The Instigator
Grumpy
Con (against)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
Marauder
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points

Resolved: Atheists Shouldn't Observe Religious Holidays 2

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Grumpy
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,057 times Debate No: 10408
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (5)

 

Grumpy

Con

Christmas is just around the corner and every year this question pops up..."why do you, an atheist, celebrate Christmas? Aren't you being a hypocrite?" So I am taking the Con and pose this debate to anyone who is willing to tell me why I should NOT observe Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Rosh Hashanah, L. Ron Hubbard's birthday or Halloween. I will start by defining some of the terms that will be referenced:

Atheist: one who believes that there is no deity
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Religious: 2 : of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Religious Holiday: a day specified for religious observance
http://dictionary.reference.com...

Observe: 3 : to celebrate or solemnize (as a ceremony or festival) in a customary or accepted way
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Hypocrite: 2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Christmas: 1 : a Christian feast on December 25 or among some Eastern Orthodox Christians on January 7 that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday.
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Easter: a feast that commemorates Christ's resurrection and is observed with variations of date due to different calendars on the first Sunday after the paschal full moon
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

St. Patrick's Day: ...an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa AD 385–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and is generally celebrated on 17th of March.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Rosh Hashanah: ...a Jewish holiday commonly referred to as the "Jewish New Year."
http://en.wikipedia.org...

L. Ron Hubbard's Birthday: The Church of Scientology recognizes March 13, the birthday of founder L. Ron Hubbard, as a religious holiday.
http://altreligion.about.com...

Halloween: is an annual holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints, but is today largely a secular celebration.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

This is not to be a venue for prostelising or for discussing the merits or demerits of any belief system. Keep it clean and on point.
Marauder

Pro

I accept your challenge Grumpy. You posted all lot of definitions round one so I expect you to keep those.

"So I am taking the Con and pose this debate to anyone who is willing to tell me why I should NOT observe Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Rosh Hashanah, L. Ron Hubbard's birthday or Halloween."
I note your use of the term OR in this sentence. So this indicates all I must do to negate the resolution is effectively show why you should not observe at least one of them.

To come strait to the point One should not observe any holiday, even if one is not an atheist. They have no logistical providing purpose for you personally. They either take up your time or your money celebrating the customary or accepted way. At Christmas time the customs dictate you buy presents for relatives you may not necessarily like. At thanksgiving the social imposition is put on you or perhaps someone close to you that you care about to put together a feast for these same relatives to eat.
Icons like plastic eggs and green attire has lost their symbolic meaning to us they used to have for people. When one drives by a house with Christmas lights on it nothing iconic really comes to mind about light and righteousness as supposedly intended, only 'hey those look pretty' and maybe 'I wonder how they made those work that way' or 'were can I buy lights like that' It takes time and energy and money to put up those lights on your house. In this flip flopping economy every penny you have counts. To assure security in ones finances one should not live beyond their means by purchasing things that do them no good.
One should not stay home Halloween night passing out candy when they could be using this time to work overtime and get paid more! It is common knowledge that most jobs cant let you work on holiday's without paying a greater amount than is standard. Logistically one can hardly justify expending ones time on trying to follow the acceptable customs of holidays when you have the alternative of using that time on something that will reward you with cash not normally at an option for you to acquire. Even if you believe in God you can avoid celebrating all these things without contradicting your scriptural beliefs because most of them are not even mentioned in those scriptures. Without believing in a God their is even less of interest offered by these holiday's. Even if there was something to consider of interest for you, it could never come off as the better choice of your options in what to do with your time, because overtime on holiday's pays a large amount compared to whatever your standard income is.

So in conclusion
1) spending time and resources on resources pays back as much as investing your money in watching a baseball game at a stadium.
2) The customary symbols of the holidays are not very effective at communicating anything to you as part of your surroundings
3) Overtime on holiday's is a much more fiscal, thrifty, and logical use of your time.

