Class Warfare Blog

December 3, 2019

Simple and Impossible

I love it when things come together, in this case a PBS history of Hanukkah and a blog discussion of Christian ethics. Here, in a nutshell, is the core of the discussion of Christian ethics:

“The Bible says a lot of good things. Fundamentally, as Jesus says, the rule of law comes down to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Heartwarming, 100% a principle to live your life by, good job Bible (though it is bizarre to say that the Bible is its origin).”

I think this “law” is a classic exhortation of an impossible goal. Is it even possible to “Love your neighbor as yourself?” I think it is not. In the hierarchy of things we value, we place ourselves at the top (anybody who says otherwise is virtue signally or deluded or lying at the same time). This is because of a certain practical situation. You cannot serve, help, protect, etc. any of those you love if you die first. You must preserve yourself, so you can protect, etc. others you value. (Yes, it is that simple. Not even lemmings are lemmings.)

Under yourself, are your immediate family: your spouse, your children and then your extended family, your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. (We have names for these relationships for a reason.) Then, past that point there is your tribe and I use this term loosely as people see it differently. These are your extended in group, people you care about, at least theoretically. (Governments try mightily to extend your in group to the borders of the country … and no further (loyalty, patriotism, love for the Vaterland, etc.).

Biologically and socially, we have invested a great deal in making signals for who is and who isn’t in our in group. We have: language (people who didn’t speak Greek were called barbarians), hairstyles, hats and other articles of clothing (flag lapel pins, special underwear, shawls, religious uniforms, etc.), membership in certain groups (religions, churches, Knights of Columbus, Republican Party, etc.), and so on. So, if you are in conversation with someone and they interject “Praise the Lord,” you know who you are talking to.

Okay, so the PBS special? I found it fascinating how the memes of Hanukkah celebrations are supported, passed on to new generations, and used as a binder of Jewish society (which is what memes are for and why they are “transmitted” and survive). All of the ceremonies, special foods (latkes, yum!), songs, games, etc. involved in these festivities establish a common background for all of the people in their particular “in group.” This helps bond people into the group and helps to identify who is and isn’t in the group. (If you don’t know what a dreidel is, you ain’t in the in group.)

Which brings us full circle to Christian ethics. The admonition to “Love your neighbor as yourself” intended that neighbor to be someone in your in group. At that time “foreigners” just did not buy a place in your neighborhood and settle down. Jews lived with other Jews, so “Love your neighbor as yourself” actually means “Love your neighbor Jew as yourself.” It was not designed to include everyone. There was no point, especially in a group that is related genetically as Jews were. (The hostility directed at modern converts is a residue of this feeling. Those converts may be Jews, but they aren’t family.)

And, even when so limited, this admonition isn’t really possible. It was posited, possibly in good faith (no pun intended), as a standard that could not be met but could be strived for, a standard everyone fails at some times, and so it also bonds the in group. And it certainly wasn’t directed at “humanity.”

And, as an aside, the decrying of the secularization of the Christmas holiday (including the Fucking War on Christmas), is a bemoaning of the loss of any grip the Christian churches had on this “holy day.” Festivities were often centered in the church (when the church got over its opposition to the festivities all together) with nativity plays, special services, etc. Now, many don’t include the church in their plans art all. Thus Christians don’t have a powerful meme sharing program to identify with as the Jews have in their Hanukkah festivities. And they bemoan its loss.

December 2, 2018

The Real War on Christmas

I play on the Quora website from time to time and the number of questions trolling atheists is truly astounding. Here is just one of them: “If atheists don’t believe in God or Jesus, why do they celebrate Christmas and Easter, the day Jesus Christ was born in the day he rose from the dead … ?” This brought to mind the War on Christmas promoted by Fox (sic) News and leads me to this post.

Which Christian saint is this?

Both the holidays mentioned in the Quora question were highjacked by Christians, that is they existed before and Christians took them over. This was a part of their strategy to obliterate other religions. Christian church buildings were constructed on the foundations of pagan temples, Christian calendar dates were moved to coincide with dates on pagan calendars, and pagan holidays were supplanted by Christian holidays by highjacking the festivals associated with them.

If you look at the iconic aspects of Christmas (feasting, decorated trees moved indoors, gift giving, Santa Claus, etc.) or Easter (egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, May pole dances (archaic), etc.) none of them are associated with Christian practices. Those two holidays were associated with the winter solstice and spring equinox festivals of antiquity. The eggs and rabbits of Easter were fertility symbols associated with the beginning of a new growing season. The word Easter is derived from the name of a fertility goddess (Eostre) and has no Christian roots.

