The holiday conundrum/dilemma

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    Nov 28, 2011 3:49 AM GMT
    To celebrate or not to celebrate any of the December holidays? That can pose a challenge if you're atheist, agnostic, apathetic, or a follower of a religion without any sort of winter holiday.

    I tend to label myself as agnostic (perhaps even apathetic agnostic), so I really don't see anything inherently Christian about Christmas. I mean, its origins are based on pagan winter observances such as Yule, Saturnalia, and Sol Invictus. However, most of what North Americans observe today is a result of modern commercialism and consumerism since the 19th and 20th centuries. Personally I see no harm in having a good time celebrating the holidays even if you aren't religious. You don't have to give a shit about putting the "Christ" back in Christmas since the Baby Jesus wasn't born anywhere near December 25 anyway.

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    Nov 28, 2011 5:14 AM GMT
    Haha. I have to admit that I often feel fortunate that both sides of my family don't give a shit about me and my parents. It's been only the three of us for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I feel grateful for that after hearing my friends' family drama over the holidays.
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    Nov 28, 2011 5:33 AM GMT
    Humbug
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    Nov 28, 2011 12:12 PM GMT
    Although I am Christian, I detest the flagrant display of consumerism at this time of year. I prefer to keep my Christmas as simple as possible -- minimum decorations and no gifts. I send out online cards and maybe do a couple of things with close family members. I like to go to church on Chrismas morning. I can understand that those with children have to do more, but for my life, it's a quiet time for reflection.
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    Nov 28, 2011 12:30 PM GMT
    vincent7 saidAlthough I am Christian, I detest the flagrant display of consumerism at this time of year. I prefer to keep my Christmas as simple as possible -- minimum decorations and no gifts. I send out online cards and maybe do a couple of things with close family members. I like to go to church on Chrismas morning. I can understand that those with children have to do more, but for my life, it's a quiet time for reflection.


    I am a devout Christian as well, and that is why I LOVE Easter. Easter is my favorite holiday! It has all of the spiritual meaning of Christmas, a big meal and the family getting together, we have always done Easter presents in the baskets, although more laid back than Christmas so you didn't feel stressed or broke afterwards, but there is no "end of the year" bullshit and much better weather!!

    This Christmas is my first one alone and, frankly, I am looking forward to it!

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    Nov 28, 2011 12:34 PM GMT
    I am one of those nurturer personalities, so I actually love giving gifts. I am not as good at receiving.

    So, I am normally all about Christmas time. - This year, I am just not into it yet. I probably will get there, but I'm just not yet.


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    Nov 28, 2011 12:46 PM GMT
    pocketnico saidTo celebrate or not to celebrate any of the December holidays? That can pose a challenge if you're atheist, agnostic, apathetic, or a follower of a religion without any sort of winter holiday.

    I tend to label myself as agnostic (perhaps even apathetic agnostic), so I really don't see anything inherently Christian about Christmas. I mean, its origins are based on pagan winter observances such as Yule, Saturnalia, and Sol Invictus. However, most of what North Americans observe today is a result of modern commercialism and consumerism since the 19th and 20th centuries. Personally I see no harm in having a good time celebrating the holidays even if you aren't religious. You don't have to give a shit about putting the "Christ" back in Christmas since the Baby Jesus wasn't born anywhere near December 25 anyway.


    Some important distinctions need to be made before such untruths/misunderstandings continue to be propagated:

    First, Christians don't celebrate Christmas because they believe that THAT IS THE ACTUAL DAY JESUS WAS BORN... Christmas is celebrated because Jesus was born into human history. It's not that day that is important. Anyone who thinks that is missing the point. The same is true about Easter (the ACTUAL day Jesus rose from the dead). (Or Thanksgiving for that matter, the actual day that Pilgrims had a feast of thanks with the Native Americans). They're just days of observation of something important.

    Secondly, certainly the pagan winter celebrations were held prior to the Christian celebrations, but that doesn't mean that the Christians observances were "based on" the pagan ones. Christians were celebrating "in lieu" of celebrating the pagan ones, just like you are considering whether to engage in these holiday celebrations or not. You're likely to come up with your own reason to celebrate while everyone celebrates whatever they celebrate. The Christians of old didn't want to celebrate pagan holidays so they "redeemed" this time for their own observances. It's not "based on"... perhaps more like "overtook" this time of year by sheer number, practice, exposure, and prominence throughout history. And subsequently since, merchants and capitalists have "redeemed" it for their purposes... sell sell sell...

    On a cultural note, Christmas in Japan is like our Valentine's Day. It's for lovers. It takes on another perspective altogether. But yes, same consumerism and people actually say "Merry Christmas!" (as opposed to the generic Happy Holidays!). icon_biggrin.gif
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    Nov 28, 2011 3:04 PM GMT
    I guess we can say that there's nothing religious at all about Christmas (unless you want it to be). Just about everything we do now is based on cultural/social pressure and shopping madness icon_eek.gif

    I like celebrating the winter solstice. I like observing all the changes of the seasons actually. At least those are things you can see for yourself and appreciate their beauty because seeing figurines or silhouettes of a nativity scene doesn't do anything for me.
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    Nov 28, 2011 3:34 PM GMT
    Some one, (Ogden Nash perhaps) said "Christmas has us by the throat again." I remember the quote because that is how I feel about it. I am not fond of all the whoop-ti-do of the "holidays," but I go along in as good a spirit as I can because it is important to my partner and his family. January has become my favorite month!
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    Nov 28, 2011 4:52 PM GMT
    Many christians of Orthodox faiths follow the old Julian calendar and celebrate it on January 7th.



