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Ah, Christmas. It’s arguably the most significant and widely celebrated religious holiday of the year. It’s the day that, according to the Bible, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God with merriment and goodwill.
But what if you don’t believe in God? What if you aren’t religious? Do you just sit back and endure the holiday? Do you reject Christmas completely? Well, being non-religious during Christmas isn’t as heavy as you think. You’re wondering what it’s like to be Christ-less during Christmas – let me show you.
I’m somewhat of an atheist, which according to the Oxford English Dictionary means: “A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.” It’s about as succinct as the definition gets.
I only became an atheist around two years ago, but I was a late arrival to an already growing trend. A 2016 Australian census showed that at least thirty percent of Australians registered as ‘No Religion’, followed by more censuses that the worldwide atheist population is over two-hundred million and counting.
This may be a significant number, but the amount of religious people in the world is even larger; so how does it feel for those who aren’t ‘included’ in the mix? How does it feel to be an outlier?
Well, it doesn’t feel any different at all.
Ironically enough, atheism is not a religion despite being categorised as one. In the words of notable atheist Bill Maher, “atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.” One of the better things about atheism is how little of your time it takes up, and because of your ‘un-tethered’ beliefs, it leaves you able to appreciate different religions and their respective cultures without bias. Case in point, Christmas.
I might not be religious, but that doesn’t stop me from buying presents for my loved ones or being among the first people to wish people a Merry Christmas when I see them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re religious or not, no belief should prevent a person from being happy and spending time with their friends and family this time of year.
The idea that Christmas is purely a religious holiday is because we live in a predominantly Christian society. We’ve overthought the whole scenario. Besides, when the holiday season starts to roll around, the average person will think of one of these things:
- What gifts you’re going to get people.
- Where the family Christmas lunch will be.
- What Christmas activities you’ll be doing (watching lights, Christmas movies, etc).
- (BONUS) How on earth you’re going to pay for all those gifts on a Uni student’s budget.
So unless religion and the Christian faith is an integral part of your life, what’s stopping you from being involved in all the gift-giving and merriment instead? As much as it would pain many people to admit, Christmas is not the traditional religious holiday it once was.
So this Christmas, please remember to love and be thankful for one another, regardless of who they may be and to be considerate of their beliefs. Like religion and the practice of beliefs, everyone celebrates holidays differently and it’s that diversity that makes us who we are. Religious or not, Christmas is and should be a joyous occasion for everyone to enjoy.