Yeah we celebrate the birth of unquestionably the most important person in His story perhaps in the “wrong” month, maybe even in the “wrong” season, and with arguably some pretty inappropriate behaviors these days. At least we partly recognize Him. Maybe that will come to an end in modern America. I doubt it.
Hope is Eternal
At times I travel a lot. I have a good bit of contact with people in public places – restaurants, mini-marts, hotels, gas stations, etc.
This time of year it has become “politically correct” for employees to officially employ the more generic, “Happy Holidays” greeting.
I get it – the companies officially don’t want to offend a potential customer.
“Forgive them Father. They know not what they do.”
I kindly, but firmly, look them directly in the eye and say, “Merry Christmas to you!”
About 95% of the time people smile (it appears to me in relief) and reply, “Merry Christmas”.
It appears to me many of us really do not wish to lose the Joy that is the reason for the season even if we may want to forego the personal accountability that Hope also includes.
People don’t want to be found to be naughty. People want to be found to be nice.
Of course, nice isn’t the issue.
The “War” on Christmas
Contrary to the belief of many these days the “War” on Christmas has been going on since the day of Jesus’ birth. Technically the attack on Him has been going on since before there was a beginning. Specifically, we are here because of Him.
The ongoing fact of that visible and audible struggle alone may make you consider there’s something more going on here.
Maybe not, if you believe it’s all about “Religion” and not about Faith?
Religion and Faith are indeed related, but far from the same thing.
Why should the birth of one child proclaimed as the “Prince of Peace” generate such conflict?
God as the Son of Man is as Controversial as Hell
You all have heard the Christmas Story. All of us must also acknowledge that story is not the same as Santa’s, Rudolf’s, the Grinch’s, or even Bilbo’s tale of his own Unexpected Journey.
I’ve heard it reported that 95% of Americans believe in the existence of a “God”. In Europe, for example, that percentage of the population is far smaller. Why? The Europeans have both good intellectual and emotional reasons for this based on a lot of post historical indoctrination to devastating events.
As I have written earlier in my post the Sophistry of the Secular, it’s my opinion that the governmental State coupled to “religion” is indeed the nasty bloody beast we’d all like to avoid coming to town.
I believe the “Church” is “taking the rap” for the crimes of that other institution – the State. There should be no surprise there. The effort is quite intentional. In the short term accusation can be as effective as Hell.
Such false public accusation is easy to do. The result is more vain belief in the ability and power of the State and often less belief in the power of personal Faith to change the real lives of men and women.
The State is guaranteed to fail. It must focus its attentions on the expectations of its all too human and morally frail constituency - us. The State is impersonal, uncaring, and notably concerned with the application of physical power and force both by definition and as a matter of practical necessity. The institution of the State is all about the actualization of plans of man. The State is constrained and limited by our human expectation driven perception. It’s the Theory of Human Relativity at work.
He is Not
The US Constitution clearly recognizes this built-in human limitation in all worldly governance. That document severely and intentionally limits and fragments the powers of the State for that exact reason. The powers of the State are purposefully derived from the active participation of its citizenry via representation.
A Tyranny of Democracy?
We in the US do not live in a “democracy” as many love to spin it around election times. Why they say that is probably worth another post.
We are governed by a representative Republic. The democratic “will” of the people is viewed by the Constitution to be as just as dangerous, fickle, and potentially tyrannical as a State in any other form. Our vote in any election is therefore part of the process and intentionally it is not the entire process.
You May Win But
The Constitution unquestionably also states and recognizes that there is Power above the State and any of its designs and/or policies. That power is acknowledged to be Devine and confirmed upon all individuals. It is not within the powers of the State in any of its legal forms to define that Creator. The State also may not confer or remove rights to or from individuals.
Within our Bill of Rights the Federal State is specifically precluded from joining itself with any specific institutionalized religion. This article very specifically does not preclude any religious or faith based forms of participation in any or all State related activities. Obviously, that would be and is humanly impossible. No citizen would able to legally participate in any State related activity.
Separation of Church and State
This oft used and “quoted” phrase isn’t used anywhere in our country’s penultimate legal documents. “separation of church and state” is in effect backwards from the stated intent. The State must be separated, confined, and limited not the other way around.
Why is this phrase today a “truth” of popular culture?
The modern State has adopted a religion and seeks to exclude all others.
I argue that the modern Federal government, many State governments, and many local governments have broken the essential and primary rule stated in almost all of their written Constitutions and joined themselves to an institutionalized religion. This religion is Secular Humanism.
But wait a minute. There are no buildings on our street corners devoted to secular humanism.
By definition isn’t secular humanism non-religious?
Perhaps there are erections aplenty. Maybe you just can’t see them for what they are?
As to the second point…
Every moral philosophy (even an amoral philosophy) is a “religion”. It defines a way of thinking and therefore decision making. Saying you are not religious cannot and does not make it a fact.
In America each citizen has the “free will” to choose, freely associate with whom we please, etc.
In our country the “State” is precluded from excluding, confining, and/or even defining “religion”. These requirements do not demand a secular or “non-religious” State - far from it.
The State must be Inclusive not Exclusive
This truth is notably upside down from the common popular belief and the ongoing political argument.
There are reasons for that as I pointed out above.
Government without the acknowledgement of a Devine above the power of the State and the individual is by definition a usurpation of that ultimate authority by that State. On this point at least, almost all the religions in the world agree save one. You guessed it – humanism.
The Great Satan
You might be surprised that I believe that I understand why the Ayatollahs call the US the “Great Satan”. It’s not because we are a “Christian” nation contrary to most common thinking and talk.
