Wednesday, 12 December 2012

An Atheist Celebrates a Secular Christmas in a Multicultural Canada

So why would a non-Christian celebrate Christmas.

Well first of all from a religious point of view Jesus Christ is not just the Christian Messiah but also considered to be an important prophet amongst both Muslims and Jews so there is no reason they cannot celebrate his birth, while not recognizing him as the Messiah.

From a non-religious point of view there is a lot of controversy over whether Jesus Christ really existed, but even as a fictional character the types of values he represented are very humanistic and often in conflict with the views of religious authorities in his and our time.

But religion is not the main reason for Canadians to celebrate the Christmas holiday season, that has expanded to encompass both Hanukkah and other religious holidays that occur at this time (depending on the seasonal calendars of various religions) not to mention Festivus.

Christmas holiday celebrations are part of our Canadian heritage, being brought over by early settlers and added to and adapted by newer immigrants. But what makes Christmas really Canadian is it's role as a celebration of winter, and the choice of a date near the Winter Solstice (when the actual birthdate of Jesus Christ is uncertain) is not coincidental as the Christians timed their celebration to coincide with existing seasonal celebrations. Christmas is also a celebration of family and a time to think and care about the less fortunate.

While this is a time of giving it unfortunately also includes the Holy Trinity of Capitalist Excess - Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day/Week.

This is also the time when Christian zealots, who claim Canada is a Christian country, carry on about the "War on Christmas", as if somehow the overwhelming attention paid to Christmas isn't enough. What there really is, is a "War on Diversity" by these zealots that get outraged whenever anybody refers to "seasons greetings" or "the holidays" as a means of including those celebrating other holidays at this time of year, as they see any recognition of the diversity of our society as an attack on Christmas.

While Canada may have been a "Christian country" at one time, it was not originally a Christian country (pre-Euoropean settlement) and is not now a Christian country but a secular society with freedom of religion and a diversity of religious and non-religious people.

Christmas is part of Canadian history and cultural traditions and it can belong to and be celebrated by all of us as a religious or secular celebration according to our own choice.

Previously on the Fifth Column:

Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings

Have A Holly Jolly Season of Cultural Diversity

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