Image by tab2space via FlickrI hope you don’t define yourself by atheism. Not only is it not fair to define your person by something you don’t have (theism), is lets Christians define you. Especially this time of year.
When we evaluate if and how we celebrate the holiday season with any regard to Jesus or to Christians, we're sanctioning the Christians’ idea that they own December. If we define our lives by their mythology, Bill O’Reilly has every right and quite possibly some reason to assume we’re jealous of their Baby Jesus.
Christians think they own December because in 350 the pope declared December 25 was Jesus’ birthday and co-opted the existing pagan feasts and celebrations. But adding Christian mythology to pagan mythology doesn’t change the fact that it’s all mythology. Virtually every aspect of the American holiday celebration—the trees, the word Yule and its log, feasting and gluttony, gift giving, caroling, candle lighting, and even Christmas hams—is a pagan branch into which Jesus myths have been engrafted.
If Saturnalia or Isis wouldn’t stop you from enjoying December’s festivities, neither should Jesus.In fact, the only difference between pagan and Christian mythology is that otherwise respectable people continue to believe it.
When atheists respond to the mythology beyond dismissal, we fuel the idea that those people believe in someone that we've rejected, rather than reflecting reality: They believe in mythology that we’ve dismissed.
If Saturnalia or Isis wouldn’t stop you from enjoying December’s festivities, neither should Jesus.
I know that the United States is a cultic culture, and Jesus has more sway than Saturnalia, but that’s not the point. The point is that when you give that culture influence over your behavior, you’re empowering it. Enjoying the holiday fun and explaining you’ve no more regard for Jesus myths than the pagan myths his followers have adopted dis-empowers it.
Christmas Unwrapped -- the history of Christmas | Ho Ho Ho -- Merry Christmas Happy Yuletide Cheer | Is it Ok to Celebrate Christmas, Even If You’re Not a Christian?