My 2 Cents

Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Yes I’m Atheist. Yes I celebrate Christmas. I know – that seems like a contradiction.

I was raised Episcopal, and married in a Catholic church. I didn’t become an Atheist until after I married. Our family has always celebrated Christmas.

For me, even as a child, it was never really about religion though. Jesus wasn’t really the reason for the season. I remember being very little and going to church on Christmas, but I don’t think I really understood it. I think my brother and I were even in the Christmas pageant once or twice. We just thought it was fun. To give you a little idea of how religious we were, we walked into a store one year, and there were statues of the three wise men up as decorations – my brother yelled “Hey Dad, check out the gypsies!” Clearly we didn’t even know the basics.

As kids we loved to see all the Christmas lights. We loved decorating the tree. And year after year, I remember pulling ornaments out and talking about where we got them from, or who made them, and what memories they remind us of. I remember our neighborhood used to have a luminary and we would all walk up the hill and sing Christmas carols around a bonfire. Then Santa would come on the fire truck and pass out candy canes. I remember playing with my brother’s train set for hours. We set it up so it goes around the tree. It used to have little people and lights and a train horn. I’m pretty sure we used to try to run the cat over with it! I remember waking up on Christmas day and sitting at the top of the steps with my brother waiting til our parents woke up so we could get up and open presents. We had to wait for them to wake up so that they could make sure Santa wasn’t still there! I also remember trying to wake up in the middle of the night and catch Santa leaving presents. We left beer and cookies out for Santa one year, and still talk about how my brother drank the rest of the beer the next morning. I remember some of the presents that we got through the years. Some of the big ones like power wheels, a computer, and a puppy stand out. After all of the presents were opened, we always sat down for a yummy breakfast. Then we went to our grandparent’s house and my cousins, brother and I all got to check out our new toys. I remember my great grandmother always got me underwear for Christmas! Oh, and we always got some super comfy, super festive Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas eve. I remember Mom always spazzing out about the Christmas decorations going up. She still does, and they always look so pretty. Dad would put tons of lights outside on the bushes. Or house always looked so pretty around Christmas.

My point is that Christmas is all about the memories we make with our families, and the time that we get to spend with them. I want Alayna to be able to have all of those memories. I want her to get to experience the magic of Santa. We aren’t going to overwhelm her with tons of presents, and we aren’t going to take her to church. But we can continue some of our family traditions, and create new ones.

Last Christmas Alayna was too little to understand anything. This year, she is still confused I think. But she loves looking at the lights, and taking all of the ornaments off of the tree. I think we put between five and ten back up each night. The whole bottom of the tree is bare. But to me, those are the things that we will remember, the stories that we can tell her when she’s older. She cried when we went to see Santa last weekend, but smiled once I picked her up off of his lap and let her see him again. We have a tree and a few decorations up in our living room – stockings and snowmen and a few Santa Clauses. We had a good time taking out our decorations this year. Pictures of Alayna from last year remind us of how much she has grown in such a short time. Some other decorations are pottery that the other half and I painted years ago when we lived in Arizona. To me, that’s the best part of Christmas!

To me:
Christmas is for family, especially the kids. It’s for making memories, and cookies! It’s for tradition, and excitment. It isn’t about religion or God to me. And for these reasons, this Atheist is going to continue to celebrate Christmas.

I’m an Atheist.  I haven’t always been a non-believer.  I was raised Episcopal, and went to church weekly for a short time during childhood, and then gradually that diminished to holidays only.  By the time I got to high school, we weren’t going to church at all, but I still believed in God.  I was married in the Catholic church that my husband grew up and went to school in, on December 30, 2005.  Sometime, not long after we were married, I came to the conclusion that I don’t believe.  It has only been recently that I have been able to be more open with my (non)religious views.

Just because I don’t believe in God, doesn’t mean I don’t believe in anything.  Here are a few things I DO believe in: evolution, science, fact, values, morals, etc.  I also believe that when we’re dead, if we’re not cremated, we sit in the ground and rot.  I don’t think that there is a heaven or hell.  I am happy living my life believing that.

I am the kind of person that has to see scientific proof of something to believe it.  (I can’t see heaven, hell or God.)  If it can’t be proven, or there’s not a strong scientific theory presented, then it just doesn’t make sense to me. 

I also have a strong sense of the difference between right and wrong.  I feel as though I can make my own decisions by carefully weighing the pros and cons of a situation, and by taking into consideration the way I could be affecting others.  My decisions aren’t always perfect, but I do my best to make the right one on my own, without the presence or help of a supernatural being.

I don’t dislike or have less respect for people who do believe in God.  I don’t call them names, or judge them for their beliefs.  I have never wished harm to believers and I don’t want to preach to others about Atheism.  I do throw the occasional quote up on my facebook feed once in a while if I find something I think is entertaining.  (But I’ve also seen plenty of bible verses up there too.)  And, I do enjoy the occasional debate with believers about whether or not there is a ‘God’ and why I am an Atheist.

I live in the South, so I know and am friends with far more Christians than Atheists.  I can only speak from experience, but I find most Atheists to be very open-minded and accepting of all types of people.  Most of the Christians that I am friends with are open-minded and supportive of my beliefs as well.  However, I have encountered the occasional “hater.”  I once had someone tell a couple of my friends that they shouldn’t be friendly with me anymore because I don’t believe in God.

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really feel that people (Atheists included) need to be more sensitive and accepting of others’ beliefs.  There is never going to be a day when everyone agrees on everything.  Why can’t we just agree to disagree?  Why can’t we listen to each others views and beliefs and try to learn from them, instead of immediately discounting them?  Instead of judging people for their views or beliefs, we should embrace them.  We all have reasons for believing the the things that we do.  Our families, experiences, culture, customs and traditions have helped shape the religious or non-religious beings that we are.  What works for me may not work for you.  Accept it, learn from it, and move on.

What are your beliefs?  How do you feel about others that are different from you?  How do you feel about Atheists?  I would love to hear what you think, and how religion or lack-of religion play a part in your life.  (Try to be honest without being nasty!)

-Melinda

Food for thought:  Did God create people, or did people create God?



  • None
  • currans2cents: The original blog that sparked all of your angst was written purely as an OPINION piece. As you stated, we are entitled to have them. I truly am int
  • Mychal B.: It doesn't "seem" like you are only picking on JoePa, you ARE only picking on JoePa. Mike McQueary has received no disciplinary actions against him fo
  • Mychal B.: Um, I never claimed to understand anything about the war. I wasn't aware that the war had anything to do with this case. I also never said that becaus