Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Yuletide Ghost Town

For most of my adult life I thought there probably existed around 2,000 years ago a man called Jesus Christ. And if he did exist, I thought, then it's very likely he was a truly remarkable human being, someone whose ideas were revolutionary, insightful, worthy of historic record. Where the Bible and subsequent manifestations of Christianity were concerned, I thought it probable that much mischief had been made at the expense of Christ's original intentions; that Christianity had become utterly corrupted over time by powerful groups and individuals intent on casting Christianity in a light which served their own political and social ends.
All of this seemed plausible to me. Or at least possible. In the absence of a God the existence of Christianity has to be explained in a manner which precludes all basic theistic notions. Christianity requires a human explanation in human terms. An anthropological explanation, as Nietzsche might say. As it occurred to me last night, there's no path towards any particular religion that does not first require being indoctrinated into that religion. It's a matter of teaching rather than realisation.
Tell me if I'm alone here, but I always believed that Christmas was a day which marked the birth of Jesus Christ. Just recently I found out that December 25th was originally a Pagan celebration and has seemingly nothing to do with Christ's supposed birth. This really bothers me. Who decides to teach these lies in a school of all places? And how come everyone else seems to know about this - even Christians? I had no idea.
I recently saw a documentary about the origins of Christmas. It claimed that in the 3rd century AD, having tried but failed to abolish the December 25th Pagan celebration (it was enormously popular at the time), Christian leaders decided to claim it as their own by imposing a Christian meaning on it. If true that's pretty Orwellian. Unable to change history they simply re-wrote it.
And it's hard to reconcile 'thou shalt not lie' with the act of rewriting history; that is, to reconcile it with lying. There's some kind of contradiction there.
It does appear that the traditional Christ's-mass clebration is bullshit. And that it's been bullshit ever since it came into being 1700 years ago.
Merry Christmas Everyone.
[Afterthought. You could also - capitalism aside - think of Christmas as a kind of annual advertisement for Christianity. A way of keeping Christianity - albeit superficially - in the public mind. We're all taught 'Christmas' in early youth, and then Christmas is simply perpetuated through repeated symbolic associations each year...People are 'conditioned' to accept Christmas - if you don't accept it you're perceived as weird - or informed...]

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