Yule was a religious festival observed by the people in northern Europe where they had Yule Ham.
Christmas trees are fairly recent phenomenons. Earliest indicators are they started around the 16th century, they didn't take off in Britain until Victorian times.
It was originally a northern hemisphere festival to celebrate the winter solstice. Technically we should be have Christmas in June.
And if that sounds pedantic, it's because I think this is a very important point - and at the heart of what we're debating here. I understand that you are using the word differently from its dictionary definition but, as I said earlier, I think that is why so many people are disagreeing with you. It makes for a complicated debate if someone chooses to use a word differently from its actual meaning.
I agree that atheism is the belief that God does not exist. There are no rituals attached to that, as there are with some religions. But, as Delirium said earlier, within each religious sect there are a multitude of different beliefs and different ways in which to practice. There are many things that are not common between people who purport to follow the same religion.
I don't understand why believing in a supernatural being should be held in higher regard than not believing in one.
There may be many reasons why someone believes in one - but there might not be. And, for an atheist, there may be many reasons why they do not believe - or not.
We are looking at two opposing sides of a coin. Each stance can then be broken down into what those individuals do and think in line with their stance.
If someone believed in astrology, or ghosts, or a purple unicorn that followed them around, would you accord all of these beliefs as superior (or 'higher value') to not believing in those things?
I don't think believing in a supernatural being should be held in a higher regard either. But when I say religion will trump, this is what I think; If you are married to a Jew and have kids, Judaism will be part of that childs life and around their family. You can't escape a religion steeped in tradition and culture. Religion, baptisms etc. is not always about the actual religion, just about family and traditions. I mean, everyone here celebrates christmas, not because Jesus was born, but because it's a family and cultural/societal tradition. It always trumps a non belief, a belief in nothing, because if it didn't, no one would be celebrating christmas except christians.
I understand what you're saying, and I agree that in many cases you have to make a decision about what you're 'buying into' if, as an atheist, you marry someone who follows a particular religion. If that religion is a strong part of their life then it would be as unacceptable for an atheist spouse to try to stop them from following it, as it would for the religious spouse to try to make the atheist follow their religion.
In many cases that will mean that a relationship between two people who hold passionately opposing views simply can't work.
I think it gets a bit more complicated, however, when you have someone who more vaguely or loosely defines themselves as following a religion (and this seems to happen more commonly in the Christian faith), but doesn't attend to any of the more ceremonious aspects of that faith (e.g., going to church), and for the most part it goes 'undetected'.
In that instance, I can see how a couple could get together and fall in love, without perhaps realising that they hold conflicting beliefs or - if they do - that it will cause them trouble further down the line.
I still disagree with your argument that a belief 'trumps' a non belief. Atheism is not (necessarily) a belief in nothing. It is, as discussed earlier, a belief that a supernatural being does not exist. However, as with religious beliefs, there may then be any number of values and morals that go along with that atheism, meaning that it isn't necessarily a 'neutral' stance.
I agree that for some, religious ceremonies may be more about tradition/ family than the religious significance. However, that does not mean a non-religious partner should be forced to go along with it if it goes against their beliefs too. For example - the belief that a particular church is an immoral institution, with which they do not want their child associated.
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