Monday, December 6, 2010
Spirit of Christmas from an Atheist Point of View
Ironic how Christmas is thought of by many as a Christian holiday (and that it's under "attack" by those godless pagans), even though most of the traditions associated with the holiday (gift giving, Santa Claus, decorated trees, etc.) are pre-Christian and pagan in origin. More ironic still, is that celebrating birthdays and decorating with trees is considered idolatry in some Christian traditions--i.e. celebrating Jesus' birthday with trees is breaking a commandment. The fact of the matter is that Christmas as a holiday is "Christian" in name only (it really has always been just a mixed up jumble of cultural influences).
Similarly the "holiest" of "Christian" holidays- Easter, is named after the ancient Germanic goddess of fertility, Eostre-- and to this day the symbols associated with Easter (Spring, eggs, rabbits) are all about fertility. Again, a mishmash of cultural traditions.
Halloween's wearing of masks and costumes and emphasis on the dead is also pagan in origin.
I don't believe in deities or spirits, Christian or otherwise, although I find the old traditions associated with Christmas and Halloween enjoyable and fun. I even enjoy much of the old traditional Christmas music, even with all it's Jesus-y themes in it.
The "Christian" aspect of the holidays doesn't weigh in any more or less to me than any of the ancient pagan stuff does, although the many of the entitlement claims by many modern Christians really does get up my ass sometimes.