An Atheist ruminates Christmas

snoopy_christmasThere are flavors of Atheism and I suppose I would put myself in the Agnostic Atheist camp. One who does not believe in a deity and that proof of a deity is currently unknowable/impossible to prove.

As with many who are not Christian in the U.S., I still celebrate Christmas—in a way. After all, Santa Claus is hardly a strong “Christian” tradition. I was inundated with the same popular myths as any other child in the U.S., although perhaps like many poor kids, the concept of a magical Santa Claus faded by the time I could talk. The fun was in other traditions. Decorating a tree. Baking cookies. Making (not buying) presents. Christmas Eve dinner and present opening (My mother came from  Czechoslovakia and the tradition she grew up with was Christmas Eve was the big day). Staying up until midnight to sing Happy Birthday to my grandmother who was born on the 25th.

Even as a child, I noted – as has been noted every year by countless others – that the “Christmas Spirit” is something that should last for more than a few weeks; it never does.

This year, more than many, I sense a lack of Christmas spirit, certainly in the U.S., perhaps in the industrialized world. From a non-religious perspective, the “Christmas spirit” is to be a little more tolerant of others and to treat them a little better than you are inclined to. I’m seeing less of this, this year.

Perhaps that is the danger of holding elections and the transfer of power at the time of year we do. Perhaps it is a sign of the times. Perhaps I’m getting old and cynical (well no perhaps there!).

For my nano-part in being more tolerant of others and to spend more time on my family and my writing, I am going to take a break from posting anything “controversial” on various sites — for a few weeks. No promises after January 20th. Hopefully, our Twit, er Tweeter-in-Chief will do the same, so that I don’t have too big a backlog of things to cry in frustration against in January.

Politics aside, one thing I think a lot of us atheists ruminate is how short life is and how we value it. Given that there is nothing more, in our viewpoint, it makes doing the right things in this lifetime more important. Perhaps this is why some prefer the term Humanist (stealing a definition: the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and affirms their ability to improve their lives through the use of reason and ingenuity as opposed to submitting blindly to tradition and authority or sinking into cruelty and brutality.) It was coined at the beginning of the 19th Century.

To my fellow human beings, regardless of your religion, Peace Out (for a few weeks).

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