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Is it hypocritical for me, as an atheist, to celebrate religious holidays?

Family is very important to me, so, though I don’t believe in some all-seeing, all-knowing magic being, I still enjoy spending time with family, sharing different food dishes, and exchanging gifts in the case of Christmas. Religious holidays are the perfect time for me to do that as most of my family are religous, to varying degrees, and I have the major holidays off from work. Is it hypocritical for me to celebrate or is it ok to just look at it as a social gathering?

By Leeshi7
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Most religious holidays are just piggybacked onto pagan holidays anyways. I don't think it's hypocritical to get together with family.


I think its fine to allow the day (holiday) to mean whatever it means to you. I don’t think its hypocritical at all to want to gather with family and friends and loved ones and spend time together.


I don't think it is hypocritical. I still put up a tree every year. I even still call it a "Christmas" tree and say, "Merry Christmas" when someone says it to me. The only thing that has changed since becoming a non-believer is that when I decorate, there are no 'religious elements.' I got rid of the crèches and Baby Jesuses and instead have Krampuses and Santa Clauses. I love the holidays. I get to be around my family and friends, eat fabulous food, and buy all my loved ones gifts. It isn't like Xtians have exclusive rights to the holidays. In fact, most of them were hijacked from the pagans. Of course, they don't like to readily admit to that, but that is a story for another day.

This is a bit off topic, but speaking of Krampus, there’s a Krampus themed haunted house not too far from me right around Christmas. It’s amazing.

@Leeshi Awesome! I'd like to see that!



Most holidays are secular marketing festivals anyway.

That is the best user name I've seen on here yet!

@tnorman1236 Hah! Thank you!


Absolutely okay. I see holidays about togetherness.

bleurowz Level 8 Apr 17, 2018

Most holidays have pagan origins, and that is what I keep in mind while everyone focuses on the perceived religious aspect. If I’m feeling especially ornery (which is most of the time), I will bring that up when someone goes over the top with the religiosity. We mostly just enjoy the opportunity to be together since those tiles are few and far between.


My perspective is similar to most on here: I celebrate holidays as a time to be with family and friends. Most of our family celebrations don’t involve prayer or anything actually “religious” per say, so that helps.
My birthday falls on a Christmas so, that’s also gives me a bit of perspective (and probably led to my studying religion and deciding they’re all flawed, leading to my atheism).
On the VERY rare occasions where prayer comes into play, I use that moment to be grateful that I actually get along with my family. That gratefulness (for me) is directed at myself to remind me to work at my relationships in my life in order to maintain that peace/happiness.
Long story short: it really doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy it and don’t feel pressure to celebrate as a religious person. It’s an excuse to get together with friends/family just because you can (in my opinion!).


If someone invites you to a Christmas party serving food and stand under the Mistletoe.​

nicknotes Level 8 Apr 16, 2018

I make it clear that I am not celebrating a religious holiday but a secular one. I send people Yuletide or Midwinter Festival greetings instead of Christmas ones and make a point of telling people that Easter is a pagan fertility festival which is why we have eggs and bunnies. I think it is good to celebrate the passing of the seasons and other events so we need never feel guilty about joining in - we just do it for a different reason.

CeliaVL Level 7 Apr 16, 2018

Just look up the pagan origins of Every xian holiday! Then enjoy the Solstice, or whatever, as you please.


Is it wrong for christian people to celebrate seclar holidays?
All Christian and other religious holidays, all have much older meanings than the ones a particular "faith" assign to them, and most are just to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
If it makes you feel better just call them the winter, summer, spring and autumn festivals.


I don't think its hypocritical if you know what you are doing and why. I wouldnt hesitate to support any of my family in anything htey wanted to do because Its just a meeting of friendship and we all have so many different ways of showing our love and understanding. i think there is a core set of values within me that I adhere to and as long as I am not required to break them I feel Okay, I don't have to buy into the meanings of what I am doing I am onnly required to be part of hte ritual - Its Ok .

jacpod Level 8 Apr 17, 2018

Thank you


For some,a holiday isn't about the religious aspect but the whole spending time with family and good feelings thing.

josh23452 Level 7 Apr 17, 2018



If you're having fun with your family you are just taking advantage of a situation when all your family are together. it's just logical. it's a damn shame people need fairy tales to get their family together but what can you do.

