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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2008 :  23:57:03  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This blog offended me, and I just have to share it:

http://libbiadams.blogspot.com/2008/12/very-merry-unchristmas.html

I just love people who instruct others on how they are supposed to celebrate holidays. Apparently atheists like me are supposed act as if the holiday season doesn't exist. Excuse me while I return my mom's present and then lash myself for enjoying "O Holy Night."

If atheists are the freethinkers they claim to be, then why don't they exhibit a little of that vaunted freethinking and create their own holiday? While they're at it, they could develop their own holiday traditions!

Ripping off someone else's holiday and aping their traditions are poor ways of communicating your supposed intellectual superiority! The members of the Freethought Society strike me not as freethinkers, but as little children sulking because no one else wants to play their game.


Two big ironies in one mean paragraph:

1. Most of the traditions surrounding Christian holiday celebrations originate with pagan traditions.

2. The very Freethought Society that this woman is ripping on is co-hosting a HumanLight party in PA this year. So we did invent our own holiday and we are creating our own traditions.

I love how she keeps mentioning Christians and Jews. 'Cause Jewish people have always regarded Hanukkah as THE big holiday of the year. And those decorated evergreen trees that many Jewish people have in their homes this time of year, er, yeah, those are, um, Hanukkah bushes. You know, been a tradition forever.

Seriously, what a jerk.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com


Edited by - marfknox on 12/11/2008 23:58:00

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  02:47:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As you hinted, marfknox: Hanukkah was traditionally a minor holiday to Jews, but it has grown in an attempt by Jews to assimilate, and/or to preserve their cultural niche by not being bulldozed by the mighty Christmas machine of the majority culture.

Seems to me that the traditional Pagan yuletide celebrations in North-west Europe were centered upon ancient people's attempt to stave off the fear of, and the hardships of, Winter. When humans had little real control of an often hostile nature, Winter was a frightening time of year, when people would die in droves of disease and starvation if the previous season's harvests were bad. The Winter Solstice was the beginning of the coldest, darkest part of the year. By performing rituals at the Winter Solstice, the attempt was made to bring Spring. Somehow, this worked, time after time, making people feel that they, through their gods and spirits, were controlling nature. With cause and effect thus confused, Yuletide celebration was self-reinforcing. (Plus, it was designed to be fun, and that certainly didn't hurt!)

Christianity co-opted most of the local Yule traditions in Europe. I remind that lady of her own words:
Ripping off someone else's holiday and aping their traditions are poor ways of communicating your supposed intellectual superiority!
This lady keeps trotting in the Jews as her supposed Christmas co-conspirators as a sort of anti-Semitic way of trying to both seem tolerant and as a way of trying to make her band of fundy freaks seem larger than it is. Most Jews, I expect, would not care to be used in this callous manner.

In reality, it has often been Jews who have objected to the misuse of public properties such as town squares for sectarian crèches. Now freethinkers and secularists are changing their tactics and are willing to come out and play in the same sandlot as the fundies. So this woman feels compelled to try to make it to appear that everyone but "atheists" want to adore plastic statues of Baby Jesus.

Ironically, now that seculars are more willing to share public space with Christians, the fundies are becoming absolutely hysterical. Can't their Baby Jesus compete?

Let them celebrate and display as they like, so long as we may exercise our right celebrate and display as we wish.

Why are they so afraid of such secular displays? If their omnipotent god is real, why won't it make passersby ignore the secular displays, and notice only the Christian ones?

Frightened, bigoted fundies like this woman are displaying their doubts and lack of faith, it seems to me.



Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 12/12/2008 02:53:32
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dglas
Skeptic Friend

Canada
397 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  02:59:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dglas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I don't celebrate any holidays myself (haven't for about 30 years), nor do I contrive to justify celebrating them with alternative names or the like ("Take back the solstice!"). So, some of her points ring true for me - the power of symbols cannot be overestimated, and Christmas, as a symbol, is pretty horrific. I wonder how many Jews would appreciate presents wrapped in swastikas. It's the thought that counts after all, right? And the warm fuzzy family feeling.

