exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

atheists as the red sox, and the one sided “war on christmas”

by Jen at 7:37 pm on 14.12.2010Comments Off
filed under: rant and rage

it’s nearly christmas. for atheists, that means being inundated not only with sentiments about “christ being the reason for the season”, but also maligned as a root cause of mythical “war against christmas”, and (particularly unique to the uk), the anti-american, anti-”politically correct” sentiment that comes up whenever anyone uses “happy holidays” or attempts to be more inclusive.

even attempts by non-believers to reach out to other non-believers is seen as an affront to christians spoiling for a fight at this time of year.

to all the christians who somehow feel my atheism is a threat to their beliefs, here’s a hint: it’s not about you.

my atheism is not, in fact anti-religion, because it’s not about religion at all. i truly don’t care what you believe about virgin births or angels or holy ghosts. i may, in private, think such beliefs are silly or naive – but there are plenty of people who feel the same about my stance.

in my atheism, i can respect christmas as a lovely historic convention which encourages people to be better to one another. i am reminded of the way that my mother explained to me santa wasn’t real – she told me that once upon a time there was a person named Saint Nicholas, who embodied a spirit of generosity which we pay homage to this day. likewise, i think there was probably a wise person named jesus who once lived and spread a message of love and tolerance and a lot of people choose to commemorate his birth. i see nothing wrong with that whatsoever. i don’t think there are many who would.

but the fact that i don’t believe in god, or some benevolent/cruel supreme unearthly being, or a higher power of any sort has nothing to do with whether or not *you do*. it would be sheer hubris to think that i could persuade you of my beliefs, any more than you could persuade me of yours. that’s an exercise in futility, and to what end?

the fact is, i don’t think about your beliefs, or believers. at all. your christianity and your holidays don’t diminish my atheism in the slightest. which is why i can’t understand all the vociferous defensiveness ? christianity is unlikely to become an endangered religion any time soon. i don’t get the persecution complex at all.

as one columnist said:

If you are genuinely discriminated against, you’ll know it. They’ll burn your churches, refuse to hire your kid, not let you into the country club, etc. If you are genuinely discriminated against and you’re pissed off about it and you do something about it like fight back, then you’re smart.

If you are not genuinely discriminated against — if, in fact you are in the historical class of discriminators — and you’re in the driver’s seat anyway with all the money and the privilege but you start feeling like you’re discriminated against — you know what that’s a sign of?

Loser. Mental emotional moral political social loser.

and that’s what i think when i continue to read these accounts of the goliath-like christians who feel threatened by a bus ad, or a tunnel billboard. they have churches on every corner, and yet they protest they’re being somehow undermined. atheists account for a miniscule proportion of the population. is the entirety of christian faith really that feeble that a few non-believers can shake your foundation?

there’s a insider baseball joke about the rivalry between the red sox and the yankees, which may lend some insight. it goes, “yankees suck!”, “red sox… who?”

there are, of course a few boorish atheists out there, who will expend time and energy trying to actively refute religious doctrine. but frankly, that’s like pissing into the wind – hopeless, and just ends up making you smell nasty. but they are, in my experience, about as few and far between as those people who shout apocalyptic bible verses at you as you go into the subway.

so this season, perhaps it’s time for christians to demonstrate the tolerance jesus was supposedly famous for, and stop slanging inflammatory rhetoric around. after all, i’m no biblical scholar, but i’m pretty sure christ didn’t build a base of followers by naming and shaming people who disagreed with him.

as this author says:

If Christians want to win the war on Christmas, we need to stop fighting it. Enjoy the season, reflect on Christ, break bread with those you love, and look for opportunities to meet the needs of others. Such things will seem more authentic to a skeptical world and scream “Merry Christmas” in ways a retailer never can.

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