Here we are and we’re all still alive, or at least I am…hello? Anyway, we’re here, FOR NOW, and Christmas is right around the corner. The site will be on break, and likewise, so will my column. “Joy to the world”, “’tis the season” and Merry ChristmaHannaKwanzivus everybody.

A lot of people assume that my obvious lack of belief and atheist/agnostic leanings must make my participation in Christmas hypocritical or that I must abhor everything about the holiday. While true that I despise the commercialism and one-upmanship that surround it, the “spirit”, as they say, of the holiday is not lost on even my callous ass and, having children, nothing beats the enthusiasm they hold for the day.

Truth be told, I’m not as anti-religion as I often lead on. You’d probably be shocked to learn that my youngest child attends a Christian daycare and even prays at night. I’d never discourage that. My beliefs were forged as an adult and I would never force them on my children, rather allow them the freedom to forge their own, through age, experience and wisdom.

Religion in its’ purest form, without all of the pomp, hypocrisy, judgment and conceit that are often associated with it, is a great basis for anybody’s life. If you take away the symbolism, theatrics, stories and figures and get down to the basic message of helping your fellow man and living an honest, fulfilled life, then who the fuck am I to argue with that?

It’s the other shit thrown in there that complicates everything, turning people off, and turning different factions of believers against each other over mundane, stupid shit like the routines or ceremonies associated with how they worship or a conflict in their interpretation of the “back story” to these beliefs.

Strip away that bullshit and share in the fact that you both seemingly believe in the same principles of kindness, charity and peace, while also agreeing on the importance of building a family around these principles and raising productive children who will carry these with them into society, thus continuing the chain.

With all of my disbelief in many aspects of The Bible and my absolute disdain for what most organized religion has “evolved” to, I still try to instill these basic guidelines in my everyday life and that of my kids. Christmas is here and they’re taught to pass belongings on to those in need, as we help needy families every year.

They are taught the importance of honesty and of helping the less unfortunate, when the unfortunate are deserving of help. They are taught to form honest assessments of people that go far deeper than outward appearance, or hearsay, and they are taught that anything that you truly believe in your heart is never wrong, regardless of what the “masses” may have to say about that.

Their father is an asshole and there’s no escaping that. But they don’t see the hard façade and the guy who spews his venom under an acronym for a local website, in an honest manner, but also for the benefit of humor. Life hasn’t dealt them the shit-balls it took to forge my cynicism, outer shell and lack of belief and I don’t intend to allow it to under my watch.

Whatever they grow to be will be mostly of their own making, but my selfish ass is not about to base the part that I do influence on what my own experiences has dictated my opinions to be. They are free to believe in God and pray at the dinner table. I’m honest if they ask me if I DO believe, but go no further in my explanation. I teach them WHAT I FEEL are the great things that religion has to offer, as far as tenets of life, and that it’s hard to go wrong when practicing these tenets.

The fact that I think all of the “walk on water”, “water into wine” and “virginal birth” mumbo-jumbo is a bunch of hogwash and lends to the overall fear-mongering side of religion, that I hate they think is necessary to forge good people, in NO WAY dictates that I will raise little godless heathens.

If you can wash away the bullshit and found a large, weekly meeting place for fellowship, teachings of the “right way” to live and basics of not being a human shit-bag in your daily dealings, while keeping out the statues, rituals, public proclamations and money-grabs that often insinuate that heaven is ran by extortionists, I think it would benefit us all and I’d be parking cars and serving fucking coffee.

The hardest of men and the darkest of souls still crave fellowship, good deeds and being a part of something that is bigger than they alone can accomplish. Doing right feels good, whether they (or I) admit it or not.

Contrary to what we’re told, and often threatened with, people don’t need a deity, or an oral (and public) surrender to said deity, followed by some ceremonial bath, in order to be considered good people. They only need a solid foundation and knowledge of what is right, accompanied by a commitment to practice it. Erase the pageantry and get back to that basic part of it and I strongly feel this world would benefit and more would actually take part in this form of “church”.

And we’d also benefit by not reserving these good deeds and random kindness for only when some square on the calendar dictates that we do.

That said, fuck you all (sorry, couldn’t resist). Enjoy your holiday, whatever that is, and enjoy your break, if not just from me. C – U – Next – Thursday.

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