The Instigator
cb123
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
blackkid
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Is an atheist celebrating Christmas hypocritical

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,174 times Debate No: 65080
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)

 

cb123

Pro

I will define celebrating within the context of this argument as participation, so buying/receiving presents, personally decorating your home/personal spaces, refusal to work, giving cards, partaking in unequivocally Christian practices such as carol singing, attending Christian services such as mass, adoration of a Christmas tree publicly, proclaiming Christmas statement onto others such as happy Christmas or any other practice which is actively participated in or perpetrated by the individual which could indeed be ignored without causing offence to others.
I am not inciting that an individual should do anything that actively offends non atheist family members or friends, eg refusal to eat a Christmas dinner specifically cooked for you but rather that Christmas Day for the individual atheist should be seen completely as any other day of the year without acknowledgment or celebration and that anything other than this is hypocrisy.
blackkid

Con

This is a by-product of the generalization of all holidays in any given country. The reality is that if you are not a member of a populace, no matter what that populace is, celebrating their day makes no sense. To that end Saint Patrick's Day, Saint Valentine's Day, and Halloween are all holidays that are commonly celebrated in the United States and other portions of the world that only have lore in Catholocism or if you are Irish. No one else should celebrate them. Yet many people do and it is recognized that this is part of the culture of the nation versus a matter of ownership in relation to the holiday itself and that is now impractical to call those who celebrate these things outside of the proper orders hypocrites or demand respect in the face of the obvious cultural absorption.
Debate Round No. 1
cb123

Pro

You have seemed in your first statement to have accepted that it is hypocritical to celebrate religious holiday's as an atheist but that it is an acceptable hypocrisy, as if the populace are celebrating, this is in itself a reason to also celebrate as an individual.
The difference of course being if you label yourself as an atheist, rather than agnostic, undecided or even of a minority faith within the populace, you are actively of the belief in the REJECTION of a God/deity and therefore of any religion which concludes the existence of a God/deity. The act of rejection is to dismiss or refuse, so surely anything other than dismissal or refusal to participate within religious celebration is in itself hypocrisy.
In relation to the other mentioned religiously based 'holidays' it is also hypocritical for an atheist to participate within their celebrations.
St. Patricks day is misconstrued as a day to celebrate being 'irish' it is in fact a celebration of the catholic patron saint of Ireland st. Patrick, who is being celebrated for bringing Christianity/Catholicism to the people of Ireland. Irish people who celebrate this day are not just celebrating the fact that they are irish, but the fact that they are irish Catholics. This holiday was brought to and popularised in America due to the number of Irish Catholic immigrants who have settled there. As someone who is from Ireland and was born in Belfast, I can categorically tell you that in Ireland only irish Catholics actively participate in the celebration of st. Patricks day, irish Protestants for instance refrain from celebration as they reject the ideology.
St. Valentines day is slightly more ambiguous but still nether the less is a solely religiously based idea, st. Valentine was a Christian priest or bishop in the 3rd century who (although not absolute historical fact) was executed by roman Claudius II, for conducting marriages which had been outlawed, it is claimed that on the day of st. Valentines execution on February 14th that he sent a love letter to a lady signed 'from your valentine'. Valentines day is also related to an earlier pre Christian holiday Lupercalia, a celebration of a roman God.
Halloween, known by Catholics as all saints eve/night, is a catholic religiously observed holiday it's roots are heavily based in celtic mythology and paganism and is a holiday which has again been bought to and popularised in America by its irish/Scottish immigrants, it is totally religiously based.
In America however the lines have been blurred for many religious holidays, as America is a capitalist nation, it Capitalises on such holidays for financial gain, rather than there true meaning of religious holiday, corporations, company's and media outlets promote aspects of religious holiday to 'all' within society as means of making money from them. This however does not change or alter the fact that they are religious holidays which celebrate the belief in a religion which promotes a God/deity theory, which atheists actively reject.
As I made clear in my first argument, I am not suggesting that to prove ones atheistic beliefs they should deliberately offend the populace, but that to participate within or to benefit from the celebration itself is hypocritical to the beliefs and ideologies of atheism. Atheism ironically is classified as a religion, and to classify yourself as an atheist is making a 'statement'.
I would assume that as you have taken up the con position to this debate that you are an atheist, therefore are making a statement that you are in rejection to the belief of the populace, so in claiming that you can still continue to participate with celebration of the populace's religious holidays, which are inevitably a celebration of religious scripture, doctrine and of the idea that God does infact exist, is undoubtedly hypocritical.
So onto ownership of the holiday of Christmas, it can almost certainly in modern history be seen to be owned by Christianity, irrespective of wether or not it was the actual birth date of Jesus, it is what is being celebrated. Denial of this is nonsensical, to deny that you are celebrating the birth of Jesus because historically Jesus may actually have been born on a different date is simply silly, wether Jesus was born on December 25th or not, Christmas is still ultimately the celebration of his birth, so ultimately a celebration of Christmas is the celebration of Jesus/Christianity.
Another argument atheists may have, is that prior to Christianity's influx into Europe an extremely similar holiday took place around the same time the 'winter solstice' and that Christianity adapted this holiday to fit in with the changing of beliefs of the new converts. This is true, it is extremely likely that Christianity took the winter solstice and changed the ideology into representing Christian values rather than pagan values. But this argument in itself makes no difference if you are indeed an atheist, because the winter solstice itself was a religious festival/holiday which was celebrating the belief in a God/deity by pagans, and would be contradictory to the belief in atheism.
As I have previously stated there can be no rebuttal to the question, 'is an atheist celebrating Christmas hypocritical' it is fundamentally hypocritical, it is however a hypocrisy that is accepted amongst atheists, an argument of if you can't beat them join them ect does not make you any less hypocritical for doing so.
blackkid

