Sunrise over Lake Champlain from Ticonderoga
Support the victims of Hurricane Katrina (click image)
Musings and Meanderings
Sunday, December 19, 2004
If I wished you a merry Christmas, some would say, `Well, how improper. He's throwing his religion in my face.' But I hope I'm not, because to me the Christmas story is a message of love and forgiveness. To me, that means tolerance and respect for others. These are wonderful thoughts but no more admirable than Judaism's emphasis on values or Islam's command to help the poor, which to me are just different ways of saying the same thing.
I have come to believe that all the great religions are basically true, all part of the same peace, a conclusion I neither ask nor expect anyone to share. If it matters to you, I am a believer but, like Kirkegaard, I am suspicious of all organized religion because too often it professes to know the mind of God and who could know that?
To me, the greatest misunderstanding of religion is held by those who try to impose their beliefs on others and teach their children they are somehow superior to those who do not believe as they believe, which would seem to miss the point of all religion.
Rather than arguing over the details, wouldn't we all be better off to focus on the values that all great religions share? We'll find out later who got the details right. The one sure thing I know about all this is that the Christmas story helps me. It reminds me that I am happier when I try to be forgiving rather than revengeful, when I try to be helpful instead of judgmental.
So I do wish you a merry Christmas, if you know what I mean.