Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Infidel Xmas

Heisei banzai! Well, it was Emperor Akihito's birthday yesterday... And so we come once again to the birthday of the man with the mullet himself, Jesus H Christ, who shares, among other things, his birthday with Mithra.

Look, tell you what, I'll skip out on the dissection of the life and times of the zombie king for now. There's plenty of that all over the net, and I'm in no mood to vent atheist's frustration* right now, because my kittens are happily dozing together not 2 meters from me. Good vibes, right there.

So, what's a heathen devil like me (and no doubt many others) to celebrate at a time like this? What have I to look forward to at a time like this, I, who simply am not convinced of the existence of a theistic God, for whom this day is of no greater significance than, say, Thor's birthday?

Plenty, I suppose. This time of year, perhaps more than any other, is a point in the year where everyone, regardless of race, colour or creed, are that little bit more likely to be nice to each other. I concede that this little spurt of altruism is, indeed, inspired by the God delusion, but it's my own, perhaps overly optimistic little hope, that every year, perhaps one or two more people will realise that all humans are in the game of life together, and we don't need a date of religious significance to simply be nice to each other.

Xmas, for some reason, always makes me think of the famous Christmas Truce, in which German and British troops in the trench-hells of the First World War unofficially decided on a cease-fire and just live-and-let-live for a bit. For a brief few days, soldiers, young men with orders from some unfathomable political force to kill one another, on two sides of a fool's war, ceased to be soldiers and were just people again - people in a tough spot trying to help each other to get by. In a crucible of blood, bullets and barbed-wire, the imaginary lines dividing men were melted away to give birth to the collective realization:

It doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to kill each other.

Such an epiphany is sorely needed in many parts of the world today.

So, while I don't celebrate the birthday of Jesus/Mithra, what I do celebrate is one more excuse for people to be nice to each other. One more justification to reach out to the other side, not to strike them down, nor to turn them from their beliefs, nor to take what is their right, but to just simply be together and not fight, just for a while, and realize the true enemies are not the people under a different flag or even worshipping a different god. The true enemies are found in the delusions that make people divide the world into Us and Them.

* Atheist's frustration = the exasperation felt by atheists and secular humanists everywhere at the continued existence of religiously inspired absurdity.

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