Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Hellidays to You! A Few Notes on that "Fake" Holiday You Know as Christmas

I hope your holidays were fun and restful. Next week, I will resume my normal schedule of black genius in the form of my witty and wise meditations on all things I deem worthy.

On Christmas, I was tempted to be a party pooper and put some proverbial coal in your stockings. But alas, the angel on my shoulder won out over the devil on my side. As one who has both denounced and disavowed religion, I sit back on my perch and laugh with glee as Conservative Christian reactionary types "defend" Christmas against some imagined "assault." The religiously minded don't get me. I don't get them. We agree to disagree...usually in a peaceable manner.

Likewise, I snicker at some members of the Afrotocracy that muse about Kwanzaa as some type of authentic marker of one's negritude. I laugh because a central premise is not satisfied--how can you defend a thing from assault when the object of defense is itself a fiction?

Are you defending a lie that you believe to be true? Or are you defending your right to believe in a rite that itself may be based on some truth that you believe to be Right (or not)?

[Wasn't that turn of phrase not unlike wiping your behind with silk after a particularly full, potent, and satisfying bowel movement?]

Let's have some real talk: All holidays are fictions--made up bits of convenience that serve some practical need in the real world. For some, this fiction brings comfort and joy. For others, it is the power of faith and routine. And sadly for too many, a shared faith and belief in some given holiday is symbolic of who is outside of the tribe--a marker against those not included. Thus, the latter is made necessarily less than.

We all need our mythologies, our imagined stories. Sure, I wish that all children would be taught about Santa's black slave. That is not quite likely to happen. But this is America, the greatest country on Earth....insert finger into throat to induce vomiting. And because we are free, I can begin my own set of Christmas traditions.

I look forward to the day when I can tell the little ones that the historical Jesus, a "Black" man, soul brother number one who fought pimps and money lenders, was not born in December (where after this revelatory moment I will give them a Jeffersonian Bible). In the far, far, far future, when I am feeling really mischievous and feigning senility as a defense against criticism or familial disagreement, I will tell my grandkids (if so blessed) that Christmas is a pagan holiday, founded as a function of practical politics in order to get nature worshipers and free spirits away from their sex filled celebrations and under the control of the boring, sterile, bureaucratic State.

Either way, I will encourage my scions to bathe in the glory of their existence and explorations of the world, be they physical, metaphysical, or spiritual; to enjoy pleasures both small and large; and to always drink deeply from the cup of life.

Me? I am grateful for so much, including all of you. Enjoy the New Year and heed the words of the Black Israelites, lest you fall victim to the evils of Christmas...that most foul of hellidays!


fred c said...

I have swum in these waters myself, Professor, and I encourage your efforts. My own favorite revelation, a touchstone that I return to frequently, is the actual origin of our calendar. I like the Nazz as much as the next guy, but of course his having been born had nothing to do with the setting of the year "Zero." It was much later that all of the credit accrued to him. This is all crowd control, as you mention. Happy New Year!

blaqbird said...

great post! but why the hate of religion? i can understand why you hate the rules, hypocrisy, etc, etc, etc. but as a Christian, I can say that it isn't all bad. Since I truly moved out on my own, I have truly found God on my own, and I realized that I can never step foot into a church again, but can still be loved by God and have a true relationship with him. Of course this isn't what's always taught in most churches, but it is what it is I guess.

Thanks for the holiday musings!

Baracka Flocka Flames said...

The Fourth Day of Kwanzaa (December 29)

On the fourth day the black candle is lit, then the farthest left red, the farthest right green. And then the next red candle on the left. This represents the 4th principle of Kwanzaa - Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Collective economics.

The fourth principle is discussed. The family shares the Unity cup and the candles are extinguished.

xulon said...

What blagbird said. In any case, after decades of "being a Christian", I continue to consider the "Jesus was not born on December 25" a completely irrelevant non-issue (at least on the level of O'Reilly's crap). I really don't think there is a Christian who believes he was.

