I find myself in the odd position of being the one in the house defending Christmas. A little background first.
My wife is a fundamentalist Seventh Day Adventist, or more accurately they seem to be some branch of the Seventh Day Adventists. My wife joined another fundamentalist church known as the ICOC about 10 years ago. This turned out to be a cult and they managed to indoctrinate me as well. While it was a truly alarming experience to go through, I think the net result was good. I was raised in a Baptist home but we weren't very fundamentalist. I maintained a passing belief in God for most of my childhood, teens and twenties. Honestly I just didn't think about it that much, and my wife seemed to be in pretty much the same boat.
Then the cult happened. I reached a breaking point after about a year in the cult. One day I just simply couldn't bring myself to go back in the building. I turned around and never went back. I spent roughly a year or so firmly convinced I was going to Hell. Even so, I couldn't bring myself to go back. Something in my mind just simply wouldn't bend that far. Over time I learned that the church was a cult and I began educating myself on what cults were. I had no idea before. Very few people do. That's how they work. If everybody knew what a cult was, nobody would join them.
One thing I learned about cults is their ability to suppress critical thinking processes. I look back and am shocked at how credulous I was, and what it cost me. I went back to school to finish a degree, and I needed a Humanities credit. I was intending to take a blow off class since I was supporting myself and trying to go to school, but I noticed that one class I could take to fulfill that credit was "Logic and Critical Thinking". On an impulse I signed up for it, because I knew largely what had happened to my mind at that point.
It was an insanely hard class, and I got the only "A" he gave out for that class. I think I was hungry for it. I'm not sure, but I don't believe that my grade was luck.
I realized that I couldn't go back to a Christian Church. I tried attending a church or two with my wife, but every time that little alarm bell in my head went off. I just simply couldn't do it. I searched around for something to fill the gap left. I studied several other religions, and even became fascinated with Taoism for a while. I think it's attraction lay in the fact that, at least in the version I studied, there were no actual Gods. It read more like a philosophy of life.
Time passes, I finally realize that I'm an Atheist, I love science, and I haven't believed in supernatural beings for 10 years now. This is the net result I believe to be good. I doubt I would have changed my credulous nature without having had it abused first.
My wife left the cult as well. I think in large part because I knew and told her that I would not let any kids we might have be raised in that cult. I was ready to leave her. But she questioned their doctrine and left herself. But she never left Christianity. I think she searched for a while on her own, and has now hooked up with this SDA group, who sounds largely reminiscent of the cult. The irony...
But it gets better. Two kids later, she now believes all holidays are evil. She's managed to indoctrinate my oldest more or less, and my little resistance ploy of doing holidays with the kids anyway has failed because he now refuses to participate.
In other words, all my fears have come true.
So I find myself in the extremely odd position as the only Atheist in the house of being the one defending Christmas because I think it's a lot of fun for kids. The irony...
Religion: screwing up childhood for thousands of years and counting.