Therefore you should not pick the less logical of actions; as long as we are purely talking about what one 'should' do. and the less logical Is observing the customs of these holiday's.
http://www.opm.gov...
Debate Round No. 1
Grumpy

Con

Thank you for accepting this challenge. Although, in the past, I have been queried as to my observance of some religious holidays, I must make it clear that I have not felt compelled by anyone to either observe nor abstain from observing any religious holiday so far. But, then again, I do not carry picket signs and march in protest of them, either.

My opponent has stated,

"To come strait [sic] to the point [,] One should not observe any holiday...They have no logistical providing purpose for you personally...because overtime on holiday's pays a large amount compared to whatever your standard income is."

To Refute: I am Retired (as I state in my profile) and have absolutely no problem eating a meal provided by somebody else and I do not intend on purchasing gifts for anyone I do not want to. As for Halloween, I have yet to have anyone come to my unlit doorway begging for candy and if someone did, I would no doubt assess their need rather than their desire to determine if I would donate anything to them.

However, on the positive side, I do enjoy listening to music and find much of the traditional Christmas ("O Holy Night" is particularly beautiful) music thoroughly enjoyable, especially when sung by a choir or chorus when accompanied by a church-type organ. I may listen to this at home, on my stereo or attend a concert on Christmas Eve and it really only costs me what I feel appropriate to give. Being an atheist does not mean I am totally mercenary or pecuniary, nor does it imply that I have no taste for good music. I also enjoy the feeling of giving someone I cherish a gift that brings joy to that person or offering charity to someone less fortunate than I. These, to me are more profitable than asking the government for additional Social Security Benefits for not attending some customary holiday function. (Which I would not receive, anyway.)

As you have implied, most of what is considered traditional or customary is secular and does not directly promote a spiritual message, thus would not, or at least should not raise the ire of anyone of the underlying faith to which the specific holiday is dedicated. I do wonder, though, if some Fundamentalist Christians might not take umbrage...

I eagerly await my opponent's response.
Marauder

Pro

Thank you for posting

You started with a list of holiday traditions I mentioned that you don't participate in anyway. The fact that you don't observe in customary acceptable way (your definition from round 1) is a case for Pro, not Con witch I thought you were taking.

You then proceeded to tell me about how you do enjoy Christmas music. This not relevant. I enjoy Carrie Underwood's song 'before he cheats' and yet I do not believe in condoning any such actions described in the song. The Christmas you defined in round 1 was stated as:
"Christmas: 1 : a Christian feast on December 25 or among some Eastern Orthodox Christians on January 7 that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday."
Enjoyment of music does not fulfil "Observe: 3 : to celebrate or solemnize (as a ceremony or festival) in a customary or accepted way" for this Holiday you defined.

"Being an atheist does not mean I am totally mercenary or pecuniary"
I suppose it does not; but the resolution regards what an atheist SHOULD do. And what one should do regardless of your belief in a deity or not is always something Logical. And Logic embraces these two concepts.

"I also enjoy the feeling of..."
You can justify why feelings should dictate what anyone should do, including Christians. A Well known atheist, Terry Goodkind said 'Reason can be my only sovereign'
"of giving someone I cherish a gift that brings joy to that person or offering charity to someone less fortunate than I." These are nice add-on's to someone who is choosing to observe Christmas but they do not necessarily 'celebrate or solemnize' the birth of a savior by themselves.

"These, to me are more profitable than asking the government for additional Social Security Benefits for not attending some customary holiday function. (Which I would not receive, anyway.)"
Here is a link to rules of acquisition, vital to a culture wanting profit. http://en.wikipedia.org... So though it may seem profitable to you its contradictory to auguring profit. Also I have never herd of these SS Benefits you speak of. It does not make since for the government to pay you to not go somewhere like that.

Con has failed to give a rational case for why an Anyone, let alone an atheist, celebrate a holiday. He has only spoken of being fond of music related to some holidays, which I have shown is not 'observing' by his definition

I await your response.
Debate Round No. 2
Grumpy

Con

I again thank my opponent for his interesting argument. I also apologize for my last minute response.

