Ha! So right after I post my xmas strategy entry, my blog finally gets added to the outcampaign.org website and twitter. Oh, the irony. For those who don’t know or haven’t clicked on the scarlett A in my blog it is a link to Richard Dawkin’s Out Campaign.
The campaign is a great initiative in my opinion – it encourages atheists to “come out” about their stance on religion/god/gods. I have never been quiet about where I stand on this spectrum. I was raised Roman Catholic in an Eastern European household, however we were never very religious – church on Sundays when I was kid that eventually became just xmas and easter, and then just easter and then never. I attended catholic elementary and high school. I have no beef with that as (looking back) I realized that I went to a very progressive school – yes, I had religion class every year, but it NEVER interferred with any other aspect of our studies. In science we still disected animals of various sizes and evolution was a HUGE part of our education. I even remember a field trip to the back rooms of the ROM to view skeletons of human ancestors. I know I am very fortunate to have experienced what I did – not many catholic schools are as liberal as mine was.
It was actually my first year of high school – in grade 9 religion – that I realized I didn’t believe in the christian god. Or in any god for that matter. Or really organized religion in any sense. I believe they (as in all religions) have caused more harm than good in the world over the course of history. I never had a crisis of faith – probably because looking back I never had faith. I approached the bible stories the same way I approached other mythology – as stories and fables that were meant to teach, not to be taken literally or to imply/state that there is an omnipotent sentient being who created all this. I have never been embarassed or quiet about where I stand on the spectrum – I am an atheist. I am not an agnostic, I am not a lapsed-catholic. I do not believe in the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim god (by the way – they’re all the same god if you haven’t noticed – it’s the prophets that change). I do not believe in any deities. I DO believe that you do not need religion to be a good person. If fact, some of the nicest, most giving and empathetic people I know are atheists.
I do, however, celebrate xmas. Though you’d be hard pressed to see me write it as christmas anywhere. I’ll be honest, I actually LOVE this time of year. The movies, the carols, the decorations etc. I’m a total sucker for it all. I spend a week baking xmas cookies and finding the right presents for the people I care about. BUT I do not celebrate the holiday as the birth of any deity or even the pagan festivals it is based on. I celebrate it as a time of the year when one connects and shares with those who mean the most to them: be that family or friends or both. I love this time of year because it brings people together. Ultimately a good life is about good people and good memories.
I think we need a man as outspoken as Richard Dawkins, because he’s right – atheists are A LOT more numerous than we think and it’s high-time we spoke up.
If you’re interested in the pagan origin’s of christmas, the wikipedia page isn’t too bad with more links to the various winter festivals it borrows heavily from. Or you can always google “christmas’ pagan orgins”.
Here are some of my curent favourite links about atheism. Check them out if you’re interested.
Cyanide & Happiness (Comic Strip)
This is all I’ll say of religion on this blog. I’m not interested in having an argument on this blog about your stance because the reality is you can’t convince me and I probably can’t convince you. If you post something racist/homophobic/or down-right cruel in response to this I will delete it.