Author Topic: Religious presents for athiests' children  (Read 9672 times)

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zyrs

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2011, 11:57:38 AM »
You donít need to believe in Yule, the Scandinavian fertility God, to enjoy the tradition of Yuletide carols & greetings.

You donít need to be Wiccan to enjoy the tradition of wreaths or decking the halls with holly.

You donít need to be a Druid to enjoy the tradition of hoping for a kiss under the mistletoe.

You donít need to believe in the ancient God Saturn to enjoy the tradition of decorating a Saturnalia tree in your home.

You donít need to believe in Thor, Odin or St Nicholas to enjoy the tradition of a visitor bringing gifts at night.

You donít need to believe in Sleipnir, Odinís flying eight-legged horse, to enjoy the tradition of listening for the sound of hooves on your roof top.

You donít need to believe in Mithras to enjoy the tradition of celebrating the sunís rebirth on December 25th.

Betelnut

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2011, 12:03:34 PM »
Just seems like a double standard to me.

What standard am I doubling?

I'm assuming that SamiHami thinks it odd for someone to celebrate a holiday centered around a specific event in a specific religion when the celebrant doesn't believe in that religion.

Well, it can be argued that Christmas is primarily based on non-Christian celebrations.  Anyway, I don't feel it is a double-standard since I'm not telling anyone else that they can't celebrate Christmas.  It would be a double standard if I celebrated Christmas but told other non-Christians (including atheists) that they couldn't do so. 

Hypocritical might be a better word to use although I wouldn't agree with that characterization either.  I don't actually celebrate very much of the religious aspects of Christmas.  I focus primarily on the secular parts like the Christmas tree, lights, music, food, good feelings, presents, fun movies, The Nutcracker, Santa, Rudolph, etc.  I do like a lot of the sacred music so maybe I shouldn't listen to it because I'm not Christian? (Just kidding, I'm not giving that up!)
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SamiHami

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2011, 12:23:50 PM »
Christmas, by definition, is the celebration of the birth of Christ. of course we don't know the actual date of of his birth; but it's the day that we celebrate that event. I know that lots of other thing unrelated to his birth are associated with it, but ultimately it is a distinctly religious holiday.

I'm not saying who should and who should not celebrate any holiday any way they wish to; I'm merely observing that a lot of people pretending that it is not a Christian holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous. Sure, celebrate the fun of the season, and exchanging gifts, and all the goodies; but don't pretend it is any less a Christian holiday than any other religions' holy days.

What next? Is Easter not a religious holiday anymore either? Anyway, I'm not trying to argue with anyone. Just tossing my observations out there as fodder for thought.

Merry Christmas to all!

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Larrabee

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2011, 12:47:51 PM »
Christmas, by definition, is the celebration of the birth of Christ. of course we don't know the actual date of of his birth; but it's the day that we celebrate that event. I know that lots of other thing unrelated to his birth are associated with it, but ultimately it is a distinctly religious holiday.

I'm not saying who should and who should not celebrate any holiday any way they wish to; I'm merely observing that a lot of people pretending that it is not a Christian holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous. Sure, celebrate the fun of the season, and exchanging gifts, and all the goodies; but don't pretend it is any less a Christian holiday than any other religions' holy days.

What next? Is Easter not a religious holiday anymore either? Anyway, I'm not trying to argue with anyone. Just tossing my observations out there as fodder for thought.

Merry Christmas to all!

You mean the celebration of the goddess Eostre?  I don't remember the brightly coloured eggs or generous rabbits in the bible!

Nobody here is trying to say you can't celebrate Christmas in the way that is most meaningful to you, please extend the same courtesy to others and refrain from making uncharitable insinuations, which, after all, aren't very Christian.  ;)

Ereine

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2011, 12:50:11 PM »
It's not actually called Christmas in my country, it's joulu (see Yule, the Scandinavian god of fertility in zyrs's post), which as a name is distinctly non-Christian. Our gifts are brought by the joulu goat (who these days looks a lot like Santa but isn't) and the "elfs" are spirits of places that people actually believed in until 19th century. We visit graves to light candles so that the spirits of our ancestors won't come to bother us during our celebrations and we put an almond in our traditional rice porridge to bring luck to the one who gets in. None of that is remotely Christian and what seems to me like a double standard is people saying that they can take parts of other people's celebrations, including the name (and the tree and the food and the traditions) but other people can't do the same.

I actually celebrate Easter too, for pretty much the same reasons. Public holiday, part of my culture and spring is a good reason for celebration. Also if Ēostre doesn't mind Christians stealing her name for the celebration then she probably doesn't mind if I do the same for mine (that goes for joulu too, I doubt Yule minds me or Christians doing it).   

Moray

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2011, 12:53:10 PM »
Christmas, by definition, is the celebration of the birth of Christ. of course we don't know the actual date of of his birth; but it's the day that we celebrate that event. I know that lots of other thing unrelated to his birth are associated with it, but ultimately it is a distinctly religious holiday.

I'm not saying who should and who should not celebrate any holiday any way they wish to; I'm merely observing that a lot of people pretending that it is not a Christian holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous. Sure, celebrate the fun of the season, and exchanging gifts, and all the goodies; but don't pretend it is any less a Christian holiday than any other religions' holy days.

