Excuses, Excuses. . .

A student decided that it was a good idea to answer the question of “Which other Christmas tales do you know? How are they different from the short story by Galdos?” with the following,

I am an atheist so I don’t know any stories that mention Christmas.

What a cute excuse this is! I guess I should prepare for “I’m religious so I don’t read any texts where secular events are mentioned” or “I’m a woman so I don’t know any stories about men.”

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21 comments on “Excuses, Excuses. . .

  1. To be fair, my kids don’t know who Jesus is even though we put up a Christmas tree. We are a secular household, but we do the tree and presents thing because we live in a place where basically everyone else does it. I think this is the worst, most asinine hypocrisy, but my hubby wants to do it for the kids. So I let him. I hate participating in Christmas now that I no longer consider myself to be Christian though. Hubby argues that if we celebrate important historical people’s birthdays that we should celebrate Christmas, too. After all, I’m not African-American, but I still celebrate MLK day. Somehow that seems different to me, because I believe in MLK’s message of equality. But I don’t believe Jesus is god.

    This is off topic, I guess. You just got me thinking….

    • “To be fair, my kids don’t know who Jesus is even though we put up a Christmas tree. ”

      – Your kids are small, though. By adulthood, I’m sure they are bound to find out. :-)

      “I think this is the worst, most asinine hypocrisy, but my hubby wants to do it for the kids.”

      – We don’t celebrate Christmas because it’s not part of our culture. But we do have the tree because it’s part of our culture. :-) :-) It’s called “New Year’s Tree.” There is really no need to see the tree as in any way connected to Christmas.

      “I hate participating in Christmas now that I no longer consider myself to be Christian though. Hubby argues that if we celebrate important historical people’s birthdays that we should celebrate Christmas, too.”

      – I want to use this opportunity to promote the New Year’s instead. It’s a great holiday which is vastly underrated. :-)

      • Yes, they are bound to find out who Jesus is. It’ll be soon, I’m sure — they are almost 7 and already 3, so it’s really kind of shocking that they don’t know more than they do. It’s probably just that we don’t hang out with religious people. They think that churches are castles and that people go to them to hang out together. (I tried to explain worship once, and it sounded so stupid that I gave up.)

        I like the idea of the New Year’s tree! That’s certainly a secular holiday. Perhaps I will claim that our tree is a New Year’s tree next year!

      • “They think that churches are castles and that people go to them to hang out together.”

        – This is the best suggestion ever! It would be great if that were the case.

        “(I tried to explain worship once, and it sounded so stupid that I gave up.)”

        – I know! I wouldn’t want to be asked the question “why do people go to church?” because I don’t know how to answer it without using the word “stupid.” :-) :-)

      • “I know! I wouldn’t want to be asked the question ‘why do people go to church?’ because I don’t know how to answer it without using the word ‘stupid'”

        I think I’m going to cry my eyes out laughing. I had to read your response out loud to my husband! hahahaha

      • // – I know! I wouldn’t want to be asked the question “why do people go to church?” because I don’t know how to answer it without using the word “stupid.”

        Imo, you are wrong here. I don’t know how to answer it without using the word “community.” F.e. (a true story) a religious Jew may choose to live in a costy city because it has the synagogue he has belonged to since childhood. By “synagogue” I, of course, don’t mean the bricks, but the people to pray & talk with, and (I suppose) to study / discuss Torah with.

        If some people in general and autistic people in particular need community less, it doesn’t make people, who need it more, fools. And from what I read on Internet, written by Christians, “community” / the circle of friends and acquaintances features a lot, when they talk of Church and/or of difficulties in leaving the lifestyle after losing faith.

      • “I don’t know how to answer it without using the word “community.””

        – And I don’t know how to explain the word “community” without using the word “stupid.” :-) :-)

        “And from what I read on Internet, written by Christians, “community” / the circle of friends and acquaintances features a lot, when they talk of Church and/or of difficulties in leaving the lifestyle after losing faith.”

        – They simply lack individuality and try to drown the hollow sound of inner emptiness in a clamor of voices. If people need to pretend to worship a deity simply to have somebody to hang out with, that is very pathetic. Why not practice a hobby instead? Then, at least, they won’t cheapen their inner life in return for having company.

    • Actually, this is a very interesting topic for me. I always wondered whether I have to celebrate Christmas for the child when I have one. But I really don’t feel like it. Now I’m thinking maybe there is no need to force myself.

    • @Fie

      I grew up in a secular home with a Christmas tree and no talk of Jesus. In fact, it wasnt until I was an adult and singing Christmas songs that I realized how religious they were. I always thought they were just Christmas songs, you know, Santa and all, lol. :)
      What is Christmas supposed to be about, Love and joy to all. The funny part is, Jesus wasnt even born on Dec. 25th. Go figure, co opting a holiday. ;)

  2. I find it impossible to believe that any person who has lived in North America for more than a year, regardless of their beliefs or lack their of, would not be able to rattle off the plot of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” with no effort whatsoever.

    • That’s precisely what I mean. I can’t even say how many different versions of A Christmas Carol I have seen on TV since moving to North America. And it isn’t like I seek them out or anything.

    • It seems quite weird and also quite subservient to Christians to allow their beliefs to rob you of a chance to enjoy works of literature. Why do you let them control your life this way?

    • What do you mean by “Christmas texts”? If you mean theological discussions, I 100% understand you. However, many great writers and poets of the past were religious and it influenced their works, whether the works are about Christmas or not. I don’t have to agree with writers’ positions about life to enjoy and take *something* from their works. F.e. the following sonnet is one of my favorites :

      Karma
      by Edwin Arlington Robinson

      Christmas was in the air and all was well
      With him, but for a few confusing flaws
      In divers of God’s images. Because
      A friend of his would neither buy nor sell,
      Was he to answer for the axe that fell?
      He pondered; and the reason for it was,
      Partly, a slowly freezing Santa Claus
      Upon the corner, with his beard and bell.

      Acknowledging an improvident surprise,
      He magnified a fancy that he wished
      The friend whom he had wrecked were here again.
      Not sure of that, he found a compromise;
      And from the fulness of his heart he fished
      A dime for Jesus who had died for men.

      Is it a Christmas text? Some stories and poems I liked, in which Christmas featured, from my point of view were not about religion per se, but rather used the cultural religious meme of Christmas to talk about human nature.

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