Does being an atheist suck sometimes?

Krista - posted on 11/08/2011 ( 165 moms have responded )

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I came across an interesting Tumblr blog, where people submit all of the things that they find difficult about being an atheist. Some were mere annoyances, but others were really sad:

"When your mom thinks atheism equals Satanism, and avoids you at all costs, because she thinks you worship the Devil."

"When your outwardly non-religious school forces you to attend a Christian assembly every week, where prayers and hymns are mandatory, and you are glared at, and then reprimanded, if you do not sing."

"Having your grandmother tell people she has 6 grandchildren, instead of 7, because being an atheist means she doesn't acknowledge you as family anymore."

Were I to add one, it would be, "Censoring myself on Facebook and in public, because I'm scared that being so open about my atheism will carry personal or professional repercussions."


What are your thoughts? Is this just what atheists should expect? Can this be considered religious persecution? Have any atheists/agnostics in this group encountered anything similar?


http://atheism-shitthatblows.tumblr.com/

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Krista - posted on 11/09/2011

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Heh -- no questions here, Brittany. I was raised Roman Catholic, so I've definitely been to that particular rodeo before. : )

I am curious about something, though. You say that the "burden of doubt" lies upon the non-believer .

And yet, for every single other situation out there, if someone makes an assertion of fact, the burden of PROOF is upon that person to back up their assertion with evidence.

Why is it bass-ackwards when it comes to religion? Why is the burden upon us to prove a negative? It'd be like you saying, "Your house has mice, Krista." And I'd say, "No, it doesn't", and you say, "Prove that it doesn't." Unless I can set up infrared cameras in every single tiny nook and cranny of the entire structure of my house, there is no way for me to prove that I do not even have one mouse.

But for you to prove that there IS a mouse in my house, it's easy. You show me one dropping down in my storage room. Done. Proven.

Proving an assertion is pretty straightforward. Proving a negative? That's almost impossible. And unfortunately, it seems as though people seem to think that because we can't 100%, conclusively, absolutely DISprove the existence of a God, that this is to be taken as proof that one exists.

Isobel - posted on 11/09/2011

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ok, now I've read everything. Here's my take.



It's exactly like being a vegetarian. There are some people who will attack you for it and call you an idiot for it. There are some people who ARE vegetarians who wave it like a flag and use it to attack other people...and then there are the vast majority of us who rarely think about it in day-to-day life...unless of course we are asked our opinion which we are all the time on com ;)



and then our opinions are almost always offensive because



"It seems (to me) that many atheists define themselves not so much on their own belief system, but rather as being in direct opposition of another. It's not about their own beliefs, but rather, their (negative) reaction to the beliefs of others "



and that's EXACTLY the truth. We don't have a belief system, our belief is that you guys are wrong. period. and it's hard to say that without being hurtful.

[deleted account]

I think it blows that I can't post things like that link on my FB page. I am totally supportive of my friends and family who believe in God. I am respectful of their faith. They post god stuff ALL. THE. TIME. Do I get snarky? Post an anti-god comment? Nope. I click to something else. Scroll down. Step AWAYYY from the post. But I guarantee you that if I posted even ONE athiest thing on my page, here's what would happen. 1) There would be a BIG, stinky debate about it, where I would somehow end up being the bad guy. 2) I'd probably lose "friends". 3) My name would appear on prayer lists and in prayer chains nationwide. 4) My phone would BLOW UP lol

So not fair.



ETA: I don't think it falls under religious persecution, because I don't believe athiesm is a religion. To me, it feels as close as I could imagine it feeling for a homosexual to come out of the closet. It's a fact that many won't like and there is a fear of rejection for being who you really are. That's how it is for me, anyhow.

[deleted account]

"So, Jen, are you saying that the historical, and , in some cases, continued intolerance by Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc justifies a retaliatory response on the part of an Atheist?

