Rationals Admin on 11 Dec 2006 07:21 pm
There is a lot of religious celebration and symbology that happens in December. Christians mark December 25 for their celebration of Christ’s birth. Their official symbol is the nativity display. Jews have Hanukkah, “celebrated on eight successive days beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar,” [ref] which almost always falls in December. The official symbol of Hanukkah is the Menorah. There’s also Kwanzaa, celebrated on 7 days starting on December 26th. Kwanzaa’s symbols include ears of corn and candles.
But there is also the “Holiday Season” in the secular sense. Its official symbols include Santa, Rudolf, decorated evergreens, Mistletoe, etc. This secular holiday now overshadows all of the religious holidays, and many retailers go so far as to avoid all religious symbology as well as the use of the word “Christmas” in their advertising, store displays, etc.
Rational people participate in this secular “season”. Many (most?) rational people put up trees and lights, exchange gifts, etc. Why do we participate? Because the Holiday Season is a great tradition. The idea of giving presents to other people is cool. The idea of gathering with family and friends is cool. The idea of approximately a week-long lull between December 25 and January 1 is cool. If you have children, all the festivities around the decorations, the songs, the food, the parties, the stories (Rudolf, Frosty, etc.), and then opening a pile of presents on the morning of December 25 is cool. And all of it is secular.
But, to my knowledge, there is no official symbol that rationals/atheists call their own during the Holiday Season. Is it time for us to change that? Do we need an official symbol for the rational cause? If so, What should our symbol be?
One approach would be to appropriate an existing symbol and call it our own. The Holiday Tree, complete with ornaments and lights, is one symbol for us to consider using. This symbol has many advantages. It is a symbol that is already widely used and deeply entrenched. It is neutral in connotation. In addition, the Holiday Tree is currently unattached to any group — no religious group lays any significant claim to this symbol.
How do we make it our symbol? We simply announce that the Holiday Tree is the official holiday symbol of rational people. Our message is straightforward: By displaying our symbol – the Holiday Tree – you indicate your knowledge that God is imaginary. Our symbol indicates that you are celebrating the “Holiday Season” rather than “The birth of Christ” (or any other religious event).
Christians cannot complain about this, because the tree has nothing to do with their religious observations. Neither can Jews nor Kwanzaans. The Holiday tree is currently unattached, so we claim it as our own. If Christians do not want to display the symbol of rational people in their homes, they simply will not put up Holiday Trees.
What are your thoughts?