I thought it would be best to post this after Christmas lest I ruin someone’s day,even when I say nice things I seem to wreck something or other. Being an atheist who celebrates Christmas I may be looked at as a disappointment from a secular point of view; in truth most atheists I know also follow the holiday out of tradition. For me, the most important thing is to spend at least one day a year with your closest family – I don’t say all as that would be a nightmare. Giving thoughtful gifts to loved ones; drinking a silly amount of alcohol (although I drink much less than others and I’m relatively t-total all year round); trying to be a better person or at the very least trying to convince ourselves to be the person we aspire to be. That is what the season is all about for me; I can safely say I took the Christ out of Christmas many years ago.
I was recently enthralled to learn of a Satanic Temple temporary display that was to be erected on the capitol lawn in Lansing Michigan this holiday season. The display being a response by the Detroit branch of the Satanic Temple to the planned nativity scene by a group from out of state wishing to promote their religious worldview on state property.
While news of this flavor of tit for tat rivalry is nothing new to my weary eyes and ears, I was surprised to learn that the Christian group had notified the authorities or locals that they could not follow through as they could not tear down the scene every night. The temporary requisite, non permanent status being put up daily and torn down nightly, could not be met by the out of town Christians thus they were not going to have a display.
At this point the media became fixated on the satanic temple’s intention to place a fixture on the lawn. Of course an uncontested “Satanic” display was taken even more as an antagonistic effort and further incensed the local Christian majority. At this point I ask: what is the point. In all reality, after hearing the failure of the nativity scene to be properly erected and torn down, what is the need for a responsive secular display.
Continue reading “Leave Well Enough Alone: How Doing Nothing Can Be Louder”
It’s that time of year when the sun approaches its southernmost track across the northern hemisphere’s sky and people of various religious persuasions celebrate the winter solstice without actually knowing that that’s what they’re doing. Predictably, some of the Christian commentators who make their living defiling the airwaves and manipulating public opinion are doing their damnedest to ramp up paranoia about a wholly hallucinated “war on Xmas.” Crèches on public property and holiday greetings at retail outlets are being shoved to the forefront of national attention in the midst of an existential crisis that’s never even mentioned because that’s something only “liberals” talk about. It’s comic and tiresome simultaneously. If the promises of the Enlightenment held any water, you’d think that by now western civilization would have grown beyond that kind of thing.
By the time this post goes public I’ll have undergone cataract surgery and will probably have a great deal of vision restored to me. I thank science for that. For all the early 21st century’s horrors, I’m glad to be living in a time when the healing arts reflect the scientific understanding of the human body, not the shamanistic one. A surgeon armed with lasers and an artificial lens is going to do for me what Jesus of Nazareth is reputed to have done with a little clay on which he spat.
The prospect of that restored vision has me in an expansive mood, and I guess it’s for that reason that I want to couch this post as a kind of seasonal greeting to Christians – not that I think any of them will read it here. (But if anyone who does read it finds merit in the thought experiment I propose, please feel free to appropriate it and use it as you like. Who knows: in some rare cases, it might have an effect.)
I probably should say that as I write the following, I very much have certain members of my family in mind. This is the letter that I will not write to them because I know what kind of reception it would get and how much rancor would ensue. I’ve tried something like it before and learned my lesson. For whatever it’s worth, and for the benefit of whomever, here’s my letter:
Continue reading “Season’s Greetings!”
Another year has come to a close with the black bells ringing in the merry holidays of the one true god, the all mighty US Dollar. Deafilosophy weighs in on the loss of character for what, to him, is simply the loss of a holiday season consisting of family, good food, and relaxation. Somewhere that was replaced with raging first world shopping fits and camping outside in the cold… Even Atheists can miss the peaceful snowy days of winter… Without the guilt of course.