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Merry Christmas: Atheist Style

December 23, 2009

Even though I don’t believe any significant tenet of the Christian religion (but to be fair, I don’t believe a single significant tenet of any religion), and even though I call complete and utter bulls#&t the notion of “god” or “gods”, and even though I don’t buy into anything to which the the Christmas holiday is supposed to be about, I still dig Christmas!

I’m totally down with the tradition of lying to our kids about Santa, who as everyone knows, knows when you’re sleeping, knows when you’re awake, knows whether you’ve been bad or good, etc, as a way to prepare them for uncritically accepting the notion of “God”, the vaguely incestuous and completely incomprehensible threesome of Father, Son & Holy Ghost who also knows when you’re sleeping, when you’re awake, whether you’ve been bad or good, etc, with the significant difference being that Santa compels us to be good for “goodness sake”, while God compels us to be good…or face the prospect of being tortured in Hell, by demons, with fire, for eternity.  Santa’s message seems more reasonable to me.  But I still don’t believe in him.

And Christmas trees.  I friggin dig Christmas trees, especially real one’s, though I must confess, I’m too much of a chicken-s#&t to allow a real Christmas tree into my house.  Have you seen this video?

I know it could never happen, but like I said, I’m a chicken-s#&t.  I figure,

  1. I know light-bulbs generate heat and
  2. There’s enough electrical energy running through those wires to start an ignition-worthy-spark several times over, and
  3. I could lose an entire room of my house in approximately 1-minute and finally,
  4. I know how soundly I sleep…

F%#k it; I don’t need a sacrificial evergreen tree that bad.  But still, I like Christmas trees.

Presents are cool too, though they are a bit of a double-edged sword.  Yes, they’re fun to give…IF you get it right.  But if you get it wrong, and you’ve been with your significant other long enough to know the difference between a real smile and a “polite” smile, which for the average, semi-conscious person is about one day, then you might as well swallow a Gordian knot and keep that bad-boy in your stomach for the rest of the day.  And god-forbid (it’s a saying I use, even though I don’t believe in god; get over it) your significant other significantly out-gifts you!  Then you’ll have to deal with feeling guilty that your S/O totally won on gift giving, and you totally lost, and everybody in the room, even if it’s just the two of you, knows it.  Like the time I got my wife the T-shirt which says,

“My Girlfriend Can’t Wrestle…But you should see her Box!”.

Funny, right?  Exactly; that’s what I thought!  Well hindsight is, as the saying goes, 20/20, and it turns out that the humorous-T-shirt-gift probably wasn’t such a good idea after all.  So while I’m nervously laughing, hoping others will soon join in after the sheer awesomeness of my gift-giving-genius sinks into their thick and/or judgmental skulls, the Mrs goes digging through the pile to find “the” package, the one which, even though I don’t know what it is, I can tell by the size & weight (and thus, the density), that it’s the mack-daddy gift of the year.  So while I’m already feeling awful for having failed in what was supposed to be a humorous moment, and trying to explain to my very conservative mother-in-law what the joke is while simultaneously unwrapping my present, which by the way, I’m doing very slowly in hopes that somebody else, one of the kids perhaps, will open something very noisy, or possibly set something on fire and/or break something, and thus give me the distraction I need to excuse myself to some other room for a reason I’ll think of when I get there, I eventually discover that I have received a kick-ass chess-set.  All wood, sturdy construction, cool, “chessy” lookin pieces that already have me smugly saying “checkmate”, in my temporary daydream escape, which is suddenly interrupted by the Mrs getting up to excuse herself, and I have the sudden and horrifying realization that, were she to actually put that T-shirt on, and wear it the rest of the day, that I might actually bleed-out internally, and at some point, simply go flush myself down the toilet to end it all.  But, time heals all wounds, and not only do I still play chess on that chess set, I occasionally wear the T-shirt when I play tennis.  And when I play, I use a kick-ass new racquet that my wife bought for herself, and which I’ve since commandeered for my own play.  I love gifts.

I even like Christmas music.  Ironically, some of my favorite Christmas songs (excluding some of the standard favorites such as “Silent Night”, and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen“) are some of the more religiously themed, albeit still relatively unknown of the holiday tunes.  Steve Winwood’s “Christmas is now drawing near at hand” and Jethro Tull’s “Christmas Song” are a couple that come to mind.  And of course, who doesn’t love The Cat Carol“?  Confession: I get a little teary-eyed & misty every time I hear it.  Seriously…who the f%#k leaves a cat outside in a blizzard like that?   That’s just wrong.  Not because I’m a huge fan of cats, but still, the owners were responsible for the well-being & safety of their pet, and it pisses me off that they left it outside.  Also, I wonder what that cat would have done if it hadn’t been Christmas eve?  What if the blizzard had been on New Year’s eve?  Maybe she’d have been like, “You know what mouse, I have a good idea: Why don’t you keep warm over here…In. My. Belly!”  Maybe I’ve just watched too much evening news, but regardless, I have a hard time accepting that a cat could display such altruistic behavior towards a creature it’d normally regard as a snack.  I’d come closer to believing a dog would do that, but not a cat.  Nevertheless, the song still gets me choked up.  That, and “The Little Match Girl“.  Goddammit that’s a sad story.

And finally, Christmas presents me with an opportunity I don’t often have; to simultaneously piss off theists and atheists for not being enough like either of them.

Merry Christmas everybody.  May the Force be with you all, and to all, a good night.


4 Responses to “ Merry Christmas: Atheist Style ”

  1. Sara on December 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Ooooooooooo, I LOVE The Little Match Girl! It’s one of my absolute favourite depressing/sad/awful/frozen/wonderful stories ever! It’s all so deliciously tortured. Nice circle back to the whole fire-tree thing.

  2. Mr. Smarty Pants on December 24, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks Sara ~ Yeah, that’s one sad story… [sniff] Poor little match girl…

  3. BIBI on December 27, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Why do atheists feel so unsecured as to always make it a point to be sarcastic, cynical about their faith.

    Being an atheist doesn’t make you the good guy and for Hell’s sake stop preaching to us.


  4. Eric on December 27, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Responding to a previous comment, people who have atheistic belief are as diverse as people who adhere or at least claim to adhere to a specific belief or dogma following from various forms of religion. It seems like quite a generalization to state that atheists always make a point to be sarcastic and are therefore “unsecured” Credit- not people – can be unsecured. Also, if it bothers one that this article includes sarcasm the option to not read it is available. That is not preaching. Preaching is what trashy egotistical religious absolutists communicate via megaphones and large signs at almost every large public event. All people have a right to communicate in that manner, even those preaching hateful beliefs in the name of religion and offensive to some. But, it would be small-minded to assume that such people represent all religious people and that all religious people need to be told to stop preaching to nonbelievers. But, whatever…the irony is always lost on some.