SEB Mailbag: The Grinch that stoled Christmas Edition.

Got the following email from “Kathy & Steve Ripka” yesterday — apparently written by the male half of that duo — and thought I’d share my response to it here. It opens with the following:

Subject: Just saw your website

Unfortunately, you are exactly what this movie portrays atheists to be.

A quick note before moving into the reply proper: I wasn’t sure which movie our learned writer was speaking of — though I had my suspicions — so I sent a reply asking for clarification. Apparently he had stumbled upon this entry I had written back in September of 2010 (way to be current, Steve) about the movie Christmas with a Capital C.

Unfortunately, you are exactly what this movie portrays atheists to be. You want any mention of Christmas removed from wherever you walk. Your kind is “The Grinch that stoled Christmas.”

Evidence of my hatred for Christmas.

Evidence of my hatred for Christmas.

OK Steve, right off the bat I have to wonder if you read the entire entry I wrote.  Nowhere in my writing did I call for all mentions of Christmas to be removed from wherever I walk. I generally don’t have a problem with Christmas and if you were to visit my home you would find it decorated with lots of Christmas lights and a proper Christmas tree.

Do I think nativity scenes belong on courthouse lawns or in front of city hall? No, I do not. It gives an improper impression of government favoritism, but so long as the government allows anyone who wants to put up a display alongside it to offset that impression then I have no problem with it. I also don’t have a problem if there’s a nativity scene on the front lawn of every private residence, church, and business if that’s what people want to do. Hell, I’ll go so far as to help you set up your nativity scene on the front lawn of your home/church/business if you need the assistance. I also don’t have a problem with people saying Merry Christmas to me — or for that matter Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, or Merry Festivus.

Your website says it all.

Yes, but apparently you can’t be bothered to read it.

I get so tired of watching the news just to see atheists ruining everyone else’s Christmas, traditions, etc.

Well, you could always stop watching the news. Better yet, you could work to ensure that the separation of church and state is respected by your local government and then there wouldn’t be any need for anyone — atheists or otherwise — to ruin Christmas. It’s not like there aren’t tons of other places you can stick one where everyone will see it, but if you’re going to insist on it being on public property then you have to be prepared to share the space with others who may not agree with your beliefs.

Hey, if you don’t believe in God, that’s fine, but why do you have to get into everyone’s face about it? I don’t believe in ghosts, but you wouldn’t see me up in anyone’s face that does.

When did I get up in anyone’s face about it? I wrote a blog entry. You came here and read it. I didn’t go to your house and force you to come to my blog and read my opinions. If you were to meet me in person and ask my beliefs I’d tell you I’m an atheist. If you didn’t ask any more questions that’d be all you’d get out of me on the topic.

As for getting into the face of ghost believers, as far as I know there aren’t any ghost believers who demand the government place displays representing sacredly held ghost beliefs on public property. Apples to oranges, Steve. When was the last time you saw Halloween display in front of City Hall that represented a sincerely held belief of ghost believers?

I don’t believe that life comes from non-living matter, but if you do, hey, more power to you. I promise I will never get on a rampage, and confront every atheist and take them to court on it.

That hasn’t stopped plenty of your fellow believers from doing just that, though. Admittedly, they confused the Theory of Evolution with the Theory of Abiogenesis, but the point still stands.

If you are not happy with your life, and belief system, why don’t you find something that will take away the anxiety from being an atheist that causes you to go on mindless crusades about how Christians are infringing on your rights,  you might just like the diversion. But don’t use your bitterness to ruin every one else’s Christmas season.

Who said I’m unhappy with my life and belief system? There are aspects of my life that I’m not thrilled about — I could use to earn a bit more money — but overall I’m fairly content. Being an atheist doesn’t cause me any anxiety and none of my “crusades” are mindless. If you took the time to read what I write you’ll find I’ve given them plenty of thought, but it’s apparent that you’re not willing to do much more than skim a single entry and then try to proclaim you know exactly the sort of asshole I happen to be.

As for being bitter, you can ask anyone who has met me how bitter I happen to be and how much I ruin Christmas for everyone. They’ll probably laugh at the suggestion. When little kids stop me because they think I’m Santa Claus, something that has happened more than once as I’ve gotten older and more rotund, I’ve never once taken the opportunity to smash their belief in the jolly old elf. Nor have I ever told them it wasn’t the birthday of Christ even though I know it wasn’t. They don’t care about that anyway. They’re excited cause they think they caught Santa going incognito.

