I was recently asked this question:
“If you don’t believe in God, why will you be celebrating the birth of his son on 25th December?”
This was my answer:
Christmas was, I believe, celebrated long before Christ appeared. But quite apart from that, the story of Christ is totally and absolutely wonderful and inspirational. He is a sublime role model. He encapsulates all that is most pure and admirable about the human spirit.
He understood our frailty and did not condemn us for it but tried to show us a better way through his own example. He shied not from difficult questions, but always spoke what I take to be “the truth”, and he taught it with astonishing examples, in particular through his own actions and relations with others, friends or strangers.
He was not greedy or selfish in any way; he truly loved people and treated them all as his beloved brothers.
Personally, I love Jesus and I am more than happy to celebrate his life, to remember how remarkable he was, to get once more inspiration from his selflessness, purity and love for his fellow men. I celebrate his life also for his ability to inspire others to to write such wonderful stories, even if all are not totally true (who knows?).
Sadly, it’s just the extra-terrestrial bit that is a problem. But I can celebrate his life without that, can’t I?
I wish there were a God, that he’d sort the mess out, that he’d end our pain, that he’d speak to me. I wish this quite deeply. But that doesn’t mean I should invent him if he isn’t there, does it?
What IS completely clear to me is that if we could all follow Jesus’ example, (which can be summed up in the sublime message “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”) then we would indeed enjoy “Heaven on Earth”. That would be more than enough to be going on with ….
Does that answer your question?
By Chris Snuggs
5 thoughts on “What Jesus means to me.”
The Winter Solstice period was the occasion to celebrate Saturn. These two week long Saturnalia vacations became so extravagant, Augustus tried to limit their extent by law. Rather in vain. In the following centuries, Saturn saw Himself pushed around by “Sol Invictus”. In any case the Winter Solstice celebrations were enormous under non Christian Rome.
By 300 CE a lot of what would later characterize Christianity (semi divinization of the living emperor, heavy symbolism) was in place. The quasi military imperial system of the Christian churches were also in place. (At that point in the one and only severe persecution of Christians occurred, maybe 3,000 died, all together; it had been sparked by blatant Christian civil disobedience). The next emperor Constantine, observing the intrinsic fascism of the Christian church, made Christianity as de facto state religion.
Old divinities and celebrations were then systematically integrated into Christianism, the rest being forbidden under penalty of death, except for the Jews, who never got quite exterminated to the last. Under the very “Catholic Orthodox” Christian emperor Justinian alone (sixth century), millions died, in Anatolia alone, from religious persecutions, Christian to Christian.
Nice approach to Jesus, by the way. Too bad the chap is not as nice as his legend has it, when read carefully in the Evangels. A lot of the bad stuff that happened next with Christianity and Islam can, in my opinion be attributed directly to statements attributed to Jesus. Now, just as for Muhammad, one can always just have faith that his worst statements he never made… But the fact remains that the worse of the worst was integrated inside both heresies of Judaism.
Thank you Patrice – as provocative as ever. I fully agree that the organised “Church”, or people such as Emperors using the “Church” for their own ends, have perpetrated some of the greatest and nastiest crimes known to humanity. Personally, I feel that religion is an intensely personal thing and it all started to go wrong as soon as an organisation was built up. Now, the primary purpose of almost all organisations is to increase their own power and size, which is why I am deep down an anarchist. I do NOT trust large organisations.
Where I part company with you is in your judgement of what Jesus said. Though I cannot claim a professional knowledge of the Bible I certainly feel that if people acted as Jesus did and spoke as he spoke then there would beno problems on Earth. And surely it is grossly unfair to blame HIM for what others may have done later in his name?
I would also add to this. Chris knows me sufficiently well to know that for the bulk of my 65 years I have been an atheist and I argued such position from an intellectual and logical perspective.
In 2008 I was baptised into the Catholic faith and realised something very fundamental. One’s belief in God, of whatever variety, is based only on faith and that as soon as one tries to understand that intellectually one fails. Even now I find that strange but that’s the way it seems to be.
The concept of living a life in the manner that is ascribed to Jesus would truly be a Godsend, irrespective of the historical background.
,Mon cher je vais vous poser une question;
Quel est votre choix entre ”CROIRE à ce qui n’existe pas” et ”Ne pas croire à ce qui existe”
Demain si DIEU les croyants ne vont pas perdre et s’il n’existe pas ils vont pas gagner.
Thank you so much for your comment. I regret that my French is not sufficiently good for me to properly understand you. However, I will ask Chris Snuggs to reply, he speaks fluent French.