Con

"You have seemed in your first statement to have accepted that it is hypocritical to celebrate religious holiday's as an atheist but that it is an acceptable hypocrisy, as if the populace are celebrating, this is in itself a reason to also celebrate as an individual.", so it seems, but that is not the case. These traditions no longer belong to their affiliated roots no different than your neighborhood no longer belongs to any affiliated House or Charter.

It is counterintuitive to push the idea that there is such a thing as ownership of traditions when society evolves beyond such simple concepts. Christmas isn't for Christians anymore, it's for everyone, even religiously Jewish people can and do celebrate Christmas (which would be a much, much larger hypocrisy) as just a national/globalized holiday. You could attempt to put exclusivity on every holiday based on it's history but this does not make celebration outside of that historical value hypocritical regardless of one's stances.

"The difference of course being if you label yourself as an atheist, rather than agnostic, undecided or even of a minority faith within the populace, you are actively of the belief in the REJECTION of a God/deity and therefore of any religion which concludes the existence of a God/deity. The act of rejection is to dismiss or refuse, so surely anything other than dismissal or refusal to participate within religious celebration is in itself hypocrisy. In relation to the other mentioned religiously based 'holidays' it is also hypocritical for an atheist to participate within their celebrations.", it's technically hypocritical for anyone outside of a painstakingly small population to celebrate most days. This push towards segregation sounds unhealthy to be honest; being agnostic, undecided, Hindu, Jain, or even Islamic / Jewish all fail to acknowledge the specific deity of Christmas which has long since become so integrated into the world that it just doesn't matter.

We even know that Jesus wasn't born on 12/25 (http://www.ucg.org...) but do the Christians rally for a proper change? No. Why not? Because it's not a matter of the day at all. Historical accuracy has all but eroded around the very concept; the entire proposition is a sham with even Christians hypocritically seeking to just keep the day that works best for them even though 12/25 falls around the time of the winter solstice, Christmas trees are pagan and The Church wasn't a fan (http://www.livescience.com...), and some Christians reject Christmas as a merging of pagan holidays (http://www.creationliberty.com...) and consumerism.

The Christmas you're trying to purport exists ideologically simply doesn't and never did. There can be no hypocrisy revolving around it no different than a non-American in America isn't a hypocrite for celebrating July 4th with Americans and the same of any Independence Day around the world.

"St. Patricks day is misconstrued as a day to celebrate being 'irish' it is in fact a celebration of the catholic patron saint of Ireland st. Patrick, who is being celebrated for bringing Christianity/Catholicism to the people of Ireland.", this is correct, but note something: It has evolved. It is not misconstrued, it is now what it is, and it's historical value is worthless. As far as the world is currently concerned it's weird broth and green beer day and that's it.

"St. Valentines day is slightly more ambiguous but still nether the less is a solely religiously based idea, st. Valentine was a Christian priest or bishop in the 3rd century who (although not absolute historical fact) was executed by roman Claudius II, for conducting marriages which had been outlawed, it is claimed that on the day of st. Valentines execution on February 14th that he sent a love letter to a lady signed 'from your valentine'. Valentines day is also related to an earlier pre Christian holiday Lupercalia, a celebration of a roman God.", so in essence much like Christmas it has hypocritical pagan roots celebrating a man who broke the law repeatedly? While there's a lot more to this story using this blurb it would seem that this day is pretty much one giant Hypocritical mess since St. V. didn't really read the Bible since it specifically says in (ironically) Romans 13:1-5 "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience." or Luke 20:25 "And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's." both of which specifically refer to obedience and maintaining the law rather than going one's own way. To celebrate someone of such a standard is pretty much raising up an unholy holyman.