I know, you have fun trying to shock others with your endless driveling about atheism, and four letter expletives, but maybe it is because you like drawing attention to yourself.

And now it’s clear you’ve not bothered to read more than the one entry. Endless driveling about atheism? How about my endless driveling about video games or movies or Doctor Who or politics or the dozens of other topics I’ve written about over the past 11 years. If you look at the tag cloud in the sidebar you’ll note that atheism isn’t the thing I’ve written the most about. Video games and computing both outweigh it among many others.

And of course I like drawing attention to myself. You have to be a bit of an attention whore to be a blogger in the first place. My swearing doesn’t have anything to do with that, though. It’s just my one vice. I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs so eating too much and swearing is my thing. Even as such it’s not like my entries are just sentences with the word FUCK as every other word. That would make this blogging thing entirely too easy.

Why do you suppose that most atheists love all the four letter words that offend others?

For the same reason that most Christians love all the four letter words that offend others. For better or worse, that’s how people talk. It’s not limited to “most” atheists. I know plenty of atheists who rarely swear and I know many Christians who would make a sailor blush with the way they talk.

Maybe you didn’t stay in school long enough to get an education that would teach you how to communicate properly with others.

andthentheresthisassholeI graduated from high school and I’ve attended a number of years of college, though I admit that I have never bothered to finish college. Is high school not enough education to communicate clearly? I suppose it depends on who you ask, but most folks don’t seem to have any trouble understanding me.

Perhaps you’d understand me better too if you took the time to actually read what I write and spent a little time browsing the archives. It’s clear you don’t have a clue about me based on what little research you’ve done so far, but that doesn’t appear to stop you from expressing your preconceived biases about me based on one aspect of who I am. You know one little fact — that I’m an atheist — and you used it to draw all manner of false conclusions.

I wonder what Jesus would think of that approach?

Merry Christmas,

And a Happy Holidays to you, Steve.

All my love, Les.

14 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: The Grinch that stoled Christmas Edition.

  1. Pingback: Les is my kind of atheist | ***Dave Does the Blog

  2. You tell em Les! People like this take the whole religion thing way overboard and WWJW? Really? Doubt he would write a letter before reading a blog and making himself look like a douche bag lol

  3. Hey Les, rereading your old post I was curious if you ever got around to finding a copy of that movie, and was it as terrible as it looked?

  4. Jeff, in truth I forgot all about it shortly after I posted the entry. I’m about to go on vacation for the rest of the year so I may take the time to dig it up for a laugh if I get really bored, but it’ll depend on how much it’d cost to watch it.

  5. Les, I like your attitude, my own disbeliefs were arrived at in my own way, and couldn’t mean as much to anyone else. Ask me about them, I’ll tell, annoy me with god-bothering, you might regret it. And I prefer to say “Happy holidays!”, I wouldn’t wish to miss someone’s favorite.

  6. Maybe you should mail him a Tesla bracelet in a jar of peanut butter, so he’d get a better feel for what SEB is REALLY all about…

  7. Recently, a Rabbi wrote an article in the LA Times about how those nasty atheists ruined Christmas by having sought to have their view represented alongside the traditional Nativity displays in Santa Monica’s Palisades Park. Christians opposed this alternative, and to avert the cost of litigating law suits threatened by them, the city opted to ban all religious displays in its public spaces. Jerry Coyne’s response to the Rabbi’s article is excellent but perhaps shouldn’t be read by the Ripkas because it discusses the nonviolence of atheists and their disinclination for regarding those lacking Y chromosomes as inferior, as well as their non-belief in any gods because of the lack of evidence for them. The Ripkas would likely be even more shocked by Jerry’s blasphemy in mentioning that he doesn’t bother himself much with “celebrations of a nonexistent Jebus.” But it should be remembered that the Christmas celebration simply supplanted the prior northern-hemisphere tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, and as an older person who is not a skier, I like the idea of looking forward to the coming of spring. Merry Christmas.

  8. I don’t know. It seems to me that people like this have a low skill level when it comes to parsing reasoned sentences. Perhaps its better to use more informal language and try to say things in a simplistic, easy-to-understand fashion. Well-written and -reasoned prose just goes over their heads. I have had better success writing as if I were writing for an audience of children when dealing with people like this. Pretend they are 7 and maybe they’ll start to comprehend. I’m quite serious. Smart language is wasted on dumb people.

  9. What really bugs me is Christmas-hating Les wearing Santa hats for the last month of every year at work. Made me all confused. Fortunately, my ability to ignore the facts came to my rescue, and I was able to go back to condemning him for his disdain for the holiday.

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