I have two major involvements. One is an online community for common sense conservatives called Let’s Do It Ourselves. Our members include Agnostics and Atheists and Buddhists and Sikhs and Christians and anyone else who thinks government has become too invasive. LDIO™ is non-religious.
My other project is IWUZ; this online blog where I put out my ideas about politics and culture, and occasionally about religion. This is one of those occasions.
My dad was an aircraft mechanic in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. Dad was a reader, and when I was about 12, I discovered among his collection a couple of books by two Americans; Pulitzer prize-winning author, Ernie Pyle, and a book of war cartoons by Bill Mauldin.
These guys were great supporters of military men and women, and in a very human way, their work brought the day to day reality of the war, to life. They were an essential part of the American war effort, and they also had a wide audience among the rest of the English-speaking, Allied military. I found their books fascinating and read both, several times.
But there was another book that was critical to the military effort. As one soldier wrote after receiving a copy: “I enjoy it very much and I read it every night. I never realized you could learn so much from a Bible.”
And indeed, you can. You can learn very practical things like; if you live in a hot country and don’t have refrigeration, you shouldn’t eat shellfish.
You will also learn that several thousand years ago, the ancients already knew, completely counter-intuitively if you think about it, that the universe, and even time itself were not eternal, but had a beginning. Modern science didn’t catch up with that reality until well into the 20th century.
In the Bible you’ll find 10 Commandments that, if they were followed by everyone, would lead to safe, healthy, secure, and happy human society. Of course, not one of us follows those Commandments consistently; the old fashion word is that we sin, and consequently we see sickness and death and unhappiness and insecurity all around us.
Reading through Jewish and Christian scriptures, the Bible, from beginning to end, you will gradually be introduced to the supra-natural First Cause, or Creator of the universe, and you’ll find that Creator, or God, involved with modern humans, every step of the way.
Western civilization is built on that Judeo-Christian foundation.
Christians hold that the most central events of God’s involvement occurred about 2000 years ago, when, in order to identify completely with humans, and, to rescue humans from the consequences of their disregard of his common-sense rules, God himself underwent the human journey of gestation, birth, life, and death.
And then, resurrection. Of course, it all sounds implausible, but then so is the beginning of time, and nature, from NOTHING. If you can accept the Big Bang as it is described by modern science, then a virgin birth or a resurrection are, as miracles go, rather minor events.
Many people have set out to prove that the resurrection was staged, or a conspiracy, or it never happened. But the fact is that it is one of the most widely attested-to events in ancient history. Hundreds of witnesses affirmed Jesus’ crucifixion and death, and then, that they had seen and met with Jesus over the six weeks following. Multiple, hostile, contemporary commentators, agreed that it was supposed to have happened.
And none of the witnesses was ever recorded as having retracted their testimony, even on pain of death. And a lot of them were in fact, put to death. Think about this; people will die for what they believe to be true; but no one, let alone hundreds, have ever been prepared to die for what they know is a lie.
So, simply put, what Christians celebrate at this time of the year is God’s love for every one of us, screwed-up humans. All we have to do, is accept it.
** If you’d like a closer look at this subject, I would recommend two books. One is Mere Christianity by CS Lewis; the author of the Narnia Chronicles. The other is: The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. Strobel was a legally trained, star reporter with the Chicago Tribune who set out to prove that his wife’s Christianity was delusional. It backfired.