Merry Christmas! May we all ever better mind our own business!
Walk with me a moment.
Yes, an atheist and a Buddhist of my own orientation, I can certainly celebrate Christmas. Especially having been raised with it as a Catholic. After all it was something that started out as a pagan celebration and was blended with Christmas and Christianity by the Catholic church in order to assimilate those pagan's lands they wished to acquire.
It certainly can be a pagan or secular holiday, too and has become one more and more anyway. And no we don't have to remember what it's roots are in order to celebrate it. But, it is wise to do so for several reasons.
Odd, I know. But true enough.
We can easily use it as a positive reason to treat one another with respect and love without needing to bring a deity into it. A strange consideration for a theist of that particular denomination but hey, there it is.
I think Jesus might just be more accepting of that than many want to believe, or his followers could accept.
Moses? Probably not so much either.. But then, he was a kind of an Old Testament sort of guy.
Muhammad? Well, let's face it. He had some pretty weird ideas and wasn't the brightest bulb in the pack and pretty much the same with anyone believing in all that.
I suppose Jesus had some odd ideas himself but he wasn't actually the one who turned his beliefs into magic. He wasn't the Buddha surely, but then according to the Dalai Lama, Jesus himself was a Buddha. And he taught some basic Buddhist beliefs in order to alter Judaism.
Perhaps Mohammed too was a Buddha, though I have my doubts on that.
Jesus had that need to blend with Judaism and the old Testament in order to build change into the nonsense he had grown up and into. Teachings that weren't so ridiculous back then before the advent of refrigeration and other advancements. Though he did as I said, incorporate elements of the Buddha Dharma to create his new Judaism (later, Christianity) and well, that was a very good thing.
But let's face it. In simply reading the record...we have Mohammed on the bottom, then Moses, Jesus and finally and foremost, Buddha, from least to most. It doesn't take a genius to see that's the order. Sad? Perhaps. But reality can be difficult. And besides, that is to be expected since Gautama Buddha, Siddhartha, was the best educated and least superstitious of all of them.
Still it matters little as all their legacies have been abused and subverted by some or many. It is after all what you pick and choose to believe. Sad as that is. It is much like trying to decide which is the best martial art. A foolish endeavor and does no one much good, for it is all about how you use what knowledge you have chosen, how you apply it, that is most important.
It isn't because I understand Buddha (not his descendants, not his followers, but The Buddha), makes more sense than all the rest of them combined. Consider, Jesus in his life had access to the teachings of the Buddha from travelers, if not from his own. He incorporated those teachings into Judaism and tweaked it so it worked to lead Jews into a more sane belief system. Just as Catholicism centuries later would incorporate paganism into their beliefs in order to assimilate new tribes and beliefs as they infected their world. These aren't wild beliefs. Just reality and history.
I read, I discussed, debated and analyzed and that's how it panned out. Look, don't get mad at me. If God supported anyone of those guys (and I don't think he does, or exists for that matter), then He would have made it quite obvious who was on top. Not much more to say after that, is there....
Yet that's not really what is important here, though. No, really. It's not.
First... allow me to wish you and yours a happy holiday season. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, a cheery whatever you wish you want to enjoy and celebrate at this winter solstice time.
But what is all this really? Let's lay off for a moment with what history, reality and tradition tell us and just think about what actually is.
You see, there is after all, magic in life.
It isn't the magic of religion or Gods or what we wished (or fear) exists. It's the magic of Humanity. Though we're mostly too humble to allow ourselves to accept that. As vain and greedy, terrified in the face of the universe and life as we are, we are still too humble to accept that we are it. That this is it. All of it.
Isn't that odd?
There is a movie that exemplifies what I'm trying to say here. A 2011 film with one of my favorite entertainers in it, Eddie Izzard. The film is Lost Christmas. It's not about religion but the magic that is Life. And if that doesn't work, here's some others who can explain Christmas a little better.
In life, we have who we have and the memories we have with them. We also have what we believe we will have and those memories that we will then have with them, whomever "they" will be. What we leave, after we no longer exist, really isn't what we will have ourselves at all. Though sometimes we act like it, but it is really what others will have after we are no longer there.
So all we really have is ourselves, our others, our memories. Then we're simply gone and it's the end.
It is hard for many to contemplate dying, or not existing. We don't relate to it as humans. And so we have invented ways, som rather bizarre ways, in our ancient ignorance to deal with it. Okay.
So now let's take a step beyond that and talk about....
Religion and Guns.
No, really, bear with me a moment longer.
Believe it or not, there is something familiar there between those two things.
