Louis: Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, Doug. But you’re an atheist, and you pay for your own meals, so whom do you give thanks to, if anyone?
Doug: Yes, I guess it’s getting to be that time of year. Holidays can be fun, regardless of one’s beliefs, and for the record, neither you nor Bob Cratchit have to work Christmas Eve.
L: I probably will anyway. I celebrate the New Year, and sometimes raise a glass to Sir Isaac Newton, whose birthday was December 25, but not Christmas.
D: Why is that? I know you’re an atheist as well, but you also call yourself a student of the carpenter of Nazareth, so why not celebrate his birthday?
L: You’re right. I’m what you might call an Atheist Christian; I don’t believe in any gods, but I do find great value in what Jesus actually said and taught, which was to love, forgive, and let live. That’s quite different from what many modern churches teach, which is to fear and to try to control the behavior of others. Such people often have no qualms about employing the coercive machinery of the state to impose their values on others, which Jesus never did nor advocated—his slate was clean, and yet he cast no stones.