Ah Christmas, my favorite time of year. Usually around Thanksgiving weekend I seclude myself to my kitchen and start churning out hundreds of my Grandmother’s sugar cookies which truly are better than sex, and I happen to be the only one of my relatives who bothered to get her recipe before she passed away, so I’ll be darned if I’m gonna share that secret! Anyway, I usually re-emerge around this time in December with dozens of flat-rate boxes filled to the brim with about 100lbs of sugar and butter mixed into sweet ecstasy and cut into cute tree and snowman shapes. To me this is what the holiday season is all about.
But to mini-me it’s about wrapping gifts, giving gifts, unwrapping gifts, extra time playing with her cousins, singing carols, hanging lights and most of all this guy and all of the magic that goes along with him:
Which I guess is almost the same thing since it all boils down to a few traditions, and doing nice things for the people we love. I’m not a religious person, so for me holidays are about family, but not everyone in my life feels the same.
Working backwards through my week of festivities (not really, I’ve mostly just been working), today I was talking to an old friend who also loudly proclaims to be an Atheist (more on that later). She was telling me how she chooses not to celebrate anything during this time of year because it’s all about prophets and gods and other made up magical beings, but at the same time she doesn’t want to exclude her toddler from the fun and experiences his friends all get to have. Quite a conundrum I suppose. So she took him to see Santa, but has had trouble getting invited to any holiday parties or get-togethers and had to resort to telling her friends that she would be willing to drop her son off and pick him up later if the trouble was people being uncomfortable with the subjects she likes to bring up around this time of year… As it turns out she was right, nobody likes it if you take a fun holiday and use it as a stand to shove your beliefs (or lack there of) down everyone’s throat.
Now since I have had a very interesting couple of months this sparked a little thought in the back of my mind..
See for the last few months I’ve been spending a great deal of time around foreign nationals, mostly Egyptians and Afghans with the occasional Pakistani thrown into the mix. Now as you would probably expect each and every one of them has been Muslim, and during our time together I have been sure to never turn down an invitation to any of their parties (that would be super rude in their culture). So as a result I have celebrated Eid with them, I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with them, I’ve celebrated a couple holidays that I have no idea what they were, AND I’ve now celebrated Christmas with them, and you know what? It’s been a fricking blast! Seriously, there’s been nothing but good food and kind people surrounding themselves with friends, family, coworkers, and anybody else who wants to come. They really go all out and without even a single thought as to how whatever holiday fits into their actual religion or culture or whatever…
But then, one of my friends (sigh, actually a relative, so I can’t just delete him..) decided it would be festive to post this on Facebook:
It came along with a long and completely ignorant tirade about how Islam caused 9/11 and Christianity causes bunions in small children, and the world would clearly be a better place if we were all just fanatical Atheists…
So this is about where my little idea just about bubbled over and I decided that I hate everyone.
I hate the Anti-theists (more on that later) for telling me I’m a dick if I like the holidays.
I hate the Christians for telling me to think of Jesus while I’m downing that entire bottle of wine.
I hate the Jews because none of my Jewish friends ever have anything to say about this time of year, they just quietly mind their own business.
I hate the Muslims for making me fat.
I hate the Wiccans for reminding me that trees and Santa don’t make any goddamned sense.
Okay, but in all seriousness, it really did get me thinking. Now I would probably consider myself an Atheist, because I don’t believe in God, that’s not to say that I don’t have any beliefs though, because I do. But my beliefs are based off of some things I experienced once upon a time when I was very close to death, and while I don’t like to talk about it much since it’s extremely personal, God and most of the things found in religion were not a part of it. But at the same time I’m almost embarrassed to call myself an Atheist BECAUSE of people whom I really categorize as being Anti-theists. I’m sure you know the kind of person I’m talking about here too. See to me a-theism, is the absence of religious beliefs, whereas anti-theism is being against religion as a whole. Two very different ideas which both tend to be lumped under the umbrella of Atheism. So I guess, all I really want to say is:
1. To all the Anti-theists out there calling yourself Atheists, you’re just a bunch of ridiculous assholes just like the religious extremists that you like to cite as proof that your beliefs are better than anyone else’s. So stop ruining things for the rest of us.
2. There’s so much prejudice against Islam in Western culture these days, but really, they’re the only ones I can stand during this time of year because they’re the only ones not getting all hung up on intolerance and bullshit. I think we could all stand to learn a thing or two here..