"As I made clear in my first argument, I am not suggesting that to prove ones atheistic beliefs they should deliberately offend the populace, but that to participate within or to benefit from the celebration itself is hypocritical to the beliefs and ideologies of atheism. Atheism ironically is classified as a religion, and to classify yourself as an atheist is making a 'statement'.", and I am saying that your argument is ridiculous because the concept of cultural exclusivity just doesn't work. We could go through every celebrated event in any given country and find some plothole if you look hard enough but that's painfully frivolous since depending on where you are most traditions have such prevalence that they open up to others. Religiously speaking just as Jesus opened up to the Gentiles I would imagine the value of trying to keep the gates of Christmas, and therefore good will and excellent volunteering opportunities, closed would be no different than playing a member of the Sanhedren trying to protect something that simply isn't there and willing to go to any length to do so even if it means condemning yourself.

"So onto ownership of the holiday of Christmas, it can almost certainly in modern history be seen to be owned by Christianity, irrespective of wether or not it was the actual birth date of Jesus, it is what is being celebrated.", which just makes zero sense. Christianity has evolved far beyond "Jesus Day" particularly because not all Christians or even Christianity in major portions, acknowledges it as a legitimate holiday. To declare that it's a done and done deal is to ignore the theological politics still surrounding the tradition; in the modern day and modern history it is nothing more than a culturally accepted holiday celebrated in a number of non-theocratic nations with the sheer purpose of spreading good cheer and increasing the GDP. The sacredness of a day can only be preserved with it's strictness; that's like saying "July 4th is whatever even if historically it could have been March 2nd or something" which is exactly what the paradox of Christmas is; some suggest it was almost 3 months prior to the day and that the day was suggested specifically to gather pagans under the cause which in turn makes it not only sacrilegious but hypocritical for Christians as expressed prior.

"Another argument atheists may have, is that prior to Christianity's influx into Europe an extremely similar holiday took place around the same time the 'winter solstice' and that Christianity adapted this holiday to fit in with the changing of beliefs of the new converts. This is true, it is extremely likely that Christianity took the winter solstice and changed the ideology into representing Christian values rather than pagan values. But this argument in itself makes no difference if you are indeed an atheist, because the winter solstice itself was a religious festival/holiday which was celebrating the belief in a God/deity by pagans, and would be contradictory to the belief in atheism.", the winter solstice isn't a deistic event at all. Nor is the summer solstice. It's called Yalda (http://en.wikipedia.org...) and does not celebrate any god. You need to really brush up on how this works since these two events are actually cosmological referring to alignments of planets far more than any alignment to a deity. Much like buddhism there are philosophical and theological versions of Astrology.

"As I have previously stated there can be no rebuttal to the question, 'is an atheist celebrating Christmas hypocritical' it is fundamentally hypocritical, it is however a hypocrisy that is accepted amongst atheists, an argument of if you can't beat them join them ect does not make you any less hypocritical for doing so.", at least you're confident, but to summarize in one sentence:

