The Christmas Story
©2021 by Vernon Miles Kerr and VernonMilesKerr.com - Originally posted in rough-draft to Twitter on Dec. 24 2021.
#FirstCuppaJoe for Christmas Eve 2021 (thread)
I’m agnostic, but I don’t hate Christmas. The Jesus myth is lovely—even though historians say his birthday was shifted to Dec. 25 to piggy-back onto the pre-existing pagan Saturnalia. Anyway, who could argue with the basic precepts of Christianity: loving thy neighbor as thyself, turning the other cheek, being a good citizen even though everyone around you is grifting and committing violence against each other? As a philosophy, divorced from the spiritual claims of the New Testament, Christianity would be about-all-that-humans-need, in order to have an #EarthlyUtopia. The problem, in my opinion, started manifesting itself, in the very beginning, judging by the book of Acts and the various epistles (letters to churches). In those pages, one can see two major problems developing: a sort of pushy Evangelism and a Hierarchical internal Paternalism. One reading these books, with an open mind can’t help but sense that an initial religion— consisting of small groups of adherents meeting in someone’s home—is being forged by Paul (self-proclaimed head apostle) into a Roman-military style of Religious Empire. And isn’t that the exact result we see at the dawn of the Protestant Reformation? No wonder some of the splinters from that tree-felling, like the Quakers, wanted to return to those original small, family groups of loving believers. But also, no wonder most of the other splinter groups eventually returned to an hierarchical style of organization, based on a false interpretation of Evangelism (simply spreading good news)— turning it into a pushy, cajoling form of recruitment. But one can’t fault the logic if one believes that the NewTestament, as canonized by the Councils of Nicaea and Carthage*, is the word of God. If it is, then the distasteful parts of Christianity must actually be endorsed by God.
But, knowledge of this inauspicious start is no reason to abandon the good parts of Christianity, as enumerated at the beginning of this thread. Be skeptical of the obviously bad parts resulting from that questionable canonization. Enjoy your faith in the assurance that the good parts were inspired by a loving God. Sense the good parts. Be “wise as a serpent” in evaluating the suspected human parts. Just because some humans (a couple of Popes in the 4th Century C.E.) said that it had to be believed as a package, does not mean we must accept it as such. Be free of that misconception.
Happy Holidays & a Peaceful New Year, everyone.