Oh - and just to clarify - apostasy does not mean atheism. It means the rejection of one's religion or principles. Therefore, a person raised in Iran who converts to Christianity or Buddhism is just as guilty of apostasy as one who simply rejects that Allah (or any god) exists. "

Yes, I do know that. I am an apostate. Even as early as 100 years ago, that was a prosecutable offense in some Christian nations. It is still in some places a death sentence.

No, I'm not saying that because we were treated badly that it's ok to treat anyone else badly. We just are not giving religion the favorite child status anymore.

Johnny - posted on 11/12/2011

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Post a reply!It does rather seem like there is a lot of assuming going on in this thread that atheists spend their time going through life telling the faithful that they are delusional and should stop being religious. Perhaps you have seen a lot of evidence of this in your real lives, but as an atheist in a family full of them with many atheist friends, I have never really seen that happen. On here, in debates I see this happen and often on forums and comment boards around the net, in ways ranging from obnoxiously zealoutrous to polite and
respectful. Pretty much reflective of the rest of society.

Atheism and being an atheist is inherently a rejection of any and all deities, religions and the idea of faith. There is no way to make it "accepting" of God or faith. If you are one that can not believe, it becomes impossible to think that believing makes sense. Because if you could, you would. It is quite different than choosing one deity over another. It is a total rejection of the concept. Just saying that you do not believe is the act of telling another that you think their deepest held beliefs are wrong. No one, ever, likes to hear that another things they are wrong. Especially not about the foundation of their life.

Just a note on the Yule thing. As a Yule celebrator, I tend to call it Christmas for the sake of expediency and avoidance of debate. But I most assuredly can tell you that I celebrate Yule as passed down from my father's family brought over from Norway. I do not celebrate the birth of Christ, I just call it that so I don't have to explain myself every time the conversation comes up.

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Mary - posted on 11/12/2011

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"It does rather seem like there is a lot of assuming going on in this thread that atheists spend their time going through life telling the faithful that they are delusional..."

Johnny, you would have a point, except that more than one poster on here has said precisely that. They have said that a person who believes in a deity is irrational or delusional. Not just the belief itself, but the "believer". I certainly cannot speak for all who hold some type of faith, but I personally have no issue with the rejection of the concept. It is the belittling of the individual, and the implication that my intellect is somehow faulty or challenged for possessing the ability to believe. The use of the words delusional, "unrational", and the reference to being placed in psych ward were put into play by atheists posting within this debate - and not an "assumed" slight on my part.

I have no problem if you believe I am wrong. I am neither threatened nor offended if you find my faith in a higher power "wrong", or if it does not make sense to you. However, when one either states or implies that I am psychologically impaired for holding that opinion, I do (justifiably) take offense.

I will agree with you that this is not something I have ever encountered in real life with friends or acquaintances that I know to be Atheist. Religion itself rarely comes up in general conversations - and the personal tenets of anyone's individual beliefs - pretty much never. I have to say though, I am a little mystified that people find it acceptable to say harsh things on here that they wouldn't say to someone in person. It's no more "okay" to be deliberately rude or obnoxious in a debate forum than it is in RL.

Krista - posted on 11/12/2011

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Anyway, I think this thread needs to be locked down and put to bed. It's gotten ridiculous and ugly and people have been hurt, and that definitely was NOT my intent. I just wanted to know what people thought about atheists having experienced prejudice. That's all.

[deleted account]

"Not really Jen. You think Christmas throughout the centuries has always been so commercialized?? Not so much."

Then I suggest you go back to history and the early church when Christmas was not a huge holiday and did not start to become so until they decided to convert the pagans and adopted their revelries. Had they not done so, there's no way Christmas would be the hoopla that it is now. Frankly Easter is the holiday that is the huge deal if I understand Christian theology even slightly.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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"Let's face it, if you stripped all that stuff away and made it just a high church holiday like Ash Wednesday, no one would really pay it much attention"

Not really Jen. You think Christmas throughout the centuries has always been so commercialized?? Not so much.

