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Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

I’ve seen this little gem posted on Facebook a few times.  I know, I know.  For my own sanity I should just walk away.  Poking the crazy is such a strong temptation but I figured torching a friendship (or fracturing family relations) is not worth feeling superior over.  So instead I’m going to do it here.

Back to this not-funny cartoon:

Interestingly this comic touches on two things that  ZOMG!OppressedChristians! (TM) like to twist to make it seem like the evil atheists are trying to abolish or take away their enjoyment of their faith.

Most obvious is the War on Christmas (TM)!  There is no war on Christmas.  I don’t give a flying fuck if you wish me a Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, or Chrismahanukwanzikah.  When you say any of these to me, I assume that it reflects your beliefs and I usually will smile and respond “You too!”.  I alternate between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays depending on the person, and if I were working a customer service job I would default to Happy Holidays.  The reason isn’t not offending, the reason is that I wish to be as inclusive as possible.   Religion isn’t obvious, like blue eyes or red hair.  People choose religion, and sometimes even change religions.  I don’t know if the person in front of me is Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Pagan, or whatever.  I wish everyone happiness at this time.

So go have yourself a Merry Christmas.  Hell, say it as much as you want.  Just don’t demand that I say it too, because it doesn’t show how christian you are, it shows how much of an asshole you are and how insecure you are that you need sheep bellowing the same thing all around you.

The less obvious part of this is separation of church and state.  Once again, this totally misses the point.  Kids will not get in trouble if they express their faith in public school.   It’s one thing to say “I’m Christian and I celebrate Christmas”.  It’s another to expect everyone else to do the same.  And if I recall correctly, teachers and administrators can get in trouble if they discuss religion in any way that promotes one above any others or with any intention of proselytizing.  However, if this little boy said to another child “You are dumb because you don’t celebrate Christmas”, then maybe a trip to the principal’s office is in order.

Us Evil Atheists are not looking to take away Christmas.  I celebrate it as a secular holiday and as a time to share love with my family and friends.  Giving gifts makes me happy.  Other’s celebrate it as Yule, or the solstice.  It is also a federal holiday.  Don’t be a herd animal and post this drivel.  Spend that energy elsewhere, be a role model and use that energy to help others, not just in December but all year long.  Charities that have a glut of volunteers in December have a difficult time finding them in the summer.  Use those mouse clicks to spend $20 to help feed or immunize people in impoverished countries (or hey, your own country, we have plenty of hungry and homeless people here).  If you are privileged enough that all you have to worry about is this War on Christmas bullshit, rejoice and Happy Holidays!

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My brother and his family are visiting for the holidays.  They are polar opposites than my husband and me.  We recently got a card signed “God Bless”, which was understated for them.  Last year we got cards that illustrated the extent of the indoctrination their kids have received.  Not many people in my family know the full extent of my heathenism.  My husband knows of course.  My mom is pretty clued in while my dad is pretty clueless.  One of my aunts gets it I think.  Other than that, it’s a big unknown.  My family is not known for deep conversations.  Not surprisingly, there seems to be a correlation between those I’ve had in-depth discussions with and how accepting I perceive them to be.

Every year, my husband and I suffer some mild to moderate irritation at the not-so-subtle holier than thou attitude from a certain someone.  Now, I can talk a good game, but when push comes to shove, I tend to bite my tongue to avoid any ugliness, I lean strongly towards diplomacy.

Year to year, I seem to be gaining more self-confidence.  With this wonderful gain comes a tendency to speak my mind more and more.  I worry that the next time something asinine and self-righteous comes out of this person’s mouth that I’m going to dump a big stinking atheistic turd on the dinner table, you know, sort of accidentally on-purpose.  But that would only gratify my immediate need to not hear total stupidity and would hurt more others in the long run.  So I’ll probably keep my mouth shut, or stuff it full of food.  If I gain 5 pounds over the holiday, I’ll know why.

It does bother me a bit that I can’t be “out” about my atheism.  I wish I had the courage to, but I don’t.

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My oldest daughter no longer believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.

You might ask why we introduced the concepts at all, and that’s a fair question.  Mostly because I grew up with them and I like to think that the only time in life that fantasy and magic is allowed in such a big way is in childhood.  Just by the very nature of growing up and life experience, the magic fades from such childhood experiences.  I kind of knew for the last year or so that she was going along with it for my younger daughter’s sake, and she admitted as much.  She wasn’t disappointed at all, and it didn’t make her the pariah for being the one in her school to burst the bubble of all the other kids.

I know I’m bowing to societal norms, but I also think that it can serve as a jumping off point for future discussions of what people believe and why they believe.  And also to look at something and try to see what is really the truth.  Just because I don’t believe in god (and my husband is a doubter as well, but more hedging his bets), doesn’t mean I want to do away with Christmas.  There is something about the lights and the music that time of year, that if done right can be downright magical and full of wonder.

When my daughter informed me (out of earshot of her sister) that she knows that Santa isn’t real, I tossed in god when asking about the tooth fairy and whether she believes they are real.  Tooth fairy – no.  God?  She said “I don’t know”.  And that was good enough for me at the time.  She was reading and I didn’t want to distract her, but I did want to get the topic out there, even a little bit, so if or when a bigger discussion about it comes up, I can encourage her to try to figure it out for herself.  I’m sure that the question will come up eventually, since a good number of her friends go to church (or temple), but a surprising number don’t attend church at all on a regular basis.

Which reminds me that a while ago, my mom found my brother’s old Dungeons & Dragons starter kit and my oldest daughter glommed onto it.  She has a friend that she plays with and another girl played with them for a little while until she mentioned it to her uncle, who informed her that it has demons in it.  This girl was also homeschooled for a while and now goes to a private school.  This is in a relatively affluent neighborhood with top-notch schools.

My daughter explained to her that there are no demons, just dragons and adventure, but the damage was done.  Now my daughter doesn’t play because they need at least one more person to play and the other girls at her school are so not interested.  Who knew that 5th grade girls were so….girly.  She will probably have to find a boy to round out their group.

I am so proud that she finds D&D interesting and didn’t just dismiss it as a “boy thing”.  Unfortunately, her tendency to do that does not make her social life any easier.  She has seemed to get a reputation among the more girly of the girls as being a bit of an odd duck.  She dresses more tomboyish and other than her pierced ears, isn’t very girly at all.  Which is just fine with me.  Along with a lack of religious indoctrination, I did my best to avoid any kind of gender indoctrination as well.  If she wants a toy that is in the “boy” section, I don’t discourage it.  Her sister, on the other hand, without any help from me, is all about the dolls.  OMG, the baby dolls.  They outnumber us 5 to 1.

This year, I can have someone help me wrap the gifts from Santa for my youngest daughter (and even pick them out).  And it’s not as hard to keep the secret from one when I have one of them in on it.  It’s a bit of a relief actually.  One of the things I didn’t consider when starting the whole Santa thing was how long it was going to last.  Who knew that it would be nearly 10 years before I could spill the beans?

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