As we finish up the year of our Lord 2015 I'm taking the week off to use up some vacation days I won't be able to carry over to the next year. I haven't been blogging much mostly because I've been trying to read my new book, On the Historicity of Jesus, by Richard Carrier. It's 600+ pages of well cited text arguing for minimal mythicism of Jesus Christ, and for a non-scholar like me is quite a mouthful. I'll certainly be blogging about it soon. As far as this past year, it's been pretty good for me I have to say. I got a raise at my job and my job didn't really get that much harder. I made many new friends. I met some new women as well. And nothing really bad happened to me this past year. So all in all I can say it's been good, and I hope 2016 is just as good, if not better.
Here's some more good news. My fellow millennials are much more likely than previous generations to see Christmas as a cultural holiday, rather than a religious holiday, according to Pew. The largest percentage of them take this view. This confirms what I've already been experiencing for years in my liberal secular neck of the woods. Christmas after all was a pagan holiday that got incorporated into Christianity years later. Many of the traditions usually associated with it, like putting up the Christmas tree and the mistletoe, for example, have little if anything to do with Christianity or Jesus originally, and today, Christmas has really become a celebration of capitalism and consumerism.
Given this trend, should atheists celebrate Christmas? This has been asked on my numerous social network feeds in the past few weeks by people in the atheist community. My answer is—sure, if you want to. There is nothing really all that Christian about it given its long history going back to pagan solstice celebrations. So I say celebrate. See the family, put up a tree, give a gift to friend of family member, hang up the stockings, sing carols, or, volunteer to help those in need — if you want to. We atheists have no problem celebrating the traditions of other pagan holidays, like Halloween, so why should we make a fuss over Christmas? I do however, think we should of course strip the holiday of all the things Christians tried to add to it, like the nativity, and that's exactly where the long term trend is heading for atheists and non-atheists.
Here's a look at Seth Andrews of the Thinking Atheist at his take on the holiday:
Here's to a Happy New Year!