I noticed the Dawkins link are you recommending the book? I did a four-part review of that book.

chaunceydevega said...

@Fred-Religion as crowd control, or group think to madness. I guess it depends on the context.

@blaqbird--I don't hate religion. I just have no use for it and see it as a net force that has been more trouble than it is worth. I believe in God the prime mover and am very spiritual. But in my experience with few exceptions (the buddhists that I have met) the religiously minded almost exclusively hold onto some truth that lapses into judgement of others as being saved or not. Silliness.

@Xulon-Be more critical Xulon. There are many ill informed "Christians" and others who believe in the "great religions" walking these streets. Go talk to them, you will be suitably disgusted as I was.

xulon said...

Believe me, I am often disgusted, especially when I see 1) anti-intellectualism is often considered a virtue by Christians and 2) the way Christianity is whored with Conservative politics.

Is it your first assumption that when you talk with a "religious" person, he is uncritical in his thinking?

fred c said...

Thais ask me all the time if I am "a Christian." I tell them that I don't practice any religion, I just try to be a good man and treat people well. They seem perfectly happy with that. Buddhists can be so nonjudgmental, it's refreshing actually.

chaunceydevega said...

@Xulon-I will admit that when one announces they are religious, I assume that they are uncritical in at least that portion of their thinking...which is why I think religion is a personal matter that ought to be kept out of the public square. That doesn't mean that religiously minded people are stupid as that would be untrue and unfair as stupidity knows no boundaries.

But, almost by definition, "faith" requires a checking of one's critical processes at the door. It does get complicated when we talk about why people convert to different religions and the appeal of one faith over another.

I have an acquaintance who specializes in counseling the religiously minded. He himself is a Phd/doctor of divinity studies so basically he is a psychologist/student of theology.

Cool dude.

He explained that faiths that require learning new languages and that are "life systems" such as certain brands of Judaism or Islam appeal to the brains of more intellectually oriented personality types. This appeal then speaks/works to/validate their religious revelation and faith perspective.

In short, folks can be critical consumers and practicioners of faith, but rarely do the same believers admit the irrational roots of their own beliefs. In my friend's clinical experience those who convert are often the least likely to acknowledge the mythic origins of their faith, and are--because of their intellectual deftness--among the best at defending the scriptural roots of their faith. Tough debaters and hard to sway.

xulon said...

If you don't mind the promotion, my name is linked to a blog I wrote trying to define faith. The key thought to me: "Faith is an active response to Revelation". To a degree, that is a "checking of the critical processes at the door" but the checking is in deference to something my critical processes have already engaged themselves concerning.

dukuhead said...

haha very witty and very funny :-) anyway, happy holidays to you and yours, good teacher

Anonymous said...

Chauncey. I lurk on this blog regularly, and your posts are my favorite. I don't believe I've ever commented before. But I have to tell you, I am supremely dissapointed right now. I can't believe you would give your grandchildren a "bible" that was written by a man who kept the light skinned half sister of his own wife as a slave, fathered children on her, and kept them as slaves too! What could a man like that possibly know about God, Jesus, or religion that is worth passing on to anyone? Let alone your own progeny. Just sayin....Cassandra.

chaunceydevega said...

@Anon--That is how angels cry :(

Dude was a devil of sorts, but weren't they all? Not that that is an excuse. We can go all day about my feelings about the role of Christianity in white supremacy. I hope I can redeem, I know I will.

smile and have a good new year.

Anonymous said...

I found the video compilation riddled with inaccuracies. It completely leaves out the closest reason for the celebration at this time...the Jews were ALREADY celebrating their own feast at that time in order to create a better climate with their Roman oppressors. This was continued after the life and death of Jesus.

It's VERY strange that this fact was left out. Almost as if they aren't even worth acknowledging, a popular point of view held by a lot of (so called) Christian fanatics, but bears no resemblance to the true message of the gospel.