Tag Archive | "Christmas"

How to Celebrate Newtonmas

Many people around you are commemorating the humble coming of Christ by extravagantly and wastefully observing pagan practices. What are you to do, lonely heathen? Fear not, you can commemorate the birth of Isaac Newton by celebrating Newtonmas! Here are a few tips on how to do it:

  1. Tell everyone that like Jesus, Newton wasn’t really born on Christmas Day. Although he was also born on Christmas Day. Wait, what? Well, it has something to do with some confusion between two calendars. When Isaac Newton was born, most of the world was already using the more accurate Gregorian calendar, which is the same calendar we are using up to this day. However the English, being English, were still using the old Julian calendar during the time of Newton’s birth, and in the Julian calendar little Isaac was born on the 25th of December, 1642. During the time, however, the Julian calendar was already off by more than a week so that in the Gregorian calendar, Newton’s birthday is actually January 4, 1643.

“Isaac must go on top of the tree.” [Image credit: tumblr/shitsheldoncoopersays]

  1. Since it’s the season for Newton, buy your godchildren prisms as presents! Include little “research problems” that they can try to solve using the prisms. For example, you can ask them to convince their parents that when all the colors of the rainbow are combined, what you get is white light. In this way, they can reenact Newton’s experimentum crucis, which is not a Harry Potter spell but rather is one of the most beautiful and elegant experiments in science.

Newton’s critical experiment. [Image credit: peace-files.com]

  1. If you’re feeling a little indulgent, buy yourself a Newtonian telescope and discover the beauties of heavenly bodies, both those in the sky and those living next door.

[Image credit: optocorp.com]

  1. Feeling the spirit of Newtonmas strong in you? Approach your little nephews and nieces and teach them a bit of Newtonian physics. Tell them about the three rules that obeyed by everything around us.
  • First rule, things don’t budge when nothing budges them. In other words, unless an object is pushed or pulled, it will keep on moving the way it did. (If it wasn’t moving in the fist place, then it will keep on staying put.)
  • Second rule, the heavier a thing is, the more you need to push or pull it in order to change the way it moves. Also, if you want to change how something moves more, then you must give it a stronger nudge.
  • Third rule, when you kick something, it will always kick you back. And it will kick you back as strongly as you kicked it.
  • Tell your nephews and nieces that remembering the above rules will help them avoid the following mistake:

[Image credit: Homes]

  1. If you want in on Newton’s extreme eccentricity, you can try performing some of his more crazy-ass experiments. See the bodkin below? Newton stuck something similar into his eye socket and prodded his eye ball with it to study how images get formed in the human eye. I’m not kidding you, the guy was batshit crazy.

Newton: “I want this thing inside me.” [Image credit: images.onlinegalleries.com]

  1. Read the following passage to all your smart friends: “This chaos is called our arsenic, our air, our Luna, our magnase, our Calebs, but in diverse respect, because our matter undergoes various states before our regal diadem is extracted from the menstrual blood of our whore. So learn who the comrades of Cadmus are, and who the serpent who ate them, and what the hollow oak on which Cadmus transfixed the serpent! Learn what the doves of Diana are which conquer the lion by beating him.” This passage is from the alchemical tract The Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King, one of Newton’s favorite. Yes, even the smartest people can subscribe to the most unfounded beliefs. We should therefore be ever vigilant about the things we believe in. Newton’s example reminds us of the beauty of having no one person as absolute intellectual authority. In short, it helps us appreciate being a freethinker.

So there you go, a few holiday tips from one heathen to another.  This Newtonmas, remember to give the gift of discovery to the people you love. And don’t forget to have a happy holiday!

[Image credit: maths.crhs.org.uk]

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Santa Claus: the Legend, the Man, and Edcel Lagman

Sen. Pia Cayetano & Rep. Edcel Lagman: two of the many individuals we have to thank for our purple Christmas.

If there’s one thing reproductive health (RH) advocates want for Christmas, it’s the passage of the RH Bill. Many have been speculating that President Aquino will sign the bill into law as his Christmas present to the Filipino people — all 94,852,030 of them.

When you think about one person giving gifts to so many people, one mythical figure comes to mind: Santa Claus. Many have worked hard throughout the years to give Filipinos an RH law. And among them, none other reminds me of Santa than Rep. Edcel Lagman. His white hair and round figure are complemented by the constantly cool and humorous nature he displayed throughout the process of RH legislation.

