Can atheists celebrate
religious holidays? Yeah, absolutely we can. But we don’t have to celebrate them for the same
reasons that religious people do.
And let’s just run through a few of them. Christmas is the big one.
Like, as an atheist there’s
so much to love about Christmas and I don’t care what you call it. Whether you call it
solstice, or Festivus, or however you want to celebrate
that time of the year. Or even Hanukkah;
in that way too. You can celebrate Christmas without referring to a
nativity scene, or the birth of Christ, or anything like that, because a secular version
of Christmas says, you know: there’s so many people
in your life who have deep meaning to you
and make your life better. Give them a present, give them a token of your gratitude
for everything they’ve done for you. Give them a present. Get one back from them.
Spend time with your loved ones.
That’s a wonderful thing to do. You don’t need to believe
in Christianity to celebrate that, and to do a gift exchange and
to spend time with people. Like, that’s a wonderful holiday and a wonderful ritual,
too, at that time of year. I love it.
I celebrate Christmas all the time. And again, I don’t care
if you call it Christmas or not. Believe me,
I think all atheists who work in those places are perfectly happy taking
time off of work at that time of year. But yeah, it’s great to celebrate
that sort of thing. What about another one? Thanksgiving.
Even– It may have had religious beginnings. We don’t really celebrate it
religiously now, but you gather– you gather with your family.
You eat a big meal together. You– You give thanks, but you don’t have to give thanks to
God. You can give thanks to the people
you’re sitting next to and for, you know, whatever you did over the course
of the past year that you are grateful for. And the people who are around you that
made that year a better year for you. And this idea of gathering together and
celebrating and having a feast with people that you love and
who love you back. That’s not something Christians own.
Like, that’s a universal good idea. So, yay for
Thanksgiving! Even something
like Ramadan, I’ve heard atheists celebrate, too.
Not because of any Islamic reason, but because this idea of fasting, you know, from a certain part of the day
to another certain part of the day, that makes you– that makes you a stronger person.
Because if you can make it through that and only eat for certain hours of the day, it tests
your willpower, it tests your self-control. And knowing that about yourself
can make you a better person. Again, you don’t have to celebrate it if you don’t want to.
And you don’t even have to do it at that time of the year
when Muslims do it. But again, I can see the value in celebrating
that religious holiday, because it really tests you in a way. So, more power to you
anyone who does that. So, you know, when it comes to
religious holidays, for the most part, a lot of these
religious holidays, there are secular ways of
celebrating them and I think most, you know, atheists already
celebrate them in a secular way. Hell, most Christians celebrate
them in a secular way. So, I don’t have any problem with that and, you know,
I fully support celebrating those holidays. My name is Hemant Mehta.
I write at FriendlyAtheist.com Please, leave your messages
and questions below in the comments.