Is it offensive for an atheist to celebrate Christmas?
It's been stated that Dec. 25th is not actually the day Jesus was born and this date, along with a number of familiar Christmas traditions, were assimilated from other religions when the church rose to power. Similarly, the corporate side of Christmas has popularized imagery that is not associated with Jesus, such as Santa, Rudolf and Frosty. But, despite this, Christmas is still regarded as a christian holiday. So, my question is; if you're an atheist, is it possible to celebrate it as nondenominational? And, if you're christian, does the idea of a non-christian Christmas offend you?
In all honesty, Christmas was never a big deal for me. I don't think anyone REALLY knows how it all began, whether by Christians or pagans or whoever. I'm certainly not going to spend my time stewing over any atheists who want to celebrate Christmas. I suppose they would celebrate this holiday for all the other reasons (family, food, gifts, etc...) besides the religious aspect anyway.
No it is not offensive at all! Christmas at its core is about belief in what is good and best about mankind. It is about acts of recognizing the value in man both individually and collectively. At Christmas we give gifts representing our belief in that value and some of us volunteer to help with charities and other altruistic efforts. The details of Christmas are many and the great wonder of it is that there is truly something in it for everyone. For the great meaning to be found within the soul of the holiday is universal regardless of the details we espouse. And because it is truly universal, it is in that manner even honoring the principles taught by Jesus. Christmas welcomes all goodness and is not particular as to the package it comes in.
The celebration of christmas as a national holiday is not offensive to anyone.
It is a day of gift giving and family gatherings. Those who wish to celebrate it as a religious holiday may do so without prejudice. And those who choose to celebrate it as a day of thanks (like thanksgiving) with families, and friends, have the right to do that as well.
A Christmas tree with decorations, gift giving, and families gathering need not have anything to do with religion at all.
So, celebrate the holidays, and enjoy your family gathering with love and peace in your hearts.
I don't think so. I'm an atheist, from an all-Catholic family, and to me, Christmas means something different than it does to them. To them, it symbolizes a religious moment in history, while for me, I just like spending the time with my family doing the traditional snacks/meals and watching Christmas specials on TV.
I feel as though Christmas in itself has mostly become a cultural thing to experience rather than a religious one, to a lot of people who aren't religious. You go to the malls and it's decorated with Christmas trees, selling Christmas cards, and blasting Christmas music. Even if you're not religious, you're sort of forced into this cultural tradition of family and exchanging gifts. And I don't think either one of these celebrations is "wrong" or "offensive".
Seeing that Christmas is derived from an ancient pagan celebration, actually combining the principles of several regional variations, given a new name by the Church and called Christ's birthday, is it right for Christians to celebrate Christmas?
Seems like you answered your first question in the introduction. And if you really wonder what the answer to the second question is, then congratulations on waking up out of your coma that you've been in for the past several decades.
Not at all offensive to me, as a Christian. Everything in life has the meaning you put into it. For me, Christmas is all about my church, the songs and services. Other people complain about the consumer-driven Christmas. That doesn't affect me much, as that isn't what I am interested in. For mature Christians, Christmas isn't a very important religious holiday, it is more family-oriented. The big holiday is Easter.
Not in the least.
Christmas, like many holidays from many different religions ancient modern and probably future, was originally celebrated on a different day. But the church changed it as well as others to coincide with the four "corners" of the year, the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Spring Equinox, Easter, being the 2 most celebrated. I don't know of a church celebration of the Summer Solstice, there probably is one, and Halloween is the only one I know of for the Fall Equinox.
As an atheist I say "Happy Solstice" or "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Xmas". If I am the one giving a party it is a Solstice party.
But if I attend a Christmas party I have no problem treating it as such. To do otherwise is, IMHO, the offensive thing to do. I believe that we should honor the wishes of the hosts and, for me, it matters not whether it is a religious party.
A celebration / party isn't the time or place to focus on things like historical inaccuracies or differences in philosophy and / or beliefs. If you can't accept the premise of the party, don't go.
The same is true for the religious. If you can't enjoy a Solstice party for what it is and can't resist dragging your beliefs with you and airing them, stay home.
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