How Has Becoming an Atheist Affected Your Experience of the Holidays?

I got to thinking, while decorating my house for the holidays tonight.  Here I am, with my second child on the way, putting up Christmas tree.  Here I am, my first year as an "out" atheist (for all intents and purposes), so how does that shift the meaning of the holidays for me?

I wrote a piece about this on my blog.  (  But then I got to wondering, what about other atheists?  How has coming into your own beliefs shifted your view of the holidays?  Has it ruined the fun?  Has it made it better?  Is it exactly the same?  Is it stressful when being around religious family members? 

What's your take on Christmas & the like?

Tags: Atheism, Christmas, Holidays, Maia, Meaning, Releasing, Religion, Stressful, Tree

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On my blog, while discussing the holiday season, I just got asked by a Christian apologist why I think what I believe is valid. Have you or anyone you know ever gotten asked that question?
I was just reading your blog~ That is somewhat of a Bs question because it lacks any specificity. Btw I almost never use the words "I believe" simply because of the implication of belief~ I don't know if you do that, but when taking the definition of belief into account, I don't think any of us have beliefs when it comes to religion~ we have ideas.
Also, while "statistically" his children will score better on standardized testing than public schooling, they will also be at an enormous social disadvantage. ignorance AND social handicap, the future of america~ yay
Thank you, Park. That makes me feel better. I wasn't trying to pick a fight with the guy, so I chose my words carefully. Did you go to his blog? The link is here. Talk about plenty of fuel for the fire for people like us.

So, I decided to address the issue in a later blog, discussing why I am an atheist. Spending some time researching it, and maybe I can apply some of what we're talking about here with the Christian holidays. Richard Dawkins states that the burden of proof should be on the religious, not on the atheist. He sees God as a hypothesis.

How would you have answered that guy about why do you think your beliefs are valid?
I guess what I would have said that personally, I've spent the last decade looking for answers to questions about "god" and spirituality, and so far the only answers that I have found that cannot be refuted are the things I hold to be true now. I still search for that one christian argument, out of the hundreds I've heard, that doesn't contain some sort of fallacy or lie. I listen to probably twenty hours a week of discussion on the topic, and the truth still remains that there isn't a single one I've found to hold up. It just isn't there. Truth is important to me, which is why I'm an atheist.

I guess thats what I would say.
Well said, Park. Basically reiterates the idea that atheists would believe in God if they were shown some kind of truth to it. Hence, the burden of proof is on the believer, not the atheist.
If you like, you could ask him why he is so freaking arrogant~ let me explain.

The height of arrogance is thinking that a single, miniscule person could some how have an understanding, let alone a personal connection, with a power as great as to create the entire universe! we as humans cannot collectively develop a craft to safely put people on mars yet, and no single person has the ability to construct/design a fully functional aircraft carrier~ and yet knowing these limitations, they somehow believe that they KNOW the force that has created something so large and awe inspiring as to make our greatest achievements mean nothing! Our minds cannot physically imagine one million one dollar bills; they don't have the processing capability- one thousand is pushing it; and yet these morons think that because they read a book written thousands of years ago by a nomadic tribe of sheep hearders that they somehow have the capacity to comprehend that which is physically incomprehensible?! It is the HEIGHT of arrogance, and I can't stand it when these feeble minded window lickers start spouting twice-millenia old proverbs like they fucking mean something!

... sorry, it gets me a bit riled up; I read his blog and it is infuriating.. I have little tolerance for the willfully ignorant..

just thought I would leave that here.
Haha. Here is the place to leave it, Park. So you can now see why his blog stemmed a blog entry of my own. By the way... AWESOME comments!! You go where I dare not to. Basically, you said all the stuff I would have liked to say, but I'm too careful not to pick a fight.

As Dawkins points out, you're not going to convert that one uber religious guy. However, if-in the process of discussion-you shed some light for other people... say people who are listening to your radio show (or in this case, reading the same blog) then it's worth it to take issue up with the uber religious guy.

I asked some of my friends on facebook why what they think they believe is valid (same question Dan asked me). I got tons of responses. Interesting to note that the Christians were very vocal about their own devotion to God, but the non-theists were more vague about their beliefs. I think because A. they see it as more of a private thing and B. it's simply not as accepted to state "I am an Atheist".
Concerning the replies that you got when you spread the question; I think the difference may be that "why do you believe your reasoning is valid" is a deeply philosophical question. it strikes at the very nature of what we consider true, what we can really trust, and the very way we perceive the world around us. the true answer to it is "I don't know" but no one can really say that, for if they do, why say anything at all? Atheists, typically, seem to be much deeper than the religious.

" the atheist seeks answers and ends up alone; the religious accept answers and think they are not."

If you really think about it, devotion to anything doesn't make ones reasoning or beliefs more valid. there isn't really anything other than logic that can do that job, and as far as I have seen, being religious means by default that you are illogical.
Thank you, Keely!
My partner and I don't like Xmas at all. We have two teenaged boys and they will be recieving loaded visa check cards for the holiday. That's all it boils down to anymore. They also don't care about celebrating except to accept money and gifts. This is also the second year in a row we won't put up a tree.
Virtually no change. I still call it Christmas out of sheer habit and still do the usual preperations. But maybe I should call it Xmas or Holiday or Winter Solstice to further express my atheism to my parents.
@ Jacob... Well here's how I see it: it's Christmas. That's what it's called. It has it's roots in pagan traditions, but whatever you choose to call it, it doesn't matter. I don't think you need to change the holiday's name to express your atheism to your parents. If you simply know your beliefs, and you're comfortable with them, I'd say that's enough. Just my two cents. Do your parents know you're an atheist?


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