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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it sounds to me like your making a very simple mistake.  You assume all religions are bad, probably because you have only been exposed to Abrahamic  religions.  I doubt you will ever get into a fight with a Taoist or a budhist over there beliefs.  The belief that there is more out there than man and that we need to explore our spiritual and emotional selves was what led to the golden age of science and reason in 800 BC. It has lead to every major philosophical discovery mankind has ever made, and lead to the creation of every thing from physics, democracy and the scientific method.

Its not religion thats bad, its unnatural religions that most athiests and humanists find disturbing. The difference being that Unnatural religions believe god created the universe and so every thing is a product of his will. natural religions believe that god is a product of the universe.  The god of the christians, jews and muslims, is an "unnatural"  religion and tells people that they exist to please some supernatural force and that they need to abide by the rules he has set forth.  It stymies social and scientific progression of humanity.  If you take something like the Hellenic, ancient egyptian, ancient persian religions where there gods are the embodiment of basic characteristics of the universe you get something much different.  In religions such as these the quest to understand "God" is the quest to understand the universe. This is why cultures with natural religions where able to make such incredible scientific and social achievements, and why there extermination led to what we now call the dark age of man.

The best and most obvious example I can give is the story of Prometheus, when he gave man fire (IE man discovered fire) the gods where diminished, thats why they got so mad.  They didnt punish man for that, it wasnt there place to punish man but they did understand that the more man learned the less they would be needed, and the less influence they would have over man.  It was understood by many ancient cultures that the greater man grew the less power the gods would have over them.

This also gave rise to humanism, the idea that it is mans obligation to become as perfect or as close to perfect as he could be so he could help elevate his fellow men.  It wasnt a contest between men and gods, it was the natural order of things that men would rise to replace the gods, just as the gods replaced the titans, and the titans replaced the primordial essences of the universe.  These were religions that pushed man into exploring the universe and bettering himself rather than tried to control him. 

so no, religion is not bad, it is not for every one, but it is not bad.  However any religion that tries to control or supress humanity is a bad thing. So some gods are bad, some are not, some are just concepts given human form.  To lump all religion together as bad is as silly as lumping all religions together as good.

Another point I want to make is that holidays are good, religious or otherwise, people need a reason to get together with there loved ones and celebrate.  As an athiest and a humanist, I dont want to see the end of religion, I understand that some people need religion, not every one is strong enough to face the universe alone, and the thought of an afterlife is a necessary comfort for some people.  I would however like to see the end of religions with the goal of controlling

mankind.

True Kirk, the original animistic religions were simply humans understanding life and nature through their religion, the religion was a tool for passing on understanding of everything.  Same for the less egotistical religions like Taoism and Buddhism, plus a few other less known Asian and African tribal religions. 

From those humans added ego, which produced polytheism, and an extra large dose of egotism produced or evolved the monotheistic religions which put humans as the center of everything and these were devised by charlatans like Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Joseph Smith, L Ron Hubbard, etc... for gaining power and control over others.

It's those egotism based monotheistic religions and Scientology, that need to be wiped off the face of the planet, the other more environmentally friendly religions can stay around forever, since I have no issues with them in any way.  I'm certain those that need an afterlife for comfort can be happy with Buddhism or Taoism.  LOL!   :-D~

The afterlife is a strange concept really, but it is said to give people comfort because they cannot understand their own mortality. In earlier life as a christian I was so afraid of death, but today that fear has melted away. Maybe that is because a person can realize that we are all a part of everything that is, and we all have our part to play. Like Mark Twain once said, "I was dead for billions of years before I was born, and it didn't bother me one bit."

Today I am somewhat militant against religion because of all the idiot crap it teaches. Once we take the bait we swallow it all hook, line, and sinker. I'm amazed at a burial when the body and casket is finally lowered into the ground and someone immediately claims "she's in heaven now." Did they not see what just happened? If you engage in conversation with such a person they can tell you "she was in heaven the instant she died." (Of course, if they were Catholic there might be some in between and money paid to get the person out of this state. Yep, that's how we get rich.) For those who saw the body go into the grave, and they understand that fully, the next step is talking about that person's "soul." Then it becomes the soul that is in heaven, and here we go all over again. No one has enough knowledge to understand that you are the "soul." You do not have a "soul." Belief in a soul helps the religious believe they are special and are separate from the animals, but nowhere in their buybull does it say god gave you a soul.

Now we move along to that "rapture" or 2nd coming when the dead rise to meet jesus in the air. In my lifetime it was preached about the graves opening, bodies alive and caught up to meet him, etc. WAIT! Today they go more towards the idea that it's only your "soul" going, but they are too dumb to see that this scripture would have to be wrong because your soul already went to heaven. It was never in the grave, so why is jesus coming back for your body? If you need one, he could just make a new one. So much for stupid beliefs and the infallible buybull.

