Friday, December 10, 2004

"Silent Night" (a "progressive" theological and agnostic re-interpretation and critical commentary)

By Dave Armstrong (12-10-04)

Silent night,

Well, it is certainly possible for there to have been a "silent night," but the problem is whether in fact this night ever occurred. Sentimental twaddle, however, about a supposed divine baby in a manger, as retold by nursery rhyme songs with pretty melodies doesn't provide one iota of proof for this ludicrous assertion. We have no good historiographical evidence for any of this.

Holy night

How can a night be holy? This is a fundamental confusion of category. Nighttime is an astronomical phenomenon caused by the earth rotating (for all you flat-earther Christians who deny that the earth rotates), and the relationship of one side of the earth to the sun which illuminates it. Besides, what does "holiness" mean, anyway? There are no absolutes of (what people call) "right" and "wrong." What is "holy" for one might be a terrible thing for another. Ethics are relative to the situation. Clearly, then, this "carol" starts off on quite metaphysically and ethically dubious grounds.

All is calm, all is bright

How can this be proven? What does it mean to say everything is calm? Or bright -- during nighttime? This makes no sense, and is meaningless, unless perhaps the person writing the carol took a tranquilizer or smoked some pot. Maybe there was a full moon: that can get pretty bright. But based on what we have seen already about this person's confused, untrustworthy state of mind, it would be inadvisable to accept his testimony for such subjective descriptions.

Round yon Virgin

This nonsense about "Mary" being a virgin is more proof of the incoherence of this report. How can a virgin be a mother? Motherhood comes from a biological event whereby the male . . . (well, young children may be reading this, so write to me privately if you would like to know how reproduction works); anyway, since virginal motherhood is impossible and could never happen (being contrary to the known laws of biological science), then one must account for the existence of such a mythical account. The best educated guess is that it came from the well-known aversion of the Catholic Church to sexuality. When they were inventing doctrines such as these in the late 2nd century C.E. they had to resolve the notions of the "incarnation" and the "mother of God" (I know, it's ridiculous, but hey, I'm just recording what these naive simpletons believe). How can one be a "mother" of the so-called God-man and yet not have engaged in sexual activity? So some wise sage/monk in the 3rd or 4th century C.E. came up with the "virgin birth." Knowing that Christians are gullible and will accept anything, no matter how implausible, the myth grew and grew till we have the sad situation today.

Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild

For the "mother" claim, see the previous entry. Now, about all this "divine child" foolishness: we've already covered the fact that "holy" is a meaningless term, so I need not digress and reiterate that. Besides, infants are neither good nor bad (in the common troublesome use of those loaded terms). And there is no such thing as original sin. Christians obviously had to invent an extraordinary persona for this "incarnate God" because of the elaborate Yahweh myth they had built up (by way of the Jews) for over two millennia. So the fiction of a "perfect, sinless" and "mild" person was created. Yet Christians' own accounts (they have not been noteworthy through the centuries for rigorous or logical thought, needless to say) show that Jesus was a "sinner"; for example, look at the account (assuming it actually occurred, for the sake of argument) where he lost his temper and "overturned the tables of the moneychangers" (Matthew 21:12). How inconsiderate of those merchants who were simply trying to make a living, and judgmental on "Jesus"' part! Didn't this "Jesus" have any inkling of commerce and exchange of goods? He acted like Bonnie and Clyde at a bank robbery. There is no justification for this. What gives him the right to act so intolerantly of fellow human beings? Yet all we hear about is "gentle Jesus, meek and mild."

Sleep in Heavenly peace
Sleep in Heavenly peace

Here again is that confusion of category and imaginative mishmash for which fundamentalist (and Catholic) Christians are notorious. Where to begin?! Heaven is a psychologically-comforting crutch for those who can't handle life's troubles and trials. Faced with a threatening world which doesn't comport with their notion of a good God and a "meaning" of life with a fairy-tale ending, they invent "heaven" as this perfect paradise in the sky, where all will be made good after death. This comforts them, but it is psychologically maladjusted and leads to a "pie-in-the-sky" mentality and an inability to face reality on this earth (the basic component of mental illness). All Christians do is think of the "next world" and do nothing to help alleviate social misery and injustice in this one.

Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from Heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah
Christ, the Savior is born
Christ, the Savior is born

Man oh man! First of all, there is no independent historical evidence for this tale. It comes from the Bible, which contains gibberish such as a talking snake, a man swallowed by a whale, floods which cover the entire earth, talking donkeys, "demons" entering into a bunch of pigs (and men, too), and parting seas. Can anyone trust anything in it? Secondly, angels are simply another fiction which serve to comfort infantile, weak people who can't face daily life without inventing supernatural "miracles" and beings such as "angels." Has an angel ever been examined in a laboratory under a microscope? Why believe it, then, since everyone knows that the only real things are physical. "Spiritual" things are not things at all because they have no mass or cells or atoms in order to be anything. Therefore, this could not have happened. It's as simple as that.

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light

Okay, back to this "Jesus" character. All thinking people now know that he never existed. That is the basic historical data that we need to work from. Since the man never lived, we need not worry ourselves about the old wives' tale of his being the "son of God" or "God the son." Even granting that he did exist, how does one go about proving such a thing scientifically? How can you take some of "Jesus"' DNA and prove that he was something other than human? It's not possible (besides, there is no biological classification for God; no known species, etc.). If he claimed he was God (again, momentarily assuming he was a real person for the sake of argument), then all that goes to show is that he was a madman or a liar, since those who make such claims -- historically -- have been found in lunatic asylums or jails (since they had evil intentions, like most leaders of new religious cults). The only reason Jesus is regarded any differently is because people learn these comforting stories and fairy tales when they are too young to critically appraise them. When they get old enough to think and learn good progressive techniques of attaining knowledge and wisdom, it's too late. The die has been cast. And of course, Christmas conjures up all sorts of "warm fuzzy" memories. This interferes with a clear, philosophically-sound thinking process, and thus Christianity is perpetuated despite its miserable grounds of truthfulness and having been falsified in many ways by us smart, enlightened people.

Radiant beams from thy Holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth

This is the same old malarkey and hogwash, simply repeated in slightly different form, so we need not waste any additional time on it.

* * * * * 

"Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." (John 20:29 -- Jesus' words to Doubting Thomas, after appearing to him after having risen from the dead and letting him put his hand in the wound in His side)

"If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead." (Luke 16:31)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them . . . their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . . (Romans 1:18-19, 21-22)

. . . Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles . . . the foolishness of God is wiser then men . . . God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong . . . (1 Corinthians 1:20-23, 25, 27)


Steven P. Barrett said...

". . . Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" Like Thomas Jefferson cutting out all of Jesus' miracles, I heard Harvard and other major "respectable" div schools assigned all their students to take exacto knives to the above quote and the ones like it that you listed. As for Veritas on the gate leading to Harvard Sq., that, too might be treated ... to a welder's torch! Trip up these smartys with the truth of Christmas and Jesus. The nerve of some people!

Dave Armstrong said...

Yeah, "veritas". LOL Harvard went Unitarian in 1802. It should have been removed then; certainly now.