Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tempus adest gratiae

I must confess to liking the Christmas time. Perhaps it is due to the awful darkness of the sub-arctic winter (these days we don’t even reliably get permanent snow to Southern Finland before January which makes the 20 hours long night pitch dark and the 4 hours long “day” quite dismal). So, all lights and candles are very welcome in the midst of this darkness. But, in some respects, so is the message of that ancient story. Christianity is much, or more accurately, totally, disfigured by the various official Christian churches and sects and their incredibly primitive dogmas and superstitions. Any average Dawkinsian atheist can blow away the Bible as a science (or even philosophy) book along with all the assorted fundamentalists and traditionalists that read it as the literal word of their literal, small minded "God".

But I would argue that something immeasurably valuable of all the world religions escapes their dismal followers with their dismal sects and power structures: and so I do seriously believe that heavens really did open to the humankind two thousand years ago, regardless of any empirical evidence for or against. This particular message of forgiveness and redemption echoes on even through all these organizations and dogmas that seem as if designed to silence it.

Gaudete, Christus est natus...


Giustino said...

It was pointed out to me that much good has actually come out of Christianity, including the systems of monasteries in present-day England and Ireland that helped build the language we currently use so often.

So there is reason to celebrate, even if you don't really buy the story that Joseph and Mary hadn't had sex, even one time after a late night at the local pub.

stockholm slender said...

Well, liberalism and enlightenment rose quite naturally from the Christian ethos, and judging from the New Testament (as partial and dissatisfactory as it is) Jesus was an amazingly radical critic of the power structures of his time. But aside from that I would say that even the myth itself, the essence of it, has huge resonance for our human experience. I would say this of the other world religions as well. Dawkins et al. miss something when they only concentrate on religion as a competing (and very poor) version of natural science. (This goes even more for the assorted fundamentalists, of course.)