I will admit that I don't have much choice about the stat pay/day-off business that accompanies "holidays," nor about stores being open or not. Otherwise, they are just another day for me (aside from an almost palpable sense of exclusion).

So, I reserve my right to not celebrate what I see as deplorable, vicious, inhumane and grotesque. However, I'm not about to tell others what they should or should not do. I might tentatively suggest, though, that if decorations need be involved that perhaps live trees might be put to better use recycling our atmosphere.

I, personally, think the creation of secular celebrations is a fine idea and one that bears looking into. Surely there are things we could celebrate that don't involve divine despotism and subjugation of humanity to dogma.

The question I have is why do you find her words offensive? They're just words and have no meaning, yes?

--------------------------------------------------
- dglas (In the hell of 1000 unresolved subplots...)
--------------------------------------------------
The Presupposition of Intrinsic Evil
+ A Self-Justificatory Framework
= The "Heart of Darkness"
--------------------------------------------------
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perrodetokio
Skeptic Friend

275 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  05:52:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send perrodetokio a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I left a comment on her blog, nothing harsh, however I doubt that she´ll publish it.

Cheers!

"Yes I have a belief in a creator/God but do not know that he exists." Bill Scott

"They are still mosquitoes! They did not turn into whales or lizards or anything else. They are still mosquitoes!..." Bill Scott

"We should have millions of missing links or transition fossils showing a fish turning into a philosopher..." Bill Scott
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  09:14:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I left a comment.
As per my modus operandi, I will leave a copy of the comment here, to prevent it from being lost to the ages in case it fail to make it through the 'inquisition'.




After reading your blog post; it seems to me that, what you do not understand, is that whatever Atheists may want to do, Christmas will never be a 'day like any other days' for them. The community surrounding them are putting their Christmas garb and commerces and the media and the rest of the consumerist machinery are shifting into high gears for the season.

As such, atheists can not ignore the season, even if they wanted to. And most of them do not; after all; the values of sharing and reunion that are that of Christmas can appeal to everybody, regardless of their faith, or lack of.
And, of course, the children of atheists would certainly feel left out if their parents were to overlook the celebrations.


This social pressure is nothing new. Where, in the 60ies, some Afro-Americans decided to forgo the Christian they associate with slavery; they did not reject Christmas altogether, instead, they re-appropriated it into Kwanza. Similarly, this pressure modelled the evolution of Hanukkah from a minor holiday into a major, Christmas like tradition.
Looking even back in times, we know that the first Christians did not celebrate Christmas and we know that the date of birth of Jesus was never known. The presence of shepherd mentioned in the gospels, however, probably preclude a December date. It is agreed that the Christian started to celebrate Christmas as their way to integrate themselves to the solstice celebrations (mostly the Saturnalia and the Sol Invictis) most pagan societies they were living in were having at that time of the year to celebrate the days growing back again and the end of winter announcing itself. It was also a time in the year when travelling or working in the field was impossible and nothing was left to do but huddling up and celebrating.

As for the Christmas tradition you mention, you need to realize that the Christmas tradition of the Christmas tree came from the pagan Germanic tradition of the Yule tree. So does the Yule log. The kissing under the mistletoe was a Viking tradition reminding the death of the God Balder.
Indeed, Christians in their time, like Atheists today, adopted traditions of the people among them and adapted them to their own view of the world.

It is nothing new and, it is rather heart-warming. It means that the values of Christmas, that of sharing with your friends and family, are universal and can be appreciated by people regardless of their religious background.


Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  11:25:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not nearly cruel enough Simon, you're kicked out of the atheist club.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  12:12:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, Simon, nice comment. Plus I learned something - I didn't know that kissing under mistletoe was a Viking tradition. Yay, more ammo.

dglas wrote:
So, I reserve my right to not celebrate what I see as deplorable, vicious, inhumane and grotesque. However, I'm not about to tell others what they should or should not do. I might tentatively suggest, though, that if decorations need be involved that perhaps live trees might be put to better use recycling our atmosphere.