Also, I felt my statement was clear enough, without having to repeat myself once again. If you don't get what I was saying in that specific post, I am sure that you have read through the rest of them. It is all in line with the context of my other thoughts on the matter.

[deleted account]

Marina said, "Then read it again. "

Well, no I don't think so. You know when someone tells me that they aren't getting what I'm saying, I personally make an attempt to rephrase it on the off chance that I may have not put it very well or that some other way of explaining it may facilitate communcation more easily.

Mileage may vary.

[deleted account]

"You make an excellent point Jeannette, about holidays. So, for all the Atheists, do you or do you not participate in the religious holidays? How about Easter? I could understand not celebrating, and I could see you all saying "I celebrate it as a family day" but you can do THAT anytime of year."

I don't celebrate Easter at all. I celebrate the fun parts of Christmas which frankly are as secular as one could wish. Let's face it, if you stripped all that stuff away and made it just a high church holiday like Ash Wednesday, no one would really pay it much attention.

Johnny - posted on 11/12/2011

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Post a reply!It does rather seem like there is a lot of assuming going on in this thread that atheists spend their time going through life telling the faithful that they are delusional and should stop being religious. Perhaps you have seen a lot of evidence of this in your real lives, but as an atheist in a family full of them with many atheist friends, I have never really seen that happen. On here, in debates I see this happen and often on forums and comment boards around the net, in ways ranging from obnoxiously zealoutrous to polite and
respectful. Pretty much reflective of the rest of society.

Atheism and being an atheist is inherently a rejection of any and all deities, religions and the idea of faith. There is no way to make it "accepting" of God or faith. If you are one that can not believe, it becomes impossible to think that believing makes sense. Because if you could, you would. It is quite different than choosing one deity over another. It is a total rejection of the concept. Just saying that you do not believe is the act of telling another that you think their deepest held beliefs are wrong. No one, ever, likes to hear that another things they are wrong. Especially not about the foundation of their life.

Just a note on the Yule thing. As a Yule celebrator, I tend to call it Christmas for the sake of expediency and avoidance of debate. But I most assuredly can tell you that I celebrate Yule as passed down from my father's family brought over from Norway. I do not celebrate the birth of Christ, I just call it that so I don't have to explain myself every time the conversation comes up.

Rosie - posted on 11/12/2011

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i'd like to make it clear that i state why i feel the way i feel about religion in DEBATES. i don't go around telling people i think they're delusional, nor does it really even cross my mind IRL until they start doing crazy things.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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I had a sneaking suspicion that you were arguing for fun...anyhoo, thank you for the first debate I've actually enjoyed in a long time.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Joy, I appreciate your very clear and non judgmental explanations. I do believe in co existing with everyone. I don't care what religion you are, or are not. We are all people, and religous beliefs or non beliefs only come into how you present yourself, and explain yourself. I am an extremely tolerant person when it comes to all religions and non believers, but I also hate when religion is shoved down my throat, or non religion beliefs. I may not have shown that in this thread, but I was playing more of a devils advocate (funny choice of words) to try to prove a point. Thank you once again for your explanations, and opening up your thoughts on the matter.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Nope, I disagree with this statement "I find it is usually the believer who adds that part on their own."

Maybe that is how it is for you IRL, but I have seen that word thrown at believers of a diety in here and on more than one occasion. Also I have heard it IRL. But I personally have only heard IRL Christians defending themselves against being delusional, a word that was thrown at them by a non believer.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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No Marina, the only twitch in my panties comes from people telling me that I shouldn't celebrate MY Christmas ON Christmas.

It's a religious day to you YAY! It's not to me YAY!

