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Survey: Christmas and religion November 22, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, interviews, issues.
Tags: , , , ,

A journalism student in London recently sent me a group of questions through my Contact page that he would like answered for an article that he is writing. I hope you don’t mind that I answered them here instead of replying via email!

Please let me know when you’ve read them, Marc!


1) Figures show that on Christmas the attendance in church is much higher than at other times of the year which shows that for many Christmas is the only occasion they will go to church for. Therefore, do you think – if Christmas was “cancelled” – the people’s “last link” to religion be taken away?

Not necessarily. My family is an example of the kind of people who only attend church on Christmas, but that doesn’t make them any less Catholic than the people who attend mass regularly — they’re just lazier. They still live by the other doctrines and principles of the church, one of which, unfortunately, is “atheists are OMG TEH EVILZ.”

2) There’s also a debate going on whether it actually is okay to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” who doesn’t celebrate it. Because of that some stores (especially in the US) already changed their display and advertising slogans from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” or something similar. What is your opinion on that? Do you think the religious origin of Christmas gets pushed into the background too much and it’s more or less all about consumerism?

Hell, I hope it becomes all about consumerism. I can see the point of “Happy Holidays,” but I don’t like being told what I can and can’t say, and frankly, this “politically correct” bullshit bores me to tears. I’ll say “Christmas” if I want to, damn it!

I would be sensitive enough, though, to change that to “Hanukkah” or “Kwanzaa” when speaking to someone of a different religion. There’s no Hanukkah or Kwanzaa where I live, however, so I just say “Christmas.”

3) Then of course there are the atheists like you, who don’t celebrate Christmas at all or – if they do – for who it has nothing to do with Jesus’s birth or anything else religious, but is just a holiday. Do you think religion is necessary to celebrate Christmas?

When someone mentions “Christmas,” I think of a day when you can sit down at the table and eat really good food with your family, exchange presents, and generally be cheery as you feel the chilly Christmas wind blow past. Jesus is the last thing that comes to mind. There are some people (ahem, mom) who insist that only Christians should celebrate Christmas, but I don’t see why the rest of us should be denied our presents just because we believe in one less god than they do. Maybe I can’t celebrate with them, but I’ll certainly find a way to actually have a good time, with or without the family.