But there’s more to the analogy than appearance and attitude. Because the historical figure Santa Claus was based on had something more in common with Lagman. According to Adam C. English, associate professor of religion and author of “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of St. Nicholas of Myra,” Santa had a soft spot for poor women.

He tells the following story, which he finds so “strange and surprising… that historians assume it must be based to a large degree on fact”:

It is the tale of three poor daughters.

Nicholas had been aware of a certain citizen of Patara – in Lycia, modern-day Turkey – who had once been an important and wealthy man of the city but who had fallen on hard times and into extreme poverty. The man grew so desperate that he lacked the very essentials of life.

The poor man reasoned that it was impossible to marry off his three beautiful daughters because they lacked dowries for proper marriages to respectable noblemen. He feared they would each in turn be forced into prostitution to support themselves.

Nicholas heard this heartbreaking news and resolved to do something about it. He bagged a sum of gold and in the dead of night, tossed it through the man’s window. The money was used as a dowry for the first daughter.

Sometime later, Nicholas made a second nighttime visit so that the second daughter might marry. Later tradition reported that, finding the windows closed, he dropped the bag of gold down the chimney, where it landed into one of the girl’s stockings that was hanging to dry.

When Nicholas returned to deliver anonymously the third bag of gold for the last daughter, the curious father was ready. When he heard a bag hit the floor, the father leapt to his feet and raced outside, where he caught the mysterious benefactor.

Nicholas revealed his identity to the father but made him swear never to tell anyone what he’d done. He did not want praise or recognition for his generosity.

Thus the legend of Santa Claus was born. Although millions recognize the legendary figure, few know that it all came from the story of how a rich old man did his part to help three women, each less fortunate than he was, have the opportunity to live better lives.

The people who made this purple Christmas possible are too many to mention, each of them deserving of our thanks and congratulations. But I think it’s OK to start with Rep. Edcel Lagman, the Santa Claus of the 15th Congress, who in his final term did his part to pass the RH Bill, giving every Filipino, especially the poor, the opportunity to live healthy, educated, and dignified lives.

Image from facebook.com/RHnow

INB4: In the context of my Santa — Edcel analogy, it’s quite ironic that St. Nicholas was a bishop, and that Santa Claus is most commonly depicted in red.

Posted in Personal, RH BillComments (0)

How Jesus Stole Christmas

According to newly retired bishop Teodoro Bacani Santa Claus is stealing the true spirit of Christmas. He said Filipinos should remember that Christmas is meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus.


Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, so why will it be his birthday?

According to Robert A. Sungenis , in the year 532 the monk Dionysius the Little stated that Christ was born on December 25, 1 BC. Other Catholic apologists connect Jesus’ death at Passover to his birthday. This view was first suggested by French scholar Louis Duchesne in the early 20th century and was fully developed by American Thomas Talley (Louis Duchesne, Origines du culte Chrétien, 5th ed. (Paris: Thorin et Fontemoing, 1925), pp. 275–279; and Talley, Origins.) According to this theory, somewhere in 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus died was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar. March 25 is of course, nine months before December 25. This was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus’ conception. Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.

Nevertheless they are Catholic apologetics. Most Christians don’t even agree with Roman Catholics that Jesus was born on December 25. For them, it was a way for Roman Catholics to connect pagan tradition to Christianity.

The Bible is silent over the issue of Jesus’ birthday. The only Gospels who recorded Jesus birth were Matthew and Luke, yet they did not give any specific date.

So when was it?

The Gospel of Matthew claimed that Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of King Herod the Great (ca. 73 BCE – 4 BCE). You can find it on Matthew 2:1. Anyway, according to the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius Herod died after a lunar eclipse. That eclipse was said to occurred somewhere between 4BCE to 1 BCE. If that’s the case, then Jesus was born within those dates, according to Matthew.

The Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:1-3) said that on the time of Jesus’ birth, there was a world-wide census ordered by Ceasar Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE). Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was then governor of Syria in that time (which is mentioned by Luke in Gamaliel’s speech recorded in Acts 5:37). Quirintus was governor from 6 to 7CE.

Now, Matthew said it was between 4 to 1 BCE while Luke says it is between 6 to 7 CE – That’s almost ten years apart!

And what month was Jesus born?

