I’m very pleased to announce that an excellent book of essays has just hit the market: The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas, edited by Ariane Sherine, the talented lady behind the atheist bus campaign in England. Full disclosure: the final essay in the book is my husband’s, so I’m rather biased. Other contributors include Derren Brown, Simon Singh, Josie Long, Ben Goldacre, Richard Dawkins, Robin Ince, Phil Plait, and Brian Cox, so Sid’s in very good company.
The essays are alternately touching and hilarious, and together they serve a very useful purpose: to offer a rational response to the new annual tradition of TV talking heads screeching about a nonexistent war on Christmas. The angry, Christmas-hating atheist is, at this point, an absurd characterture created by a ratings-hungry media, similar to the man-hunting shark and the ever-lurking pedophile. It’s a relief to have a book that publicizes the views of the many nonbelievers who are perfectly happy to celebrate Christmas as a time for love, family, goodwill, and rampant consumerism, and who don’t burst into tears at the mention of Jesus or virgin births or whatnot.