Christmas ain't for Christians anymore.
Debate Round No. 2
cb123

Pro

Your attempt to deny that Christmas is unequivocally related in modern culture to Christianity is nonsense.
The very fact that you made the conscious decision to take up the con position on this debate would go to prove that Christmas is absolutely synonymous with Christianity, religion and is contradictory to atheism.
Even if we take into account the commercial secularist aspects of "selling" Christmas, ie Santa Claus/St. Nicolas, the Christmas tree - a depiction to everlasting/new life, presents - a representation of the gifts given to Jesus by the wise men, living snowmen - reference to otherwise impossible life coming by way of spiritual/deistic intervention they all lead in and relate directly to Christianity or scriptural Christian value.
Without the installation of mass commercial manipulation of 'religious festival' you are still left with the ultimate reason it is celebrated within Christian majority nations, and that is that the population is majority Christian and are partaking in the celebration of there cultural identity as Christians. Whether the day or date has been misconstrued, misinterpreted or misunderstood. If you were to ask the vast majority of eg the USA what is Christmas celebrating, the answer would be unanimously the birth of Jesus.
Onto non-Christian celebration of Christian holidays I have 2 points.
Firstly in America non Christians are in the minority, minority groups in any nation naturally adapt to the culture/way of life of the host nation. It is often a need or desire to fit in and not to offend or create unrest towards oneself. It is also out of mutual respect, as I stated earlier I would not expect Jews, Muslims or atheists to run around town ripping down Christmas trees, but active participation which is something entirely different. Becoming indoctrinated into Christian culture will naturally cause non Christians to take on some cultural practices which are considered mandatory in the society there living in. The question is would they still continue with such practices in a culture or country where they are the religious majority.
My second point is non Christians can create in Christmas a direct connection or adaptation with there own belief, faith religion. Muslims believe in Jesus/Isa as a prophet in the same regard as Mohammed, they believe Jesus was born to the virgin Mary/Mariam and that she was informed of the pregnancy by way of the angel Gabriel. It has an acceptance of certain celebration as it holds direct parallels with there own beliefs. Jews, Hindus or Buddhists can adapt a Christian Christmas message to also fit in to there belief system which is ultimately that of a creator, an eventual judgement day and a need to do good onto others for your own spiritual fulfilment.
This is where atheism is the odd one out, atheism is rejection of such beliefs of God, God theory, belief in spiritual consciousness and religion as a whole thus holding no value and attributing no adoration onto anything which is a contradiction to that.
Your claim paganism, Buddhism or any other polytheistic/spiritually based religion is non deity based is not true, all have different depiction, understandings and acknowledgements for what god is but they are all in belief of Gods, deities and creators.
Specifically in regard to your statement on paganism and its relation to Christmas, the winter solstice or yule are celebrations of God, specifically Odin.
In regard to your claim that st. Patrick day having evolved, its historical value worthless or that its green beer day. This may be the case for you, maybe for America but not for the rest of the world, not for Irish catholics and not in any St Patrick day celebration I've ever taken part in. It is held in high regard as being both a celebration of the history of Ireland as well as pride in being Irish Catholics.
Just because you ignorantly misinterpreted something, it does not change its realistic meaning.
The same is true of Christmas, you may choose to deny and disregard its Christian basis this des not change the fact it is Christian and it is indeed hypocritical to celebrate it if you state that you are an atheist
blackkid

Con

"Your attempt to deny that Christmas is unequivocally related in modern culture to Christianity is nonsense.
The very fact that you made the conscious decision to take up the con position on this debate would go to prove that Christmas is absolutely synonymous with Christianity, religion and is contradictory to atheism.", well while presuming things may work in some cases I am afraid you are wrong. The entire reason I took up this debate isn't because I want to defend the atheist concept but actually because globalization reduces the idea of exclusivity to dust. The very notion that any given festival begins to a specific religion or religious outlook is empty when it is celebrated by an entire nation and literally over 25% of the planet.

"Even if we take into account the commercial secularist aspects of "selling" Christmas, ie Santa Claus/St. Nicolas, the Christmas tree - a depiction to everlasting/new life, presents - a representation of the gifts given to Jesus by the wise men, living snowmen - reference to otherwise impossible life coming by way of spiritual/deistic intervention they all lead in and relate directly to Christianity or scriptural Christian value.", sure. Except as I had shown last round not really. The Church, the original Church, was not big on this whole idea. History has drown out the reality of this tradition and it no longer matters anymore; what you are saying is both true and false because it is true today, was false yesterday, and may not be true tomorrow. That's what a large span of time does to traditions.

"Without the installation of mass commercial manipulation of 'religious festival' you are still left with the ultimate reason it is celebrated within Christian majority nations, and that is that the population is majority Christian and are partaking in the celebration of there cultural identity as Christians. Whether the day or date has been misconstrued, misinterpreted or misunderstood. If you were to ask the vast majority of eg the USA what is Christmas celebrating, the answer would be unanimously the birth of Jesus.", which is exactly true! If you asked a vast majority whose birthday Christmas is they'd say "Jesus!" even though it's not! No one cares anymore. You are constantly proving that the annuls of historical value, that is the true value of celebrating an event, are long dead. Ask anyone and the answer is the same, with people taking offense at Xmas versus Christmas and coining anti-commercialist phrases like "Putting the Christ back into Christmas", where in reality Christmas is now less about faith and religion and more about theocratic control and declarations of sovereignty.