Reading the nativity stories from Matthew and Luke it is impossible to imagine that it took place in December. The Hebrew’s “Tevet” the ninth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar which corresponded to November–December is subjected to windy cold weather and chilling rains. Reading the Old Testament can give us some evidence that the weather is chilly (Jeremiah 36:22) and rainy (Ezra 10:9, 13). So how can shepherds heard their sheep in a cold, rainy evening and do you think the Wise Men can see a bright star in a cloudy night?

Pagan Origin?

According to Werner Keller’s book The Bible as History, “December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in A.D. 324 for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian [A.D. 527-565] it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient Rome was the ‘Dies Natali Invictus,’ ‘the birthday of the unconquered,’ the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia, which had long since degenerated into a week of unbridled carnival…”(p. 331)

G.J. Whitrow said that the first mention of Christmas day in the Roman calendar was in 354 CE. December 25 was chosen to be the birthday of Jesus Christ to exorcise the festival of the solar solstice (Time in History pp. 69-70).

What ever the reason, that was the time when Rome has found the practical use of Christianity and started replacing paganism. Well, it’s really more like “just changing its clothes.” Most pagan traditions were copied by Christians and used them as their own. Tertullian (160 – 230 CE), one of the early Christian leader, even complained that too many fellow-Christians had copied the Pagan practice of adorning their houses with lamps and with wreathes of laurel at Christmas time.

Happy Birtday Mithras

Before Christians started celebrating Jesus “birthday” on December 25, another god was celebrating it on the same date. Mithras precedes the Christian Jesus by at least 600 years and his festival was celebrated every December 25.

Mithraism became very popular in Rome, especially to Roman soldiers. Roman worship of Mithras began sometime during the early Roman empire, perhaps during the late first century of the Common Era (hereafter CE), and flourished from the second through the fourth centuries CE. At the time of Emperor Hadrian (76 – 138 BCE), Mithraism was an important religion to the Romans.

According to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, Mithraism was emphatically a soldier religion: Mithra, its hero, was especially a divinity of fidelity, manliness, and bravery; the stress it laid on good fellowship and brotherliness, its exclusion of women, and the secret bond amongst its members have suggested the idea that Mithraism was Masonry amongst the Roman soldiery (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10402a.htm).

Mithra is said to be the god of light and justice. Independently of the Zoroastrian reform, Mithra retained his place as foremost deity in the north-west of the Iranian highlands. After the conquest of Babylon this Persian cult came into contact with Chaldean astrology and with the national worship of Marduk. Mithra became the divinity of the Sun.

Here Comes The Sun.

December 25 also correspond to the Feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti – the Roman Sun festival.

In 274 CE, the Roman emperor Aurelian (215-275) adopted the Sun as the Supreme God of the Roman Empire and called it the Unconquered Sun – Sol Invictus.

The Philocalian calendar of 354 AD gives a festival of “Natalis Invicti” on 25 Dec. As the Sun travel south it reaches its lowest point in the sky. That’s winter solstice and it occur between December 21- 22. The ancient believed that the Sun dies in that time since they always notice that it “stop moving.” By December 25 the Sun will be returning northward thus it is again reborn – that’s the time when Romans celebrate the feast of Sol Invictus.

According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, article on Constantine the Great:
“Besides, the Sol Invictus had been adopted by the Christians in a Christian sense, as demonstrated in the Christ as Apollo-Helios in a mausoleum (c. 250) discovered beneath St. Peter’s in the Vatican.”

The date for Christmas may also bear a relation to the sun worship. According to the scholiast on the Syriac bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi, writing in the 12th century:
“It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day.” (Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries, Ramsay MacMullen. Yale:1997, p. 155)

So with this kind of a rap sheet about Christmas, I think Jesus and Bacani have a lot of explaining to do.

Posted in ReligionComments (5)

Is Santa Bad for Christmas?

gonna find out who's naughty or nice...

Bishop Teodoro Bacani recently blamed Santa Claus for stealing the “true spirit of Christmas” as revealed in a news article in The Daily Tribune.

The Bishop is apparently peeved at the fact that Santa is more popular than Jesus Christ during the Christmas season. He said:

“Santa Claus helps promote consumerism because he is the symbol of shopping and gift-giving. Christ symbolizes the sacrifice of life for man. But Santa has more commercial draw… Let us keep Christ at Christmas. Let us project Christ at Christmas.”

