-gooders to talk? I've gone out and asked and I've yet to meet the non christian theist that is actually offended by "Merry Christmas" or by Easter.

 

Zapatos, it's quite clear logic. You are a catholic, therefore you believe much the same things as evangelicals. Evangelicals believe in young earth creationism, therefore so do you, therefore you are a fool. What makes it funny is that I often get lumped into the same group, even though my lot were often "Guest of Honour" at Bar-B-Ques held by the Inquisition. :D

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It's all a bit of a strawman, really. People aren't offended by folks who say merry chrismas, they're simply more aware and hope to be inclusive. We are a a diverse culture with many beliefs and many non-beliefs, and there is nothing wrong with making small adjustments in what we say and do to stop pushing people away and making them feel separate or alone.

 

When you get right down to it, the whole nonsense about wars on christmas is little more than manufactured hysteria. It's a despicable and coordinated attempt to get people all lathered up, filled with rage, and more easy to manipulate. It's about shutting down higher cognitive thought, rationality, and internal reflection and getting people instead to begin acting solely from the reptilian, emotional, "kill and fuck" centers of their brains. It is about reinforcing an us/them dichotomy, dehumanizing others, and hammering home a propaganda that enhances a sense that our fellow humans are much more our enemy than our friend.

 

I would really rather not explain further how this tends to cause us to go down a very specific path, nor how this type of psychological priming and distraction can and does lead to great atrocity and suffering, especially during times of great economic distress and uncertainty such as that we are presently facing across the world... So, I won't.

 

 

Frankly, the people who bitch and moan about those who say happy holidays ARE ignorant, and they're being manipulated (unless, of course, they are the ones holding the proverbial marionette strings and doing the manipulating themselves). It's that simple. Maybe what these religiot asshats need to ask santa to bring them at christmas is a better education and greater connection to reality.

 

Videos such as this can perhaps serve as a stocking stuffer to assist in beginning that process. Call it "Dora for Dumbasses."

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T8Y1-VLjGQ

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