“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 ….