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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

So What Are We Celebrating?


This?




This?

"Happy Winter Event"
"And Happy Winter Event to you."




This?



Or this?

"Happy Winter Solstice"


Or how about Channuka and Christmas?



Happy Channuka and Merry Christmas everybody.

And as for all you ACLU types that don't like it-enjoy your snowplows.

22 comments:

Findalis said...

Have friends who celebrate Winter Solstice (nothing like Pagans to teach the world that moonshine, nudity and outdoors in -3 weather do not mix).

Celebrating the snowplow for keeping the road clear these past 48 hours (I don't think it will ever stop snowing. So much for Global Warming!).

Have a Merry Christmas Gary.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Gary, I just got back from a four day cruise where I couldn't escape from Christmas music - and I'm not just talking the religiously neutral "Jingle Bells" type of songs - all sorts of stuff about Christ being our savior and all that stuff. (And no, I'm not opposed to Christmas music - just opposed to hearing nothing BUT Christmas music, including a lot of songs that simply aren't very good. There are plenty of Christmas tunes that I enjoy just fine - like Elvis's "Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me".)

Christmas is alive and well. Just because auto dealers call it a Winter Event, and the schools call it Winter Break, it's not going anywhere. Please stop perpetuating Fox News's "War on Christmas" myth. Remember, most of O'Reilly's examples turned out to be completely bogus. Personally, I have an easier time believing that a carpenter walked on water than believing that there's some sort of a war on the holiday.

Oh, and Merry Christmas - that's what I say to people, despite the fact that I'm one of those "secular progressives".

Linnea Hannigan said...

Festivus! Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Merry Christmas, Gary!

Linnea

Enjoy a memory of the good old days:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/12/a_reagan_christmas.html

Gary Fouse said...

And to Linnea, Findalis and Lance,

Merry Christmas.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Wow, Findalis - you sure do have a clear grasp on the concept of global warming, don't you? It's cold in winter, ergo it's not happening.

C'mon, you guys, even the Republicans are starting to see the handwriting on the wall with this one. While the specifics regarding global climate change are still debatable, you guys are starting to come off as flat-earthers.

Gary Fouse said...

Lance,

Don't be so quick to judge who will go down in history as the "Flatearthers". Remember 30 years ago, they were warning us a new ice age was on the way. Remember also that the hottest years in the past century were in the 1930s.

I am not taking a position on this stuff, but I still say the issue has not yet been decided-except for buffoons like Al Gore.

Final point: Refer to my home page-upper right hand corner.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Remember 30 years ago, they were warning us a new ice age was on the way. Remember also that the hottest years in the past century were in the 1930s.

Gary, the whole "they were warning us about an ice age" argument is totally bogus. There was one article in a magazine from what I understand. That's hardly the same thing as what's going on with the warnings about global climate change (a more accurate term).

And the whole example from the 1930s misses the point as well. It's not like the Earth is only 100 years old. We're talking about average temperatures over many centuries here. Of course, there are bound to be a few anomolies here and there. (Of course, this is a bit out of my field of expertise - you should ask a science teacher that I work with - he had some pretty quick and thorough responses to those points.)

If those are your two best arguments, you really need to do some reading. I suggest something like Scientific American instead of listening to right-wing pundits - who are pretty much on the whole scientifically illiterate. (A bold statement to be sure, but considering how many of them don't understand that Intelligent Design isn't science, it's a rather fitting statement.)

And you guys REALLY need to drop the whole Al Gore thing. He was using his celebrity to bring attention to an issue that he feels is important. It's not like he was just making stuff up. Sure, there is some debate as to just how much of an impact humans are having and just how drastic things can get, but facts are facts. The only debate is his conclusions (which aren't really his conclusions - just the ones that certain scientists have predicted.)

Final point: Refer to my home page-upper right hand corner.

That is to what I was referring. I recently read that the North Pole had less ice this summer than has ever been recorded. Sure, penguins live in the South Pole, but you are aware of how the ice caps are melting, right? I mean, that's not even debatable. Perhaps you should interview some actual penguins.

Anyway, this whole thing just confirms my belief that "conservatives" are, by and large, ignorant of the scientific process at best, anti-science at worst.

Still, you've gotta wonder about the whole thing when even the Republicans are starting to jump on the bandwagon now. Sure, Sarah Palin tried to have her cake and eat it too by saying that we don't need to know what causes it, but she said that it was something that she was very aware of as a governor of Alaska.

