Before Christmas, I’m drawn to “god”-less thoughts! On Winter Solstice, I curse all the ancient and modern fools — with Jesus at their head — because of whom, during these days, we do not celebrate the Sun and its light, which gives life to everything on Earth. Our minds have been hijacked by a deceiver whose “birthday” we celebrate, saying that he has saved us all if we only believe in him. Uhm?
I have just finished an essay on the wicked problem: that humankind cannot do without religion. I call it a problem because religion has simultaneously raised us from the mud of bestiality and enslaved us in the mire of collective limitation. It seems that we are condemned to these two parentheses, and however we step outside of them, we cease to be the people we think we are. Without religion, we do not exist, but with religion, we are less than we could be.
Cognitive dissonance was what guided the development of religious thought over the centuries. When the faithful bump against internal contradictions in religion, they cling to the sacred truths and dismiss or spiritualize the inconsistencies (place them into spiritual dimensions, unattainable to the mind).
The Kingdom of God on Earth, for example, was supposed to happen during Jesus’ lifetime. When Jesus died and this did not come true, it was necessary to create a myth from the birth, death, and life of Jesus. Gradually, the myth became so vast that it is now possible to rationalize the prophecies and transfer them to any future.
Jesus’ death is considered spiritual, the salvation of all of us will also be spiritual. Only the most radically religious believe that God will physically come among us (soon!) and then all the faithful will live in their eternal bodies together with all the believers that had died in the past. Some even think they will live on Earth forever.
Instead of people saying, “Ah, Jesus was wrong; he was really a misguided apocalyptic preacher,” they look for ways to “correctly” interpret the prophecies to match the actual unfolding of events. The second, Paul’s generation, for example, was still quite seriously waiting for the apocalypse in their lifetime — it didn’t happen. New and new apocalyptic dates followed, until today.
What I find most interesting is how ecologists have taken over the baton of belief in the apocalypse and are declaring the beginning of the end of the world in 2030 — if humanity does nothing. But we cannot do anything meaningful if we do not touch the very foundations of the present civilization: Christianity. If we only deal with the economy, we don’t reach deep enough.
Christianity is the originator of the dogma of growth. It devoured cultures, tribes, and nations, competing mainly with its younger brother, Islam. Today, economic entities, mainly multinational corporations, compete for power, seemingly without religious motives, but everything we have witnessed in recent months (and years!) whether in Ukraine or Qatar — if I mention only the “cream” of what goes on — says a lot about the dominance of primitive apocalyptic religions (and their heirs) in today’s global society.
When, looking through this prism, I think about Greta Thunberg and her shaming of the authorities in the public forum, in her sermons that a cataclysm is coming if we do not repent and atone for our sins with righteous green actions — I believe that the religious dignitaries are rejoicing! This is exactly what they need for faith in God to survive the Enlightenment!
The religious dignitaries know that the people will not really change their habits, which is also in their favor. Those who take their religions dead seriously are just waiting for the apocalypse, for the judgment day.
A few more prophecies have yet to come true, and we’ll be done! Many signs indicate that we are close. The sinfulness and madness everywhere in the world mean that judgment day is just around the corner. When the world collapses and we all die, that’s when eternity begins — so it better come as soon as possible!
But… if it doesn’t happen so soon we’ll find some kind of explanation, even if we have to move all the “events” to the “spiritual world” — to avoid cognitive dissonance. What’s more, in the meantime, we will try to fulfill the prophecies and destroy the world, but we can also just stand by and wait for it to happen. We will be overjoyed if this happens during our lifetime! Waiting for this moment is the meaning of Christianity.
As I read here, Christmas is the time to “prepare for the “parousia”, that is, the second coming of Jesus Christ in the majesty of his glory. Then he will come as Lord and Judge of all nations and will reward with Heaven all who believed in him and lived as faithful children of the Lord and good brothers to others. We await His glorious coming to bring us salvation and eternal life without suffering.”
It seems to me more and more that all these centuries we have been waiting in vain… Jesus isn’t coming.
But that is precisely why the Winter Solstice is all the more striking, as well as the days that precede and follow it, whether we call them Advent and Christmas or something else.
I respect Christmas because it preserved the pagan customs and symbols that Christianity needed in order to spread this religion. I also respect it for the devotion that has guided thousands of artists to create extraordinary masterpieces. I respect it because it is the central myth according to which our ancestors told themselves the story of who they are.
But that doesn’t mean that our successors must repeat the same story for all eternity. This myth of eternity has a beginning and an end. No tradition has a monopoly on eternity, however special it may think it is.
I wish that during these days we repeat to ourselves all the beauties of Christianity and turn away from all delusions and lies (including the Christmas tree) without a hint of bad conscience, and even dare to “sin” when that’s the right thing to do.
What I wish most is for ecologists to embrace the future, whatever it may be after 2030, without wrapping it up in apocalyptic stories. By telling the story about ourselves in this way, we add fuel to the fire. Let’s celebrate the Solstice and Christmas with a little more carbon footprint than usual, let’s treat ourselves well, and give back to the sun a bit of the light it feeds us with.
We don’t have to bother with God at all. If he really created all those gotzillions of stars and planets, then our “sins” on this heavenly mural are comically infinitesimal. It’s not about Jesus, it’s not about the gods. All we celebrate these days is our tiny special place within the cosmic wheels. Remember this and be grateful that you are even aware of it.
With this in mind, repeat: “Thank you, Sun, that you are! Thank you, Earth! I stand here between you and look forward to the next round in your miraculous dance!”