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Celebrating Christmas

Posted by ESC on December 07, 2003

In Reply to: Celebrating Christmas posted by Smokey Stover on December 07, 2003

: : : : : : : : : : : : In the latest display of 'politically correct' insanity, the mayor of Sydney declared that a Christmas Carol event should not include any carols that made any reference to the word 'Christ' in it, lest it should offend people of other religious persuasions.

: : : : : : : : : : : : Help me here? Am I daft? What does she plan to do with the word 'Christmas'? Will she simply celebrate 'mas'? Isn't Christ supposed to be what Christmas is all about?

: : : : : : : : : : : : I'm not even a Christian and I struggle to figure out this bizarre piece of logic. What's more, every other non-Christian I have spoken to so far - this includes a Jew, Muslim, some people of other 'pagan' persuasions, haven't had the slightest problem with carols that make reference ot Christ.

: : : : : : : : : : : : I wonder if for example, the Jewish community chose to have a public event (which they often do) involving their own religious references, whether she would dare to censor their songs.

: : : : : : : : : : : : Methinks not. There would be an outrage. It would be viewed as vilification or something.

: : : : : : : : : : : : Am I missing something? Does anyone actually agree with our 'esteemed' lady mayoress? Oops, sorry, apparently that's not correct either. Apparently, Lucy Turnbull is referred to as our Lord Mayor. Again I struggle. How on earth can a woman, be a Lord? Suddenly Lord has become generic?

: : : : : : : : : : : : Lord give me strength! Oh sorry, I'm not a Christian. Well alright, then I call on all the gods & goddesses.

: : : : : : : : : : : I have a very limited amount of sympathy with all the views expressed and personally am of the opinion that were the world to outlaw all forms of religion we would live in a much better society unencumbered by the need to pay lip service to myths and legends and, in many cases, downright evil dogmas.

: : : : : : : : : :
: : : : : : : : : : Fair enough, but I think the need to 'outlaw' any religious beliefs with such conviction is a dogma in itself.

: : : : : : : : : : What are you saying 'wise one', you want to "outlaw" free thought and speech? Where would we Phrase Finders be if we took your thoughts literally?

: : : : : : : : : : I'm neither a Christian nor do I believe in any particular religion, and I tend to concur that most if not all of these things are based on myths and legends, but I wouldn't begrudge anyone who does have religious beliefs, and think anyone who does begrudge same must be insecure in their own thoughts.

: : : : : : : : : : Nor do I begrudge a bit of myth and legend. That can be good stuff. Don't forget that myth and legend have formed the foundation of nations. And I think there are elements of truth that go into building the myth and legend. It no doubt goes back to tribal times, but has been a useful tool in teaching, learning and communication and I think has an incredibly important place in our history. I agree that it's probably been taken out of context on many occasions, but I'm not sure we should think we're so clever as to assume it's all untrue. There are still things unexplained, and while I'm not happy to accept fairy stories carte blanche to explain them, it doesn't mean some of them might not be true, or might not contribute to a way of finding the truth.

: : : : : : : : : : I must admit however, that I think we often confuse the myth and legend with reality, but I suspect more of us are guilty of that than we might like to admit.

: : : : : : : : : : I don't feel threatened by other people's religious beliefs (unless they directly try to force them on me of course), so that's why I find the need to 'censor' the word 'Christ' out of a Christian festival, facile, moronic, stupid and pointless. And I re-iterate that those people of other beliefs, religious or otherwise, that I have spoken to, feel secure enough in their own beliefs not to feel threatened when someone who thinks differently wants to express so. So I still consider this so called kind of "politically correct" censorship to be just plain stupid, low IQ, rubbish.

: : : : : : : : : : But hey, that's only my opinion. But then that's the point I'm making. I'm entitled to my opinion, and so are those people expressing their religious beliefs, again with the proviso, that they don't force them on me or anyone else.

: : : : : : : : : : So, 'wise one', even if you do think it's all just lip service to myths and legends and, in many cases, downright evil dogmas, surely it's nice to be able to live in a country where you have the right to express that stuff?

: : : : : : : : : : Oh - and I'm interested to note you used the word 'evil'. Funny word to use when you don't believe in all that stuff???? 'Evil' is surely not a word used by someone who infers no spiritual attachments?

: : : : : : : : : To not feel threatened by the religious beliefs of others is to fly in the face of the manifest reality of thousands of years of oppression, torture and murder carried out in the name of religion. Equally you have to look no further than the religious fundamentalism racing through the Middle East life a wild fire to understand that the days of dangerous religious beliefs are still with us.

: : : : : : : : : Looking a little more closely at the antics of the home grown fanatical fundamentalists of Utah and the Bible Belt states should give cause for concern to any freedom loving individual.

: : : : : : : : : But this is not a forum for opinions about such matters and I, for one, shall respect than and take the matter no further. In fact it would be in everyone's best interest if Gary were to delete this thread on the grounds of irrelevance to the stated purpose of the website.