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    Nov 28, 2011 5:23 PM GMT
    Another posting to express ones belief in not sharing the same ideologies as others and trying to show some superiority in bashing others beliefs. Yes, the fact that you're posting this and referencing some stereotypical 'facts' about another religion means you're bashing them. Really, if you don't want to celebrate December, go crawl in a hole and come out with Punxsutawney Phil. I'm guessing you're probably more of a groundhog believer anyway.

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    Nov 28, 2011 5:26 PM GMT
    At least everyone can see that groundhogs are real icon_rolleyes.gif

    I don't deny that I'm criticizing. I feel everything is fair game for criticism. But I know better that nothing I say or anyone else says will change opinions. Isn't the whole point of message board to whine about something? icon_cool.gif

    But believe it or not, I'm not half as bad as some angry, militant atheists out there who are offended by every single little religious reference. Those are some scary ass mofos sometimes icon_eek.gif
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    Nov 28, 2011 5:42 PM GMT
    Also Christian here. I avoid the mall like the plague throughout this whole mania, we limit gift-spending compared to what I see others doing (each adult in both my family and my BF's shops for just one other adult, capped at $100) but we all still buy for the kids.

    Also we do not decorate until close to xmas eve and take them down the day after epiphany. we have separate very simple decorations for advent.
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    Nov 28, 2011 5:46 PM GMT
    Want to know something ironic? I love holiday music sung by Christian choirs. I might be indifferent towards the Jesus message (I usually make up my own secular interpretation of the lyrics in my head, ha), but I can't help but feel captivated by the harmony of some choirs out there.
  • allanon

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    Nov 28, 2011 10:53 PM GMT
    pocketnico saidAt least everyone can see that groundhogs are real icon_rolleyes.gif

    I don't deny that I'm criticizing. I feel everything is fair game for criticism. But I know better that nothing I say or anyone else says will change opinions. Isn't the whole point of message board to whine about something? icon_cool.gif

    But believe it or not, I'm not half as bad as some angry, militant atheists out there who are offended by every single little religious reference. Those are some scary ass mofos sometimes icon_eek.gif


    That's missing the entire point. We're talking about belief, not knowledge. We see groundhogs, thus, we know they exist. It would be silly to say that we "believe" in them. As for the love that our mothers, fathers, friends, partners have for us, this is something we cannot see. Thus we have to trust, or rather, to "believe," in it.

    This is the basis for trust in God. God cannot be seen, but God can be thought of, and maybe even experienced. Thus, a person must trust in God, not know of God. And by God, I don't mean an esoteric entity who judges based upon whether or not someone cognitively affirms God's existence. By God, I mean the the inherent quality in every individual that can lead toward goodness, equality, perfection, justice, and everything that leads toward a "place" in which every individual is dignified and valued.

    To believe in God is to be a raging idealist. To believe in God is to help people to realize and make real the fact of their dignity as humans. To believe in God is to work to raise up the poor, to accept the marginalized, to house the homeless, to enable the disabled, to be the song of the voiceless in the world.

    This is what holidays mean for me. They challenge me to reflect upon the areas in my life where I have lived out my belief in God, and the areas where I have failed to do so. The holidays challenge me to change the aspects of myself that are not in line with my belief in God.
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    Nov 28, 2011 10:54 PM GMT
    There probably are people who believe in groundhogs and worship them. What makes groundhogs any less valid as an object of worship, eh? icon_cool.gif
  • allanon

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    Nov 28, 2011 10:54 PM GMT
    eb925guy saidAnother posting to express ones belief in not sharing the same ideologies as others and trying to show some superiority in bashing others beliefs. Yes, the fact that you're posting this and referencing some stereotypical 'facts' about another religion means you're bashing them. Really, if you don't want to celebrate December, go crawl in a hole and come out with Punxsutawney Phil. I'm guessing you're probably more of a groundhog believer anyway.



    Sure, this is a negative way of viewing a person's attempt to share one's opinions with others. On the positive side, I see such criticisms as a challenge for me to get a more solid grounding on my beliefs and actions.
  • allanon

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    Nov 28, 2011 10:56 PM GMT
    pocketnico saidThere probably are people who believe in groundhogs and worship them. What makes groundhogs any less valid as an object of worship, eh? icon_cool.gif


    Wait, who ever said anything about worship?

    If we want to open this can of worms: what is worship, anyway? How does worship do any good for people? What does worship mean?

    Topics for another thread...
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    Nov 28, 2011 10:58 PM GMT
    All this reminds me that I need to shop for some squirrel ornaments for my tree icon_cool.gif
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    Nov 28, 2011 11:02 PM GMT
    Pffffftt...

    It's all about spending anyway... people in Walmart out number those in actual churches 10 to 1.

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    Nov 28, 2011 11:04 PM GMT
    Don't we have to spend to improve the economy anyway? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Nov 29, 2011 1:59 AM GMT
    pocketnico saidDon't we have to spend to improve the economy anyway? icon_rolleyes.gif


    Yes, I'd say, go for it. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Nov 29, 2011 2:00 AM GMT
    I got really distracted and strayed far from my original path. I was supposed to shop for squirrel ornaments. Instead I'm on Zappos looking at shoes to solve my feet-dragging problems.