What next? Is Easter not a religious holiday anymore either? Anyway, I'm not trying to argue with anyone. Just tossing my observations out there as fodder for thought.

Merry Christmas to all!

Well, actually, it's not that it isn't religious, but many of the "secular" trappings, like rabbits, eggs, etc. associated with Easter have far more to do with ancient celebrations of fertility and springtime than the Resurrection of Christ. Even the name "Easter" comes from an ancient word for spring: "eastre."

Think about it this way: as Christianity spread throughout the Pagan world, people were reluctant to give up their old traditions, so they incorporated them into the celebration of their new faith. Those traditions and celebrations, like the Yule tree, are not inherently Christian; they can be enjoyed by all as part of Winter festivities.


ETA: Regarding the quote below: This agnostic with Pagan leanings celebrates a secular Hanukkah with her secularly (is that a word?) Jewish/Christian blended family. We like the tradition of gathering together for 8 nights and re-telling the story of the epic military victory of the Macabees over the forces of oppression and the miracle of the oil that continued to burn. My father grew up with this tradition, and although it has lost all religious significance for us, it is still a beloved family tradition. Actually, although Hanukkah is frequently touted as the "Jewish Christmas", it's actually a fairly minor holiday, so none of the Jews I know get bent out of shape if anyone wants to play dreidel or buy bags of gelt.

Just curious-and not being snarky, I promise-but it seems to me that Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Christ, yet atheists and people of non-Christian faiths choose to celebrate it as a "secular" holiday, which it isn't. Yet you never hear of atheists choosing to celebrate Chanukah or Ramadan or other non-Christian celebrations in a secular way. It just strikes me as odd and sort of a double standard.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 01:05:03 PM by VorpalBunny »
Utah

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #51 on: December 20, 2011, 12:59:26 PM »
There is some overlap between fertility and the Chirstian concept of rebirth/resurrection.

Moray

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #52 on: December 20, 2011, 01:07:34 PM »
There is some overlap between fertility and the Chirstian concept of rebirth/resurrection.

Exactly! It was a natural fit, and truly, how better to celebrate the Resurrection of one's Savior than by honoring all aspects of renewal...Souls/nature/etc.
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portugo

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #53 on: December 20, 2011, 01:20:05 PM »
I'm not saying who should and who should not celebrate any holiday any way they wish to; I'm merely observing that a lot of people pretending that it is not a Christian holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous.

Holidays are different for every family; there is no one definition that is written in stone.  I do not celebrate Christ's birth.  I celebrate the winter day when my family gets together and exchanges presents and food and joy.  That is my day and my celebration, and for someone to say that I'm "disingenuous" for following my own personal traditions is rude and insulting.

Also, if I may extrapolate from a Jehovah's Witness's point of view:  "I'm merely observing that a lot of Christians pretending that it is not a pagan holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous."
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 02:13:32 PM by portugo »

Bexx27

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #54 on: December 20, 2011, 01:35:53 PM »
It would be hypocritical/a double standard for Christians to incorporate other religions' traditions into Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights), then say that only Christians should celebrate any part of Christmas.

And what's stopping, for example, non-Jews from celebrating Hannukah in a secular way by playing dreidel, eating latkes, lighting candles, etc.? I can't imagine most Jews would have a problem with that. The reason it doesn't happen (that I'm aware of) is that Christmas is the dominant US winter holiday - it pretty much takes over our popular culture for the month of December, and it's associated with a ton of fun stuff.

Right now, public buildings and streets are decorated with lights and wreaths. Every store is playing Christmas music and grocery stores have huge displays of wrapping paper, ornaments, Santa-themed candy, etc. right at the entrance, not to mention the Salvation Army Santa Claus out front. Every show on TV has a Christmas episode and every other commercial is Christmas-themed. Everyone is talking about holiday plans and gifts. Am I supposed to somehow keep my DD apart from all this because I don't subscribe to any religion? I can explain to her that we don't celebrate the birth of Christ, but she will not see the connection between that and Santa Claus and the other trappings of Christmas, and frankly, neither do I.
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magicdomino

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #55 on: December 20, 2011, 03:15:42 PM »
Just curious-and not being snarky, I promise-but it seems to me that Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Christ, yet atheists and people of non-Christian faiths choose to celebrate it as a "secular" holiday, which it isn't. Yet you never hear of atheists choosing to celebrate Chanukah or Ramadan or other non-Christian celebrations in a secular way. It just strikes me as odd and sort of a double standard.

I have to admit, I've been tempted to light a Menorah simply because I think the custom is really cool; however, my heritage is Christian rather than Jewish, and it would feel a bit like faking.  I'd like to attend a Passover Seder sometime.  Ramadan doesn't interest me because of the whole fasting thing, although I can appreciate the thought behind it.  Diwali sounds interesting though, and I wouldn't say no to an old-fashioned Yule log.

bah12

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #56 on: December 20, 2011, 03:31:57 PM »
Leaving the religious aspect of out of this, the point of asking a parent if it's ok to buy any gift for a child, is because the parent has a right to decide that it isn't ok.

