Sunday, March 17, 2013

Atheist For Christmas, Christian For St.Paddy's

Most atheists are as irrational as those who believe in religion. And perhaps even more hypocritical. 

There's no greater example of this than those vocal opponents of religion who criticize Christmas but in just a few months time celebrate St.Patrick's Day and other religious holidays with unrivaled enthusiasm.

St.Patrick's Day is of course associated with celebrating the Irish, but it was created and is still renowned as a day to remember Saint Patrick and the introduction of Christianity to Ireland.

The very same snarky atheists who attack Christmas but partake in St.Paddy's Day, could argue that the latter is different; that it is clear by its imagery like the iconic clover that this day is more distinct from religion. However despite the fact that the clover is the very symbol Saint Patrick used to explain the holy trinity, thus linking it to his day, the idea that a fat man in a red suit, a pagan tree, and rampant commercialism are indelibly more religious conveys a significant lack of understanding of Christianity.

If anything St.Patrick's Day, even in all of its green beer glory, is more Christian than the commercialized holiday Christmas has become; yet oddly it the day whose festivities atheists not only repress their cynicism for but gladly participate it.

But maybe what explains this apparent hypocrisy of some atheists is that they don't actually oppose religion, just parts of it. That because Christmas, in a more fanatical interpretation, purely represents Jesus and a supreme deity, it is the holiday atheists must mobilize against; while the religiousness of St.Patrick's Day can be overlooked because it is a more social celebration.

However in tolerating one because of its benefits to society perhaps critical atheists can learn to tolerate the other without their annual vocal opprobrium. That maybe they can recognize that saying "Merry Christmas" is intended to be just as jovial as saying "Happy St.Paddy's Day".

Of course the snarkiest of the snarky atheists will disagree with me, and I will let them. But as they enjoy today's festivities, I will lift a mug of green beer and wish them a Happy Saint Patrick's Day, with only the slightest bit of Irish irony.


Alison said...

Excuse me, but atheists do NOT attack Christmas. In the USA they insist on separation of church and state, eg. no creches on public property, but that is not an issue in Canada. In fact, all the atheists I know celebrate the cultural aspects of Christmas. We have trees, turkey, presents and get together with family and friends. And many of us even enjoy the carols. We ignore the religious aspects. Ditto for St. Patrick's day. Actually most Christians look at St. Paddy's as an excuse for a knees up.

You are completely ignorant about atheists. Your whole post seems to be based on Fox news "war on Christmas" garbage. said...


I never said all atheists attack Christmas. As for those that do I merely pointed out a contradiction. But thank you for proving a point about a certain group being just as irrational as those who believe in religion.

Kyle H. said...

I see no contradiction. Many atheists "celebrate" the secular (read: commercialized) aspects of Christmas, just as they take part in Easter festivities or St. Paddy's day. We can't escape the fact that these events are mired in Christian tradition, just like we can't help that the calendar system is based on Christian notions of history, or that our everyday language is littered with references to religious ideas and thoughts.

So yes, go ahead and croon that its "Saint" Patrick's Day, and smugly laugh at atheists who take part in the event. It isn't as if we, a very tiny (but rapidly growing) segment of the population, can change the name of a holiday. Nor, in all honesty, would we want to. Key thing to remember is that secularists have already won the war - I doubt Saint Patrick would approve of the vast hoards of inebriated "Christians" celebrating his name. said...


In your example there is no contradiction as you describe admirable atheists who celebrate without vocally opposing related religious holidays. However contradictions abound for those that mark the likes of St.Paddy's but think it is an insult to wish them a Merry Christmas.

As for anyone being smug I'd point out that the above post makes no declaration of this author's spirituality or absence thereof. I would also disagree about any wars being won or lost, religion has been around far before Christ and will most likely exist as long as people do. That's not a belief in religion but a belief in the human psyche.

the Keystone Garter said...

I didn't become a really moral person until I stopped being a Christian in my mid-teens. There are varying degrees of religious faith. And religions tend to help the poor and at risk. But for higher levels of morality...I thought I would be part of the "system" before this time, instead of improving it (by mitigating AGW for instance). I try to live a good life and hope if there is an intelligently created Moral Law in reality, that I'm part of a happy afterlife.
But we've learned alot since the major religions started. I like utilitarism, and this may mean many people need a major religious faith to be loyal to humanity day-to-day, but I don't think our leaders should be too religious during this relatively properous post Cold War era.

The Dude said...

"Most atheists are as irrational as those who believe in religion. And perhaps even more hypocritical."

That is one of the dumbest lines ever blogged. How does absence of belief make atheists as irrational as believers? Are non-believers of Santa as irrational as believers? said...


Do you want to start with the fact that it is just as irrational to know absolutely that a deity exists as it is to be absolutely certain that a deity doesn't exist?

I dislike equivocation but both sides are have irrational elements.

The Mound of Sound said...

Scott, you're not twelve any more. Grow up. As an agent provocateur you're far below middling. The term "stroke job" comes to mind.