Thursday, October 31, 2013

What Halloween Can Teach Atheists About Other Holidays

Halloween started out as a pagan tradition in Ireland where people would don masks in the Autumn in order to scare away or disguise themselves from the spirits they thought came back from the dead and were responsible for determining how cold the winter was and how well the crops and livestock handled it. Although there are many discrepant accounts as to how exactly Halloween got started, they all involve some aspect of the supernatural being acknowledged. But today of course, no one wears a costume because they think that spirits are going to do anything to them. In the modern world, we've completely removed all supernatural aspects of Halloween while we've kept the tradition of wearing costumes. And no atheist takes issue with Halloween at all because it once had a supernatural aspect to it. So when it comes to other holidays, if we can safely remove the supernatural with Halloween while keeping the ritual, we can do the same thing with Christmas too. All of the holidays have today become nothing more than commercial celebrations for big business anyway. So fear not some of you non-believers, we can still have benign holiday rituals as atheists like Halloween and Christmas without an existential crisis on our hands.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I would gladly see all forms of religious ritual disappear if we would accept the fact that science is more important than dogma. There isn't one Christian holiday not based on or around an old Pagan holiday. Jesus was supposedly born in September, then why celebrate it around on Yule, the Winter Solstice? Feb 1-2 - Imbolc - Pagan's celebrate the point of midwinter, for the church, Feb 2 or Candlemas represents the day Jesus was supposedly presented in the temple. Ostara March 21 pagans celebrate the Spring, the church took many of the symbols used during the pagan festivals and incorporated them into the feast of the annunciation. Beltane - May Day Pagans celebrate fertility with the life affirming May Pole, the church has a saint's festival on that day and the death affirming cross. Jun 21st known as Litha to Pagans who celebrate the longest day of the year or Midsummer. The church turns this into the Feast of St John the Baptist. Lughnasadh July 31/Aug 1 Pagans recognize Summer is ending and seeds are dropping. TIme for harvesting and saving for the cold winter and preparing for the next spring's planting. The church made it Lammas, and placed freshed baked bread on their altars. Mabon Sept 21st. First day of Fall of the 2nd harvest of the year. Food is in abundance and it is a time for family to put on their best clothes and put on a dinner made from their toils. A little like the Pilgrims Thanksgiving. The church says this was the day of the birth of the virgin Mary. Cover a Pagan celebration with a Christian one helped the early church turn the early Pagans into Christians.
    Let's grow up and realize we all have been fed a fairy story. Maybe the religious wars will stop.



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