I’m reading the book Religion and the Decline of Magic for the second time. If you have any desire to learn about the history of religion, add this one to your list. It is a fascinating look at the role of magic in Christianity. At one time, magic was a solution to all the questions and fears people had. Then in the 16th and 17th centuries, there came along doubters-not in magic or God–but in the church’s ability to act as an intermediary in performing miracles, rituals and rites that should have been only in God’s power. The priests were usurping God’s magical powers. The Protestants stripped away the magic from the church and the priests, but they did not rid religion of magic: they merely transferred it to the invisible, omnipotent hands of God. Man still needed a solution for why the world was as it was, why good and bad events happened to people.
This is where the line of reasoning, “It’s God’s will” and “God has a plan for us” took hold. The Protestants reasoned God wants us to suffer now so that we can enjoy the afterlife. Suffering was even seen as good because God was paying attention. The person who had no ills or suffering worried that God had abandoned them.
I’m on the road, blogging from the bumpy passenger seat in the dark. I will post more later.
It’s the reason for the season. Or, so the neon sign says in my neighbor’s yard. Ironically, also in his yard is a large figure of Santa with his reindeer. So the reason is? Santa and his magical reindeer? Consumerism?
We have real issues with Christmas in this country. On one hand, we shop, shop, shop buying meaningless stuff for family and friends who already have too much stuff, while on the other hand, we insist that the 25th of December is a religious holiday. If we are celebrating the birth of Christ, why do we even ask for gifts? Why do we encourage our children to ask for stuff for themselves when we are celebrating the birth of Jesus? Why do we pile meaningless stuff under the tree and pretend that Santa brought them? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say that God brought the gifts?
This holiday is just a guise, of course. It is about us. We are the reason for the season.
Of course, we could buy gifts for Jesus’ birthday, but where would he wear that tie?
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Tagged Christ, christmas, consumerism, god, Jesus, raising agnostic children, raising kids without religion, raising smart children, raising thinking kids, Reindeer, Santa, Santa Claus
The tragedy in Newtown is already out of the headlines, fading from memory. The stores are packed with Christmas shoppers. Parents are eager to leave their children with sitters for a night out.
This is the fate of every tragedy, every death. The rest of us go on. And when nature one day turns and rids the planet of the human species, the rest will go on….
Has anyone read the “11 Days Before Christmas” poem written by Cameo Smith? If not, click on the link in the last sentence, and it will take you there. The author, no doubt, was trying to infuse comfort into a very tragic day. But her poem shows our nation’s religiocentricism: if any of those children did not believe in Jesus Christ, if any of those children were Jews, Muslims, Atheists, then they did not go to God’s house.
I understand why people want to bring God in to help explain a tragedy, but I think it is a cowardly approach. Rather than take a difficult look at why this happened and how we can prevent it, we defer responsibility to God. We “told” God to go away; we don’t “allow” him in schools. Never mind that this imaginary person that is supposed to be almighty has allowed murders, child abuse, wars, brutal beatings, torture and millions of heinous acts to be committed throughout the history of mankind. Does. This. Make. Sense?
Sure, people should be allowed to write their poems and hold their religious beliefs, but they should not abduct common sense nor prevent us from looking at the real issues. Tragedies don’t happen because we run superstition and imaginary people out of our educational system.
We are the problem, and only we can be the solution.
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Tagged 11 days before christmas, cameo smith, child abuse, christianity, christmas, god, gun control, Jesus, jews, newtown shooting, Poetry, raising kids without religion, raising thinking children, religion, Religion & Spirituality