So last year, I made a post on this blog that was critical of the religious origins of Christmas. Many of us Atheists who've felt subjugated, marginalized, and in some cases, discriminated against in the past, sometimes take target with the hegemony that we're not real Americans if we don't believe in a God. After all, it says "IN GOD WE TRUST" on our currency. God is mentioned numerous times in the Constitution. Though this might not be the Christian God, Christians have certainly adopted it as so.
I didn't know there was a word for people that didn't believe in God when I was a child. Maybe I was around 8 or so when I made that choice. I was the only Atheist in my family. And although I was raised Christian, I had serious doubts from a very young age. Ultimately, I decided that I didn't agree in an invisible man in the sky that cast magic spells on the world.
High school was difficult. Some girl in one of my classes kept talking to me about God and I finally told her I was an Atheist. From then on out, the Christians in the school decided that meant I was the Anti Christ and worshipped the devil. I got told numerous times by people that I would go to hell... um, if I didn't believe in hell. Really, Christians? Do you see how dumb a threat that is to make to an Atheist?
A very common question I get is what terrible event happened in my life that made me turn away from God. This is such a bizarre question, that I'm still baffled by the frequency in which I'm asked it. It's the same as me asking a Christian what Zeus did to them to make them turn away from him. Or to ask a Christian did you turn to Christianity after the Flying Spaghetti Monster allowed a loved one to die? It's just so ridiculous. Christians, stop asking me that. It's about as insulting as assuming someone is gay because they were molested as a kid.
Anyways, Atheists continue to face discrimination. According to polls, Atheists are the least trusted by Americans. We're lower down the scale than Muslims. Not that I have a problem with Muslims, but what did us Atheists ever do to you people to make you distrust us so much?
Sometimes people mention Mao and Stalin--two Atheists that murdered millions of people. The problem with that, is they didn't kill people because they were Atheists. They killed people because they were Communists. Karl Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto that the world would never know peace unless all societies rejected religion. Then, we'd have nothing to fight over. How many people know that Imagine by John Lennon is a song advocating Marxism? Me and my tangents.
Ok, so there was this guy named Hitler. He wanted to create a totalitarian regime just like the communists had, but he wasn't going to follow the movement created by Karl Marx, a jew, and he wasn't going to give up Christianity. Hitler, who was Catholic, believed that the world could be united under his rule if everyone followed Catholic, Aryan superiority. Those that did not, would be killed. So Nazism is essentially the exact same as Communism, but with God and racism. My point is that it was not Atheism that caused Mao and Stalin to kill people, just as it was not Catholicism that caused Hitler to kill people. I blame Liberals, but that's for another post.
I'm still struck by something Glenn Beck once said. Religious people often show hate and distrust(or contempt) for us Atheists, but Beck makes a distinction about religion of faith and religion of culture. It's not a point he belabors. But it's one I think should be made clear. Though I do not believe in God, I am culturally a Christian. I've never smoked pot before or done illegal drugs. I don't sleep around. I've never struck anyone in anger. I don't lie or deceive people for personal gain. I sometimes exaggerate about myself to try and get people to like me, and I hate that I do that, but sometimes it slips out when I'm feeling nervous around people. But otherwise, I'm an honest, moral person. That doesn't mean I think these are only Christian values. But I can make the argument that I think Atheists are in a better position to hold Christian morals than Christians are.
After all, I do good things because I want to. I feel better about who I am and how I help to further along society because of my actions. I know when I die, all that I am on this planet ends. The only way I exist passed that point, is if I've made the world a better place because of my life.
Christians do not believe as such. For you, you're not good because you want to be(although that can also be the case for some people). You're good because you fear punishment. That's not the same thing. You don't do good deeds to make the world a better place. You do them because you want a reward. After all, you think you're going to exist in some form after you die. You can trash the Earth as much as you want because you feel this isn't your permanent resting place. It's some make believe Heaven you're trying to get to, that you're focused on. This doesn't make you a good person. Though, like I said, there are Christians that have faith, and are good people. Prisons are full of the most religious people on the planet, where as Atheists are extremely rare in prisons--a much, much lower ratio than in the general population.
Ok, well, that's not what I wanted to talk about in this post. What I actually want to talk about is to be critical of Atheists and this ridiculous anti Christian movement. I think the backlash against Christianity by the Politically Correct crowd has gotten out of control. You don't need to believe you're scaring off evil spirits to celebrate Halloween. You don't have to work all day in the fields to be bringing in the harvest to celebrate Thanksgiving. You don't have to be Mexican to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or Irish to wear green on Saint Patrick's Day. And you don't have to believe in the Christian God to celebrate Christmas.
So none of this "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" crap. Just say "Merry Christmas." And if Atheists out there get mad, they can suck it. It's just another holiday with a strange origin. Just enjoy it.