How do you respond to: "Are you against religion?", "Are you against Christmas?"

I was asked by an Xtian if I decorated for Christmas.

When I answered "NO" - I got the questions I have heard before.

"Are you against Religion? Are you against Christmas."

(Religion is bad - so yes I am against religion)

Any of you here get these same questions? 

How do you handle them?

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This is a great topic.  One of my favorite things about being an "out" atheist is that I don't even get asked if I want to go to a xmas eve service.  Awesome!

I think they know I am atheist also but it doesn't seem to matter to them if it allows them a way to undermine me.

Earther, that might be what is happening here. I'm not really sure. 

It is difficult to find out.  No one really wants to take the blame for starting a war or fight or antisocial behavior unless they just don't care.  My school has a holiday party and my boss has a gift give away during this time of year.  I decided to not go to either this year.  I have gone before and thought I would just be polite and social.  I no longer feel I can do that and feel okay with it.  I decided that I just won't go.  My explanation to my friendly collegues will be that I am not trying to make them feel like they are doing something wrong but this is just my choice and I choose not to go.  To me you just cannot take the religion out of an employee holiday party and gift giving.  I know what it really is and I just cannot do it anymore. 

I'm a quiet, reserved person.  Christmas is the opposite of that.  I like to think of my home as my refuge.  With all of the craziness about christmas, crowds, marketing, inescapable muzak, bellringers, traffic, I want my house to be a peaceful, relaxing place where I can forget all of that. Plus, with decorations up everywhere we go, we don't have to put them up at home too.  We can just go to the grocery store, and enjoy what they have put up.

I use that word "enjoy" advisedly.  I hate it.  But I don't want to argue with anyone about it either.

It's true, we may like to bring reminders of seasonality into our homes.  In Spring, we may bring in daffodil and forsythia branches to celebrate..  In Summer, we may have a bowl of fresh fruit, tomatoes, or flowers.  In fall, we may like having colorful leaves and pumpkins on the table.  In the same way, we may want to acknowledge the Solstice, when our ancestors worried about loss of sun, and warmth, and food, and comfort, and we are so fortunate with those.  For me, that usually means baking - bread, or pumpkin pie, or sweet potato pie, or something else.  It warms the house, the smells bring back some good memories.  It has nothing to do with chrismas, or my reaction to christmas.

If someone asked me about decorating, I hope I tell them some of this.  Thanks for the opportunity to think about it, in case someone does.

They decorate at work.  I try to ignore it.  If someone asks, I can say, the decorations are everywhere.  So I don't have to put them up at home.

Even then Pope acknowledges that christmas is not the anniversary of Jesus's birth.  Jesus never declared that there should be a pagan holiday marking his birthday, and neither did Paul or any of his followers in the New Testament.  Jesus preached against open displays of prayer.   He preached against church-based money changers.  He would not have approved of christmas.  Since Christmas is not the anniversary of Jesus birth, even to christians, celebrating it would be like honoring 9/11 on March 30th.  If someone doesn't know the real date (hard to know since there probably wasn't a Jesus as described in the Bible), picking Dec 25th is silly.  Other gods were also "born" on that date.

Thank you Sentient for sharing your story.

I am also quiet and reserved. 

I don't need the decor here - like you say - I can go outside and see it.

My neighbors on the corner have a small "trail of lights" display with singing air floats and everything.

They went all out on lights and balloons and everything!

Sentient - personally, I'm not even convinced that Jesus was an actual person.  I've had this argument many times, but it is incomprehensible to me how Jesus - arguably the most important person in the history of mankind (if you buy into that malarkey) - was not even written about until decades after his supposed death and ascention into heaven.  In the meantime, much was being written about other figures of far less importance, and any references to this Jesus figures in such historical writings are virtually nonexistent.  He is supposedly multiplying fish, turning water into wine, walking on water, curing the sick, defying death, etc. - and nobody is writing about it?  I get it that most were unable to read and write, but there were others who were, but chose to write about the mundane experiences of lessors.  On the other hand, there is much historical evidence that Muhammed was an actual person, which seems to add a layer of credibility to Islam that Christianity does not have.  Not that I care about either, since all religions ultimately lack credibility on a massive scale in my book, but it is strange how the concept of Jesus not even being a real person in history is rarely argued.

In God is not Great, Christopher Hitchens retells a story about the one time in his life that he actually felt physically threatened over religious discussion.  Paraphrasing, it was at some political event in the US, and he mentioned this strange dichotomy to a zealous Christian in polite conversation, and the guy reeled back at stopped just short of kicking Hitch in the shins, berating him for his ignorance of the fact that Jesus means more things to more people in this country than anything else in the history of mankind.

I think i can relate to feeling physically threatened. If looks could kill, I'd be dead for sure. I'm already feeling anxious about the family xmas party. 

SB,  we exchanged ideas on this topic over a year ago in my blog post "There is No There There".

The fable of Jesus runs off the rail with the accounts of his nativity. The account of Joesph and his (mysteriously) pregnant spouse unfolds as:

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a CITY of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
(Luke1.26,27)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the CITY of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David:


The reason for the trip was for a taxation census ordered by the Roman emperor, Augustus But , there is no evidence that Augustus or any emperor every conducted such a census because the Romans didn't tax people – they taxed property.
There is no record of a city called Nazareth until the 2nd century CE, further, the city is aledged to be in the province of Galilee which was not under Roman occupation and, therefore, not subject to Roman law.
Despite those minor quibbles it's still “take it to the bank” history to Xtians.

Jim, as I get older I find I repeat myself more often.

Also forget what I said before.  That's good.  It makes each day more interesting and surprising.

What you say here is also my memory of what i've read and heard before, however.  I was wondering - never thought about it before - if Mary was asserting virginity, wouldn't her family  have been interested in looking "in there" to see if that was true.  It sounds invasive and intrusive, and it is, but in some cultures that's done.  And the claim is so far fetched.....  Just my random neurons misfiring here.

Actually the issue that the Romans taxed property, not people, I had forgotten or not heard before.

Thanks for the reminder.  I find that as I get older I repeat myself more often.

I don't know much about censuses (cenci?), but from a purely practical point of view wouldn't it be more practical to send out government census takers rather than have half the population in transit and the country's commerce shut down?

I appreciate all of you for replying and sharing your thoughts.

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