I have been thinking about David Hayward’s FB post where he said, “I have a strong atheist bent. And a strong Christian one. My growth demands that I somehow teach these two to live together.”
As I approach these 2013 holidays, where in America at least Thanksgiving is about thanking god and Christmas is about Jesus’ birth (in theory at least), I have found my happy medium. My deconstruction has led to deconversion. I want to be a universalist, but I am an atheist. There I said it. I need a label for now so I can stop thinking so much about this. My Jewish grandfather stopped the religious practice after being disowned for marrying my Catholic grandmother, but always remained Jewish in his DNA. While he did not always adhere to the dietary rules either, at the holidays we always gave him special kosher foods. He enjoyed it, but never made a big deal about it. In thinking about David’s words about the tensions, I will celebrate traditionally with my family because I was born into America where all the holidays were just presumed Christian even though we never practiced church going on any kind of a regular basis growing up. During my extremist days, we would call these types “Christmas and Easter Christians” with an air of superiority. This year, my strong atheist beliefs and my strong Christian heritage require me to embrace being a “Thanksgiving and Christmas Christian” for the sake of participating in my cultural traditions. It will also require me to completely empathize with anyone in my culture that feels “less than” because they have a different heritage, belief or practice.
How are you handling a change of faith during the 2013 holidays? How do other atheists celebrate the holidays?