I'm not saying that you need to go out and buy a canoe for your commute, but when you flippantly dismiss the whole thing...well, there's no nice way to say it - it just comes off as ignorant.

Findalis said...

Lance you forget that the Earth is billions of years old and at one time both Antarctica and the Arctic were totally ice free all year round. Trees grew at the South Pole and animals thrived there.

The Earth is in no danger of being destroyed. It will not shatter into a million pieces, there is no black hole coming out of CERN. The Earth will recover from whatever man does to her. After all Earth has recovered from worse ecological disasters than a bit of so-called global warming.

Gary Fouse said...

Lance,

How did we get onto this global warming thing? That was not the premise of my piece. Anyway, like I say, I don't know what the truth is. I just say that there is disagreement out there. When Al Gore says that the debate is over-that is a misstatement. When he tells us all to ride our bikes to work while he flies around the world in a private jet, I say he is a hypocrite.

I would also say that before we jump on the UN bandwagen and pass all kinds of laws that inhibit our development-while leaving countries like China and India to sail merrily along- we had better be sure of what we are talking about.

I have no problem with doing whatever we can to have a cleaner environment. I'm all for it. But I do think some of these radical environmentalists out there have a hidden agenda, which is to drag America down to the level of the rest of the world-economically and politically. (I know. I found one of them under my bed just last night.)

And don't worry about hurting my feelings when you call me ignorant. I will have the last laugh when you go to the North Pole in your swimsuit.

BTW, how did you like my ball park piece? Pretty environmentally-friendly, wouldn't you say?

Gary Fouse said...

Good point, Findalis.

Those volcano eruptions, like Krakatoa put more bad things in the air that all of mankind combined*.

* Rush Limbaugh (or maybe it was Sean Hannity)

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Wow...quoting Limbaugh and/or Hannity on science. What are their qualifications again? It's not like they just make stuff up - oh wait, it IS just like that.

Ingrid said...

Gary, I just have to comment on this. You cannot be a Christian and wish a happy Chanukka. The Jews hate Jesus Christ, as I was told by a Jew, and Chanukka has nothing to do with Jesus. By straddling the fence, you are not serving Christ and the God of the Bible. You cannot serve two masters. Either you are a Christian or you are not. That doesn't mean that you have to hate other people or their religion, but you have to take a stand. Either you believe that Christ is the son of God or you don't. The Jews don't believe he is. Make up your mind who you believe in.

Gary Fouse said...

Ingrid,

Lots of Christians wish Jews a Happy Channuka. It is merely an expression of respect. While I am not one of those super-sensitive people, it wouldn't really be proper to wish someone a Merry Christmas if you know they are not Christian. I just want to see "Merry Christmas" banned, thats' all.

As for me, the major difference between Christianity and Judaism is the Person of Jesus Christ as son of God and savior. But that doesn't mean that I can't respect Judaism-though I may not ascribe to it as a religion.

And I don't believe that Jews hate Christ.

Findalis said...

Jews don't hate Christ. He was a Jew. It was the perversion of that fact that has led to this impression.

As a Jew I wish my Christian friends a Merry Christmas, and they in turn wish me a Happy Chanukah. It is done in respect for each of ours religion.

Ingrid said...

Christ wasn't born on Christmas, so whatever one wishes on this particular pagan holiday is just a friendly gesture. I am just saying, as a Christian, one needs to take a stand for the son of God or call oneself something else.
Findalis, you might not hate Jesus, but your religion doesn't recognize him as the son of God, neither do many other religions.
I was told by a Jew that Jews believe Jesus was an impostor, a liar, definitely not the Messiah. How do you feel about a person like that? Do you respect him? Do you not despise him? Maybe you are not taking your religion very seriously. Just asking, not judging.

Findalis said...

Jews didn't and still do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. And neither do I, for he didn't fulfill every prophecy that the Messiah is suppose to. One being that the Ark is suppose to return to Jerusalem before the Messiah arrives. Nor in Judaism does one need to be saved. It is not a tenet of our faith (nor ever was). That is a Greco-Roman idea.

It it not my views on the divinity of Jesus that you are questioning, Ingrid, but your own anger at those who will not accept your religion as the truth.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

While it's true that Jews don't hate Jesus, it is true that: Scots hate Odin, Zoroastrians hate Ganesha, Mexicans hate Achilles, and Samoans hate Superman.

In all seriousness though, I'd like to respond to the following:

As for me, the major difference between Christianity and Judaism is the Person of Jesus Christ as son of God and savior.