While the Christian fold may argue that Christmas has its roots on Judeo-Christianity, I submit that it is a mistake to look at Christmas merely under the Judeo-Christian light and I submit that Santa Claus should actually be deemed as a Christmas hero instead of a villain.

The shift of looking at Christmas from celebrating the birth of the “Redeemer” to celebrating the season of peace, hope and kindness, is a positive thing. I would even argue that the present spirit of Christmas, even with Santa Claus being more popular than Jesus Christ, reflects its true spirit more than from strictly a Judeo-Christian perspective.

But let’s entertain Bishop Bacani’s assertion for now and let’s critically analyze the light of celebrating Christmas strictly on the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Christmas, in its true spirit, is not merely a birthday celebration of Jesus Christ. Christmas, together with Easter, is really a celebration of the theology of atonement and salvation. It is a mistake to look at the picture starting from “Mama Mary’s” and “Papa Joseph’s” journey to Bethlehem. We have to look at the whole picture to get a sense of the significance the birth of Christ and why Christianity celebrates it.

Most of the backgrounder on the Judeo-Christian faith tradition and theology that I am about to share comes from Bishop John Shelby Spong’s book “Why Christianity Must Change or Die”. Most of the views of Jesus Christ I embrace that I will share in the end come from Spong’s book “The Sins of Scripture”. Some of my readers already know that I am an avid reader and a fan of Bishop Spong and I really recommend Bishop Spong’s books, without any reservations, to anyone who is open to looking at Judeo-Christianity under a light different from the current mainstream. Anyway, here it goes…

The Bible starts with the story of creation. The Bible asserts that it was a perfect creation and God announced His creations good (after His divine labors). Then came the Adam and Eve story. Adam and Eve were supposed to have a perfect relationship with God in Paradise. According to the Bible, however, boundaries were set in this Paradise; that Adam and Eve were not to partake of this “forbidden fruit”, for it was said that if they ate it, their eyes would be opened and they would know good from evil. This is actually quite fascinating and most Christians take this quite literally.

Of course we know from the story that a serpent seduced Eve into eating the “forbidden fruit”. Upon Eve’s enticement, Adam also partook of the “forbidden fruit”. From that moment on, the perfection of creation has been ruined. God has been disobeyed and human life has fallen into sin, and of course, the penalty for this disobedience was death. The immortality that had been in Adam and Eve (humans) as theirs as creatures of God’s image was gone.

Because of this original sin, all human life thereafter, it was asserted, would be born in sin and suffer death – the ultimate consequence of sin. The universality of human mortality was interpreted to be a sign of the universality of human sin. So life stood still in need of “redemption”.

So God started the process of redemption by choosing a particular people through whom God would work out the entire divine process of salvation. Salvation began in a small scale with the call of Abraham. Now we know from the Bible that Isaac was chosen over Ishmael. Jacob was chosen over Esau, Judah and Joseph were chosen over Reuben. Through Joseph, God’s people went to Egypt to avoid famine. Unfotunately, in time, they fell into slavery. The story of salvation began some 4 hundred years later with Moses and the exodus.

Once free of their bondage from the pharaoh, the people were led by God, through Moses, to Mount Sinai, where the law of God, called the Torah, was given to the people. The law was to serve as the guideline to lead the fallen people back into a state of grace. But the children of Israel didn’t follow God’s laws so the search for salvation in history goes on.

A sacrificial system was developed in the ancient world to help overcome this supposed separation between man and God. Israel developed in its liturgical life a day called Yom Kippur, dedicated to that sense of human sinfulness and designed to be an occasion to pray for atonement and restoration.

Two rituals are involved; one was the public confession of people’s sins, which were ceremoniously heaped upon the back of a goat. Laden with people’s sins, this goat, called the “scapegoat”, was run into the wilderness and was believed to have carried away with it, the sins of the world, thus purging them (Lev. 16).

The second ritual was the sacrificial offering of the lamb of the atonement (Lev 23:26-32). This lamb was inspected carefully, for it had to be perfect in the eyes of God. In other words… no scratches, no blemishes, no broken bones, etc. Human life, so alienated from God, so fallen into sin, had to come before God under the symbol of something perfect. The lamb was also subhuman, therefore incapable of being immoral, since morality requires the ability to choose evil. So a morally perfect, physically perfect, but still subhuman sacrifice was offered to God to atone for, even pay for, the sins of the people. The assumption was that to be human was to be sinful. Paul would later write this in his epistles “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).

