What I find amazing during December is how angry Christians get. Why do they get so angry if you don’t say “Merry Christmas”? Why should they care if I go to church or don’t participate in nor respect religious activities in December? Why must everyone be forced to see a nativity scene and also make sure no one sees what they consider an atheist display? Or if they can’t keep such things from view, then at least try to one up it one way or another? The very idea that when almost everywhere you look in America in December you’re hit in the face with Christmas that any appearance of atheists or atheism requires a response of equal or greater kind by Christians is absurd and seemingly pathological.
Any atheist will tell you that these antics aren’t unique to December, that Christians in America behave like this all year long, but I do think everything gets amped up in December. I think it’s because they feel entitled to December, like it’s THEIR month, and as such, it’s a time when they deserve a break from having to think of atheists. In fact, they seem to behave like during this month they have a special license to say or do whatever they want. You know that awkward moment when someone looks around to make sure everyone’s the same before making some off-color remark? Well, Christmas time for Christians is like not having to check before making a remark. For a brief month or so, they seem to act as if they have free reign to say or do whatever they want without fear of consequences. And if you had the audacity to actually speak up and call them on it, why you’re the bigot!
In a way, atheists should welcome this time of year (as if we don’t already, what with the vacation time, parties, gifts, feasts, and all that stuff). This is when the ugliest side of Christians comes out in full force. Examples can be found nearly as easily as a candy cane or a decorated tree. On the off chance you needed further evidence to cite of Christian animosity, prejudice, elitism, and disregard for laws and our constitution, why it’s all laid out before you like a holiday feast. Most of the latter can be found at the Freedom from Religion’s site, but I want to focus on the need for Christians to attack non-believers, specifically atheists. I think the two major motivators are fear, and resentment for being called out on both their beliefs and transgressions.
I wrote recently about one specific example of how believers try to denigrate atheists and offered the suggestion that they do it in an attempt to weaken atheist objections to their beliefs. I also suggested that the motivation is essentially fear, since if doubt threatens faith, there’s a very real fear that strong objections to their beliefs may threaten their faith in them, thus killing the beliefs. What I didn’t consider was the motivation of resentment. I see religion as an indulgence, no different than other indulgences like over-eating, drinking alcohol, drug use, or anything else you can come up with. There’s no shortage of rationales by the religious justifying belief which equate it as such, claiming it provides comfort and a calming effect. That is, in part, the impetus for the “no atheist in a foxhole” claim, that faced with impending doom, all will attempt to comfort themselves with a belief in a god. As an indulgence then, any attempt, perceived or actual, to deny access to that indulgence will illicit resentment and anger.
As I mentioned before, Christian anger, fueled by fear and resentment, can be seen all year long but I think it’s the unwarranted sense of entitlement which is especially amped up in December with Christmas that fuels the majority of the Christian vitriol in December. It’s the resentment that they don’t have carte blanche, that they can’t say or do whatever they want for at least December that fills them with rage and some ultimately lash out. They’ll spout that atheists are naturally angry and miserable, that they’re illogical and irrational, and naturally immoral as they have no moral center (and he incorrectly cites Nietzsche as justification which REALLY gets my goat). Well at least they can take heart in the fact that there are so few of us that we’re really not a threat, especially since we’re also lazy.
So is there anything that can be done about Christian fears and resentment? Yes and no. Certainly no as far as addressing their fears of their faith at risk. As was shown yet again today, education seems to be a faith killer so exposure to criticism of their beliefs, usually by atheists, will threaten those beliefs. As far as the resentment, well ironically that requires education, and unfortunately empathy, which I’ve said numerous times before is discouraged by the Christian variant of the Golden Rule. They require an education in our constitution, specifically the 1st amendment, as well as the founding principles of our country (hell, let’s just say a solid education in US history) to learn how they aren’t entitled or otherwise above the law, and being a majority doesn’t change that. Ideally, fostering empathy should be the only thing necessary as a healthy respect for others would make impositions upon others an impossibility, but at least an understanding of the law might discourage those impositions. Nothing can be done about willful ignorance and feelings of entitlement perhaps, and as long as both exist we can expect continued anger, fueled by fear and resentment, from Christians all year long, but especially in December.
An this just in, a Christian group killing Santa with a firing squad. Good stuff.