Whoohoo! Doom and gloom! So I have a very strong feeling that Jesus never existed. And before you throw up your hands in horror and proclaim that I'm going to hell, I have a very strong feeling that hell doesn't exist either. Sorry, but there you are. Did I get all bitter and twisted and wake up one day with a chip on my shoulder? Nope. But G and I did start to think seriously about these matters, and research and read from many different sources. And in the process, we feel a lot more free than we ever did as practicing Christians.
The bottom line at the end of all this (and the thinking will never be finished, nor the reading), is that most of what Christianity has dished up in the form of story line is in fact a bunch of fiction. Some of the wisdom is useful. And this has nothing to do with the existence of an eternal overarching spirit / God / Almighty / All Powerful Life Force, or whatever else you'd like to call it - that's another matter entirely.
No, this has to do with man's habit of taking truth and doctrinalising it and fiddling with it to fit a preconceived idea and formulating it, and forcing it down everyone's throats on pain of death and proclaiming it until everyone else thinks you must have lost your marbles if you disagree. And if you lived a few hundred years ago, you did lose your marbles, and many of your other accoutrements too, courtesy of the church hit squad. And then you were slow roasted if you were lucky.
But getting back to my heretical pronouncement about the non-existence of Jesus, the next question that arrived was "Do you still celebrate Christmas?" Fair question. Shall we say, I used to celebrate Christmas like 95% of pseudo-Christians celebrate it (see below). Do I like to give presents to people? Of course I do - I happen to get more of a kick out of giving to people and watching their faces, than I do getting presents back. But am I about to make a huge hoo-ha about putting up trees and decor and giving and getting stuff on a day which I now know has not the slightest thing to do with Jesus? I am not. Is this so bad?
OK so let's look at the vast majority of Christians who celebrate Christmas. If I was doing it, I suppose I would be one of these. They must be Christians, right? It is supposed to be a Christian celebration, isn't it? Wrong. Most of those who observe the Christmas holiday, never go into a church from one year to the next. But they celebrate Christmas (and they eat chocolate at Easter). And they celebrate Christmas by eating and drinking too much, and having very loud parties and waking up with a hangover the next day (if they get to sleep early enough - otherwise it's the following day). And a large bank overdraft, because they've overspent their Christmas budget. Eyes bigger than bank balance. You see - last year I bought Jack a R20 000 Hi-Fi theatre surround with a zillion speakers, and this year he's not going to be happy if I buy him a box of chocolates. You see, the measure of my love has everything to do with the size and cost of the present I buy him. So, because I love Jack very much indeed and I don't want him to get pissed off with me, I put my bank balance on the rack and I buy him a Maserati this year. God knows what I will buy him next year - maybe a desert island.
And while Jack smiles (for a while at any rate - research proves humans are never happy with material goods- they always want more), and I cry over the zillions I owe my bank manager, who are the ones really having a Merry Christmas? The retail sector. Hey guys - sales are up and the shareholders are happy, the share price is booming. And management are getting their extremely large bonuses and share incentives because we made target.
But I'm stupid- because my bank balance is so stuffed that I don't have any money to invest in the stock market so I can benefit from the booming share price - I spent it all on Jack and his family, and I still owe a ton of money to my bank manager. So who's got stupid written on his forehead in flashing neon then? Must be 95% of the pseudo-Christians.
So even if you are one of the 5% of Christians who doesn't spend Christmas eating and drinking and spending too much, you spend it going to church. Night of the 24th, also day and maybe night of 25th perhaps, then if that wasn't on a weekend, both services the next Sunday, where you will think about "the events that happened at this time of the year " (the preaching menu is governed around what happens at various times of the year, and doesn't change much). The problem with this is that even these pious Christians know that Christ's birthday was not on December 25th. How could it have been? Shepherds out watching their flocks (this is the northern hemisphere) - in the middle of snow and ice and sub-zero temperatures. Things get chilly in Isreal in mid December. If Jesus was around, he sure as nuts was born in the warmer months.
So I'm going to celebrate the birth of Jesus on a day I know was not his birthday. What am I - a lunatic? The queen of England has an "official" birthday which differs from her real birthday. Do I go out and celebrate her birthday on the official date, or on her real birthday? There are comforting places for people like me, if I do this - all warm and white and padded. Make no mistake - there are lots of people who will celebrate her birthday on the "official" date - I think we can safely put them with the 95% of pseudo-Christians, don't you? But if you give me a public holiday, I'll stay at home and have a rest, but I'm not going to be putting up streamers and bunting and toasting the queen on a day which is not her birthday. I might have a few drinks, but it has nothing to do with the queen.
So, in exasperation, I ask G what trip these people are on. What's the point of Christmas? And the answer comes back clear and simple :
It's t- r- a- d- i- t- i- o- n. And if I am following tradition, I'm not free. I'm a little robot going round and round and doing what I'm told to do. I'm a clone. I'm a conformist. I'm going with the status-quo, even though I know it's wrong. My mind is programmed - it's made up. Please don't confuse me with reality.
I like the feeling that comes from being free. I'm swimming against the tide of the masses and it feels good. I'm starting to think that if you do something that everyone is doing, you are doing the wrong thing. Why? Because the vast majority of humanity are not thinkers. They're sheeple. They want to be told what to do and what to think and when to do it. In that way, they feel safe. It's cosy and it's comfy, but it's not truth and it's not a life I'd want to consciously lead.
So what will G and I be doing this Christmas? Probably having a picnic in the shade at the back, and a braai with anyone who'd like to join us, just for the fun of being together as a family, for no other reason but because we love each other and we like to spend time with our loved ones. And if nobody wants to join us, we'll do it alone. Public holidays are given for these occasions - no reason to waste them.
I don't mind you sailing your boat and I'm not about to dictate to you about how to sail it, but don't complain if I choose not to get into it with you - and please let me be free to sail mine.