Odds are you’ve seen this image floating around the ‘net. If you haven’t, it’s high time you give it a read. It seemed most appropriate to save it until today to post.
I wrestle with the idea of participating in certain explicitly religious customs, because it’s important to me not to legitimize and encourage baseless beliefs. But this graphic — which I’m not quite sure of the origin of, since I couldn’t actually find on the (very cool) Truth Saves website — does a great job illustrating why participating in the customs isn’t necessarily an endorsement of Christianity or any other specific set of religious beliefs. Christmas is an amalgam of many wintertime celebrations, renamed and reimagined as political and cultural expediency required. If I want to exchange presents with my family on December 25th, I’m not aligning myself with Christianity over atheism any more than our neighbors with the Christmas tree in their window are choosing Saturn over Jesus.
Greta Christina’s post about godless language from last week solidified this stance for me a bit more. There are undoubtedly good points to be made about whether we say “bless you” when someone sneezes, “R.I.P.” when someone dies, etc. But at some level, it’s also okay to let go of the anxiety over whether our every word fully expresses our beliefs or lack thereof, and just talk in ways that other people will understand. I don’t worship Odin, Thor, or Freya, but I’m not going to rename Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday either.
I’m just going to have a happy day with my family today, and I hope you all do, too.