I'm repeating again, but now we move on to little Johnny crying over the loss of his puppy. He mopes around for days and finally his mother says "don't cry, little Johnny. Your dog is up there in heaven now with jesus." Johnny blurts out "no he's not. I saw you and daddy bury him in the back yard last week." Apparently Johnny is smarter than the adults here, but don't tell this story to a christian. The first thing they tell you back is that "there are no animals in heaven." (Perfect thinking for a christian.) I usually say "really? Read your Old Testament again." (They still don't get it because animals "don't have a soul."

SO, am I against religion and against Christmas. HELL YES! Religion is blind obedience into corrupted beliefs and christ or jesus was never in Christmas from the beginning.

BUT you can have yourself a happy holiday anyway. Just keep jebus out of it.

I liked your reply, especially the first paragraph. It's been my experience that religious people are much more afraid of death than atheists. I'm sure religious people would deny this, but it's true. They think a scary judgement game will begin after they take their last breath. That definitely is scary. Like you, I believe I'm a part of everything. Being me was just a temporary thing, and that's fine. In fact, I'm honored to have been a part of life. This seems much better than believing in false gods. Merry Xmas, everyone.

When those who know I'm a non-theist ask me why I put up lights (modest amount) this time of year, I just say to celebrate the solstice, which is the longest night of the year.  I explain the practice has been around a lot longer than Xmas tradition. 

That is a good response Karl.

I would answer, it's not so much that I'm against Christmas or religion; it's that I'm for Encyclopedism. If you were to study Encyclopedists such as Diderot, Condorcet, and Galiani you would find many of the views you hold about freedom, separation of powers, public education and freedom of thought are based on what they wrote. You would find you are also largely for Encyclopedism. If you looked at the historical progress of human understanding you would see human understanding is accumulative. You would see how Encyclopedism progressed out of Christianity; which progressed out of Judaism and so on.... You would see the decrease in supernatural explanations till they are eliminated. It is all part of our intellectual evolution.

Encyclopedism, LOL, I was into encyclopedism since I was 10 and my parents purchased a full set of Chambers Encyclopedia, it was in that very open, unbiased encyclopedia that I learned of the concepts concerning the non-existence of Jesus.

I also read their account of the history of religion which did not place any truth in Christianity when compared to other religions.

It was from that set of encyclopedias that I became agnostic leaning towards atheism.

The rest was just more learning and encyclopedic knowledge that developed my atheism.

It's the encounters with religion and creationists as I'm fully into science, also from my parents purchasing a set of Science Encyclopedias that I became Anti-Theistic.

I'm now an ardent Anti-Theist, because of the blatant, rampant, stupidity that religion keeps confronting me with.

Growing up I had a set of encyclopedia's too. I learned so much from reading those. Learning is a wonderful gift and I love learning.

So True Steph, Though, learning came in stages for me, at school from years 4 to 7, I was considered as the class professor, even teachers used me as the class reference.  From years 8 to 10, I stopped reading the encyclopedia and science texts, and simply played games and helped on the farm, learned very little from books, most learning was from experiencing until I became an adult and then I slowly crept back into reading.  I could read fluently at the age of 6, I suppose by the time I was 13, I had simply burned out and stopped.

I was very slow getting back into it, I even went through a semi-religious phase before I finally became a fully fledged anti-theist.

I suppose I had to learn from the inside, before I could really criticize religion properly.

Though, those that knew me from my early years, still call me Professor!

I have always "celebrated" Christmas.  As a child belief  = gifts.  As an adult it is, to me, a time of happiness and celebration- not of the birth of "Jesus" but of a time of year when we can show joy and a silly happiness that might not be appropriate during other times of the year.  I do not, in any way, think of it as a religious holiday but as a time when Santa comes to make us merry.

As a funny note:  My grandson asked why they have religious music on a radio station that's playing Christmas music.  He heard a song about Jesus and thought that belonged on the religious station and NOT on a station playing Christmas music.  I really had to smile at that one! 

So, I celebrate Christmas and I enjoy Christmas.  For me it is a season that bring out the best in each of us. But I have been an atheist since the age of 12, when I thought about it.

However, I still don't understand how people can believe this stuff!  It defies reason and drives me crazy!  People that I care about believe in god and I have a very, very hard time not telling them that I think they're nuts!  :)  Happy Holidays!

That's funny, and great, about your grandson seeing Christmas as so thoroughly secular that a song about Jesus was out of place!

I still don't understand how people can believe this stuff!

Apropos: this illustration from Jim Huber's essay "Pascal's Sucker Bet" is priceless.

He reveals one of the hidden layers of meaning near the end of the essay. There's another that made me laugh out loud when I discovered it.

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