Some messages are put into the public space seemingly only to divide people. I came across this one today on Facebook and it caused me quite a bit of grief, along with the comments supporting the message. To me, this message is the epitome of passive aggressiveness. There is nothing in this message to unite us as humans. It has subtle undertones of “Hey, we’re Christians and you have to do it our way. Like it or not!”
The majority of the people responding to that message are close family members. I love them dearly and always will. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I just “came out” as a non believer. Just because I love my family, it doesn’t mean that I agree with them. I also decided to speak up so that more people are exposed to critical thinking and more friends and family may be encouraged to speak out against messages that seem to only divide us. Too many of us take things like this at face value, or simply believe it because it matches what they feel and/or believe.
To those family members, I am truly sorry if you are offended by this blog post. I will not be silent and I hope that you understand that I am not “attacking” anyone. I’m only attempting to be more open and honest about my views.
It saddened me to read one of the first replies: “Only idiots want you to say happy holiday anyhow, since holiday mean ‘holy day’.” Because to me, saying Merry Christmas is great when you are confident that your audience is Christian and celebrates like you do. Saying Happy Holidays is much less likely to exclude people who are not Christian AND is a positive message. I cannot think of anything unkind (or idiotic) about saying Happy Holidays.
I spoke up to explain with: “Ummm, there’s more than one holiday during that period. There’s more than one religion. And there’s non believers celebrating in a variety of ways. So why not be more inclusive instead of assuming everyone is just like you and celebrates your holiday and believes what you believe?”
And I get responses like this (My thoughts follow each in red text):
- Do you just want to do away with Christmas, Easter and any acknowledgement of anything Christian, or God? Christmas is the main holiday at that time of year and no one can take our right away to say Merry Christmas. If you don’t like it, just excuse us for believing differently than you do.
When you tell someone merry Christmas and they don’t believe, it can be a bit disconcerting. They feel isolated. Saying happy holidays is more inclusive, but if you know that the person you are speaking to celebrates the way you do – then say merry Christmas.
- I also received a chat that I was attacking Christianity and it’s followers.
No, but I certainly felt belittled by the comment that only idiots want people to say Happy Holidays. That is a mild form of attack, regardless of my beliefs or non-beliefs.
- …do not try to make those of us who choose to say Merry Christmas feel guilty. You just make our belief’s stronger, and we pray harder for those of you who want to crush our faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that you are searching for God, and rebelling against what you believe to be true. My prayers will continue to help you find Him.
I never said anything about guilt. I don’t want people to feel guilty for saying Merry Christmas, but to understand why Happy Holidays is appropriate in many circumstances. I’m also not into crushing people’s faith. But on the other hand, I’m NOT searching for God.
- If you truly do not believe in God, why do you care about a bunch of empty words on your behalf? Why do you continue to post your non beliefs? We don’t want to be inclusive. We who truly believe, want to be positive about our wishes.
This one was the kicker for me. I was speechless for a moment. Number one, words are not empty. The entire message in the image was “Hey, do it my way – not this new way that is more inclusive.” And the part about me continuing to post my non belief, well – because I want the people of the world to know that non believers are regular people who have values, beliefs, compassion, and everything that believers have. “We don’t want to be inclusive.” That REALLY goes against my core belief of valuing diversity. We have so many kinds of people. Short, tall, skinny, fat, pale white to dark dark brown, olive toned, red toned, too many denominations of Christians to even think about, various other religions (estimates of 4,200), and such a huge diversity of thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. If we were open to sharing beliefs WITHOUT the intent of CONVERTING someone to the way we feel, we would learn so much.
My family is praying for me – and I appreciate the fact that they are thinking about me and care for me. I’m not praying for them though. Instead, I’m thinking about them and hoping that they will learn to be more accepting of the diversity in our world.