There's a lot more to it than that. I once used to see Judaism as kinda being like a Jesus-less Christianity, but there's a whole lot more to it than that. Generally speaking, Jews have a completely different way of viewing God. Also, Jews tend to emphasize traditions and rituals moreso than Christians, who emphasize that what you believe is what's most important. That's why you get a lot of Jews who don't necessarily even believe all of the supernatural aspects of their religion, but they still observe all of the holidays and whatnot.

At least, that's my understanding. Findalis, please correct me if I'm wrong. (Although another thing I know is that with Jews, it's the same as any other group, y'all don't agree on absolutely everything!)

Lance Christian Johnson said...

By straddling the fence, you are not serving Christ and the God of the Bible. You cannot serve two masters. Either you are a Christian or you are not.

See, this is why not believing in any of it is just so darned easy!

Ingrid said...

Findalis, I am really not angry at all. I only believe, I don't know if I am right. I just think that people should stick up for what they believe in, if they claim to be Christian, they should act accordingly, if at all possible. Many so called Christians don't know what that means. I think I do.

Findalis said...

There's a lot more to it than that. I once used to see Judaism as kinda being like a Jesus-less Christianity, but there's a whole lot more to it than that. Generally speaking, Jews have a completely different way of viewing God. Also, Jews tend to emphasize traditions and rituals moreso than Christians, who emphasize that what you believe is what's most important. That's why you get a lot of Jews who don't necessarily even believe all of the supernatural aspects of their religion, but they still observe all of the holidays and whatnot.

We emphasize our traditions and rituals for they have sustained us through out the years and preserved our faith in times of persecution. But they are not the basis of our faith.

We believe that you have a personal relationship with God. You don't need a intermediary to have this relationship. That it is a one-on-one basis. For each of us, Judaism is a personal, spiritual growth. One that is started in childhood and never ends until death.

We are commanded to follow the 613 unwritten commandments or rules from God. You can find a list of them at 613 Commandments.

Judaism is a religion of love. God's love for us, and our love for each other. In the 10 Commandments, God commands us to love our neighbor. There are no conditions on that love. Very few religions on Earth actually have that commandment. And yet God has told the Hebrew people to wipe out your neighbor too (See the Book of Joshua). I sometimes wonder about God.

I hope this was helpful.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Good stuff, I recommend the book The Year of Living Biblically to anybody, despite their religious affiliations. In it, the author, who's basically an agnostic Jew, tries to live life according to The Bible - as literally as possible. One of his dilemmas is trying to follow the 613 Commandments that you mentioned.

In the 10 Commandments, God commands us to love our neighbor.

Really? Not to be a stickler, but I know the 10 Commandments, and that's not one of them. Perhaps it's one of the 613. (I know that Jesus said that, but obviously it is not that to which you were referring.)

Findalis said...

You're right, but God's injunction of Exodus 20:

16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Or Deuteronomy 5:

20 Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbour.

21 Neither shall you covet your neighbor's wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor's house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Is the a Commandment of love. The Talmud teaches us:

Nachmanides on "Be Loving to Your Neighbor"

The reason behind, "be-loving to your neighbor (as one) like yourself" is in fact an exaggeration for no human's heart can accept loving one's fellow as one loves one's own soul, and furthermore Rabbi Akiva already learned that "your life comes before the life of your friend."

It means that it is a mitzvah to love one's friend through all the good things that he loves himself, and it is possible that since the verse says "to your neighbor" (instead of merely stating "loving one's neighbor like yourself") The verse is comparing this love to the commandment to love the sojourner (Leviticus 19:34 where it says that you should be-loving to him as yourself) i.e., to make the love of both comparable in his mind. For sometimes one loves his neighbor with the things that are known to enhance his material happiness, but not with wisdom, and qualities that are similar to it. If, however, he loves him and wishes him well with everything he desires. And that his beloved friend should be blessed with happiness, property, honor, knowledge and wisdom, while not comparing himself to his friend, by wishing in his heart that he himself should be more than his friend in all that is good. For there should not be this kind of petty jealousy, as the verse commands, "like one does for one's self", and thus he should not make limits to his love. Thus it says of Jonathan (regarding David) "He loved him as he loved his soul." (I Samuel 20:17) How? Because he had removed the attribute of jealousy from his heart, and thus the following verse promises , "And you will rule over Israel."

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Once there was a gentile who came before Shammai, and said to him: "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot. Shammai pushed him aside with the measuring stick he was holding. The same fellow came before Hillel, and Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

I hope this has been helpful.