Everybody loves Christmas

Jenny - posted on 11/12/2011

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The way I phrase it is "Due to the lack of evidence I do not believe in the existence of a god or gods." because that is how I feel. I don't call people delusional, I find it is usually the believer who adds that part on their own.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Or, you can start with saying that you do not feel their is sufficient evidence to prove otherwise, so that leads you to believe there is no God. You don't need to call people delusional to get your point across, even if you feel that way.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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You can respond with "no, I just don't believe in the same things as you do. I have a different opinion."

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Listen Laura, you are the one that has her panties all in a twitch about the date of December 25th being a religious day. Not me. That is why I have a difficult time understanding if you have such a big issue with it, you can easily....1 person...chose to celebrate your love, life and tradition on an alternate day that has absolutely no religious undertone. THAT is what I am saying.

Jenny - posted on 11/12/2011

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Anyway, this holiday talk is ridiculous.

Yes, it does suck to be atheist sometimes. Living in a world where the majority have belief of one sort or another we are constantly having to defend ourselves. It is easier for you to understand a Muslim believing in allah as it is seen as another road to the same destination.

When you don't believe in anything it is seen as offensive to some. I can't just say "Due to the lack of evidence I do not believe in the existence of a god or gods." to people's faces without causing trouble. To me, it seems straight forward. There is no proof so I can't believe it. To others my just saying that is seen as an attack on how they believe. "Are you calling me delusional?" Well if anyone can tell me how to say why I believe without inferring the believer is delusional, please let me know.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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and YOU are the one pretending that it has no meaning to anybody other than Christians.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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Let me make this clear. I don't really think that the Christians should move Christmas...I was simply pointing out how ridiculous it is to ask ANYBODY to change how or when they celebrate because, as Jenny said "We're busy prayin' over here"

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Actually I DON"T eat turkey, and these traditions have also been adapted BY the Christians. All of these have become symbols of Christianity in celebration of Christmas. The only other time that I have even heard of Yule (to my recollection ) is in the song where they say "Yule time log".



To clarify my perspective Joy, I have no issue with co existing. What I have issue with is people getting pissed that it IS a religious holiday, not even slightly acknowledging it, and pretending like it has no meaning to others.

[deleted account]

No, what I said was that we have to coexist because no one is moving any of the days to other times of the year. Asking me to celebrate MY version of Christmas in, say, March.....that's as crazy as asking YOU to move your version of Christmas to the ACTUAL time of year when Jesus was born. So, since no one's moving any holidays around, it is what it is and we can either discuss it to death or let it be. I say let it be :)

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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but you should probably celebrate Jesus' birth on a day when he might have been born instead of during Yule...that makes sense, no? You don't HAVE to put up a tree (a symbol of Yule), or eat Turkey (A traditional yule feast) for Jesus' birthday...find out when he was really born and have a feast with just you and your family then. That seems like a much more Christian thing to do.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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But you just helped prove my point Joy, all of what you celebrate as a non religious Holiday, you can do on a non religious day.

[deleted account]

Let's take a non-religious holiday and use that as an example. Thanksgiving. For some, it is about the history of our country, for remembering to be thankful for the good people and things in our lives.
For some, it's all about the bird and the rest of the feast.

Doesn't mean both can't be celebrated on the same day, right?

There doesn't have to be irony about Christmas. Do Laura and Jenny have a point? I think they most certainly do. Do I understand why you're asking the question Marina? Yes. But all historical fact aside, it is what it is now and we (non-Christians and Christians alike) celebrate Christmas for different reasons, at the same time of year. Coexisting IS possible. And I think the point is that expecting non-Christians to move our day of celebration to another time of year IS almost as ridiculous as asking Christians to move the celebration of Jesus's birth to another time of year. It's not gonna happen so why even discuss it? Coexist.

Jenny - posted on 11/12/2011

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"I celebrate that time of year because that is when it was chosen to celebrate."

