Atheism and Christmas

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Research suggests that those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are on the whole likely to be happier.[1]

In December 2003, the University of Warwick reported: "Dr. Stephen Joseph, from the University of Warwick, said: "Religious people seem to have a greater purpose in life, which is why they are happier. Looking at the research evidence, it seems that those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are on the whole likely to be happier."[2]

See also:

Most atheists lack a hostility towards the Christmas season

See also: Schools of atheist thought and Atheist factions

Austin Cline is an atheist blogger and atheism apologist. In terms of his family life, it is an interfaith marriage as his wife believes in in the existence of God (So his wife may wish the family to celebrate Christmas).[3] See also: Atheism and interfaith marriages

Austin Cline wrote about Christmas:

There is a debate among atheists about whether they should celebrate Christmas or not. Some do so because they aren’t out as atheists. Some do so in order not to rock the boat among religious family members. Some do so because they always have and don’t want to change — or simply enjoy the holiday. Others argue that it should be replaced by a more rational holiday, and still others argue that all such holidays should be ignored by atheists. Is there a case to be made for this?

Traditionally, Christmas has basically been a Christian holiday — it is, after all, Christ’s Mass where the Nativity of Jesus is celebrated. Many atheists don’t believe that Jesus existed, and those who do don’t regard him as having been anyone special. No atheists are Christians, so why bother participating in such a Christian holiday? It’s arguable that participating makes Christianity seem more popular than it really is, not to mention giving Christians an unjustified ego boost.[4]

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins sings traditional Christmas carols each Christmas season.[5]

Because many atheists grew up in Christian households, Christmas is a festive time of year and there are nonreligious elements of Christmas and many atheists are apathetic about their atheism (see: Atheism and apathy), the majority of atheists are not hostile towards Christmas, yet they are often oppose government bodies or public property being used to acknowledge Christmas.

For example, New Atheism is a form of militant atheism. Yet, even the new atheists Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris indicate they participate in Christmas festivities/celebrations.[6][7]

The Daily Mail declared:

Scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins has admitted he does celebrate Christmas - and enjoys singing traditional Christmas carols each festive season.

The writer and evolutionary biologist told singer Jarvis Cocker that he happily wishes everyone a Merry Christmas - and used to have a tree when his daughter was younger.[8]

See also: Richard Dawkins and Christmas

However, on the whole, Richard Dawkins is generally seen as an angry, aggressive and abrasive man (see: Richard Dawkins and anger and Abrasiveness of Richard Dawkins).

The Jewish comedian Henny Youngman joked about atheism, "I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up . . . they have no holidays."[9] See also: Atheism quotes

Militant atheists who are active in the War on Christmas controversy

See also: War on Christmas and Militant atheism and Antitheism

Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says his group is opposed to the nativity scenes and other Christian symbols that appear on public spaces during the holiday season.[10]

The War on Christmas refers specifically to the controversy surrounding the celebration or acknowledgment of the Christmas holiday in government, media, advertising and other secular environments. Modern-day controversy occurs around the world, and stems from the holiday's significant annual role in celebrating cultural values in Western society. See The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought. Fox News has been particularly vocal in the War on Christmas, trying to prevent secular censorship of Christmas celebration.[11] Bill O'Reilly has devoted numerous segments on his show in recent years to the War on Christmas.

Although most atheists (even some militant atheists and antitheists) are not hostile towards Christmas, there are atheists of the militant atheism/antitheism school of atheist thought play a significant role as far as the War on Christmas, often feigning concern for the sensitivities of Jews and other religious groups who do not celebrate Christmas, knowing people sympathize with Jews, but rarely ever with atheists. This is typical of the selfishness of atheism.

Robert Small wrote in his American Thinker article entitled Self-Righteous Atheists Are Misguided Killjoys:

It's that time of year again. 'T'is the season to be jolly -- or, if you're an atheist activist, to throw a wet blanket over the holidays.

In California, long the birthplace of national trends, they succeeded in getting a federal judge to ban not only Nativity scenes, but also secular displays from Santa Monica's Palisades Park. Un-decking the public halls and squares is becoming our new national tradition, because equal-opportunity speech isn't good enough for self-righteous atheists. They won't rest until all remnants of our Judeo-Christian heritage are wiped clean from civic life in their quest for secular purity.[12]

Freedom From Religion Foundation and the War on Christmas

The Telegraph reported about the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the War on Christmas:

Across the United States, many of the FFRF’s 23,000 members have mobilised to ban Jesus from classroom plays, silence school choirs and take down nativity scenes.

At this time of year, Mr Barker said, his office is transformed into a war room: "It really ramps up. Our legal staff get ready, writing template letters for each state and district, ready to deploy them at any moment."[13]

The Horn News reported:

For the seventh year in a row, the anti-religion activists at the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) have erected an outrageous sign outside the Illinois state house denouncing Christmas and Christianity.

Dan Barker, FFRF co-president, said his group is opposed to the nativity scenes and other Christian symbols that appear on public spaces during the holiday season. So the atheist organization wants equal space to spread its anti-religion rhetoric during the Christmas season.

The Illinois state house grounds now feature an offensive red and green sign that reads, “At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

And the FFRF is not stopping at Illinois.

FFRF has announced plans to erect similar signs at the Texas and Florida state houses.

This isn’t the only attack to remove Christmas from the public view, either. Already this month the anti-religion organization put up a “Reasons Greetings” (an attack on the term Season’s Greetings) display at the Warren, Michigan city hall. The organization also recently announced a lawsuit that has banned the Concord Community Schools in Indiana from performing their traditional live nativity scene at the school’s 2015 Christmas Spectacular holiday concert.[14]

Atheist lawsuits, manger scenes and public relations

See: Atheist lawsuits and public relations

American Atheist organization and Christmas

David Silverman, ex-president of the American Atheists organization.

CNN reported:

However, American Atheists has rankled some churchgoers with billboards in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Raleigh, North Carolina, that say, "Go ahead and skip church! Just be good for goodness sake. Happy holidays!"

CNN affiliate KXRM of Colorado Springs noted that the billboard didn't go over well with some who saw it.

"It can be insulting to those who are religious and do celebrate it for Christianity and religion in general," one viewer said.

American Atheists' Randy Gotovich disagreed.

"We're trying to be inclusive of everyone in Christmas and saying that anyone can celebrate it. It shouldn't be viewed strictly as a Christian holiday," he said.

Such friction has long roots in American history, says Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero. Christmas may be a religious holiday, but it's also deeply secular, creating a natural conflict.[15]

Atheists, YouTube Christian Shockofgod and Santa syndrome

Logo for the Shockofgod YouTube channel

See also: Santa Syndrome

In order to poke fun at atheist comparisons of Christianity to Santa Claus and to show that some atheists adopt atheism for the childish reason of discovering that Santa Claus is not real and then concluding that Christianity is not true as result, YouTube Christian Shockofgod came up with the term Santa syndrome (see also: Atheism and immaturity).

In the book Christian No More, author Jeffrey Mark describes his suffering from a Santa syndrome type incident;[16] Shockofgod]] mentioned Jeffrey Mark's case and discussed the Jeffrey Mark incident in a YouTube video.[17] Jeffrey Mark describes the consternation he underwent when he was told about the supernatural additions to the story of Saint Nicholas:
She broke the unbelievable news that no, there really was no Santa Claus. But how could that be?[16]
This finding led to the author's psychopathological denial of the existence of God:
And interestingly, my feeling that Jesus was real was just as strong as when I was younger and felt that Santa was real. But Santa wasn't real. That gave me something to think about.[18]

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