Christmas is supposed by Christians to be a celebration of the birth of the Christ even though the dates do not match up nor do the celebrations. And think about it. If the creator of the Earth and the Heavens and Adam and Eve wanted to create a human representative to spread the good news, why would he impregnate a human girl and make his new “creation” go through diapers, puberty, school, deprivation, hunger, disease, and all of that for a mission that wouldn’t start until the guy was 30 years old? Is that how you would expect an all-powerful, all-knowing god to behave? Nothing that Jesus is claimed to have done prior to the age of thirty has anything to do with the so-called salvation plan. When Yahweh wanted humans in his garden, he made them post haste, as fully formed adults. So, the Christian claim that Christmas celebrates the birth of a god, it is celebrating a 30 year waste of time by a assumed to be perfect god.

So when Christians harp on “remembering the reason for the season,” please do. It had nothing to do with Christianity, so much so that the Pilgrims in America would have nothing to do with it. This should be meaningful to all of you original intent constitutionalists. And it takes a lot of chutzpah for those who highjacked such a celebration (not a holy day) to criticize those who celebrate it the way it was originally intended.

 

September 2, 2017

I Can’t Wait for the Rapture

According to some numb nuts Christians, they will soon be transported to Heaven as part of the Second Coming of Jesus™. This event is called “The Rapture.” (Don’t bother searching for this term in the Bible; it ain’t there.) Ignoring that the source of this belief is bizarre and unreliable and that Jesus hasn’t come the first time yet, I can’t wait for this event! In fact, I want all Christians raptured, not just the fundamentalist believers of this claptrap. Take them all and let their god sort them out, I say.

Think about the benefits!

All of a sudden 2.2 billion Christians out of 7.5 billion people currently alive, roughly 30% of the load on the planet, is gone. This would reduce the world’s population down to 5.3 billion, roughly what it was in 1990, which would give us a 27 year window to deal more effectively with our problems.

Regarding the population problem, basically we know that when people are secure, have enough food, and women are educated, family sizes plummet. That’s working now, so since there would be fewer people to share out resources with, we could ramp up our efforts there. There would be no food shortages anymore, with 2.2 billion fewer mouths to feed, other than one’s we cause ourselves by refusing to distribute it reasonably, of course. There would also be no housing shortages.

Socially, there would be no more whining/whinging about the War on Christmas™, or losses of undeserved Christian privileges. There would be no Catholic priests raping alter boys. Oh, and all of those Churches … they would all be abandoned properties, with the property owners all deceased (well, most anyway). All of the church property could be foreclosed upon and sold to benefit the poor and needy, a huge boon! (Damn, I would make the trip to the Vatican rummage sale, whew!)

Keep thinking!

No more would poor people be bilked out of their hard-earned money by slick preachers. (The preachers would still be with us, not being True Christians™ and all, but the cause wouldn’t be, so take your fundraisers and shove them up your asses, faux preachers.) Oh, and since Donald Trump would still be here, we would know his actual religious affiliation and/or the sincerity of his beliefs. Think about all of those politicians who pander to the Christian Right, with their Christian Nation and other stupid legislative efforts, who would still be here … and exposed for the hypocrites they are. Delicious.

Ah, there would be no more proselytizers, at least of the Christian ilk. (Are the Hare Krishna’s still around?) There would be no more people wanting to share their personal testimony with us. No Watchtower Society, Mormons on bicycles, etc. No more institutionalized hatred of gay people or LGBTQ-LSMFT people either.

We would finally find out how much work undocumented Mexican workers were doing as most of them would be raptured, too.

The biggest gift would be to take our foot off of the gas pedal of always “growing” everything (our businesses, the economy, our “carbon footprint,” etc.) which is the definition of an unsustainable path. That alone would be worth having all of those people take their exit, stage upwards.

Now if there were just a way to get Jesus to take all of the Jews and Muslims, too, hmm … I wonder if praying would work?

December 24, 2013

What Goes Around Comes Around

Filed under: History,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 7:53 am
Tags: , , , ,

The objections to the “War on Christmas” notwithstanding, it is easily acquired knowledge that Christians highjacked winter solstice festivals to create a birthday celebration for their god, the birth date of whom is unstated in any biblical writings (yes, astronomers try to place it in time by looking for times in which a bright object overhead could be the “Star of Bethlehem” but that makes the assumption that the “guide star” was real and not a copy of the many guide star tropes in previous stories).

This was a strategy learned from the Romans; the Romans allowed all conquered peoples to maintain their local gods, as long as they accepted the Roman emperor into their pantheon, as a way to pacify local populations. Since Christians are monotheistic, they simply allowed local religious festivals but with aggressive Christian rebranding.

Well, what goes around comes around, and a recent survey in England, reported in today’s Guardian newspaper, that “one in 10 people aged 25 to 34 in modern Britain think that Father Christmas is mentioned in the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus.” Others believe that the birthing scene of the baby Jesus included a Christmas tree.

You can’t complain about the taste of a stew to which you added only some of the ingredients, no?

I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Dear Reader.

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