Me too, I've celebrated on Dec. 25th for my entire life. Why should anyone have to move days? Um, could you not have turkey and presents with your family today, I'm praying over here. The thought is totally ridiculous.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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I don't know how else to say it. You asked why we celebrate on a Christian holiday...I explained that it's not a Christian holiday. What more is there to say?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Jenny and Laura, you seem to think that current Christians have anything to do with all of that. Nope. I celebrate that time of year because that is when it was chosen to celebrate. That is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. You can call it what you want Laura, that does not eliminate the meaning, or the fact that it is a wide spread Christian Holiday. The point???? Moving such a HUGE holiday at this point would be extremely difficult. My other point? Atheist do not have a specific time of year to celebrate so for them to change dates not to coincide with a religious Holiday (for those atheist that are completely offended by it) would be much more realistic and easy.

Jenny - posted on 11/12/2011

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There is no irony here. You could have too but you chose to celebrate during the culturally normal time of year and move Jesus' birthday to a completely different time of year to boot. Go figure.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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OK...let's see if I can make it any clearer Marina.



There were Pagans that celebrated Yule, then the Christians came to them and said, you can not celebrate Yule anymore because you are going to be Christian, but here's what we'll do for you, we'll put Jesus' birthday smack dab in the middle of Yule and so long as you celebrate the birth of Christ WHILE you celebrate Yule, we won't kill you or set your house on fire and take your families away from you.



THAT my friend is how Yule became Christmas.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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As far as I am concerned, you did not hijack a thing. You are celebrating along side the religous for some of the same and some very different reasons. My point is, how and why you celebrate can be done any month of the year, yet you chose to celebrate on the biggest Christian Holidays. Just pointing out the irony, and trying to understand that irony more. But, nothing truly has been said to make it fully logical. I see now it is strictly out of the tradition to celebrate that time of year, cause any other reason adds to the irony.

Jenny - posted on 11/12/2011

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Thanks tips but what's your point? I was responding to your posts.

So you are asking why we hijacked a holiday that you hijacked first? We would have celebrated it in our way back in the day but we were still being murdered for our beliefs back then.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Jenny, there are MANY participating in this discussion making it a larger issue as a whole. Not just one individual.

Jeannette - posted on 11/12/2011

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@Laura, because I do not celebrate Yule, forgive me for not realizing that the changing of the seasons (which we all clearly see if not blind) is because of Yule. Not asking you to believe or celebrate otherwise.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Laura, once again, your tone is unnecessary. I am not addressing ANYTHING to do with YULE. I am discussing Christmas, the Christian Holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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see? she still doesn't get it...YULE is the real holiday NOT Christmas!!! It is older than Christianity...those are the colours of the season BECAUSE of Yule. Gad.

If anybody should celebrate at a different time of year, it should be the Christians.

Jenny - posted on 11/12/2011

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Marina, the holidays are cultural as well for when they occur. They won't be moving anytime soon for believers or non believers and they don't have to. You're making an issue where one doesn't exist.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Laura, seriously quit the condescending tone. There is no need for that, and no one is talking disrespectful tone.

Once again, you can celebrate family, and everything you listed any time of year. YOU are the one choosing to celebrate it on the Christian Holidays. You could also celebrate it during Hanukkah, or really any month. I can see why you would keep it around that time of year for tradition, but it does not make it any less of a religious holiday.

Jeannette - posted on 11/12/2011

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@Laura, much of what you have described is done merely because of the season. For instance, burning a fire is common in winter, when Christmas takes place. Pine needles smell good any time of year and I keep pine scented anything anytime. To have pine scent is not a descriptor of ceremony. The colors are fall colors, which are typically used in decorating during fall as well as winter. I don't add "beasts" into my Christmas decor typically, but will not shun the idea entirely either. Nor do I think about whether I am displaying a genuine stone. (does it have to be genuine in your ceremony/celebration?)
Seriously, I don't think Marina asked you to stop celebrating Christmas. I think her question was along the lines of, if you don't agree or believe why would you? You actually answered her question. Now you are asking why a Christian would use any of what you state is used during Yule because you think we are celebrating the pagan holiday? I hope I gave a partial answer as I cannot answer for everyone.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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and it was you who didn't understand why we celebrate "Christmas" so I'm explaining it to you. Do you get it yet?

