This Christmas I’m flying home to Minnesota to enjoy some quality time with my family – about 35 people at two parties – and I’m the only atheist.
Most atheists I know are in the same boat. They weren’t raised atheists. They were raised religious, and then deconverted. Most or all of their relatives remain religious.
What should we do this Christmas?
Lucky for us, that hot chick who did the “There’s Probably No God” bus campaign has edited a book on that very subject. The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas is a collection of short, humorous and heartfelt essays by 42 atheist celebrities, comedians, scientists and writers, including Richard Dawkins, Charlie Brooker, Derren Brown, Ben Goldacre, AC Grayling, Brian Cox, and others. (Why 42? Well, if you have to ask…)
So, you can pick that up in hardcover, audiobook, or Kindle. (The audiobook is the best, because each essay is written and performed by the essay’s author. Play the sample from Charlie Brooker on the audiobook page.)
What am I going to do this Christmas?
This is only my second Christmas as an atheist, but here’s what I’m thinking:
I’m not going to insist on calling it “Xmas,” just as I don’t insist on changing the name of “Thursday” because I don’t believe in Thor. I’m not going to complain about prayers. In fact, I’m going to avoid mentioning my atheism at all. (My family knows I’m an atheist; I sent out a mass email two years ago).
I’m going to enjoy my family. (I’m lucky; I have cool family.)
I’m going to show them how much I value them. I’m going to eat food and tell jokes and give hugs.
And I’m going to make Christmas more Christlike than most Christians do. I’ve notified my family that I will not be giving or receiving any presents. I’m skipping the High Day of Consumerism. Instead, I’m going to give money to a well-reviewed charity and help make the world a better place. Now that is a Christlike Christmas.
Next post: The “Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit”