Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Nation

Today at Unreasonable Faith Vorjack asked which Christian Principles created the foundation for this nation. American history is pretty messy even if we only like to focus on the high points in history class. I mean the slaves were eventually freed and women were granted the right to vote, but why did it take so long and why were these even in issue to begin with in a Christian nation?



This video is mostly about the War on Christmas but throws in the argument that anyone other than Christians have no reason to put up displays in a public square because a) America was founded by Christians (not Buddhist or Atheist) and b) we should not disrupt the tradition of displaying our faith publicly on a Christian holiday. Anyone attempting to modify or even stop tradition is in effect declaring war on Christianity. Even though this so called War on Christmas happens EVERY YEAR Christianity is still the dominate voice in America. I'm fine with people celebrating Christmas, and even as an Agnostic we even display a miniature nativity scene set in our home. Celebrate Christmas however you like. What I think these other groups are trying to get across is a bit of acknowledgement that they exist during the one time of the year we feel it's more acceptable to show off your faith. Maybe if some (not all) Christians weren't so aggressive with their exclusivity other groups wouldn't feel the need to be noticed. With faith being such a major part in many people's lives acknowledging their faith exists translates into an acknowledgement of their own existence. This is why I don't aggressively attack the beliefs of any group because I know for many it is felt as an attack on their own identity. I may have my beliefs but these are my own views, and just because I hold them doesn't mean I'm against anything or anyone. What I support is discovery, exploration, and growth not only of our universe but our fellow man.

However you may feel or believe about Christmas and Christianity the Nativity is at the very least a story of hope during dark and troubled times. It is a story about something new coming into this world to transform the world for the better. I celebrate Christmas (as well as the birth of Christ) by internalizing that hope and meditating on how I can change the world for the better. That is the true spirit of Christmas to me.

2 comments:

Doug B said...

A little quote from mythologist Joseph Campbell that I like:

"Read other people's myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts - but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message. Myth helps you to put your mind in touch with this experience of being alive."

I like aspects of Jesus the myth. But when fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals come at me with their truth claims, I enjoy Jesus less so.

I celebrate Christmas, but hasten to point out (as I know you already know) that there was a reason for the season before Jesus.

Ri said...

I like to think of it as there being two of Jesus. There's the real Jesus and then there is the commercial version of Jesus - the one that is talked about and whose name is plastered on t-shirts and products, who is more a way to make money than he is any kind of savior.

As common as the knowledge is, Christians continue to gloss over the reason that Christmas is at this time of year. It's not because of the birth of Jesus, it's because this is when Yule was celebrated. Just another pagan tradition that was rolled into common Christian practice only because of the desire to convert pagans to Christianity. When you really look at it, it is hard to tell where paganism ends and Christianity begins, becase the two have become so intertwined.

And that makes the animosity between the two rather ironic, I think.

At the end of the day, if something is true beyond the boundaries of our understanding and reasoning, it is infused into everything whether we like it or recognize it or not. So many religions have similar ideas spoken different ways, and yet people persist with their seperation and hatred of each other.

I'd love to see a holiday season where all religious boundaries are dropped, and in the spirit of celebration of life, love, and believing in something because it makes you a better person, we all celebrate together regardless of what type of vehicle we traveled in to the celebration.

Religion should break down walls, not put up bigger ones.

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