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An atheist’s holiday message December 31, 2010

Posted by laïcité in Rants, Religion, Unbelief.
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I had originally wanted to pen a post on what it means to be an atheist during the holiday season, or rather, what the holiday season could possibly mean to a godless, souless heathen. You see, this is the time of year when excessive public displays of (the Christian) faith is supposed to be socially acceptable. It is CHRISTmas, after all, as many of them like to point out, oh so unaware that the practice of Christmas was actually a pagan festival adopted (or hijacked) by the Christians, and that December 25 is nowhere near the estimated birth date of Jesus. And what kind of holiday encourages you to lie to your children about a fat bearded man in the North Pole watching to see if they’re naughty or good? Probably a holiday adopted by people whose entire moral system is based on a bearded man in heaven deciding who gets to go to hell.

But I digress. All that was supposed to be in my original rant, but I decided not to be a Grinch. Let the Christians have their Christmas, stolen rituals and all.

Then I came across a holiday message that I really did want to share. In his holiday message, the comedian Ricky Gervais shared about why he is an atheist in the most eloquent, non-inflammatory and yet non-apologetic way. I loved his message so much that I even posted it on my facebook, something I rarely ever do, which them prompted some nasty self righteous comments calling me a fool and a corrupter – but that’s another story.

Anyway, the point is that I’m glad that I did not go ahead with my holiday rant because I could not have possibly put things in a better way than Ricky Gervais did.

Wow. No God. If mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my new found atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. I learned of evolution -– a theory so simple that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals and us –- with imagination, free will, love, humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.


Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. But that’s exactly what it is -­‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”

You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.

Ultimately, we cannot assume, and we cannot let Christians assume, that all that we strive to achieve during holidays –  goodwill towards mankind and peace on earth – can be monopolized by one faith alone. Ironically, perhaps the only way we can achive those ideals is to abandon such faith-centric mindsets in the first place.

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