: : : : : : : : : For your information:

: : : : : : : : : Main Entry: 1 evil
: : : : : : : : : Pronunciation: 'E-v&l, British often and US also 'E-(")vil
: : : : : : : : : Function: adjective
: : : : : : : : : Inflected Form(s): evil·er or evil·ler; evil·est or evil·lest
: : : : : : : : : Etymology: Middle English, from Old English yfel; akin to Old High German ubil evil
: : : : : : : : : Date: before 12th century
: : : : : : : : : 1 a : morally reprehensible : SINFUL, WICKED b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct
: : : : : : : : : 2 a archaic : INFERIOR b : causing discomfort or repulsion : OFFENSIVE c : DISAGREEABLE
: : : : : : : : : 3 a : causing harm : PERNICIOUS b : marked by misfortune : UNLUCKY

: : : : : : : :
: : : : : : : : Well, the original posting was with regard to the use, or overuse of the political correctness in censoring words - in this case, removing the word 'christ' from a Christian festival, which seemed fundamentally stupid to me. And words, are exactly what this forum is about. As for whether this is the forum for opinions, methinks Gary (didn't know his name before) would need to delete at least 50% of the entries, if we're to remove opinions.

: : : : : : : : And thanks for your definitions of 'evil' - yet another word. Reinforces a judgemental connotation to me. But that's just my opinion.

: : : : : : : Verbosity is clearly one of your strengths.

: : : : : Going back to the original issue -- celebrating Christmas in a diverse society. I was lucky enough to work for six years at an agency where the employees had a wide mix of religious backgrounds. Unusual for this area. We had Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses (who don't observe holdiays or birthdays), Hindus, Moslems, Catholics, Baptists, and one lonely Jew, a rabbi who serves as chaplain at a nearby federal prison.

: : : : : Anyway, we never had any problems celebrating during the holiday season. Urial put up his Menorah. The rest of us (except the Witnesses) put up Christmas decorations. A Moslem collected toys for the Salvation Army's Christmas drive. The guys from India, by the way, said they celebrate Christmas in their home land. Everybody came together for a meal. Lots of good food from the different cultures.

: : : : : At my current workplace, we are mostly Christian. It's not nearly as much fun. We have a holiday meal but I never attend because it is meat and meat-flavored veggies. I'm a vegetarian. The woman that is organizing this year wants the group to sing holiday songs that don't mention Christmas. Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland, I guess.

: : : : : My point is, it's better to share traditions in mutual respect than to bland everything down.

: : : : While I'm sure there were tens of thousands of instances where people recovered from the Great Plague in the Middle Ages and many modern day demonstrations of terrorists showing great kindness to their fellow human beings these examples cannot lead us to the conclusion that the plague was harmless or that terrorists are not very dangerous people.

: : : It is not possible to outlaw religion. Religion is inborn -- humans are hard-wired to believe. So we all need to get along. I would back this up with research but I'm too busy wrapping Christmas presents.

: : There was once a widely held belief in the US that Africans were an inferior race, were created that way, that there was nothing that could be done about it and that it was a kindness to keep them as slaves. This was not true.

: I always like to see a posting by Lotg. She has a sense of humor and golden hair. What more could one want? She also admits to making typos, something almost imossible to avoid in typing stuff into stubborn little boxes where you can't see what you wrote without exerting a scrupulousness that few of us can attain. My comment is that Lotg was writing about music. During and after the Middle Ages the Church could command the services of the best architects, scultors, painters, musicians--anything artistic or expensive. The people running the Church, all interested in claiming souls after first getting them into the church, long ago saw the usefulness of good music. And for centuries they got the best. During the Reformation the Protestants went the Catholics one better by having the congregation sing. What they sang had to be singable so the chorale (short, strophic, tuneful) was invented. Luther contributed to the music of the Protestants, and also vowed to take what was useful from the Catholics. "Why should the devil have all the good tunes?" The Catholics eventually caught on, and now there is congregational singing, often of former chorales and Protestant hymns, in Catholic churches. When I went to college, there was still the requirement that all students either go to chapel on Sunday, or to an authorized service in the village. This requirement was rescinded for seniors, but I and many of my fellow students, many of them atheists, willing attended services just to be allowed to sing the music. We did not think we would be poisoned by having religious words come out of our mouths. Had that been the case, we would have had to give up singing in organizations whose agenda was to sing the best music available. This spirit inhabits most musical organizations. At one time, during high school, I went to three different Protestant services most Sundays, for the chance to sing in the choir. I understand the attitude of the Lord Mayoress. She is, after all, a politician. But as has been said above, how many times can you sing Jingle Bells or Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer? A last comment: if you take the Christ out of Christmas you are, indeed, left with "mas," which alas is the name of the principal Catholic service.

Check out Aaron Neville singing "Joy to the World" (From "Go Tell It on the Mountain," The Blind Boys of Alabama.) Beats the heck out of "Jingle Bells" any day.