"Firstly in America non Christians are in the minority, minority groups in any nation naturally adapt to the culture/way of life of the host nation. It is often a need or desire to fit in and not to offend or create unrest towards oneself. It is also out of mutual respect, as I stated earlier I would not expect Jews, Muslims or atheists to run around town ripping down Christmas trees, but active participation which is something entirely different. Becoming indoctrinated into Christian culture will naturally cause non Christians to take on some cultural practices which are considered mandatory in the society there living in. The question is would they still continue with such practices in a culture or country where they are the religious majority.", such is silliness. The basic reason why Christmas is a national and worldwide holiday is because it's observation comes with the closing of many businesses; even if there was a non-christian collective not celebrating they wouldn't be doing anything else. It's impractical, and nothing more, to even try to deny the basic reality of the situation. It's the same in any country with any national holiday; when the country shuts down and parties you will be too no matter what it's about.

"My second point is non Christians can create in Christmas a direct connection or adaptation with there own belief, faith religion. Muslims believe in Jesus/Isa as a prophet in the same regard as Mohammed, they believe Jesus was born to the virgin Mary/Mariam and that she was informed of the pregnancy by way of the angel Gabriel. It has an acceptance of certain celebration as it holds direct parallels with there own beliefs. Jews, Hindus or Buddhists can adapt a Christian Christmas message to also fit in to there belief system which is ultimately that of a creator, an eventual judgement day and a need to do good onto others for your own spiritual fulfilment.", this makes zero sense. You can't even begin to frame Christmas in most religions especially those of Judaism or Hinduism. This is just an attempt to further ostracize Atheists. I don't know why you have such a hard-on against them but for one Buddhism is often atheistic, it is not filled with deities, so the concept that atheists are non-religious people is just not true at all. You are willing to create loopholes for those you approve of, and that's why I took this debate, because I knew you'd be inconsistent. Generally speaking everyone who argues this breaks down to this kind of "cherry picking" nonsense.

"Your claim paganism, Buddhism or any other polytheistic/spiritually based religion is non deity based is not true, all have different depiction, understandings and acknowledgements for what god is but they are all in belief of Gods, deities and creators.", that is just utter crap.

"Just because you ignorantly misinterpreted something, it does not change its realistic meaning.", I can no longer take you seriously. Forgive me.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Bgirlctforlife 2 years ago
Bgirlctforlife
Christmas is a day to give, we can celebrate that. In that context, we want our science of the Enlightment back.
Posted by cb123 2 years ago
cb123
I can also most definitely tell you the world does not stop on Christmas Day, I've lived in Algeria and Dubai and Christmas is non existent for most unless you actively celebrate it. In the same way Eid ul-fitr or Diwali arn't that noticeable in the USA although there are millions upon millions of both Hindus and Muslims
Posted by cb123 2 years ago
cb123
Bhuddism does believe in an initial creator, it is also based upon spiritual consciousness, an idea which is also contradictory to atheism
Posted by blackkid 2 years ago
blackkid
As a Buddhist I am extremely offended by this cultural insensitivity. You make up my philosophy and worldview just to fit your standards? For shame.
Posted by cb123 2 years ago
cb123
Dhardage do you consider yourself atheist or an anti-Christianity.
Nordic, pagan or any other polytheistic religious theories, are still religions which ultimately believe in gods/deities existing.
Posted by dhardage 2 years ago
dhardage
Most of what the average American considers Christmas was annexed into the Christian religion from the Norse people, including the date. It was taken from the Midwinter Festival. The holly wreath, the Christmas tree, mistletoe, a man in a sleigh drawn by reindeer, living at the north pole. All of these are Nordic in origin and were taken up by the Church to make it easier for those people to be converted. If anything, a Christian doing any of these things or displaying any of them is hypocritical.
Posted by USPharaoh 2 years ago
USPharaoh
So, Jesus was most likely not born on December 25th..historians have shown that the most likely date was March or April.

I don't believe that an atheist celebrating Christmas is at all hypocritical. Just like anybody can love or anybody can be thankful and not celebrate Thanksgiving as a ceremony. Does the act of buying or sharing a gift require some type of religious bond? Is it just as superficial to think that sharing a gift makes one a capitalist?.....nope. there is a lot more that goes into sharing joy and hope.... one does not need to spout doctrine....for doctrine's sake.
Posted by JayConar 2 years ago
JayConar
But Christmas was just put in to get rid of the Pagan winter solstice celebration, so Christmas doesn't belong to Christians either. The only thing Christmas has to do with Christians is the name and the suppression of other peoples beliefs. The celebrations are practically all the same as they were under the Pagans.

Before anybody gives me that 'Jesus was born on Christmas' rubbish. No. No he wasn't.
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