Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Fun for All (Including the Godless)

Some people may be wondering how I, an atheist, can possibly enjoy the holiday season. After all, the alleged reason for the season is the birth of the founder of a religion in which I do not believe.

The short answer to that question is that I'm not a misanthrope. The Christmas holidays herald time off work to spend with family, holiday parties, delicious seasonal foods, beautiful seasonal music, and gift-giving and receiving. Belief in Jesus or any kind of higher power is not required in order to enjoy these holiday treats. Like every human being, I experience love and enjoy spending time with others, I savor the sensation of delicious foods on my tastebuds and beautiful music vibrating in my ears, and I feel good when I am generous and when others are generous to me.

You might be surprised to learn that I like Christmas music. Actually, if you knew my taste in music, it would be no surprise. I listen to a lot of Early Music (Medieval and Renaissance), 90% of which is religious in nature. This does not bother me in the least, because I am listening to the melody (or the polyphony!), not the words. They could be singing complete nonsense syllables for all I care.

I enjoy singing Christmas carols. The singing of carols reminds me of fond memories of childhood, times when we as a family would gather together and sing. So what if I disagree with what the lyrics are saying? I disagree with the lyrics of plenty of secular songs too: for example, I prefer red doors over black ones, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the Rolling Stones' song Paint It Black.

In summary, I, along with plenty of other atheists, enjoy the holiday season. It doesn't make us hypocritical; we don't believe in any gods but we do believe in loving our fellow human beings and having a good time.

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