I was listening to Radio 2 today and they had someone on talking about Christmas in terms of midnight mass and other religious things (I think he was a vicar, but I missed the beginning of the segment) and I found myself feeling cross.
“This is the BBC”, I thought, “why am I listening to religious things?”.
I thought the BBC should be a bit more moderate and found myself wondering if they had a Kohen on for Hanukkah or an Imam for Ramadan. But then it occurred to me – they were talking about CHRISTmas. You know, the religious holiday?
The problem I have is this; I don’t believe in Jesus. But I kind of do. Let me explain:
I don’t like to pin down my beliefs and give them a name. I think there are aspects of Christianity I like, such as the message that we should all be nice to each other, but I like that in the same way that I like aspects of Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Jainism, Rastafari and so on and so forth. I’m open to the concept that there may have been a man called Jesus who spread the word of love and tolerance, but do I believe that he was the Son of God? No, probably not. However, there are large aspects of each of them that I dislike (less so with Buddhism or Jainism) and I don’t celebrate the festivals of any of the other religions, so why do I celebrate Christmas?
There’s a quote from one of my favourite films that has always really resonated with me. It’s from Dogma, the Kevin Smith film about religion and may not be a heavyweight in terms of theological debate, but for me, this is profound:
Rufus: He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name – wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.
Bethany: Having beliefs isn’t good?
Rufus: I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier…
IDEAS. That’s how I feel. I could never in a million years say that I don’t believe in anything, because I just don’t know and it would be terribly narrow-minded of me to refute anything, but the scientist in me just won’t let me get my head around the earth being created in six days. But hey, if I’m wrong, I’m wrong! Another quote I love is this:
”If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” -The Dalai Lama
That’s just beautiful, as far as I’m concerned. That is how it should be. Don’t ban science lessons which include evolution. How about we teach our kids ALL of the ideas?
But anyway, my original point – am I a Christmas hypocrite? Well, I just don’t know. Sausage doesn’t know the story of the nativity as such and I have no plans to teach it to her just yet. I knew it by her age as I went to a C of E primary school and we had hymns, psalms and all sorts every day, but I’m just not ready to teach her the nativity yet. Maybe Husband can jump in on this one, he’s far better at teaching her things than I am! But am I a hypocrite for celebrating Christmas without telling Sausage WHY?
I’d love to know how you feel about this. Are you having a totally non-religious Christmas? Do you ever feel weird about celebrating a religious festival with no intention of attending church? Or do you do the full-on Christian thing and teach your kids about Baby Jesus? Hit me up in the comments box!
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