An enjoyable read of many chapters contributed by many people with an atheist viewpoint. Some chapters are brilliant, some are skippable but all are pretty short. Made me laugh out loud in places.

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Dates 20 December 2012 – 28 December 2012
Time spent reading 6 hours, 5 minutes
Highlights 55
Comments 7
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Wizzard should get back in the studio and record a song called ‘It Should Only Feel Like Christmas One Month a Year’.

Christmas, as a practising Catholic child, was seen as a reward for lots and lots and lots of church. We were constantly told that Easter was the more important festival, but Easter is relatively speaking, RUBBISH.

My dad, a supremely rational man, even when addressing four-year-olds, answered my question, ‘What happens when you die?’ logically and truthfully. He replied, ‘No one really knows, but we have lots of theories. Some people believe in heaven and hell, some people believe in reincarnation, and some people believe that nothing happens.’

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

I want to be as honest as this with my own children.

God had to work 365 days a year (except for Sundays), while Father Christmas only worked for one night, and he also only had to help children, not adults, leaving him more time to stuff his face with mince pies.

imagine there’s no heaven, then try to have a good time in spite of everything.

The idea of faith is almost as though, ‘If I believe it enough, it’ll be true.’

There’s a certain bravery in standing up and saying, ‘We are alone, there’s no one looking after us.’ It’s a kind of liberation.

Neither of us, I am sure, was remotely turned on by the idea of a cat watching a man defecate.

In order that we might live, stars in their billions, tens of billions, hundreds of billions even, have died. The iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, the oxygen that fills our lungs each time we take a breath—all were cooked in the furnaces of the stars which expired long before the Earth was born.

Serendipity means looking for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer’s daughter.

a crucifixion for a scrumping?

Ignoring for a moment that if they lived to the east, and followed the Star to the east, they’d get further from Bethlehem rather than closer

Atheism exists fully independently of science.

If the supernatural turned out to be real, with God and angels and demons and unicorns and behemoths and whatever else, then it would instantly stop being super, and start being just natural. At that point, scientists would want to know what the hell was going on.

Sorry about all that ardent non-believing I’ve been doing. By giving me choice, you didn’t really give me much choice.

It’s not so much that creationism is wrong (which it most certainly is), but that evolution by natural selection is so much righter.

In South Africa alone, 300,000 people die every year from the virus; that’s one every two minutes.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran


A hundred million people died in the last century from smoking. Around a billion are expected to die this century (because the cigarette industry has been so successful in China).

it’s eight teaspoons of sugar and one of salt in a litre of water, if you ever need to know.

I’ve happily shed my faith and, quite frankly, bacon’s nice. It’s delicious, and I’m not going to deny myself the tastiest meat in the world, at home or away, on the orders of a god I don’t believe in.

Moses came down from the mountain with basic dietary advice. ‘Children of Israel: it’s about the bacon. You can…but I wouldn’t.’

In many parts of Europe, girls danced round maypoles, which were undoubtedly phallic symbols seen as a little encouragement for those in need of something to get them going.

poets and authors down the centuries wrote umpteen verses and yearning prose about ‘maying’ and how, in May, it was pretty well a duty to be loving and sexy.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Jonathan Coulton continues the tradition:

To worship the sun as the Giver of Life isn’t at all off the map. That is precisely what it does.

cooking for twenty-five creates the same amount of labour as cooking for ten, truly, and not so many leftovers.

Our planet, its civilisations and people are unusual and fragile things. There’s probably no God, so we’d better look after them well.

Studies across Europe have shown that, where people generally get to the shops by car, home-shopping results in more than a 70% reduction in the traffic miles involved in getting the same amount of goods to people’s homes.

each year, six million conifers end up in landfill, so when you have finished with your felled tree, make sure to use your council’s tree recycling service.

Christmas is named—as is just about everything else in the calendar—after a religious rite or holy day, but the mere fact that, unlike the Norse and Roman gods, Jesus Christ is still worshipped by some people, doesn’t make the name any more ‘sacred’ than that of any other day.

if only practising Christians can use the word Christmas, then only Vikings can use the word Thursday.

a few of his entourage were, after all, fishermen, a profession proverbial for a diffident relationship with the truth

By any standards, God is a coolly uninvolved sort of character, content to sit back and watch as mankind has one bucket of peril after another tipped over its collective head.

I get depressed after half an hour of Sky News, even on a slow day.

Don’t know about you, but I don’t relish the thought of a heartless, cackling, invincible boss watching over me, mocking my every setback. I’ve seen Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, and thankfully the real world isn’t as horrible as that.

At a church wedding it can be a surprise to see who else’s heads also refuse to bend in prayer

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Always a minority.

To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead

To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead

The human story is millennia older than the Christmas story, which cannot hope to contain the grander narrative that history, biology, anthropology, geology and all the sciences of human ingenuity have unveiled.

The human story is millennia older than the Christmas story, which cannot hope to contain the grander narrative that history, biology, anthropology, geology and all the sciences of human ingenuity have unveiled.

In the context of the universe, human beings are peripheral. The universe was not made for us. To the universe, we mean nothing.

feeling like spare parts, like the vicar at the wedding disco.

We felt the embarrassment of people who had just agreed that S&M was indeed great, only to realise that the topic of conversation was in fact M&S.

If you don’t like the cake, don’t give out the recipe.

Popular imagination today thinks of ancient midwinter as a time of bleakness and dearth, but this is incorrect. When almost all our ancestors were in some way involved in agriculture, winter was neither bleak nor hungry.

Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas), whose feast day is celebrated on December 6th in many European countries, and Father Christmas (a Nordic figure of legend) are two different individuals, but they have become conflated with each other, and are now one and the same individual.

Christianity, a young and syncretistic religion

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Great word.

Thor and Odin; Hercules and Zeus; Adam and Eve; Shiva and Radha; Buddha sitting under the tree; Noah and the Ark; even Joseph Smith and the astronaut angel in his back garden—damn good yarns, each and every one of them, and they influence us all, whether we ‘believe’ in them or not.

finding the lyrics sticking in my mouth like peanut butter laced with glue.

the only decent Christmas song released in recent-ish memory, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Really?! It’s HIDEOUS.

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

I couldn’t reconcile the Bible’s status as scripture with the pick-and-match user approach it made necessary, or reconcile the actuality of a million creeds with the idea of a single creator, a unified and unimpeachable truth.

it’s possible, as has been noted, that our brains as presently evolved are no better equipped for scanning the cosmic fabric than a poodle’s (or mine, actually) is for mastering maths.

why knock the non-existent when you can praise what is really there?

The older you are, the more of your life you’ve invested as a believer, and if you decide to give it all up a long way into your life, it probably makes you feel a bit daft.

Professor Brian Cox began his career as a musician, playing keyboards with rock band D:Ream, who went on to have many Top 10 hits including New Labour’s election anthem ‘Things Can Only Get Better’

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

I had no idea!