Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oh, Ye Hypocrites

So last night I went to a dinner held for Hubby's work.  It's the first time in a looong while that both of us were out somewhere together without the kids.  Now you have to understand that despite people like Brother Guy Consolmagno and Jonathan Lunine being scientists and Catholics and the fact that the Vatican has an observatory on Kit Peak the vast majority of scientists are atheists.

So naturally I was surrounded by the non-religious.  I'm not saying there wasn't anyone religious, but I know that the hostess who sat next to be described herself as a "secular humanist."  Also interesting of the people there who had children were Hubby and I and the hostess and host.  But the others were mostly younger folk.

Somehow the topic came up about drinking and I mentioned the dry/wet counties and the whole religious thing being the main basis for it.  Somehow the conversation turned around to "religious people can be hypocritical."  Yes, yes they can.

I can name names if you like *cough* Biden *cough*.  I'm not saying that religious people aren't.  Or rather those who claim religiousity.  But so are atheists.  Case in point, Christmas.

The hostess describes herself as a "secular humanist" whatever that means and her husband is an atheist as well.  Yet they had Christmas trees up and were giving gifts.  Why?  I asked my husband "isn't it hypocritical of her as well to be essentially celebrating a religious holiday when she's not religious?"  "It's cultural."  he tries to explain.

I don't buy it.  If it's cultural why not celebrate non-religious holidays like the 4th of July?  Why Christmas and not say Kwanzaa?  Okay not black.  Right.  How about Hanukkah?  How about Winter Solstice?  Why Christmas? 

"Well, I celebrate Christmas because that's what my family does."  "Yes, but it's still a religious holiday.  You're celebrating something you don't believe in, the birth of Jesus.  And there are many many traditions surrounding the celebration of Christmas."

Later on he asked me about reindeer.  I had made some reindeer treats for HB's teachers.  "You're doing something secular.  Why can't an atheist do the same?"  "It's not the same thing.  Reindeer are associated with winter.  Gift giving (in the formal sense) serves no purpose other than for birthdays, thank yous, and for religious holidays. And Christmas trees do have ties to religion.  Any educated atheist, which I assume they are, knows that."

Then I mentioned that there are atheists who blatantly refuse to celebrate religious holidays because they are religious holidays.  Cultural connections or not.  These atheists tend to subscribe to their own form of religion ie The Religion that Lacks a God.

And I pointed out to my husband that really you can't claim to be a secular humanist anyway because those are the most dangerous sort who pull their morals out their....well you know.  My husband tried to argue that one.  My retort, "No, dear, all morality has to come from somewhere otherwise you can easily delude yourself.  Look at Nazi Germany.  If atheists truly believe they can come up with their own morals, then please explain that or the Code of Hammurabi?  No, dear, even atheists however hypocritical need religious persons."

Maybe someone can explain it to me, this whole "I'm an atheist and all religious people are hypocritical yet I celebrate Christmas traditions and my moral code is derived from religious philosophical ethics."  Because all I can say is "hello, Mrs. Pot."

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