It was the conviction that humans were sinful and in need of redemption that enabled guilt and religion to be so solely tied together. The power of western religion has always rested on the ability of religious people to understand and to manipulate the sense of human inadequacy that expresses itself from guilt. This religious system assumes that the purpose of life is to be whole, free, and at one with the Creator. This is what gives the sense of alienation its power.

The religious leaders of the ages learned that controlling people’s behavior rested upon controlling these human feelings of guilt. So religious empires were built on helping people live with and to some degree, overcome their sense of guilt. How could guilt be overcome? How could our broken humanity be repaired? How could human life be rescued from its fall? Those were the questions that Christianity organized itself to answer.

The experience of Jesus was captured in this mind-set. The linkage between our sense of inadequacy and the role of Jesus happened very quickly and was apparent before the first generation of Christians died. The initial step was to see the death of Jesus in terms of sin and salvation. By the time Paul wrote to the Corinthians sometime in mid 50 AD, that step had been achieved. Christ died, Paul said, “for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3). Our sins somehow required His death, He was the sacrificial lamb on our behalf.

The first Gospel, Mark, was the first to set the narrative of Jesus’ death in the context of the “Passover”, so Jesus was quickly and immediately identified with the lamb who was slain to break the wages of death. That story written in the book of Exodus formed the center of the Jewish liturgy of their founding moment. God had enabled their escape from slavery by sending the angel of death to slay the first born in all the land of Egypt.

The Jews were spared this slaughter when they killed the lamb and placed the blood of this lamb on the doorsteps of their homes. Of course in the Christian interpretation, the blood of the lamb was replaced by the blood of Christ. All we have to do is to come before the Lord through the blood of this sacrificial lamb.

Now we come to St. Augustine (354-430). Augustine believed that Adam and Eve were literally the first human beings. Their banishment from Eden resulted in the ultimate punishment of man. Death was not natural, but rather, punitive, for Augustine. Now as he worked out the theological understanding of life, the virgin birth tradition became crucial to him. He asserted that the virgin birth had to be absolutely necessary for salvation.

The reason was that since the original sin was passed on from generation to generation, for Jesus to be the lamb, Jesus had to be free of this inherited blemish – sin. His formulation goes, that Jesus did not come from Adam’s lineage because the Holy Spirit of God was supposed to be His father. But at Augustine’s time, it was believed that women do not contribute genetically or materially to the birth of a child. The belief back then was that women merely nurtured the male’s “seed” to maturity. So the fallness of the woman’s humanity was not an issue.

In time, when the woman’s role as genetic co-creator was understood, Augustine’s theology came in question. The Catholic Church handled this by declaring the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That Mary too was miraculously delivered from the corruption of Adam and Eve’s sin. By “Divine Intervention” Mary was prevented by her Immaculate Conception from passing onto Jesus, the Saviour, the effects of Adam’s sin. Salvation was thus assured. This makes Jesus, the sinless one, to be qualified by His origins to make the perfect offering.

So if we really look at the spirit of Christmas solely on the mainstream Judeo-Christian tradition, Christmas is nothing more than a celebration of the coming of the sacrificial lamb or the “scapegoat”, in the person of Jesus Christ, who will take away the sins of the world so that you and I can be spared of the wages of sin (eternal death) as decreed by God Himself as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience (Original Sin).

So really, in Judeo-Christian terms, celebrating Christmas would be celebrating God’s master plan involving the perverted notion of inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering on person X (whether this person is His son or not) so that person Y (you and I) can be “saved”.

I’m sorry but I choose not to look at Christmas and Jesus Christ this way.

The Jesus Christ who I know lived in a world where stereotypical prejudice separated Jews from the Samaritans. They would not eat together, they would not worship together, they would not inter-marry, etc. Yet Jesus in the Gospels was said to have taught that the Samaritan was worthy of healing (Luke 17:11-19) and that a Samaritan who acted out the claims of the law in terms of showing mercy was more deeply a child of Abraham than the Jewish priest or Levite (Luke 10:29-37). These were radical statements of barrier-breaking inclusion, which expanded rather dramatically and in a new way the meaning of love.

