Notes from An Alien

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Do I Celebrate Christmas?


I may completely lose a few of my readers today……… 

In fact, many folks who trusted me to post reasonable things might think I’m bonkers.

However

Judging from most of the mainstream media, Christmas is just the modern incarnation of some ancient ritual; or, it’s the season of festivity, happiness, and gift-giving; or, it’s a time to be with family and friends to warm-up before the cold sets in, in earnest

Of course, folks in the Southern Hemisphere are in their Summer

And, my Best Friend, in Australia, celebrated Christmas yesterday :-)

Sure, a few people know what Christmas really stands for

Actually, most people probably know but let the media steer them away from the truth.

I was raised in a Christian family—Mom and Dad were both ministers.

When I left home, I became quite non-religious

In my early forties, I discovered the Bahá’í Faith.

It taught me things about Jesus the Christ that most Christians never suspect.

It taught me that, if I celebrate the birth of Christ, I should also celebrate the birth of Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad, and all the other Manifestations.

Of course, recorded history shows the tragedy of the “believers” of most Faiths treating those of a different Faith with disdain and contempt, or covering that ill-will with a mock good-will, or just harming or killing them

My Faith teaches me that all the Manifestations had the Truth and brought it to Humanity at different stages in its evolution.

Now, I’ll share the etymology of “Celebrate”:

“…from Latin celebratus ‘much-frequented; kept solemn; famous’, past participle of celebrare ‘assemble to honor’, also ‘to publish; sing praises of; practice often’, originally ‘to frequent in great numbers’, from celeber ‘frequented, populous, crowded’; with transferred senses of ‘well-attended; famous; often-repeated’.”

So, if Christmas is the birth of Jesus, I celebrate it—I celebrate the birth of every Manifestation, even the Ones I know nothing of

I celebrate the concept that there is a Manual for Living, taught by all the Manifestations—embracing Virtues like Honesty, Love, Justice, Courtesy, Joyfulness, Nobility, Truthfulness, and Gratitude.

Sure, to admit that one is religious can bring scorn, ridicule, and even death.

But, to ignore what religion really teaches (not what any given believer teaches) is, at least, as dangerous as ignoring the laws of science

That last sentence could make some think I’m rather odd, that I base my life on principles that come from people who say they have a message direct from God—yet, the Manifestations aren’t just “people”; their Lives show that and their Words support it.

That’s not easy to believe and, from my experience, interpreting any Scripture is about as easy as figuring out what the great poets write—it can be done, it usually leads to more than one interpretation, it depends on good sense and an open heart

I’ve spent 26 years as a Bahá’í and I’m still taking baby-steps; but, those steps are much better for me than the sleazy crawl and the pompous strut I used to do.

Let me share a quote from the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh.

It’s about Jesus but could apply to all the Manifestations:

“We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him, the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified… We bear witness that through the power of the Word of God every leper was cleansed, every sickness was healed, every human infirmity was banished. He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.”

Dear reader, if you’ve gotten this far in the post, let me repeat the caution that a true understanding of religion does not come from what the believers say.

True understanding comes from an Independent Investigation of Truth
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6 responses to “Do I Celebrate Christmas?

  1. milliethom December 25, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    An interesting and informative post, Alex. I have never heard of the Bahai Faith before, and the idea of ‘celebrating’ the births of all the Manifestations is particularly intriguing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Well, Millie, I hope you’ll take the various links in the post :-)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Salvatore Pope Ritondo December 25, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    The Universal House of Justice (UHJ), the supreme governing institution of the Baha’i Faith would like todays post :) me not so much. But I still love you as our independent investigations twist and turn so many different ways :)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 25, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Thank you, Sal :-)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sunnny December 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I think you are wrong about Baha’is celebrating the Birth of all manifestations. See here about Christmas:
    http://bahaism.blogspot.com/2014/12/shoghi-effendi-bahais-discontinue.html

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks for your comment, sunnny.

      There’s a particular reason I focused on the word “celebrate” in the post—even listing its word history.

      I tried (and, for you, apparently failed) to indicate that my “celebration” was not what most folks think of

      I believe what Shoghi Effendi was referring to was Baha’is “celebrating” Christmas in the way most of society does…

      In fact, he didn’t “lay down a law”. He said, “…it is surely preferable and even highly advisable…”.

      I’m sure, for instance, that a Jew who converted to Christianity, would find “it is surely preferable and even highly advisable” to celebrate their new Christian holy days…

      Still, in the way I attempted to define “celebrate” in the post, I meant honor and revere the birth of Jesus, not buy and decorate a tree and purchase presents for the family…

      Also, my saying my Faith “taught” me something wasn’t me saying that I thought all Baha’is do a particular thing—it was my way (apparently not clear enough) of saying what I’ve drawn from the Teachings—I would never speak for all Baha’is…

      I’m sorry my intention wasn’t more obvious for you :-(

      One last note: I recommend you visit an official Baha’i web site for information about the Faith…

      Like

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