What are we to believe (Ian)?
-A white Christmas – Forever?
-Oh, Thanks President Santa…
Perhaps I can justify using this “season” of a rather universal virtually-invasive Christian celebratory festival, to cogitate upon Ian Mc Donald’s last Sunday Stabroek column.
Dr Ian explored, in that Sunday piece titled faith at the crossroads, the basis of faith in God and Jesus Christ; the longevity and status of the Roman Catholic Church and the struggle between the traditional orthodoxies and a new (theological) liberalism in that bastion of Christian Churches
I plead most guilty to having the misfortune of being, still, a matured befuddled nearing-seventy person unsure of the concept of God and uncertain about so much recorded in the Christians Holy Bible. I know that this is regrettable because of my childhood experience of a Roman Catholic School and Church; exposure to numerous “Churches” on and around Church Street, Georgetown – from the Seventh Day Adventist to St George’s Cathedral to the Ethiopian Orthodox (Coptic) to the then burgeoning Assemblies of God pioneer “assembly”. I enjoyed the Salvation Army too, as I attended all those holy places and came away, by age twenty-one, very confused about religion and faith. So, pray for me, you-all.
Now I return to the provocative portions of Ian’s piece which would always attract my curiosity and yearning to know. Modern-day Christian Scholar-Historians and Theologians are indeed re-discovering untold truths. Ian reports that the Catholic Modernist “holds the following to be almost self-evident: that Jesus died without believing he was Christ or the Son of God; that he knew nothing of the Trinity: that he would have learnt from his mother who his natural father was; and that he taught the imminent arrival of a messianic figure who he never identified with himself. This consensus appears also to include the belief that Jesus’s body remained in its tomb and decomposed there like any other body.
Traditionalists reject such views and object to anyone holding these beliefs calling themselves Catholic. They say that the Church teaches the opposite of all these things. Anyone dissenting from the Church’s approved teachings who remain in it is a fraud.
So what are we to believe?
Christians believe because of two positions broadly – they accept as truth the records, analyses, prophecy and teachings in their Holy Books, as interpreted by their pantheon of Holy teachers, in old and modern pulpits; and most exercise Blind Faith – belief because they have to and badly want to.
Some folks need a faith, something to believe in at all cost, for their very daily and long-term sanity. Religion has to be their soul’s balm. But, to me, belief should be built even nurtured on foundations of both truth and inspired expectation. The profound divinity of a God helps but instructions regarding religious living should be rational, practical and just guidelines to tolerance amongst differing views. Religious infrastructure, celebration, ritual and systematic worship are all vital to the observance and adherence to faith. However, to me, frankly speaking, the religious in my country Guyana, tend to be mere members of Church-clubs families, never versed in the meaning of their theologies and in denial resistance to accept new or reformed truth.
Necessary? I contend that the pillars, the bedrock of the Christian Faith include belief in both the virgin birth, the crucifixion and the resurrection. Whatever “versions” new discoveries throw up! True Christians cannot afford to reject these “miracles”!
And even unproven history, ritual and ceremony are important to the perpetuation of some faiths. Take Christmas. Christians and their friends are okay with symbolism, whilst enjoying a known lie! It is accepted that if a Christ was indeed born, it was not on the 25th December. Reasons are given and that date is left to be observed in the Western Christian World. Deep down what does that teach you?
Why be upset with Jehovah Witnesses I leave the rest for you to ponder upon. I appreciate the need for religious-based occasions like Christmas. At my age though, I cannot accept the vulgar commercialization ruthlessly executed in the Christ Child’s Name.
A “White Christmas” always?
People! Read this gospel from a fanatic, patriotic folkloric, creole Guyanese – to – the – bone man.
I contend that so great, powerful and psychologically and effectively long-lasting has been European propaganda, in this business of Christmas, that if you delete such irrelevancies as Frosty The Snowman, Santa Claus, Pine Trees, Chestnuts, Winter Wonderlands, Sleighs, Reindeer and Snow, there would be a most significant void in the very Spirit of “the season”, as we Guyanese/Caribbean people know it. So comprehensive have the Europeans been with our minds over generations.
Non-Caribbean imagery is a must, I contend. Kwanza or no Kwanza, the European content prevails. Or claims a significant portion of “our Christmas”. What does that teach you? That people need traditions? However irrelevant?
Thanks – Give Thanks…
1*) Thank you My President – for the measly five per cent! It’s better than nothing, right?
You are more Santa than scrooge!
I wonder, will you ever accept a non-government panel of economists to show you how to finance increased public service wages and Old Age pensions for a new year?
I wish you a great Christmas and a productive retirement next year, as I tell you two things: one reason, just one, why government workers steal, is because of low pay and little lucrative conditions of work; secondly take time to really consider the moral legacy of the society you’ll leave behind you as you enjoy those wonderful retirement benefits your Parliament and Presidency has bequeathed you.
2*) Great job on Sunday, Sunday Stabroek, trying to discover the wanted ex-soldier George Lashley.
Must I believe that there are truly “No Criminal files prior to the 1980’s” available?
`Til next week!