I blog, therefore i am.
I was on my way home from the supermarket, having filled my bag with ingredients for a casserole for tomorrow’s pot luck dinner. My mood was rather jolly because i bought stuff, it was Christmas eve, and i had a haircut. Along the way, some guy holding an ipad thingy stopped me saying it would only take a minute. Liars. It always takes more than one minute.
Even though i was in a jolly mood, my yellow lumpy bag was full and heavy, the jars of chilli in the yellow lumpy bag was in the correct position to jam into my lower back, altogether not a very pleasant experience, and he was a guy. So i declined but he insisted and he mentioned something about Christmas being pagan. Well.. the fish was hooked.
Seeing that i stopped, he showed me his ipad thingy, reading material with encyclopedia as sources, and explained that Christmas was a pagan holiday and that nowhere in the bible does it mention Christmas etc. etc. I nod along because i already know these things. I was rather impressed by his knowledge in theology; not many Christians realize that Christmas has pagan origins, and even lesser will accept this fact. I thought he was out to tell other Christians to stop celebrating Christmas or something.
“Winter solstice”, i said as a way of emulating interactivity in a conversation.
At this point, he, seemingly impressed by my saying what Christmas was about, stops and asks me what religion i was. I would have said Pastafarian. But somehow, i doubt that there are that many people who can even contemplate the possibility of worshipping pasta. He would probably think that i said Rastafarian or was trying to be a smartass or something. Hmm.. i should’ve told him about the beer volcano in FSM heaven.
Anyway i pointed at his ipad thingy and said that i am pagan. If i’m not going to be Pastafarian, i would be pagan, if i had to choose that is. And then he was like, “Oh.. so you’re against Christians?”. My opinion of him suddenly dropped to rock bottom. How in the world did this guy come to think that pagans are against Christians. So i told him i wasn’t. And he went like, “Do you believe in God?”. Which he asked several times and i replied several times. I guess he kind of got stumped by me not believing in God or gods for that matter.
I really should’ve asked, “Which god?”.
In the end, he got the idea and makes a rhetorical question, “Oh so you don’t believe in God, you’re an athiest?”. I reply “Yes.” and he was like, “Ok, thank you, bye bye.”.
What the hell..
He didn’t even tell me that Jesus loves me or that i’m going to his religion’s hell.
So.. the poignant issue, which the guy drove at but never arrived at because i was an atheist and therefore not worth the time to chat with: should a Christian celebrate (in church) Christmas considering that Christmas has pagan origins.
My answer would be why not? Let me draw a parallel here and take a look at Buddhism and Taoism. What we have in Singapore are cultural Buddhists, where people look to buddhas, notable buddhas include Guanyin, as gods and goddesses, read buddhist scriptures and perform taoist rites of worship to both buddhas and taoist deities. Religions, like organisms, like organizations, like lots of things, do evolve too. And they must if they wish to spread to other countries and culture. And in those days, the best way to spread was through assimilation.
One of my favorite one liners of wisdom is this, “Christians are as Christians do.” (you can always replace the subject with something else). If Christians want to celebrate Christmas in churches and think of it as celebrating the birth of Christ, then let them do it. Saying that Christmas has pagan origins is exactly just that. Origins. It doesn’t mean that Christmas cannot be co-opted as a Christian holiday (from the Christian’s persepective), or as a secular holiday.
In short, just like you don’t have to be a German to celebrate Oktoberfest, you don’t have to be a pagan to celebrate Christmas.
Here’s wishing you a very happy Christmas this weekend.
From your very own atheistic pagan.