My opponent disputes that I have not been "celebrating" or "observing" religious according to my definition. This is perhaps true although I was not necessarily being totally conclusive in my illustrations of what I have done to observe or celebrate these holidays but that is not my argument.

My argument refuting my opponent's is thus: I ask in my first post why I should not celebrate a religious holiday. My opponent only suggested that if I worked overtime instead of observing a holiday, It would be more advantageous to me. I refuted that by stating I was retired and thus unable to collect overtime pay from a job I do not have. I also refuted that just earning extra money would not offset the enjoyment I experience in doing some of the things others do in observance of said holidays.

But the debate does not rest on what it is I have done but rather what I should not do, since I am an atheist and, as such, believe that no religious basis for these holidays exists.
"Should" indicates a future action and "should not" indicates an admonition against future action, although not an absolute admonition, more of an advisory. It also presupposes a reason or reasons that, although not sufficient to forbid an action but rather to suggest not performing such action.

Should: 2 —used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency <'tis commanded I should do so — Shakespeare>
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[Last example most relevant ]

Thus, unless my opponent can provide me with persuasive rhetoric supporting his contention that I should not observe a religious holiday, I urge a CON vote.

Thank you for a most interesting debate, good luck and Merry Christmas.
Marauder

Pro

Here's some fun math to talk about: 1*-1=-1 1*1=1 and -1*-1=1.
Likewise in arguments a negative times a negative equals a positive, and negative times a positive is negative. The resolution is a negative statement and I have the positive side; therefore I have a negative burden of proof. You have the negative side so you have Positive burden of proof. therefore it is not my duty to convey why you should not celebrate a holiday until you provide sufficient justification for celebrating.
That should win the argument for me in this debate, but lets hypothetically say I don't really think that and believe the voters will not either, then I will go ahead provide more reasons for why you should not.

Your refutation about my point of earning more money was your retired. But you see the flaw with that argument is that you should not be retired either. this state of existence is an illogical one to enter into in the first place. the ultimate goal for anyone, God or no God, before they die is to leave the world a better place than when we left it. To contribute to society. As long as there is breath in our bodies this is still something we can do. But often we can never truly measure the good one has done until some time after they have died and there has been enough time to start seeing the chain affects directly resulting from the actions of their life. So in our own live there will never be a day we can say with certainty "I have left the world a better place than it would have been had I not been born, so I can quit contributing and retire now" Plus the resolution deals with all atheist, not just you, and we can not assume that all atheist are crippled to a degree that they can not help anymore so retirement is a state of existence they must enter.
So its logical to benefit society for as long as possible and never retire, and it is logical to make more money, so one should not celebrate a holiday.

Another point worth making, if being a hypocrite honestly is concerning enough to us that avoiding being such warrants stating we should not do certain things, then by your definitions this qualifies well enough as being hypocritical. Because to celebrate Christmas as you defined would bring you to church on Christmas morning reading scriptures about the birth of Christ and how he was a gift of god. You, an atheist, who does not believe their even is a god... well the action would contradict your stated belief. Celebrating L Ron Hubbard's birthday as you defined it would involve passing out copies of his book "The Way To Happiness". You, an atheist, who does not believe in any Gods, would be doing something contradictory if you celebrated the life of a man who not only thought that there were gods,but that you could become one. (I am aware that they don't use the 'term' god, but that is what a thetan is). For an atheist the resurrection of the dead is not possible, So it contradicts to celebrate on Easter the rising from the dead of an individual 2,000 years ago. Unless you believe in sin, then Christ sacrifice does not mean anything, so that would contradict in your action to celebrate it.

