What is the meaning of Christmas?
Posted: 28 December 2006 08:40 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Interesting point of view from Brian Waldon , a well respected political journalist in Great Britain.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/views/a_point_of_view/

Wishing you a safe and prospersous 365.25 days traversing the sun (Happy new year)

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Posted: 29 December 2006 03:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think Christians should try to reciprocate the goodwill they’re now being shown, whatever the motives are for showing it.

HA!  That will be the day!  Give them an inch, and they’ll just look for another mile they can grab!

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Posted: 29 December 2006 03:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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[quote author=“advocatus”]Give them an inch, and they’ll just look for another mile they can grab!

Well, we don’t need to be so cynical. I have no opposition to honest dialogue of whatever sort. But that said, this article is a very poor attempt. Just note the closing paragraph:

Christianity isn’t about science or evidence, it’s about faith. A faith that thinks humankind has a better destiny than being an accident in an accidental universe that has no purpose or meaning. Oh by the way - Merry Christmas.

This makes clear that the article is Christian apologetics.

The apologetics are also clear from the thrust of the article: that WalMart was making war on Christmas by saying “Happy Holidays”, and that happy Christians were making things right by bringing sectarianism back on the 25th.

To take that one example, WalMart is no friend to secularism. The Walton family is one of the largest donors to far-right religo-political organizations in the US. Indeed, one might say they are doing all they can to turn the country into a Christian theocracy. So whatever their company is doing, it isn’t doing it in order to be nasty to Christians.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]

To take that one example, WalMart is no friend to secularism. The Walton family is one of the largest donors to far-right religo-political organizations in the US. Indeed, one might say they are doing all they can to turn the country into a Christian theocracy. So whatever their company is doing, it isn’t doing it in order to be nasty to Christians.

WalMart is just another business whose objective is to make as much money for their shareholders.  If being ‘nice’ to Christians makes good business acumen then they’ll do it.

Isn’t it peculair the difference between America and Great Britain?

The UK has a state religion (Anglicanism) yet most Brits couldn’t care less either way.  e.g. Through out my high school I new only one person whose family could be described as slightly religious.  Everyone else was happy to live a secular life, though that isn’t to say they were atheist, nor is it a scientific sample.

The States on the other hand has separation between religion and state enshrined in its constitution and yet is one of the most religious of western democracies.  WHY?

Could it be that religious Europeans fled from persecution for a ‘more free’ life in America?  Causing a concentration of religiosity in the US, leaving Europe bereft.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 05:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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[quote author=“advocatus”]

I think Christians should try to reciprocate the goodwill they’re now being shown, whatever the motives are for showing it.

HA!  That will be the day!  Give them an inch, and they’ll just look for another mile they can grab!

Well, my take on the article was a more ‘Live and let live’ stance and being more tolerant of others’ customs.

Interestingly, fewer than half of UK children aged seven to 11 think Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, a survey suggests
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6193235.stm

Yes, we already know about Mythras, Saturnalia, Winter Soltice etc,etc,etc.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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[quote author=“carryoncamping”]WalMart is just another business whose objective is to make as much money for their shareholders.  If being ‘nice’ to Christians makes good business acumen then they’ll do it.

Quite so. But as an institution, WalMart is certainly no enemy to Christianity.

[quote author=“carryoncamping”]Could it be that religious Europeans fled from persecution for a ‘more free’ life in America?  Causing a concentration of religiosity in the US, leaving Europe bereft.

Well, the question you raise is an interesting and perennial issue. I don’t think the answer you propose is right: it suggests that there is some genetic basis for the difference, and I very much doubt that that is the case.

For one thing, the religiosity in the US waxes and wanes. We appear to be in a period of waxing right now—we may even be at an apex.

For another thing, sociologists have proposed other, perhaps more convincing, reasons for the difference between Europe and the US. Firstly, the US population is much more mobile than Europe. It is much less centered on family and place of birth. Hence US society is typically transitional and fragmented. Churches in the US may provide a stable center that may substitute for the traditional societal stability one finds in Europe.

Also, since there isn’t a state religion in the US, there is more freedom for new religions to be formed and compete. This sort of ‘capitalism of religion’ may foster a stronger, more rhetorically capable form of the beast than it would get in the more staid and stuffy state religions in Europe.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]

[quote author=“carryoncamping”]Could it be that religious Europeans fled from persecution for a ‘more free’ life in America?  Causing a concentration of religiosity in the US, leaving Europe bereft.

