Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Prayer

Great post Erica! It was getting lonely around here.

So in another passive aggressive move (see this for background if you care) my mom got me to say grace at the dinner table tonight. I was put on the spot, especially since my grandmother was there. I thought about it for half a minute and then said something like this:
We pray and we hope to the consciousness inside our heads that we have a better year coming up. We've started to see a bit of change this year, and we hope that things get better and that we see some real improvements in the world. Amen.

Not exactly eloquent, but I did manage to do a prayer without invoking anything explicitly supernatural, so I was proud of myself. I'm pretty sure I meant to say "conscience" rather than "consciousness" though, and it would have sounded a lot less new-agey if I had.

Merry Christmas Everyone! (I'm not being sarcastic, I actually do love Christmas)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Generic Season's Greetings

I figured the Atheist's Log would be the best place to vent about the Christmas season. While I do like that Christmas seems to be getting more and more secular, it's also getting more and more materialist and consumerist, which isn't a good thing. Additionally, the Christian right always seems to go bonkers all over Christmas, as if they don't even realize that Christmas is a syncretic holiday, just like many aspects of Christianity exhibit syncretism. It really bothers me that the Christian right isn't interested in scholarship, science, or facts; it is more interested in maintaining power, placing guilt trips, and manipulating its way in the government. I feel that a true Christian scholar would study the origin of the religious texts and traditions and recognize that paganism has had vast influences on the religion. Yet modern-day fundamentalists want to ignore this simple fact, as well as the separation of church and state. The way I see it, there is no way to represent every single religion equally and fairly, so the government should represent none. There should be no presidential recognition of the national Christmas tree in Washington DC. It is merely a disgusting display of discrimination. And the fact that the biggest religious diversity we've had in a president was Catholicism instead of Protestantism is just a gross demonstration of the US of A's intolerance. People seem to think that they can remain politically correct by representing a variety of religions, but the fact remains that there are so many religions and so many interpretations of those religions (and then there are the atheists with no religion! what do we get??) that it is better to refrain from political public displays of this sort. Even at the College of William and Mary where there is a traditional Yule Log Ceremony (an obvious shout out to the pagans, right?) the students tried to represent every religion. The Christians spoke first, of course, quoting the Jesus birth story from the Bible (but wait, wasn't Jesus born in the spring?), then students representing the faiths of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and the holiday of Kwanzaa spoke. But I, as an atheist, felt left out. And what about an acknowledgment to the pagan tradition of Yule Log? Oh, that tradition was read later, but only as a reminder of the rules of the event, like where to rub the sprig of holly. Is no one willing to recognize the lies and hate mongering that is Christianity? Before realizing other religions were represented at this Yule Log Ceremony, I yelled something like "Fuck this Christian shit! This is a pagan holiday!" causing the woman in front of me to turn around and give me a look.

I am willing to exchange gifts around Christmas; it is a nice gesture and, to be honest, with so many people celebrating the Christmas holiday, there is no escaping it. But I am not willing to believe "little baby Jesus" was born in a manger on December 25 to a virginal Mary. Because it isn't true. And any quick look on the Internet would show that Christianity borrowed greatly from existing traditions.