Have a Very Secular Christmas?

So, I’ve been giving this some thought really probably ever since I had my child, but more so now that she is growing up and coming to an age where she’ll be able to anticipate the holidays and internalize some of the associated traditions and ideas.  As my regular readers know, I have what some might call a “crisis of faith.”  My heart wants to believe in a loving God, but my intellect and reason just don’t accept it.  And contrary to what some may say, wishing doesn’t make it so.

I am acutely aware of how my adult perception of Christmas and its origin has changed in relation to the hopeful magic of childhood Christmases past.   I was never what I would call “strong” in faith, but now that I have pretty much decided where I come down on the organized religion issue, I am unsure how exactly I want to represent Christmas to my child.  It’s certain that I do want to celebrate with my family in some way.  To me, right now, Christmas is mostly about family, togetherness, and love…  But why should we celebrate that in December instead of all year round.  I am fine with objectively explaining to my daughter, when she is old enough to understand (she is turning three next month) the reasons why the majority of people who celebrate Christmas do so (“Jesus is the reason for the Season” and all that jazz) but I do not feel inclined to raise her in a religion or even in a belief in a supreme being.  A large part of me feels that indoctrination of young children is wrong because it sets them at a disadvantage for later autonomous decisions regarding religion.   For example, had I not been taught as a child that I was supposed to believe in God, would I be so uncomfortable with the fact that I don’t believe?  

Then there is the “Santa question.”   We believed in Santa as a kid, and it was fun and relatively harmless, even when we found out he wasn’t “real.”  And yet,  I find I am loath to lie to my kid, even if it is a fun and harmless lie like Santa.  And yet regardless of what I tell her, I wonder how many of my friends and relatives and even random but well-meaning strangers  will thoughtlessly ask her if she’s “excited for Santa” this holiday season…

So I am left with the question of how I want to present the winter holidays to my child.  The only reason Christmas is even celebrated in December is because of Christianity’s attempts to combat or counterbalance the pagan holidays and rituals of excess practiced during that same season. (source 1, 2)  Basically, Jesus was not born on December 25th, and there is no date given in the bible for his birth, although certain astrological references lead some scientists to believe he was actually born in the Summertime.

Do I take a more naturalistic or pagan approach, celebrating the time of year and nature’s cycles, and then maybe meld into it my feelings of family and tradition?  Would it make some people feel better if we celebrated the holiday but didn’t call it “Christmas?”  Guess it’s a good thing it’s only the end of July… then again, wasn’t Jesus born in the Summer? 😉

This is the optimal idea...

This is the optimal idea…

...and yet clearly that somehow pisses some people off.

…and yet clearly that somehow pisses some people off.

(Click here for more on why Christmas may be celebrated on the 25th of December.)

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All A@@holed Out

At least once a week now, I ask myself the same question, usually prompted by some ignorant, separatist redneck post or some anti-abortion self-righteous meme…posted by my “friends.”  Some of these are people I haven’t actually “seen” since high school, and even then, they were more like acquaintances.  Many are people to whom I used to be closer, and time and/or distance has come between us, but with whom I would like to keep in some sort of contact.  And then I’m realizing I just never knew some of these people to begin with.  And I actually like some of these people…I mean, except for the unfortunate fact of their intolerance…

Um...yeah, okay.

Um…yeah, okay.

Shall I attempt to point out the many ways this meme is ridiculous?  Firstly, the only people who have a problem with secularism are people who feel everyone should be their religion.  Secondly, pretty sure many of the “lazy, unproductive” people were that way before Obama got into office.  I can only assume this is a jab at people who are on some type of public assistance.  (These are also likely the same people who post memes like “before we help the poor in other countries, we need to help our own” and then go around bitching when any laws that actually attempt to do so get proposed.)

Thirdly–  Ow! I stubbed my fuckin’ toe!  Thanks, Obama!

But anyway, the question I have been asking myself is this:

At which point do I draw the line between respecting my friends’ views and differences of opinions to You’re just an asshole and I don’t think I wanna be your friend?”

Generally I would say, the difference would be whether or not their “views” encourage hate or discrimination of any kind.  But seriously…have you seen  some of the memes going around now?  The line between expressing opinion and attempting to insult/control the opposition seems to be becoming increasingly blurred.

And especially in lieu of the George Zimmerman verdict and all the “moral outrage” and barely concealed racism going around, I am SO sick of seeing hateful, ignorant posts about “reverse racism” and white victims of black killers.  How about we direct some of that moral outrage and righteous indignation towards the things that really matter, and maybe realize that all these posts are just widening the racial divide?

But, back to my original question, how do you personally decide when to accept differences, and who to cut loose because they are just too different (aka, an asshole)?  Frankly, I’m all “assholed” out.

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
― Isaac Asimov

Why Do We Seek God?

In bed the other night, I was thinking (as usual) about my search for God, or answers anyway.  And I stumbled upon an idea that seemed like a mini epiphany.  Before I get into the meat of it, this is a call to my followers and all who might happen up this post to perhaps help me answer a couple of questions and thus move myself further to finding my god.

My question is addressed to people who were raised in a secular or non-religious environment.  However, if you feel you have something to add to the conversation that does not involve the usual rhetoric involved in discussing religion or random and lengthy bible quotes, by all means please comment.

The idea I had, and what I want to ask you gentle readers is sort of a two part question:

What is the source for the desire to search for God or a higher meaning?

and

If we are raised in a completely secular or atheistic environment where it is never suggested, inferred, or taught to us that we need or should have a god, do we still inherently feel a need to seek one?

Perhaps now you can see why I specified readers raised in secular environments.  If as children, we are in any way introduced to the idea that religion should be a part of our lives, especially if the introduction comes by way our our parents, who have a heavy influence on our thoughts and feelings during our formative years, then that idea may always be a part of us, even if our intellect bucks it (like mine does.)

This is specifically my problem, by the way.  My brain tells me there is no way there is someone “watching over” us;  if there were, our world would not suck so much.  Yet  there is a part of me that likes the idea of a gentle father-figure who loves us unconditionally and keeps a place for us by his side.

Although I don’t relish the idea of him watching me while hubs and I have the “sexy time.”

I suppose this question could work in reverse, but I know the story of  disillusionment and lack of faith on a more personal level.

I have long considered myself someone who is reverent of nature, and even dabbled in Wicca for a while, but in the end, even ideologically pleasing  religions like Wicca, Hinduism, and Buddhism still incorporate deity worship, in many cases multiple deities.  Moreover, embracing nature alone means embracing the idea that  everything is essentially form and function, part of the circle of life, and there really is no higher meaning, aside from survival and continuation of the species.

So, as I said before, though this post may be another one of my introspective and theological ramblings, it is also a call for interaction.  Please feel free to (respectfully) share your thoughts.

RELATED: http://ayearandadaywicca.wordpress.com/what-is-wicca/