Monday, 25 December 2006

So this is Christmas

There's a lot been said about the "true meaning of Christmas", and there's a great post on the Institute of Liberal Values of New Zealand site, but unfortunately the site has exceeded bandwidth so I can't link to it.

According to Tom Flynn in the lastest Point of Inquiry podcast, there is one aspect about Christmas that is truly Christian and not appropriated from elsewhere, namely the midnight mass. And this is convenient as it's exactly the aspect about religion that I want to discuss today.

One point about the mass is that people come together as one community to celebrate an event, in this case the birth of Jesus Christ (more about that in a week). People coming together as a community is a wonderful thing, people are social animals and gathering is something that we humans like to do.

But why do we need religion to cause this to happen?(*) Why can't we have people coming together for the joy of coming together? Consider the number of street/suburb fairs that happen. Huge gatherings, and no religious cause. Anzac Day is another non-religious day that people gather.

[* Religion was a binding force in early human communities and it's still around as such.]

Ultimately, what we really need, is "community gathering... for no reason other than it's great to see you all!" When we can get to the real core of gatherings (because we are social!) then we can be inclusive of everyone, and isn't that better than any other gathering reason?

In the mean time... happy Annie Lennox birthday everyone!

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