The Islamic clerics know our society and culture is demonstrably secular not Christian.
They understand that may be worse.
To believe in the principals of humanism is to be essentially godless – you must in the end deny God himself. You may quibble over the details, but as a humanist you believe you and you alone are doing the choosing.
I don’t believe in the Islamic cleric’s stated solution to the problem – the religious state. Aside from the nasty historical evidence of the human managed religious state idea, I simply chose to side with Jesus and understand it’s about personal accountability not farming out the job of overcoming in this life to others.
A secular State and a secular “religion” of humanism both agree that any other “religion” is at the very least an obstacle to their goal of absolute power over all. Both are collectivist by necessity. You remember this famous quote from Star Trek movies…
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one.”
Therefore any other religious form is essentially “evil” or rather “ignorant” in the eyes of both the State and the philosophy of humanism by implication. Your philosophy or religion must agree with them or it is wrong and stupid by definition.
To claim moral superiority in any form is a religious act.
I hope this duplicity of the common secular argument is a bit more obvious at this point.
A Short Peek at History
Historically these two institutions found many willing “secular” coconspirators to work with throughout the last century. There are many more of them today in America.
These alliances of mutual self-service supplanted many existing religious, ethnic, and cultural “mutual aid societies” and institutions across a wide spectrum of society.
These often uneasy alliances created some rather strange bedfellows. The labor movements and institutional academic and scientific groups joined together to seize effective control of many governmentally funded institutions both in the US and Europe.
These mutual aid efforts proved to be very profitable to all the concerned and collected participants. I encourage you to go back and just follow the money.
Their strategy was and remains remarkable simple:
- Take credit for all good things and ideas (many have absolutely nothing to do with State or any real institutional efforts)
- Mutually certify one another as experts or as standards setters where and whenever possible
- Reaffirm continuously that everyone else is uneducated, “prejudiced”, “bigoted”, and “ignorant”in their viewpoint. Therefore, everyone else is “wrong” in their approach
- Employ other people resources wherever and whenever possible by any means necessary
- Blame anyone or everyone else for all the obvious and notable failures of their plans
Listed on paper, so to speak, this is pretty horrific moral behavior.
It certainly is not “Love your brother as yourself”.
No wonder these people don’t want the Ten Commandments anywhere near anything they do.
The “new” Rule of Law” becomes defined by:
- Nebulously defined “good” intentions
- Grand promises of future accomplishment
- A systematic distribution of any available or potential resources to the mutual powers that be with limited or no accountability
Unquestionably, “public” educational systems and the content that those institutions delivered was the primary focus of much of the intellectual, physical, and financial efforts of the modern secular and humanist “movements” throughout the last century. This effort was most successful in the “social” democracies of Western Europe that had been decimated by two “world wars”.
Historically, in Europe almost all the existing governments sponsored specific religious institutions that were in effect strongly coupled to social class and income structures that the Industrial Revolution and the Great Wars changed forever. This made those religious institutions simpler and easier targets to blame, disenfranchise, and replace with secularized socialized institutions controlled and managed by the State and its unionized bureaucracies.
In the US effects of the ongoing secular alliance and effort in education and other non-governmental institutions was mitigated in part by the Cold War and the much more fractured nature of the religious institutions in America. To all Christian denominations (mostly made up of a more prosperous American middle class) modern “Marxist” socialism was an obvious enemy.
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain
However, the philosophy of secular humanism has proved to be the much more challenging and destructive foe for the American “Church” in all its forms. The actual reasons for that are simple and painfully personal. One might say it was and remains an act of His Devine Judgment on us.
Secular Humanism loves to adopt all the nice good sounding stuff, make grand promises, claim victory, and promises to help you dodge all the personal accountability.
“We believe in feeding the poor, healing the sick, saving the planet yada yada yada…
We handle that for you.
Please text to 666 in the next ten minutes to make a donation.
This ad is sponsored by the National Council of Important Charities.
Visit our website at blah blah.gov
Enjoy the music and Happy Holidays!”
What they aren’t telling you is YOU miss out on the blessing of YOU doing what YOU are supposed to do.
“Damn it. How am I supposed to figure out what I am supposed to do in the first place?”
How did Bilbo Baggins put it,
“Be careful when you step out your door. The Road will sweep you away.”
Perhaps you have a little more insight as to why secular humanism is so difficult for the modern church to deal with. Let me end this post with a telling quote that we all know.
Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men
I often laugh hysterically when I see this partial quote from Scripture on Christmas cards.
This is part of a longer blessing in Scripture.
It has a serious backside which Jesus is all too clear about.
First off – the Peace (or Shalom) we’re talking about here as nothing to do with the lack of conflict, the absence of pain and suffering, and even an untimely death.
From a Faith based perspective in Christ we are already dead.
He did not get off the hook literally. We, sure as there is a Hell, will not either.
Are you in the Big game or not? The play is for keeps.
You bear witness to Him or you don’t.
This blessing is a command to action and to overcome in the now.
There is no passive presumption in it at all.
…Who Know Him
Second - the full text of this blessing (usually omitted these days so as not to offend) is ONLY to those who “Know” Him.
It most certainly is not a blessing of worldly peace to everyone who does not.
The little humanist in all of us says, “That can’t be fair. God can’t mean that.”
The War on Christmas is all about who (and what) has Authority in the real world.
As for me I dimly understand the Tale of the Turkey.
I know the unexpected.
God bet on Him and then He on us.
Who am I to disagree?
Oh! Aren’t we all still telling each other to rejoice in the “Holy Days” maybe without knowing what we are really saying?
Nah…He wouldn't do that.