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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to show you that everything that I do for "Christmas" is older than Christianity. I get EXTREMELY offended when Christians think that they own that particular holiday (and Easter too) cause essentially, Christianity put a bumper sticker on it and called it theirs.

Jeannette - posted on 11/12/2011

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@Marina, no m'am (Texas), I am a Christian. However, I do not have the stomach for religion. I read the Bible and have done studies on some of the books, but I do not agree with most organized religion because they take a section of the Bible and base an entire faith (and way to live) off that.
Not to pick on any particular religion, but one of the things that turns me off religion (not Christianity) is the sheer number of religions that have come out of focusing on one part. Am I making sense? Sometimes I can over think and speak this.
@Laura, it is widely accepted that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth. We Christians could decide to go ahead and change the day we celebrate that, but why?

Jenny - posted on 11/12/2011

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As a religious celebration the only part that should matter is the relationship with your god right? We're not going to atheist mass or saying atheist prayers so the religious aspects of the holiday are very much intact for you

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Really don't see what your point is on that last post....I just see it as being highly argumentative for absolutely no reason.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Once again Laura, it is the day chosed to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. If it was in June, it would still be celebrated the same way....and made into a huge religous holiday. I am sure you would feel the same about it then, but that does not change what December 25th stands for. Sorry, it doesn't change anything.

Isobel - posted on 11/12/2011

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I hope you don't do any of these things to celebrate the birth of Christ...



HERBS OF YULE:

Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.



FOODS OF YULE:

roasted turkey, mulled wine, dried fruit, eggnog, pork, beans, gingerbread people, Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits such as apples and pears, nuts, pork dishes, hibiscus or ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).



INSENCE AND OIL:

For Yule incense and oil you can use any of the following scents, either blended together or alone: rosemary, frankinsence, myrrh, nutmeg, saffron, cedar/pine, wintergreen, ginger, bayberry, cinnamon.



Yule Incense

2 parts Frankincense

2 part Pine Needles

1 Part Cedar

1 Part Juniper Berries





Yule Oil

2 drops of each Cinnamon and Clove oil

1 drop of mandarin oil

1 drop of popine oil

2 drops each frankincense and Myrrh oil.











COLORS OF YULE:

Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.



STONES OF YULE:

Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, cat's eye,diamonds.



ANIMALS AND BEASTS associated with Yule are: stags, wolf, hawk, squirrels, wren/robin, phoenix, trolls, memecolion.



SPELLWORKING FOR YULE:

Peace, harmony, love, divination, a healthier planet, and increased happiness.



ACTIVITIES FOR YULE:

Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule storytelling, making wreaths, throwing holiday parties, sending greetings, Convey love to family, friends, and associates,Light a fire ,Make your own Yule log ,Consider those who are and/or have been important in your life and share appreciation, donate food and clothing to poor in your area, volunteer time at a social service agency. Put up bird feeders and keep them filled throughout the winter to supplement the diets of wild birds, meditate for world peace, work magic for a healthier planet, make a pledge to do some form of good works in the new solar year.



TABOOS ON YULE:

extingishing fire, traveling

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011

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Jenny, there are many holidays.....Fourth of July to celebrate our independence, Martin Luther King day to celebrate another great man in history that made an impact on our lives, Veterans day to give omage to those that have served our country, Thanksgiving to celebrate the Pilgrims and the Native Americans finally getting along and giving thanks (even if just for a moment).....

My point??? There are MANY Holidays that have NO religious undertone what so ever. never said Christianity had a monopoly on them, just the fact that Atheist are celebrating on the MOST PROFOUND religious day to Christians, and then get mad when we state it is a religious holiday.

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