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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! TO ALL!

December 6, 2009 5 comments

As I was preparing for this upcoming holiday season (Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Years) I had ample opportunity to do a little thinking about what Xmas means to me and why, despite being an Atheist, I celebrate and anticipate this holiday with so much excitement and fond recollection. 

As a child Xmas was a time of wonderment, Santa Claus, Reindeer, colorful decorations, candy, toys, music, trees, friends, warm and kindly visits with neighbors and relatives.   But, mostly there was this butterfly-like thrill in my gut associated with the glut of Xmas morning.  For a child what could be better?  Once a year I was treated like a prince and showered with gifts and warm memories. 

One of the somewhat unique features of Xmas at my house was the lack of religious teachings, or at least I never really noticed any.  There were never Xmas Eve service away from home, never any forced attendance of special services or whatever Xians do on this holiday.  No, my Xmas very secular, personal, family oriented and perfect (for us). 

Fast Forward to the present. 

I still insist on saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to my patients when they leave my office.  I don’t feel that anyone should ever take offense to someone’s well wishing.  This is foolish reasoning.  There is nothing more abrasive about wishing someone a Merry Xmas than there is saying ‘have a nice day’.  Why would I care if a Xian wished me a Happy Easter or offered to pray for me?   Both may be a complete waste of time, but they are kind offerings and hurt nobody! 

For me, in the end, Christmas is a Traditional time to spoil my children, and Wife.  It is a time of the year when I try to do extra for other people who may be less fortunate than myself.  I put money in the salvation army bucket, I read my 3 year old ‘The night Before Christmas’, I even watch that dumb movie about the BB Gun.  I love Xmas, I love what it has brought to me and my family.  

I am really curious how other Atheists approach this holiday.  Do any of you have fond memories of Xmas past?  Is Xmas just a pain in you ass?  Does a stranger wishing you ‘Merry Christmas’ piss you off? 

Merry Christmas,

Anoat

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Sympathetic Atheism

September 1, 2009 13 comments

A Muslim friend and colleague of mine made the remark to me yesterday that Atheists seem to focus on making fun of religions.  He pointed out that some of my criticisms and comments seemed more like playground taunting than real scriptural or theological debate.  I didn’t have a ready answer for him, but I tried to allay his concerns a bit.  My wife has expressed a similar concern with my style of criticism. 

I don’t think my approach to Theists and their corresponding beliefs are vastly different from other Atheists.  Frankly, I do find humor in certain, if not most beliefs, simply because a lot of them are silly and very simplistic. Additionally I would like to say that I am not above Faith, ritual belief, superstition and belief in intuition.  I make choices based on ‘gut feelings’ all the time.   I can fully accept that these are a bit silly, but persist nonetheless.   

I think I felt a little indignant with my friends comment, simply because it devalues what I am trying to do with my life; that is pursue a wholesome and truth filled life that adheres to a creed of non-coercive behavior and focus on family, nature and science.   Similarly I can see why a Theist may hold this view of Atheism, as we often simplify and deduce fallacy in what they highly value.  

Maybe all of this is my ‘Sympathetic Atheist’ side talking, but what value is there in undercutting a pleasant, friendly, non-threatening Theist’s beliefs?  How far can you go before you simply become a ‘Witness of Atheism’, when is it simply reverse proselytizing?

Addendum:  I unwittingly titled this post Sympathetic Atheism, which to my chagrin is a direct plagiarism of my friend Sabio’s post “Sympathetic Atheist” (at least in title and spirit.)  Please follow the links to his seminal blog on the subject!!!   This is a good illustration of how we Humans pick up on what appears like a good idea and then claim it as original thought.

The Passing

August 21, 2009 10 comments

My Wife and I got some very sad new that a friends 4 month old son died last night. He was born with a bad heart and had several surgeries to correct it, but his genes obviously were more faulty that we all hoped. He died in route to a large children’s hospital.
I write this post simply to get a feel how other Atheists deal with these situations. I do not have a God to lean on, I don’t think this fits into a grand design. I feel that the Universe is hostile, so it is, so it shall always be.

Smoking, as a Crime?

August 20, 2009 3 comments

Should there be laws to protect children from second hand smoke? 

Quiet Perseverance

August 19, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the things that always ticks me off about hard-core Christians is their in-your-face attitude.  There is always a sense of indignation in my gut when they have that sympathetic look on their face that seems to say “if you only knew how great my club is you, would surely want to join.” 

I think one of the things that we as Atheist have to do, is make sure that we do NOT mirror this smart-assed, paternal attitude.  I agree that everyone will have his or her own approach to speaking with others about Atheism, but my preference is Quiet Perseverance.  I feel that if I get too excited or if I get too zealous then I am no better than my opposition.  Further, I feel that if someone is true believer they will likely have an equally as negative visceral reaction to my comments as I would to theirs.  So, be cautious in your approach.  Sometimes, simply listening and gathering data is more valuable and important than unloading huge Anti-God arguments.

Salvation Delivered

August 16, 2009 1 comment

The growing crisis at the United States Postal Service has drawn a lot of press recently.  The speculations for the decline in usage have ranged from ‘the internet is killing the post office’ to ‘people don’t buy things and ship things during bear markets.’  I think the answer is slightly simpler.  I think that what ails the USPS is a lack of foresight and an unfortunate adherence to outmoded business models.  Sadly and what I feel may be fatally, the USPS has decided to close many suffering satellite offices and cut Saturday deliveries.

As I was driving home from my 8 hour Sunday clinic I figured out how to save the ailing USPS, and or how to make an already giant cooperation like UPS or Fedex even richer…It is a simple proposition really:  Deliver stuff on Sundays.   Why don’t we get mail and packages on Sunday.  Again, a simple answer, it is the Christian Sabbath, the day of rest, the day to honor their Lord.  Seriously, I do not remember last time I consistently had Sundays off.   Don’t get me wrong I am fine with holidays like Christmas, New Years, Thanks Giving, Arbor Day, but Sundays?

I am not naive to the complexities of an overall such as this, but it seems that in desperate times they should consider sensible solutions…