Christmas Sanity 2014

Christmas Sanity 2014

As published in the Ottawa Sun: December 24, 2014.

Fundamentally, Christmas 2014 is the latest birthday of a controversial historical figure who; for better or worse; is globally revered as the “son of god”. It has also become a short vacation and a season of great commercial value to manufacturers, artists and retailers. While I consider nativity scenes to be more historical than spiritual; their presence is harmless and even charming in a way. That being said, I prefer a nicely-decorated tree and stuffed pit socks on the hearth. Either way, I avoid emotional debates about the propriety of saying “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays”.

If Jesus Christ really is an omnipotent supernatural entity he must either laugh or cry at humanity’s’ competitive shenanigans. Considering the weight of his recorded pronouncements; I’m inclined to doubt that he would encourage anyone to be ”merry” on the occasion of his two thousandth and fourteenth birthday. As well, I really wonder what he thinks about Santa Claus and the elves being compared to him and his disciples.

Considering the extreme limitations imposed by the parameters of organized religion; the flexible practicality of an informed agnosticism cannot be overstated. As Sam Harris wrote, “We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no natural explanation. When their beliefs are extremely common we call it religious; otherwise, they are likely to be called mad, psychotic or delusional. Clearly, there is sanity in numbers. And so, while religious people are not generally mad; their core beliefs absolutely are.”

To conclude, there may well be an organizing intelligence in the universe. The major religions may even be on the right path but their arrogant pronouncements bode ill for the future. It is well within our power to practice the generosity and kindness of the “Christmas spirit” at all times. Whether Jesus Christ was man or god, I’m sure he would approve of that course of action. Naturally, I’m counting on his famous mercy to excuse my skepticism and thus spare me from eternal damnation; a most unappealing prospect.