I doubt that Christmas trees pose any significant environmental problems (certainly not in comparison to other things hurting the environment.) According to this 2006 article, 98% of live Christmas trees are grown on farms specifically for that purpose, and they are biodegradable. http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/11/26/news/top_stories/21_03_1111_25_06.txt

That doesn't really excuse me since I have a little $15. plastic and metal tree from the Dollar Store. But I can't afford to buy a real tree every year, so I justify my actions with the fact that I spend comparatively very little money on holiday excesses, I drive instead of flying to see my family, and I make or buy handmade whenever possible. But thanks for the guilt trip. ;-)

I, personally, think the creation of secular celebrations is a fine idea and one that bears looking into. Surely there are things we could celebrate that don't involve divine despotism and subjugation of humanity to dogma.
The biggest problem I have with the holiday season isn't the dominance of Christianity. When I think about Christian mythology as purely a cultural manifestation, I actually find it rather interesting, and some of it appealing. It is the crass excessive consumerism of the holidays that really disgusts me. Things like that people go into debt (or further into debt) instead of finding creative ways to enjoy the holidays, that individuals tend to spend more on themselves than on others, and that for children it becomes increasingly about getting an obscene number of new toys. I suspect that most of the holiday stress stems from material pressures, not religious ones.

I like Rev. Billy's take on it: http://www.reverendbilly.org/ (The documentary "What Would Jesus Buy?" is very funny and makes many good points on this topic.)

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1265 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  14:27:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am sorry, but I can't let this one go:
marfknox:
That doesn't really excuse me since I have a little $15. plastic and metal tree from the Dollar Store.
Where did you get your $15 tree? Shouldn't it have been a dollar?
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  16:03:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
aaaaaw... thanks guys, makes my litle heart warm... Warm from the black flames of my godlessness, that it!

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  18:04:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Boron10

I am sorry, but I can't let this one go:
marfknox:
That doesn't really excuse me since I have a little $15. plastic and metal tree from the Dollar Store.
Where did you get your $15 tree? Shouldn't it have been a dollar?
No no. What you do is decorate the tree with dollar bills.

Don't you know anything?


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  18:21:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I thought the Dollar Store was so named because they don't accept credit cards or Euros...

As far as the blog entry mentioned in the OP, it's still listing 0 comments so far. So much for engaging the author in a constructive dialog.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  18:33:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
well; we only started posting this morning. She might not be checking her blog every hour; maybe not even every day (how can people go that long with jacking in is beyond me though).

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  19:26:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

I thought the Dollar Store was so named because they don't accept credit cards or Euros...

As far as the blog entry mentioned in the OP, it's still listing 0 comments so far. So much for engaging the author in a constructive dialog.


This gives me some idea about how shaky the blogger feels about her arguments. All those logical fallacies and outright made-up shit, just waiting to be refuted. Can't. Deal. With. Dissent. Must. Suppress. Debate.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 12/12/2008 19:27:21
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  19:43:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Boron10 wrote:
Where did you get your $15 tree? Shouldn't it have been a dollar?
Shit. Dollar stores haven't been able to keep to that rule in over a decade. Even the damned sardines cost a $1.15 now.


"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  20:21:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From the blog:
To atheists, it's… Why, it's nothing at all! The holiday season holds no significance at all for an atheist!

Sigh. It might not hold any significance to atheists in general, but it may very hold significance to individual atheists. I'm an atheist. Christmas has some significance to me since it was the best time of year when I was a kid. I had time off school and I got pressies. It's a tradition I will encourage in my kids.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2008 :  21:00:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For me that leaves abroad, it is one of the two times of the year (my travel budget is my second biggest post of spending, just behind my tuition fees) where I can see my family.
As for my extended family, it often is the only time of the year I get to see them. It certainly is the only time when I get to see everybody at once.

It is also a time when we offer each other gifts, generally small ones, we are all broke, but enough to show to the other that, even on the other side of the world, they are still in my heart and in my mind.
Nothing religious about it, but still one of the most meaningful and important moment in the year.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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