As a self-proclaimed atheist, you either don’t believe in God (or gods) or simply lack the belief and won’t be convinced otherwise until there’s strong evidence stating otherwise. Most atheists tend to be scientifically-minded and refuse religious traditions in their culture. Although Christmas is one of the most popular holidays in the world, it’s also a holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ (the human incarnation of the Christian God).
So, that being said, can atheists still celebrate Christmas? Yes, atheists can still celebrate Christmas and the holiday season. There are no set rules that dictate what holidays you can or can’t celebrate as an atheist. While you may avoid the more religious aspects of Christmas (such as the church service or religious discussions), there’s nothing to prevent you from putting up a tree, decorating your house, and enjoying your time off with friends and family.
That being said, though, celebrating the holidays with your religious-minded friends and family can be difficult for many atheists. They may find themselves coming under attack for their beliefs and be forced to defend their convictions. In some cases, you may even be bullied for your beliefs. Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to navigate these complicated waters.
How To Treat The Holiday Season As An Atheist
Although some atheists choose to ignore the holidays altogether, many still enjoy the season. In fact, as an atheist, you have even more options when it comes to the holiday season! Since the ties of religion no longer bind you, you’re free to celebrate the season among other cultures and religions as well.
Many atheists have also created their own versions of Christmas, such as “Newtonmas,” which celebrates the life of the famous physicist Isaac Newton. Ultimately, it all depends on how strong your views and thoughts on the matter are. Some atheists are vehemently anti-Christmas (and anti-religious holidays, for that matter), while others are able to accept the holidays with the understanding that everybody has a different opinion.
Regardless of your personal thoughts, though, here are some helpful solutions for dealing with the Christmas season. Whether you’re a fresh atheist or a longtime atheist, you’re bound to find at least one of these methods helpful!
Appreciate The Spirit Of The Season
One of the easiest ways to treat Christmas as an atheist is to just appreciate the spirit of the season. And by spirit, I don’t mean the “Holy Spirit.” Instead, take note of some of the more important aspects of the season. Enjoy the good vibes, try to be thankful, love yourself, and of course, don’t forget to enjoy all of the fun and festivities!
Remember, Christmas was actually based on the ancient pagan holiday, the Winter Solstice. During Solstice, there would often be blood sacrifices and all manner of festivities that Christians would cringe at today. So, technically, the entire holiday is a bit of a facade if you truly think about it.
Although only 4% of the U.S. population describes themselves as atheists, the number is steadily growing. Perhaps that can be your reason to be grateful! You don’t have to believe in a deity to experience and convey gratitude.
Gratitude is merely a state of being. It’s the act of being thankful and appreciative of what you do have. For example, if you’re reading this article right now, the chances are that you have access to a smartphone or laptop with an internet connection. That’s something that a huge percentage of the world’s population does not have. If you think about it, there’s a lot to be thankful for.
Another thing to be grateful for is that you live in a country where you can believe what you want to believe. Sure, your parents may not be too happy about your decision, but at least the entire village isn’t shunning you!
Give And Receive Gifts
One of the most historical traditions of Christmas is the giving and receiving of gifts. Santa Claus is, by no means, biblical. In fact, many Christians find the idea of Santa to be offensive to their beliefs of the holiday.
Whether you subscribe to Santa Claus or not, no human on earth doesn’t appreciate a thoughtful gift. So, use this as your chance to give back to the people in your life who you truly value.
Enjoy The Good Food And Drink
The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without great food and drink. If you do nothing else this Christmas season, at least enjoy some Christmas favorites. Maybe it’s a ham, perhaps it’s cookies and milk, or maybe it’s a Starbucks Gingerbread Latte… There’s only one time of year you can enjoy it!
Dealing With Your Theistic Family On Holidays
As an atheist, dealing with your theistic (believes in God/gods) family can be difficult. Many times, you’ll find that they shun you, bully you, poke fun at you, or otherwise find a way to “point the finger.”
This is the reason why many atheists just tell their families that they’re “agnostic Christians.” These individuals typically still have respect for Christian ideals, but they lack full conviction in the existence of God. Here are some tips to help you deal with your theistic family over the holidays.
Be Patient And Understanding
Understand that most people on this earth have a different idea about how life works than you. You can’t expect everybody to understand you or agree with you. It’s everybody’s right to believe what they want, including yours!
Don’t Be Afraid To Stand Up For Your Beliefs
If you find yourself being asked difficult questions, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. In fact, the more knowledgeable you are and the more willing you are to defend your beliefs, the more respect your family will have for you. They might even change their own minds!
Avoid Toxic Environments
While some families are accepting, others may just be flat-out rude and inconsiderate about your viewpoint. If you ever find yourself being bullied or treated unfairly, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself or avoid a toxic environment altogether. Remember, the best love is self-love. Put yourself and your happiness above all else!