I Was an Angry Atheist On Tuesday
I attended a little Christmas event at a Church hall with very good intentions to get involved. I felt unwelcome, slipped out early, marched home and wrote this. Sorry Nan.
“Growing up in a Christian community and attending a C of E primary school, I remember those dastardly Christians (they were really nice actually), constantly trying to assert one fucked up thing around this time of year. That, “we must remember what Christmas is REALLY about”. And that is obviously Jesus (and the associated values he stood for, blah blah blah)
After I started listening enough at my Christian primary school to realize this God stuff was bull, something about that particular festive comment (above) started to really bug me. It seemed to imply that those of us who didn’t believe in the super natural could not, or were not entitled to, find value in and promote Christmas and it’s associated principles. Morally intuitive principles such as loyalty to one’s family, helping out in the community and giving to the poor. Years later, I think I might have worked out what’s so wrong with that shit Christian catch phrase.
I’m no historian of Christmas, but I know that a pagan festival of a very similar format and ethos existed long before some politically motivated leader of a desert tribe caballed together the Old Testament. This festival, positioned close to the winter solstice made a lot of sense for some very familiar reasons. It brought families’ together in the depths of winter when we needed each other the most. When we needed something to look forward to and to cheer us up. It reminded us of our social commitments to care for our fellow human beings when many will have been suffering. Then they called it Christmas and we all had to stop having sex.
So when a Christian next tells me to remember what Christmas is “really about”, firstly ill tell him to fuckoff and mind his own business. Then I’ll go on to explain to him how his little club hijacked Christmas values from a long-standing and very sensible tradition. Like a lot of religious values, they are based on intuitive, instinctive, uniquely human values. Christmas can live on in a post religious world. And fuck it, maybe when the Muslims start getting past the Quran and all that shit, we can get them involved with their similar tradition of Edie. And then maybe we’ll actually be able to start “loving thy neighbor”, instead of condemning each other to eternal damnation.