Jesus, as well, broke the barriers between the Jews and the Gentiles. Back then Gentiles were even considered as unclean by the Jews, they weren’t circumcised, not bound by Kosher dietary laws, and ignorant of the demands of the Torah. Association of Jews with Gentiles was a big taboo back then. Yet Jesus was portrayed in the Gospel according to Mark as going to the Gentile side of the lake to repeat the feeding of the multitude in the wilderness story.

Jesus was also said to have reached out to the Syro-Phoenician woman, another Gentile, and to have healed her daughter (Mark 7:24-30). The Gospels also tell of Jesus healing a slave of a Roman centurion and even commending his faith as greater than he had found in Israel (Matt. 8:5-10; Luke 7:1-10). He also defended and forgiven an adulterer – a crime back then was punishable by death (John 8:1-11). We also note that he touched the rotting flesh of a leper (a sickness considered a curse and of the lowest form back then) and brought him once again into human community (Mark 1:40-41).

Beneath the God claims made for this Jesus was a person who lived a message announcing that there was no status defined by religion, by tribe, by culture, by cult, by ritual, or by illness that could separate any person from the love of God. If love is a part of what God is or who God is, then it can surely be said of this Jesus that He lived the meaning of God!

In the book, “The Sins of Scripture”, Bishop John Shelby Spong tells that perhaps that is why those believers wrote that human life could never have produced the experience they found in Jesus. They were so moved by this man that they thought he must have been of another realm! Perhaps his birth was said to have been announced by a star because a star does not shine just for a single nation, it shines for the whole world! His life drew all nations and all people beyond their limits.

The celebration of Christmas, for me, is not a celebration of a testament of a particular religious faith but a celebration of an all-inclusive love for one and all. Santa Claus, just like Jesus Christ, is a representation of the celebration of love, kindness, generosity and goodness for humankind.

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings to all!


Background References:

  • “Why Christianity Must Change or Die”, John Shelby Spong, Harper Collins Publications (1998)
  • “The Sins of Scripture”, John Shelby Spong, Harper Collins Publications (2005)

Posted in ReligionComments (23)

A Child Learns the Truth About Christmas

Here’s a nice short story I read over at The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe Forums. I know it’s a bit late, but I had to ask permission from the author to repost the story here. Anyway, better late than never! 🙂

Carol was nine years old when she stopped believing in him.

All her life, she was encouraged to believe, by people whose opinion she trusted.  Those who didn’t believe were always cast as Grinches and Scrooges.  No one liked them.  And they surely would come around someday anyway.

But her curiosity eventually overwhelmed her credulity.  She noticed that all children, naughty and nice, did equally well year after year.  She wondered how he could truly be in all parts of the Earth in one evening, and even the most confident explanations offered her little satisfaction.

She saw images resembling him and people dressed as they imagined he would dress, but never recalled seeing the real man.  She went through the motions of speaking to him, never being sure if he got the message.  Or if it mattered that he did anyway.

One quiet snowy morning, Carol approached Mother in the laundry room, and firmly put the question to her.  Mother failed to suppress a mildly surprised expression, then sighed and finished emptying the drier. She hoisted the basket and said with a bit of a grunt,

“What do you think?  Do you believe in him?”

“Um…I don’t know.  Maybe.”

Carol thought for a second more.  “Probably not, I guess.”

“I think you might be right,” said Mother as she led Carol into the family room, sat on the couch, and began folding towels.  Carol rested her crossed arms on the overstuffed arm of the couch, and her chin on her arms.  Mother’s voice shook a bit when she said, “I’m sorry, honey.”

“That’s okay.  I don’t mind.”


Carol wanted her mother to feel less sorry.  But she felt compelled to ask:

“Why do so many people believe in him?”

“Oh, I don’t know.  Because he brings us joy.”

“Can’t we be happy without him?  Like because we’re with our families?”

“Sure, sure we can.  Somehow this all just started and we kind of go along with it.  He’s not what this holiday is all about, anyway.”


“That’s right.  People were celebrating this season long before he came along.  So you can keep on enjoying Christmas without him if you want.”

Carol thought for another few seconds.  “I’d like that.”

Mother smiled.  “Good.  I would too.  Just don’t tell your brother just yet.”

“Why not?”

“Because he isn’t ready yet.”

“But isn’t that lying?”

“Did I ever tell you what to believe?”

“I dunno.”

“I tried not to.  And I never told your brother either.  Just as you did, he believes what he has heard from friends and television and whatever else.  But like you, he’ll get smart.  You have to let him do it himself. You should be proud that you came to me.  How do you think you’d feel if I suddenly came to you and said he’s not real?”

