The other day, I ran across a poll on whether Christmas should be a government holiday, and one of the commenters said this:
No matter how you slice it, xmas has roots in religion. Atheists celebrating xmas is not merely inane, but shows weak conviction.
Atheists should celebrate real, important events, like the date of publication of “Origin of Species” or the date of Watson and Crick’s discovery. Such celebration would show far more logic than coopting the smarmy, maudlin commercialism of xmas. Show some spine, atheists.
It is as incongruous for an atheist to celebrate Christmas as it would be to celebrate Ramadan or Seder or Passover. One must have courage in one’s convictions. Society must break with religion to rid itself of religion… Atheists who celebrate Christmas are cognitive dissonance cop-outs.
I couldn’t disagree more. Why in the world should we atheists make silly rules for one another about who is and is not a “real atheist”? I thought I left all that behind when I left religion. One of the nice things about atheism is the vast diversity among its members. We’re united more by what we don’t believe than what we do, and that broadens the base considerably — all that’s required to be an atheist is a lack of belief in a god. No other creeds or doctrines are necessary.
I am an atheist, but I’m also a product of my Western-Christian upbringing. I still love Christmas even though I don’t celebrate it religiously, and I don’t feel like I’m “letting down the atheist community” just because I observe the secular aspects of the holiday. To me, it seems reactionary to throw out one’s culture just because he’s shed religion. The US is not a Christian nation legally; we have a separation between church and state. But it is true that our country was founded by people who were predominantly Christian. And demographically, we are still predominantly Christian. I see no reason to pretend otherwise.
I’m curious to see what the rest of you think. Is Christmas inextricably tied to Christianity?