Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Holiday Season

You know that the holiday season is upon us when people starting arguing about things like putting the Christ back in Christmas. This has been going on every year for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Phoenix and reading the Arizona Republic I can remember countless op-eds and letters to the editor about how we need to restore religion to the holiday. The letters usually called for a boycott of stores that put up signs saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." They also refused to write X-mas.

Not to be outdone by their more religious counterparts, the American Humanist Association is putting together an ad campaign in Washington D.C. saying, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake."

The AHA says that they're "trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people's minds." The American Family Association says that it's a "stupid ad."

Hardly a compelling rebuttal. Fortunately, he follows it up with this stellar line of reasoning: "How do we define 'good' if we don't believe in God? God in his word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong."

I hate this argument so much. I hate the line of thinking that we need a deity to tell us how to live our lives. First of all, there's so many different religions that it's tough to say which god really gets to decide what's good and bad and right and wrong. So just saying that God tells us isn't good enough. God has told us a lot of things through the years.

Secondly, can't we agree that there is a general set of rules that people should follow and that we can come to rationally without being told be a higher power? I'm thinking here of the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Doesn't that just make sense? Do we really need an omnipotent deity to tell us that? Couldn't we kind of figure that out on their own? It's not really that radical of a concept.

I'm sure the American Family Association (because atheists are against families) would disagree with me. Of course, they may be too busy putting Christ into Christmas to care.

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