Personally, I’d rather celebrate Zeus and Hera. Everyone could wear togas and throw lighting bolts at their annoying relatives...

I prefer the HULK


Enjoy the food, gifts, family time, whatever. Don't worry about it and relax and enjoy yourself.

eric788 Level 5 Apr 16, 2018

It's fine, tons of religious people celebrate Halloween and JW don't celebrate anything but anniversaries. I enjoy spending time with Family and Friends Regardless of whether it's for some holiday. I just no longer make it a huge deal and take the religious part out of it.


Your fine, I do the same but try my best to educate people on the real origins of most Christian holidays.

GabeGray Level 2 Apr 16, 2018

Do you do this on the holiday and, if so, do people get upset with you for trying to discuss it then?

@Leeshi Most are so brainwashed that they listen but it’s going in one ear and straight out the other

Oh well, at least you make an effort to share your knowledge. You must be doing so in a respectful way, too, if people aren’t getting offended. If they choose continue to ignore facts, there’s not much you can do about it other than politely disagree.


I look upon agnosticism as searching for Truth and wisdom. Recruiting people to understand science and how religion is morally degenerate should always be considered. Agnosticism is not declasse, but religion should be. Look on these get togethers as an opportunity to enlighten or inhibit the willfully ignorant. Know and be able to deliver the best arguments and counter-arguments against Christianity/Judaism (or whatever). Know your audience and gauge whether it is appropriate to discuss the perversity of individual holidays. If people are unreachable and you want to remain 'close', then hold your fire. Otherwise, planting seeds of doubt is Holy/Wholly laudible!

racocn8 Level 6 Apr 16, 2018

As long as it’s not causing you any distress, you’re fine.


Seriously dude you're fine. You're not pretending to be anything you're not. You're just respecting long held customs. It's not like God's going to be mad at you for turning up to his party uninvited. "Yeah yeah I'm a mate of Dave's"

MattHardy Level 6 Apr 16, 2018

Hahahaha! It would suck so bad if God had me escorted from the premises


I celebrate the religious holidays in a non religious way. Xmas is about lights, presents, decorations and spending quality time with family. Oh, and eating....lots and lots of eating smile001.gif


That’s why I’m not an atheist. I get really sick of being told I can’t say things like “bless you” if someone sneezes, or that I’m not allowed to capitalize god if it’s a proper noun, that acknowledging there’s evidence of an historical Jesus is verboten, and this: celebrating holidays is somehow hypocritical. The holidays means what they mean because WE made them up. And they were made up at times of celebration. Christmas, a festival of light in the darkest time of the year. I absolutely celebrate Christmas, and Halloween, July 4, and Veterans and Memorial days... and if I get a day off from work, all the better.

Benthoven Level 8 Apr 16, 2018

I'm an atheist, and I still say, "bless you" when someone sneezes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.


Not at all. As an atheist you can celebrate Christmas every day! Christmas is whatever you want it to be.

I like the sound of that! Now, if only my boss would accept my need for “religious holidays” 60 days out of the year ?


It depends how you celebrate.

If your celebration is a 'religious celebration' then why would you as an atheist?

Yet if you're just 'enjoying a day off' then how is that hypocritical? Do you need less time off than religious folk?

ToakReon Level 7 Apr 16, 2018

It’s more that my family is religious and I am attending the family gatherings that they hold. They are celebrating the birth or resurrection of Christ, etc, but I am going to spend time with people I love. Does it become hypocritical due to the fact that I am joining the gathering for a different reason than it is intended? Also, I don a pretty sweet Star Wars Ugly Christmas Sweater that I’m not quite ready to give up

No Leeshi - spending time with your family is an act of caring, and love. That cannot be wrong ... ☺


Most Christians don't celebrate on these days . Most just give presents and stay at home with relatives and never see a church nope you are not doing anything wrong

Simon1 Level 7 Apr 16, 2018
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