There will always by us and “them”.
I am happy that I am not one of “them”…
I watched an interesting program on the history of Istanbul (which started life as a tiny Greek fishing village), formerly known as Constantinople and, before that, Byzantium. Few, if any, cities have a more tumultuous history.
One interesting fact glaringly obvious from this history—which I probably knew, but ignored—is that Christianity is riven just as Islam is, i.e.. the ancient strife between Roman and Greek arms of the religion. They might not kill each other as much as Sunnis and Shiites, but the disagreements run just as deep. Constantinople competed with Rome to be able to plunder people foolish enough to believe in tales spun from ancient pagan rites. Each claimed to be the true home of Christianity and killed each other to prove it…just like competing arms of Islam.
Perhaps, this is one more bit of proof that there is no god, because all religion is invented, refined, and manipulated by humans. If I were god (ha, that would be something and stuff would change! ), I would certainly want a say in how I was worshipped and would not brook disagreements amongst squabbling earthlings.
The following headline could appear only in the media of an ethnocentric nation:
In China, Chairman Mao still bigger than Jesus
Anyone with half a brain would know that a nation of one billion people, in which Christianity plays almost no role (except in the imagination of Christians) would not be interested in a foreign fictional character. This has nothing to do with belief of non-belief, this is statistics.
I have read a good deal of history and Pearl Buck, and I have known children of former missionaries, who felt that China had be “lost” (even though they Christian missionaries had never “had” China.
I am certain that more people on this earth do not know or care about Jesus than do know or care about being told by others how to lead their lives, because of words attributed to him by men living all the centuries since his death.
For most, today is Christmas, so Merry Christmas. For Germans, this is the first Christmas, even though last night was the time of gift-giving. Tomorrow is the second Christmas, which no one understands. For Orthodox Christians, Christmas is not until January 6. It’s all very confusing.
As a treat, I want to give you an impression of my Christmas, past and present. This is a study in contrasts. 2013 vs, 1973. See if you can spot the difference and guess which is which...
In case you’re stumped, I had to provide my own Christmas decorations with a grease pencil and the windshield of a UH-1 helicopter. The hills in the distance lie to west of Qui Nhon, Vietnam. I was playing at real war...not a fake one, like Fox News and rightwing idiots imagine, resurrect, and promote each year. (Because not enough people are jumping on their bandwagon, race has been added to the tree decoration.**) Although not religious, Christmas was and always will be Christmas.
Gifts in Germany are brought by das Cristkind, (German Word of the Day Christmas Editon: the christ child) not Santa Claus. Niklaus (St. Nicolas) drops by on December 6th to leave small gifts, fruit, and cookies. I do not know and will not bother to research the origins of a small child bringing presents to German children on or around the old pagan feast day, but there must be some connection to the birth of some fictional character, which has evolved over generations to inspire delusional and gullible fools and to be exploited by charlatans for their own benefit.
Merry Christmas. (See, Sarah, I wrote that word again! Are you happy? No, probably not, because this brings you no financial benefit.)
I am not a big fan of little Bibi. I did not agree with much he said about Iran in his speech at the United Nations. And then, I watched a BBC program: The History of the Jews.
These folks have been treated badly throughout history, even when they tried to fit in. I often wondered why Jews don’t assimilate. They were never allowed, even when they tried. And, they rarely enjoyed help from others, even in their direst moments of need.
Israel is forced to be unreasonable, because Jews have always suffered and learned not expect assistance. If a nation, ie. Iran, threatens to annihilate Israel, then they take that threat seriously. History has taught the Jews that someone was always trying to annihilate them. After years of submission, they became tough and uncompromising. The rest of the world has no one to blame but themselves for Israeli intransigence.
The story of the Jews is a story of how bad humans can act towards fellow humans. Why? Because of something as stupid as religion. All the Jews have ever wanted is to be left alone to follow their own ways. They have never sought convert others, as Christians have constantly attempted, or called all others non-believers, as Muslims do. People should be allowed to believe whatever they want and no one should force those beliefs on anyone else. Period.
Sadly, that will never happen. So, Bibi must hang tough...
Another interesting program on BBC: The History of the Jews, which I watched, because I wanted to understand something I have never understood.
As usual with such programs, I learned a lot, but discovered one interesting fact. 1492 for Americans means the year that Columbus “discovered” America, supposedly being the first European to do so (long since proved erroneous, like so much in the history taught in American classrooms). This date means something else to Muslims, because that was the year that Christians “conquered” Spain and ran them out of town. This year was mentioned by Osama Bin Laden, when chortling over his success on September 11, 2001, which confused all Americans.
What I learned from the BBC program is that this year also has meaning for the Jewish people, because they were also forced to flee from Spain. It seems that Christians, who preach one thing, practice something else. They were far less tolerant than Muslims towards non-believers.
One thing is certain: if I had lived in Spain after 1492, I would have been in trouble. I would not have survived the Inquisition...
Praise of a blond (woman, of course, because no man would be labeled blond) politician in Texas from certain circles has resulted in the usual backlash from their opponents. These low-life cretins (I can’t think of any better label) have dug up an old photo of the women, when she had dark hair. I cannot see how this matters, either about the woman or the matter at hand. Perhaps, this is an indication of their desperation and lack of cogent arguments.
Still, I was wonder about these people. Why do fight so bitterly for the rights of the unborn, when they either pay no attention or do everything possible to harm the less-fortunate amongst the living. Any program to provide health care or food support to poor families or children are labeled as socialism and fought with every dirty method possible.
Although most claim to be Christian, they act differently than the Christianity I learned as a child. St. Martin was the patron saint of my school. He was not a Republican. Perhaps, things have changed since I stopped paying attention...
Media reported the lighting of a huge Christmas tree in the Vatican. It’s interesting to note that Catholics celebrate a pagan tradition or, rather, use a symbol stolen from pagans...the kind of folks they burned at the stake after stealing their show. I wonder what Jesus (that guy supposedly born on a Pagan holiday) would say...
I just watched a fascinating program on Dark Ages. The key learning was that that character assassination was alive and well, practiced with great skill by Christians.
Non-Christian peoples, whose names have become words now synonymous with something bad, were trashed by Christians of the times in hope of looking superior and turning others against their adversaries.
If the Vandals, the Huns, the Goths, and other Barbarians had been better at PR, few would use those words to denigrate others. In its original form, a “barbarian” was merely someone that spoke a different language from Greek. No behavior, good or bad, was attached to the name, which was synonymous with “foreigner”. This word has usually been a qualitative descriptor and not derogatory...except in some segments of American society (and one news medium).
Art, artifacts, and architecture of these peoples trashed by early Christians reveal a level of creativity and culture superior to that of Christians of the time. The ‘dark’ in Dark Ages should be a comment on the character of a group of hypocrites, which considers themselves to be superior to all others. Ancestors of the pope, cardinals, and bishops learned early that if you can’t beat them, smear their character...
The English newspaper, the Guardian, conducts a reader poll each day. I usually glance at the question and results. I had always assumed that the questions were serious...until today.
The pretext, the question, and the response are each absurd in their own way, but taken as a whole indicate the folly to which humans can succumb.
This is what was asked:
Should donkeys be banned from nativity plays?
The pope has declared the presence of donkeys at the birth of Jesus to be a myth.
Should donkeys be booted out of the Christmas stable from now on?
84% disagreed. Of course, this is a country that just rejected allowing female bishops in the Church of England.
As aside, I notice the irony of an old man, who is responsible for maintaining some of the biggest myths perpetrated upon mankind, making such a ridiculous statement. But, a donkey is also known as an ass.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.