But as I said all this would only be pertinent if being a hypocrite is a relevant factor to whether one 'should' or 'should not' do something. I am not sure I could prove that it is. But they are other reasons I can argue not related to money or being a hypocrite that show you should not celebrate the holiday's. Because it is outright detrimental to the quality of your life to do.
One might read that and go 'are you crazy, holidays are fun, an important factor to improving the quality of ones life' One might also not ever go into such deep thought on their own witch is why I pose the question for you. But bear with me and I shall explain.
Whether you believe their is a god or their is not, All generally agree that we should live our lives,that our life is ours and we should rise up and live it! the expression 'difference in breathing and being alive' or 'standing outside the fire' is rooted in this philosophy. Everyone would want to 'be alive' (not a reference to your mortality) as being so is described in Tim McGraw's song 'live like you were dying'.
I contend that Holiday celebration is a disease to your ability to live like you were dying. The hype surrounding enjoyment of a single day causes a lull into the quality of every other day of the year. You merely 'get by' day to day waiting like a drone for the next holiday to come. I ask you why would anyone logically choose to make Christmas the day for giving gifts and helping the poor? the Native Americans gave presents to each other in potlucks long before the people who brought the celebration of Christmas with them to America. why show special affection to your wife on Valentines day when she deserves it everyday from you? If you recognize the day specifically enough to show romance on it you are accepting in some degree that all other days of the year are not for showing that much affection to her. If you do give her your love on all other day's of the year then there is nothing during Valentines day to even recognize, because it is the same as any other day. All of this is especially important for you Con, because if we ignore the reasons I gave for not retiring and simply look at the purpose and goal behind doing so, you retire so you can spend all your time doing things that are fun. If you live your life in a way that you can not be said to have 'lived like you were dying' then the whole purpose of your retirement is a failure, so it can be argued that it is vital that you avoid holidays that can be a poison to your doing so, so I am arguing it.
Maybe it is possible to celebrate holidays without lowering the quality of your life every other day of the year waiting for them to pass by. But if there is the danger's are far to high. So this I find is my best argument to fit my opponents criteria for persuading why he 'should not' observe a religious holiday, because it not enough to warrant explicit forbidding statements in my conclusion, but enough to advise against.

So to wrap up:
1) Con had the positive burden to justify celebrating any holiday in the first place.
2) retirement is not a logical reason to pass up overtime, because retirement is not logical in the first place
3) Observing (as Con defined) the holiday's (as Con defined) honestly is contradictory in action with the professed belief. So if being a hypocrite is concerning to you, vote Pro.
4) Every man dies, but not everyman lives. don't waste your life waiting for holiday's make every day special, and in effect make nothing special about the holidays.

For any of the above 4 reasons I urge the voters to vote Pro on arguments
Because My opponent has sourced to define stuff and not directly back up an argument, nearly ignoring the definitions as was, vote Pro on sources.
As for spelling and grammar, vote Con, I understand why
Conduct, vote tie, I have enjoyed this debate and do not see any uncordial act on either side.

Hope you had a happy Goshen last Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent!

http://www.abc.net.au...
http://www.scientologytoday.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by dogparktom 7 years ago
dogparktom
I remember an interview with the late Irving Kristol. He said that, although they were Jewish, every year his parents took the children to the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at St. Patrick's Cathedral for the beauty of the occasion.

Perhaps Grumpy was there in the next pew.
Posted by Boomslang 7 years ago
Boomslang
Too bad I just joined, would have liked to have debated.
Posted by Grumpy 7 years ago
Grumpy
Understood, no problem.
Posted by Marauder 7 years ago
Marauder
In my last argument where I put 'you can justify feelings...' I meant to put 'you can't justify'
I am sorry, spellcheck doesn't catch that because can is a word and proofreading doesn't help a lot when I am in a hurry.
Posted by Grumpy 7 years ago
Grumpy
Hopefully...
Posted by Chaosflame 7 years ago
Chaosflame
There won't be any atheists who disagree. But I'm sure theres a Christian on here who will.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
I don't think anyone would disagree with you.
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dasamster
GrumpyMarauderTied
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RoyLatham
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Nails
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dogparktom
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Koopin
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