However, the whole holiday of Christmas seems to have been challenged by non-Christian believers. Many people have spoken out about their disagreement with the traditional greeting of “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season, claiming that it is a Christian-centric message, to the point where it disrespects and ignores all other religions that also have holidays around the same time. They urge others to say “Happy Holidays” instead, which they argue is more harmless and inclusive.
This is an odd debate to me, because in my opinion, I believe that the reality today is that Christmas has become a commercialized, universal holiday that can be enjoyed without religious meaning. Christmas can be enjoyed by people of all religions, and for me personally, people of no religion.
As an atheist, I always found this argument to be extremely petty; I never understood why different religions could not respectably coexist. I personally can relate to this issue because I don’t believe in any religion at all, yet I still enjoy – and want to enjoy – holidays of all different religions. All humans have a right to believe in what they believe, and all humans should be respected for that fundamental right. Today the world is full of different religions, and living in The United States, the apex of it all, is an interesting endeavor I must undertake every day. But usually, I have no trouble because I believe the world has come a long way in religious freedom and acceptance – not even base “tolerance.” This is especially nice for someone like me who does not wish to have missionaries harass in an effort to convert me every single second I am alive.
I have come to accept that religion is not going anywhere. And instead of being hostile about this fact, I choose to embrace it instead. I love enjoying Hindu holidays with some of my Indian friends, Jewish festivities with my Jewish friends and even Chinese religious traditions with my own relatives. These all reflect what I feel about Christmas; I can simply enjoy celebrating these religiously-backed holidays without actually having to engage in the religion. It is a safe way for someone like me to be able to enjoy the holidays without feeling excluded or even attacked.
Religious holidays have become so much more than just having to believe in a religion. They have evolved into cultural festivities that help bring communities of all kinds together and to educate them all about one another. To have a truly “Happy Holidays” this season, everyone has to realize that we can all live together peacefully without being offended, but on the condition that no one offends others. It is the happiest season of all, and it is time that we all learn to enjoy it together.