Monday, December 20, 2010

You don't need Jesus to enjoy Christmas

Nikos' festive leaves
I've a piece in today's Sydney Morning Herald, 'You don't need Jesus to enjoy Christmas'. (Not my title.)

As an atheist, I'm arguing that the end of the year can be celebrated with creativity, reflection, gratitude and communion.

And just to repeat, as some readers seem to have missed it: it's not about Christmas. It's an end of the year celebration - a 'bespoke atheist celebration,' as I put it.  A sample:
My son was recently a reindeer in a kindergarten nativity play. Over dinner, in a cautious whisper, he told us that the baby's name was a ''bad word''. Welcome to the modern atheist household: so irreligious, my son thinks ''Jesus'' is a curse, not the name of God's only begotten Son. (''Jesus Christ, who spilt milk on my modern English usage?'') I'm not anti-religion, unless it's passed off as science, smuggled into education or used as a weapon of coercion. But our family has no God or gods.
For this reason, Christmas is an ambivalent time: we recognise reverence and holy days, but without the baggage of Christ and his hay-bale bed. It is also ambivalent for perfectly secular reasons: it combines fine things (family meals, gift-giving, cricket) with crap (drunkenness, desperate over-eating and hyper-shopping). Every year, we're torn: embrace the silly season, or run away screaming?
For an interesting comment on this piece (before I had this blog post up), see my last post on reverence.

1 comment:

John said...

Damon,Please find another perspective on this now almost universal celebration.

http://global.adidam.org/books/danavira-mela.html