Saturday, December 03, 2005

Trade Your Mule for a Starship

Tis the season once again. For some to be merry, for others to dust off their quill, or website and start the yearly comparisons between Santa and Satan. Most like to point out that Santa is merely Satan spelled wrong, but a lot of us know that Santa really means Saint. The people warning us about Satan believe in a literal Lucifer the fallen archangel. I am not sure Lucifer exists, though my car did act up a few weeks ago. Could have been a demon attack.

Always ready with the answer, traditional coggers teach that Satan deceives us about his existence, making his job of destroying us a lot easier. They are not falling for it though, they know he walks around like a roaring lion waiting to get a toe in the door. And we know what happens if he gets a toe in--boom! Down comes the door and we get booted into the lake.

All religious holidays have their symbolism. It is when we ignore the symbolism and try to read a literal meaning into Biblical references that we get caught in the trap of proof texts, days and times, and the cycle of failing prophecy. For the good of all of us, lighten up a bit and see the underlying meaning of ancient religious practices. Parts of this book have not been updated for thousands of years!

Arguments over "the reason for the season" open up a real rat's nest of perplexing beliefs. Those nasty little details include the date of Jesus' birth, the virgin birth, non-Christian symbols and their appropriateness, wise men, stars and little drummer boys. There are some who even question whether Jesus existed, and can produce a fairly reasonable argument for their case. In the end most people behave in a manner taught to them by their family and society around them.

Two thousand years after the start of the Christian religion there is still no broad agreement on who or what God is and what he or she wants from us. Yet many persist in trying to convince others that they have the true path to righteousness. Labels get thrown around: heathen, pagan, barbarian, cult, Laodicean, Sardis and "the world". It's a mess and sometimes there is a war to set things straight.

For a long time I bought into the party line and withdrew from the world, came out of Babylon and spent many holidays alone while others celebrated and had a good time. I do not believe I resented it, I felt comfortable with that decision, I believed I was doing what God wanted of me. But it was a difficult struggle and I waited eagerly for those days to pass. Having gone through that experience, I do not believe that it contributed positively to my spiritual state, and it brought me closer to depression than to God. Armstrongism blames me for being weak in faith. I blame it for wasting my time.

I have since learned of the many false historical facts and religious beliefs preached by the WCG and can see that group for what is really was. I can also see that buying my grandmother a Christmas present would really not have been a huge deal. Too late now though.

My current view on Christianity is that it plays fast and loose with the facts of history and of science. To buy into it in its current form is asking too much. But I live in a society and a family that has parties and buys presents every year at Christmastime. I really do not want to live in a cave any longer, so my alternative is to share in those celebrations while maintaining my own self-respect. Yes, I do buy the odd present or two. But I don't go to any church services, or get mired in the myth and fable of the holiday season.

So to those that feel troubled at this time of year, and fight the loneliness on God's behalf I share my compassion. But I also believe that if there is an all wise and loving parent out there, his thinking would have to be way beyond the capability of those who wrote the Bible to even comprehend. Most of them rode mules. To that Being, all religious festivals and symbols would be utterly useless. The business of running a universe (or parallel universes) has little to do with ancient Hebrew slaughters, or Roman Saturn worship. Those are the domain of cave-men playing with sticks and stones.

I think God must be laughing at us somewhere, waiting for us to grow up.

Give a gift to the food bank this Christmas, and call your grandmother.



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