I'm going to tell you a secret. Something people need to share. Something people need to not keep quiet about. In fact if you need one thing in life to shout to the world, this would be it.
Those who want to spread the "word" will tell you otherwise, but that is from their inside out. Possibly your inside out, too. But that is dysfunctional. It is dangerous. It is against the need of the many, the need of all. Here it is.
Do not share your religion with everyone. Please. Keep it to yourself. Share it with others of a like mind. Offer to those who inquire of you about it. And let that be it. For the benefit of us all. Be open to sharing. But be quiet about forcing the issue on others. You're only doing yourself and your beliefs a disservice. And a disservice to all the rest of us. Regardless what you religion or leaders tell you. Especially in the money grubbing super churches and many of the evangelical corporate thinking type endeavors.
Evangelicism being one of the great banes America has infected the world and our nation with.
Although some of us do believe you should be ashamed to share your "faith" in these beliefs you hold, with anyone, you are welcome in my world to live your life as you see fit, to pursue happiness for the most part, as you see fit. This is America, still, and hopefully we will survive Trump and his minions.
And so everyone is welcome to their own delusions which we all have. Just be aware, if you bring down our most basic ideals of freedom in the name of a faux freedom as designed by the greedy now in charge, you will eliminate not on that freedom but your right to your own personal delusions. In religion, in everything.
And you will have to begin to believe in what those in power want you to believe. Much as Trump is doing now, in forcing fakeness and diatribe upon us all in order to enrich both himself and his cohorts.
With only this exception.
For the good of all you should wear your faith under your coat, not on your sleeve for all to see. Signs of your Faith, quiet signs like jewelry, is fine. But the vocal part, you should wear just as you should wear your gun under your coat and out of sight. If you have a gun, and want to carry it around.
Though better it is best for all for you to leave it at home. Rather than forcing force by vigilante actions, force the government to apply funding and resources to protect us properly. THAT is a far better way. Hold our representatives to task to protect us so we do not have to protect ourselves to the degree tha is now perceived, many times incorrectly, but so many. And so many whoa re ignorant and believe whatever their favorite pundits say.
Faith extremists will tell you to preach the word to all and any! Spread the word to assure the continuation of your addiction! Shove your beliefs down the throat of any and all because your God demands it!
But no. That is the way of the immature.
As in religion they will say, propagate, raise your children up with your religion. Force religion down the throat of all humanity until they have no choice but to be subjugated to whatever your choice of religion is and to Hell with all others! Because they become indeed then, The Others.
But that is from within. Don't you see?
From without, from within the whole of humanity, we are many and varied. Diversity is good. But delusion not based in reality is of late, endemic and dangerous and could bring about our own demise.
We need therefore to coexist in order to be, together. That means we need to allow others to seek their faith as they see it. Even when it seems foolish or anti to your religion. Because your religion (even if it's guns) may seem anti to theirs.
Maybe you're right. Maybe, they're right. Because, what if you're wrong? But then, your religion doesn't allow for that, does it? Would it? No, because that is the design of religion in the first place. Isn't it.
And that is fine, I suppose. Mostly. For now.
I would say that in today's world it has now reached a point where we need to kill those who push their beliefs on others so that those who do not, who live to allow others their lives and beliefs, can be the ones in the end to survive and prosper.
Because we do not need those who will push their beliefs on others. Besides it will only, counterintuitively lead to the demise of those who are most obnoxious and pushy. As religion is on the decline globally anyway. It just seems like it's growing because any animal dying and in a corner, becomes louder and more dangerous, until it's dead.
For they are the troglodytes, those who push the ancient and archaic mythologies as reality. The proto humans who need to die off so the evolved humans can survive to propagate and replace them.
Just as children one day finally need to leave their childhood selves behind so that they too can become adults.
We all need to grow. But we do not all need to make others into our own image. Even if we believe that is the image of our God. We need... to all live together. Together in ways that will allow us all to live and prosper and be happy. Together.
And those who do not believe that?
They need to find their end. Quickly. And if they cannot then they need, they are asking us for, our help to end them in their difficult journey.
Hard words, right? Well? Life is hard. But it doesn't have to be. Global warming is real. To think that "God will save us" or "God will fix it", is ludicrous and childish.
We don't need to be making it any harder. Regardless what our beliefs are. We just need to get along. Believe what you will, but remember to treat others with respect and leave the judging to your God. Because if you don't believe your God will judge them, then you do not believe in your God. So either way...stop being demeaning to others.
So, a cheery winter's solstice to you and may you be happy and may you leave others alone, when they need it.