Well, the question you raise is an interesting and perennial issue. I don’t think the answer you propose is right: it suggests that there is some genetic basis for the difference, and I very much doubt that that is the case.

I don’t think it’s genetics.  It’s probably because the vast majority of people have the same religion as their parents.  So if a higher proportion of immigrants were religious then you may expect their childen to be too. Take Utah, which is predominently LDS.

If people sat down and really thought about what makes sense to them, you might expect a much wider distribution of beliefs.
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I haven’t introduced myself yet, I’ll get round to it soon, but in short, I’m not a Sociologist (as you may have guessed), I’m a chemist in a brewery, and live in England.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[quote author=“carryoncamping”]I don’t think it’s genetics.  It’s probably because the vast majority of people have the same religion as their parents.  So if a higher proportion of immigrants were religious then you may expect their childen to be too. Take Utah, which is predominently LDS.

Probably so ... but that shouldn’t account for the difference between Europe and the US on religious issues. Europe has been very religious until only the last several decades, and if it were true that religiosity came only through parents, that shift would not be explicable.

My guess is that modernization, science, etc., are generally dampers on religious feeling and belief. So what needs explanation is not the irreligiosity of Europe, but rather the continuing religiosity of the US. That, as I suggest, is probably explicable in terms of the social instability and motility of the country, as well as the lack of direct government control of religious entities. But I expect that the answer is quite complex and nuanced.

[quote author=“carryoncamping”]I haven’t introduced myself yet, I’ll get round to it soon, but in short, I’m not a Sociologist (as you may have guessed), I’m a chemist in a brewery, and live in England.

Welcome! Glad to have you aboard.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Re: What is the meaning of Christmas?

[quote author=“carryoncamping”]Interesting point of view from Brian Waldon , a well respected political journalist in Great Britain.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/views/a_point_of_view/

Christmas and all its trapping we know today is mostly a Victorian revival/invention IMO.  One which would have died out years ago had it not been for commerce realising it’s a great time to make loads of money.

The brewery I work for sells 35% of its annual output over the Christmas & New year period alone, approx. 123,200,000 UK Pints!

Perhaps it’s capitalsim that’s to blame rather than religion?  Both of which are belief systems

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Posted: 29 December 2006 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”][quote author=“carryoncamping”]Could it be that religious Europeans fled from persecution for a ‘more free’ life in America?  Causing a concentration of religiosity in the US, leaving Europe bereft.

Well, the question you raise is an interesting and perennial issue. I don’t think the answer you propose is right: it suggests that there is some genetic basis for the difference, and I very much doubt that that is the case.

The first immigrants coming to Australia and South America were the worst Europe had to offer. And I don’t think it was much different in North America.  We know that higher IQ and education go hand-in-hand with atheism. I don’t think that all the emigrants from Europe were morons, but if you were doing okay in Europe, why would you leave? This was obviously reversed in the 1930s when many intellectuals left Europe in the fear on the Nazis.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Re: What is the meaning of Christmas?

[quote author=“carryoncamping”]Wishing you a safe and prospersous 365.25 days traversing the sun (Happy new year)

Carryoncamping, as one of the resident nit-pickers, the time for the earth to circle the sun is 365.2401 days.  That’s why only century years that are divisible by 400 are leap years.

I’m a retired chemist, but I never had the good fortune to work in a brewery.  LOL

I think the reason for the higher level of religiosity in the U.S. than in Europe and England is that our Radical Religious Right is far more effective and well funded at inculcating children and adults than are yours.  While I’m patriotic, this is one area of superiority I would gladly cede to Europe.

Occam

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Posted: 17 January 2007 02:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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[quote author=“carryoncamping”]Well, my take on the article was a more ‘Live and let live’ stance and being more tolerant of others’ customs.

Sure we should be tolerant of other people’s beliefs.  It’s just that, in my experience, the average Christian insists upon tolerance being shown to them (which they expect as their God-given right), but when it comes to returning the favor, they could care less about tolerance.

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Posted: 23 January 2007 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Xmas?

Hmmm, my take???
Christmas is totally and only what you make of it.

Make it religious, and there you go.
Make it about gifts, and there you go,
Make it about taking time to care about those around you, and you are much better off.  JMHO. grin

Elder Norm

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