If it's rude to say "no, don't buy that" then what is the point of asking in the first place?  While I would never outright reject a gift in front of the giver, as a parent, it's my responsibility and authority to have my child play with toys I feel are appropriate for her.

Just the other day, my brother asked me if he could buy an art set for DD (paints, markers, easels, etc).  I told him "no" because she would just make a huge mess out of it.  She's not ready.  If he had purchased the gift without asking me, I would have thanked him without comment, then put the set away until DD was a little more ready to use it.

jassou

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #57 on: December 20, 2011, 04:48:16 PM »

I'm not saying who should and who should not celebrate any holiday any way they wish to; I'm merely observing that a lot of people pretending that it is not a Christian holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous. Sure, celebrate the fun of the season, and exchanging gifts, and all the goodies; but don't pretend it is any less a Christian holiday than any other religions' holy days.

If we were to call the  atheist' celebration of 'christmas' (tree, lights, food, present, etc etc) 'yuletide' in stead, would that change things for you?

Isisnin

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #58 on: December 20, 2011, 04:53:31 PM »
Christmas, by definition, is the celebration of the birth of Christ. of course we don't know the actual date of of his birth; but it's the day that we celebrate that event. I know that lots of other thing unrelated to his birth are associated with it, but ultimately it is a distinctly religious holiday.

I'm not saying who should and who should not celebrate any holiday any way they wish to; I'm merely observing that a lot of people pretending that it is not a Christian holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous. Sure, celebrate the fun of the season, and exchanging gifts, and all the goodies; but don't pretend it is any less a Christian holiday than any other religions' holy days.

What next? Is Easter not a religious holiday anymore either? Anyway, I'm not trying to argue with anyone. Just tossing my observations out there as fodder for thought.

Merry Christmas to all!

People aren't pretending it's not a Christian holiday.  they are just continuing the winter celebration traditions that their ancestors a couple millennium ago celebrated.  One honors family and society when one carries on the traditions. 

Plus, just because the Christians took over non-christian traditions and declared those traditions to in celebration of Christ's birth that doesn't mean the non-Christians had to stop celebrating those traditions.  Practically, many non-christians did stop publicly declaring and celebrating  their pagan and other religious beliefs in order to stop being persecuted.  But in terms of etiquette, it would have been fine for the non-christians to continue to have trees, wreaths, etc.

I disagree with your prior statement that said ..."Yet you never hear of atheists choosing to celebrate Chanukah or Ramadan or other non-Christian celebrations in a secular way. It just strikes me as odd and sort of a double standard."  Athesits celebrate those too, it just doesn't get the media attention.

I grew up going to the Jewish neighbors' for Chanukah celebrations, etc. and they came to our house for Christmas celebrations.  My mother was Catholic, but often bought Jewish food during those holidays.  there was always a both matzos and jelly beans in the pantry each spring. 

When I was in Egypt during Ramadan, many non-Muslim tourists would not eat dinner in a restaurant until after sundown.  It just felt rude to start eating while all the other diners were not. 

Similar in Japan, many tourists went to shrines and temples for Buddhist and Shinto celebrations and said prayers and purchased talismans.  just like many tourists at the Vatican purchase talismans of a patron Saint (e.g. of good health, lost causes, etc).  the Vatican doesn't ask the buyers to confirm their religion. 

Personally, I just plain enjoy diversity.  I'm hopin' Holi becomes popular around here!  Looks like fun!

Ceallach

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #59 on: December 20, 2011, 04:55:29 PM »
I'm not saying who should and who should not celebrate any holiday any way they wish to; I'm merely observing that a lot of people pretending that it is not a Christian holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous.

Holidays are different for every family; there is no one definition that is written in stone.  I do not celebrate Christ's birth.  I celebrate the winter day when my family gets together and exchanges presents and food and joy.  That is my day and my celebration, and for someone to say that I'm "disingenuous" for following my own personal traditions is rude and insulting.

Also, if I may extrapolate from a Jehovah's Witness's point of view:  "I'm merely observing that a lot of Christians pretending that it is not a pagan holiday they are celebrating is disingenuous."

Very true.  It reminds me of this:  just because I don't believe that I'm my father's property and he can't "give me away" doesn't mean I couldn't have him walk me down the aisle at my wedding.  I had him do so because I wanted him there and he wanted the honour of accompanying me.  Yet occasionally I'll hear somebody passionately arguing what an archaic tradition it is and that nobody should do it.  But to the vast majority of people it simply has a different meaning to what was traditionally intended, and there's no reason why we shouldn't have father/mother anybody we please accompany us, regardless of historical roots and the origins of the tradition.

So I agree re Christmas:  if a person is not observing the religious aspects of Christmas, they're simply following their own family traditions or making their own choices as to how they spend their day.   To suggest it's some kind of all-or-nothing situation whereby a non-Christian person must reject all Christmas traditions entirely would be odd.   Even within Christian communities the Christmas traditions vary significantly, so there is no 1 standard for a Christian Christmas celebration either.  Dec 25th has a different meaning to everybody.
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