Deck the halls with boughs of Holly, falalalala-lala-la-la!
So I haven’t written in a long time….at least it seems like a long time…and so I was sitting here just thinking about the holidays that are soon to be upon us. I thought that it might be a good idea to offer some of the tips to other people who are new to being an atheist.
1.) Celebrate however you want
Personally I celebrate Christmas, some Atheists celebrate the Solstice, while others may choose not to celebrate at all. It’s up to you. There is no wrong way to celebrate or abstain from celebrating. In my own case, I will be listening to all the Christmas songs and carols throughout the centuries. I love reading about mythology and I see Christmas as nothing more than a big celebration of various mythologies. It’s pretend and fun so I enjoy it in all the ways one could.
2.) Not every argument is worth having
Being the atheist at a holiday dinner can be awkward at times. If you are out as I am, someone might make a snide remark about your atheism. I have found that it is not worth ruining the holiday in order to be right and so I just don’t engage when someone mentions something about faith or “the real reason for the season.” Families often times have prayers before meals and I have been asked before to give thanks. It’s easy enough to give a short statement of thanks, without ever bringing god into the picture, instead of refusing and possibly hurting a loved one.
3.) Remember that Atheism should free the mind and not chain it to a new form of dogma
I understand the anger that you might feel when you leave the faith. Most of us have gone through this and while it does get better, you might still experience it from time to time even years later. Anger has a way of setting us in our way and making us close our minds to the thoughts and ideas of those around us. During the holidays you might hear something that really pisses you off. However, take a moment to think things over before taking a huge stance against it. Atheists can actually be just as dogmatic about their lack of faith as a fundamentalist can, as strange as that may sound. So try to remember, your atheism shouldn’t define you, it should just be.
4.) Maybe lay off the drinks
Look, it’s going to be a bit awkward and tense, especially if you are out about your atheism. So what will almost certainly make matters worse? Alcohol. Listen, we’re human and I know that we think a couple of drinks will loosen things up and make it a bit more comfortable. However, a couple of drinks can also loosen the tongue and lower inhibitions. It might feel right, to the drunk you, to tell grandma about all the contradictions in the New Testament. However, sober you the next day will more than likely be making a very awkward apology call to your octogenarian grandmother.
5.) Have Fun!
Enjoy your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. The holidays, when you get right down to it, are actually….as sad as it may seem….anti-suicide celebrations. Now that might seem like a strange statement bit think about it and notice how all the big holidays are during the winter months, when the days are shorter and the nights seem so much longer and colder. Holidays help break up the monotony and bring people together so that they can share the love and warmth of their fellow human beings. So enjoy yourself as much as you can. While there may not be a higher purpose, we are still all in this together.
Much love to you and yours during this holiday season. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Saturnalia, Yule, or whatever else you might choose to celebrate.