“I’d feel bad.”

“Okay, then.”  Mother was down to the bottom of the basket, where the socks and boxer shorts were tangled together.

Things were quiet for a while and Carol didn’t know why, but she grew slightly upset.  She didn’t know it herself, but she was just a little angry.  And she even missed him a little, fictitious as he was.


“Yes, dear.”

“Why do we let people believe a lie?  Why don’t the people who know tell the people who don’t know?  Then no one has to believe the lie.  And no one has to find out later that they were wrong for so long.  Oh, and think of all the money we’d save.  And all the time we spend talking about him and making TV shows and singing about him.”  Then she recalled some conversations she had witnessed between two grown-ups.  “And fighting over him.”

That was a tough question for Mother.

“Well, I guess you could say there are things that are real and things that make you feel good.  Sometimes people want to hold on to something that makes them comfortable, and they’re afraid of what’s real.”

“But doesn’t knowing what’s real make people happy?”

“It does make them grown-up, but it doesn’t always make them happy.  Are you happy to know the truth?”

“I don’t know.”

“But do you wish you didn’t know?”


“Then I’ll be happy for you.”

The conversation was getting difficult for Carol.  She wordlessly straightened her back and trotted to her room, where she opened a book and began to read.

Full credit goes to T. Azimuth Schwitters.

Posted in OthersComments (7)

A Letter From Jesus

Apparently, I got a letter from Jesus! He has graciously thought to send me an invitation (via e-mail, I must add) to His Grand Party!

The Grand Party

The Grand Party

As proof, here is His letter, copied verbatim:

Dear loved ones,

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration for my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me. As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first, people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration. Family and friends get together and have lots of fun, but they don’t know the meaning of the celebration.

I remember that last year there was a great feast for my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts. But, do you want to know something? I wasn’t invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn’t remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face …. and I wanted to be with them and share their table.

In truth, that didn’t surprise me because in the last few years, all closed their doors to me. Since I wasn’t invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner. They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a great time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red, wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: “Santa Claus, Santa Claus” .. as if the party were for his honor!

At 12 Midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and … do you know … no one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me.

What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one? I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember to eat and drink, the gifts, the parties and nobody remembers me. I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn’t invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party.

I’m still making the final arrangements. Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don’t answer the invitation, will be left outside.

Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.

See you soon.

I Love you!


P.S. Please share this message with your loved ones, before Christmas

Well, I thought, since He was nice enough to think of me and send me a letter, I thought I should do what any decent moral person would do; Answer his letter!

So here’s my letter to Him:

Dear Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your letter and Your invitation! You do not know how thrilled I am to hear from You! And to see that I’ve been invited to The Grand Party!That is such an honor!

However, I must ask, why are You claiming that December 25 is Your birthday? I mean, weren’t shepherds out and about when You were born in Your manger? Obviously, it was nowhere near December at the time! Probably closer to April. Are You sure Your Virgin Mom and Foster Dad didn’t lie to You about Your date of birth? Don’t worry about the “virgin birth” thingy, I can keep a secret. Plenty of couples who get pregnant out of wedlock change the DOB of their babies too to cover it up, so there’s not much to be embarrassed about.

I have to ask, why are You saying that no one invites You to “Your” birthday parties? I’m sure there are plenty of nutjobs… err… I mean… devout followers out there who DO invite You to their parties. Many of them actually leave a plate on the table just for You! But the thing is, your space is ALWAYS empty. I’m just saying, maybe You’d get more invites to even more parties if You actually attended them. You complain about the Fat Man in the Red Suit getting all the attention, but in fairness, he actually makes it to MANY of the parties, unlike You.

Now You’re saying that since most people didn’t invite You to the parties (and remember, it’s You’re fault for never ever attending any of the parties in the first place), You’re going to get back at them by making a grand party of Your own, and send an invitation only to a select few? I mean, most of my friends DIDN’T get this invitation when I asked them. Honestly, are you too cheap to send out more invitations by yourself that you need us to do the legwork for you?They even looked at me like I was crazy or something when I said: “Did Jesus Christ send you an invitation to His Grand Party?” .

