If only we could get the Christ out of Christmas

07Jan10

(Warning: If the title was enough to put a twist in your knickers, don’t bother reading on. I probably used words too big for you anyway.)

It’s not that I hate your god, it’s that I detest his damn followers. (I know. This is a food blog and I’m not sure what god has to do with snowflake cookies and honey-baked ham.) So what. Sometimes you just have to ruffle a few feathers, and today is that day.

There’s really only one thing I detest about Christmas, and it’s just that bit about Christ. Over the last decade a tug-of-war has emerged between the liberals and the conservatives, as they battle for control of how we celebrate this holiday. One side is demanding that any and all religious references be deleted from society. Christmas trees are stripped from airports, carols are banned from schools and holiday greetings are forbidden at local supermarket. Meanwhile the nutballs over on the religious right maintain a tight grip on their bibles, pushing for prayers, damning the unfaithful and arming for holy wars. The result is that a nasty little infection of conflict is injected into what should be a charming family tradition.

And before you ask me why I have such bad feelings about the church I ask, why don’t you? While I’ll be the first to admit that some churches serve our community well in many forms, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and providing haven for those in need. My anger lies in the hate and persecution that seems to accompany all religious sects. The worst concept about religion is the one thing all fanatics share. The basic tenet that we’re right and you’re wrong. Face it, that’s really the center of all beliefs. That my story, my god, my theory of planetary evolution and my religion is complete and total fact. And that because I (and my fellow dogmatic minions) are right, you (and your infidels) are so wrong that we even dreamed up a new words to serve as just how bad being wrong is. Blasphemy. Desecration. Sacrilege. And in demanding that my god is the right god, millions upon millions of followers have taken up arms and gone to war to declare the non-believers as the enemy. The fallen. The scorned. The damned.

Religious beliefs serve as a catalyst for so many wars, so much killing. I’m tired of watching people use it as an excuse to hate and to hurt. Hiding your disgusting behaviour in a bubble of false doctrine is just as pathetic as your commitment to a repugnant deity. So why give it a seat at your dinner table? To be so sure of your righteousness is alarming. The new term is extremists and fundamentalists. But that’s not just for Arabic people – that’s for all devout followers, be it clergy or cult. And all this exists despite the complete lack of any substantial proof of existence to support the premise. Yet there you are. You still insist you are right. And that everybody else is wrong.

Really? So you buy it all? Good fights evil. Noah and that ark. 40 days in the desert. Water into wine. Four horseman. Adam and Eve. Serpents and apples. And it’s not just the wacky Christians. Muslims have their 72 virgins. Scientologists have their intergalactic spaceships. Mormons have their chastity vow. And back in the 70’s the Vatican went around and slaughtered hundreds of black cats. Why? Well because they were evil. That’s right. Demonic-possessed putty-tats were a viable threat to the Pope and over armed 100 Swiss Guards.

I’m not out to hate you or your church, but I do strongly object to the ongoing, overwhelming and relentless persecution of those who do not share in your beliefs. That doesn’t make me an atheist. Hell, that’s just another group of zealots pushing another idea. I’m happy to stand in line with the agnostics. And before you curl up your nose in a state of offense, perhaps you should pull a dictionary and see what it really means. Agnostics prefer to reserve judgment and simply agree on one thing: That you don’t know. That nobody knows the answer. And whatever your belief is, be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormons, or whatever new fantasy is concocted this century, well we’re pretty sure you’re just dead wrong. Be honest – this certainly makes more sense.

Organized religion has been trampling free thinkers since the beginning of time. The Greeks, the Ottomans, the Romans, the Mayans, the Native Americans, the Scientologists… whoever, whenever. Every hundred years or so some a-hole writes a new story, designs a new logo and ta-da a new team of zealots is born to march on. Well I say they need to cook up some new holidays of their own because my Christmas is now off limits.

I adore Christmas. There’s no better day than one where we gather to bake eggnog cookies, hang ornaments that have been passed down generations and listen to The Muppets jam with John Denver. But I don’t want to celebrate the birth of (some) god’s child, even if its roots are entangled in this great holiday event. I realize that many people think that the occasion is strictly based on this fairy tale. But for me, December 25th has nothing to do with fables from bibles with lessons of moral deeds, gory battles between heaven and hell and rules of life demanded by a higher being. It’s about family. Friends. Traditions. I see Christmas as a cultural celebration, like a master recipe passed down through time. This event has crossed many cultures, and as it is passed from family to friends each person adds their own ingredients and adjusts the recipe. After being blended with ethnic and local traditions the old Christian story no longer serves as the essential component. It may, or may not, have been initiated based on a tale of imaginary friends whipped up a two thousand years ago, but it no longer limited by those boundaries. I think it’s time we allow this holiday to evolve and leave the irrelevant nonsense about imaginary friends behind. I simply ask that we suck the last little bit of religious bigotry out of the day.

Now that I’ve worked you up into a frenzy, why not take a minute to enjoy a batch of Eggnog Martinis to ease your mind. And try not to worry about my lost soul, there’s always a chance that I’ll be saved from an eternity in hell by some last-minute deathbed conversion when I see the light. Or not.


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2 Responses to “If only we could get the Christ out of Christmas”

  1. Good one Freefers. I like being reminded why you get paid to write words. Love you more every day.

    Also, you and John should come to movie night on Monday. We are going to watch “Flight from Death,” and Juggler (Greg Bennick), who was the co-writer of the movie is going to come and watch with us and talk about it. The reason I mention it here is because I get the impression that the film makes the connection between our difficulty in accepting our mortality, with the creation of beliefs of immortality (heaven) to make us feel better, which drives much of the violence big and small in the world. Check out the trailer here: http://www.flightfromdeath.com/

    “Flight from Death uncovers death anxiety as a possible root cause of many of our behaviors on a psychological, spiritual, and cultural level.”

  2. Woop! Actually, I must give credit to the other Fatty for writing this gem (even though I’m taking all the heat from it). She’s happy to hear that her words are on par with those who get paid to write. 🙂


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