Just because I’m an atheist, doesn’t mean I don’t believe in Santa.
What does and atheist do at Christmas? There seems to be the notion floating around at the moment that all atheists are humourless, egotists who take themselves too seriously and are intent on ruining everybody else’s holiday season by constantly harping on and on about how there is no god and pointing out the absurdity of celebrating the imaginary birth of an imaginary man-god on the same day of every year in this age of reason.
Richard Dawkins, probably the world's most famous , and most annoying atheist.
To some Atheists represent the Grinch, who are bent on ruining the fun for everyone by imposing their beliefs onto everyone else. Although I am very tempted to live up to stereotype and arrive at the table for Christmas lunch in a black polo neck sweater and sunglasses, smoking cigarettes quoting Marx and Dawkins, wearing a grim expression and answering to everyone’s conversational efforts with a disinterested shrug. However, I love Christmas lunch, it gets me so excited, and this year, I’ll be cooking it. I’ll be the one running in and out of the kitchen in a flap making sure the gravy is timed right with the potatoes and everyone has enough of everything and keeping everything hot and ‘can we make some space over here please’… there just won’t be time for bursting anyone else’s religious balloon. Besides, if there's anything more annoying than a religious zealot it's an over-zealous atheist.
You see, while some people are claiming that atheists are pushing their beliefs in people’s faces at Christmas, it’s actually the other way round. The Christianity was very good at assimilating previously existing traditions and rebranding them as religious holidays. So the festival of Christmas (previously Winter Solstice) actually predates Christianity. The traditions of present-giving and goodwill as well as the concepts of goodwill and rebirth all existed long before Christianity decided to move in and monopolise them. So if anything it’s the Christian idea of Christmas that is forcing itself on me.
There is no evidence to suggest Scrooge was an Atheist
The atheist isn’t the Grinch at all. The atheist believes in goodwill to all men, generosity and kindness as much as anyone, and not just on one day of the year, but every day of every year. While parents all over the world go out of their way to lie to their children about a fat, jolly old man who arrives on a sleigh from the North Pole and descends the chimney to lay out presents on Christmas Eve, they’re conflicted as how can ‘lying’ to your children be inline with your religious beliefs? I on the other hand can lie all I want about Santa Claus, in fact, I’m free to believe in him if I want. It’s the same difference as far as I’m concerned. And probably more plausible.
This is what an atheist looks like
Whatever about my religious beliefs, I believe in Christmas and look forward to it all year. So I’ll be doing my best to make it as good as can be. And if that means going to mass, signing carols, giving presents, setting up a nativity scene then so be it. To me, al Christmas traditions carry the same significance, which is none really, for me hanging stockings and decorating the tree is the same as going to mass. That’s what I like about Christmas so much, it’s the one Christian festival that has borrowed so heavily from the pagan tradition that it is a visual overload of amalgamated cultures and traditions.
Christmas itself if is like a child, if I can say this, on Christmas morning, over the centuries it saw other cultures and said ‘I’ll have that and that and that….’ What we’ve have now is a holiday that has overindulged and is now pleasantly and good-humouredly drunk on itself, Christmas is a Christmas drunk. And I will certainly drink to that.