Don’t you think it’s a bit childish? Isn’t that how an eight year old kid would act? You’re over 2000 years old already, for your sake! Have you not mentally grown up at all? Now that I think of it, why should I waste time and energy to attend a party that most probably will never happen anyway? I mean, you’ve been talking of this “Grand Party” of yours for almost 2000 years now, and you’ve got jack shit to show for it.

Heck, this invitation of yours DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A FRICKIN’ DATE! Because of that, many of your followers have resorted to making up half-assed guesses for the date of your “Great Party”. The generation you promised this party for is long gone, and chances are, your party STILL wouldn’t happen even after this generation of waiting followers are long dead. I guess you like the feeling of stringing us along, don’t you?

You know what? To hell with it. You can cancel this “invitation” of yours and you can take that golden guest book of yours and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Consider this my RSVP.



P.S. Your Real Dad is an crazy, petty, egomaniacal, murderous, misogynistic, baby-killing, tyrannical a-hole with a personality disorder. Tell him to get professional help.

Posted in Humor, Others, ReligionComments (10)

A Different Carol

A_Christmas_Carol_frontpieceAre you familiar with Charles Dickens classic Christmas story “A Christmas Carol”? Let me refresh you. It’s about this guy named Scrooge who was visited by the 3 Christmas spirits; The Christmas Past, the Christmas Present and The Christmas Future. Well? OK! Maybe it’s time I give you my version of this Christmas classic eh?
So hold your breath and count to 3….1….2…..3.

Christmas Past.
So the first in the list is the Spirit of Christmas Past. Here we can see pagan customs taken by Christians to make their own. The time was said to be the birth of Mithra. Druids also commemorate this date as the arrival of the winter solstice. The date of December 25 does not correspond to Christ’s birth but to the feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti, the Roman sun festival at the solstice. The Roman Empire began their official recognition of sun worship during the time of Aurelian when he instituted the cult of “Sol Invictus”. There is virtually no difference between the cult of Sol Invictus and that of Mithraism or for that matter traditional Christianity.

So, Christmas is nothing but a recycled pagan custom after all. Bah! Humbug!

Now we go to Christmas Present.
“Tis the season to be jolly.” Maybe the other name for this spirit is commercialism.
This is PARTY TIME!!!

Here in this season, the separation between the poor and the rich becomes more evident.

People on this time are too busy buying things for presents, parties and “Noche Buenas” to stuff their bellies while half of Manila is starving, eating trash in garbage cans or left-over thrown by restaurants, or food not even suited to be eaten by your dogs. This is also the time for religious hypocrites to thrive, blessing the rich because of the amount of their church donations. Social climbers and phonies held charity events to “help” the poor, to stuff the bellies of prison inmates with fruit cakes, to give clothes and toys to the destitute, all just for the show, but won’t even lift a finger to distribute their glut on ordinary seasons.

In the Philippines, it’s the time of the 13-month pay and bonus our employee would love to have, unfortunately, some business establishment cannot even give these people a decent minimum wage. It is also the time of the merchants who takes gain from selling their goods to the voracious public. People with very little money left in their pocket, will still try to buy some delicious ham for his family to feast on Christmas Eve will be eventually victimized by vulture-like merchandisers who will rise the commodity prices. It is the time marred with greed on the part of the business men and gift-receivers and the by pressure of duty, obligation, and guilt for the gift-givers. Tis the season where one can see the grossest display of the union between religion and business.

What so funny at this time are people pretend to be good. It’s really sickening hearing famous personalities, famous faces, politicians (especially politicians) announce good will and peace on Earth. Really like they mean it huh? BOY YOU”RE SO PHONY! And why make this a season of giving and sharing? Why this season huh? For 11 months you guys are killing each other, throwing mud at each others faces. Then be good at Christmas time so we can continue beating each others ass by January next year?

So what we have is a fraud celebration of a Christian messiah’s birth, commercialisms, greed and hypocrisy. Now what spirit are we talking about here? So why wait after 11 months to have this humanitarian spirit of goodwill to fellow men?

Christmas Future
Christmas future is only a speculation. Well we may end up with 2 possible roads. 1.) To continue fooling ourselves in thinking that this pagan holiday is a Christian holiday of a birth of a so-called Savior who will save the world from sin. Turning this circus as a good opportunity to bamboozle others and to make an impression to the public of how good we are. Turning dejected people as pegs in which you can put on a show about your surfeit so others will find you rolling in it.
2.) We can make this humanitarian spirit available all year round, with no string attached.

The choice is yours.

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (4)