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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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.

Thanks for that!  Yes, I've heard the Pascal's Sucker Bet before and one relation actually tried it on me years ago when she wanted me to join her in a "Bible study".  I told her then that if I only believed because I was afraid of what would happen to me if I didn't, I didn't really believe.  I also said that if there was a god he'd rather have me be a good person than worry about whether I believed in him or not.  I asked her that if I lead a good life but didn't believe was that sending me to hell while the person who was a murderer, thief, etc. but believed, could be "saved".  She assured me that god is forgiving and if the murderer asked to be saved, he would be.  I don't think that there is any rational argument that would make sense to these people as they believe this stuff, not because it makes sense, but because they want to believe it.  Must be that way. 

By the way, my grandson still believes in Santa.  I know we've made a big mistake there but at least someday he will understand why we initiated him into that fallacy, Santa is fun and love and just wants you to be good.  God, on the other hand, demands your financial support of his people and your willingness to not accept others and sometimes kill on his behalf. 

Thank you Grinning Cat for the link to Pascal's Bet.

Ceil I don't understand how they can believe those fantasies either. Happy Holidays to you too.

That you Steph.  It's so nice to have a place where there are people with open minds.  I don't mean to look down on others, however, I can't help but feel that they must be just plain stupid to believe in that stuff...

I know there must be lots of people in prominent positions who feel the same- maybe we'll be the next group to be "in".  Being in my 60's I watched as people of color gained equal rights (under the law at least) and now the gay community is slowly being accepted too.  I think once we gain acceptance, the world will be surprised at our numbers.  But we have to come out, not from the closet, but from under the alter! :)

Ceil, you are right!  I think it's going to take a long time though!~ Mindy

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