Monday, November 26, 2012

Pope debunks Xmas myths

Welcome to the world of journalism. Even the CNN religion blog. The post title was how they described Benedict XVI's new book. Morons.

The Pope's third book on Christ goes back to the beginning and studies the stories of Jesus' infancy. Grounds which have been burned over many times by preceding scholars, Catholics included. While (surprise!) defending the virginal conception* of Christ, he also makes some points which, by this time, are utterly un-controversial. Even in Catholic seminaries, where I learned them.

That the Christian calendar is off by a few years. That December 25th is not the actual date of Christ's birth. And that the ox and the donkey are derived from a line in Isaiah rather than eye-witnesses of the Nativity. Things like that.

One brilliant journalista described his words on the calendar as "unsettling one of the fundamentals of the Christian faith." Mother of God. No one, and I mean no one, thinks that Jesus was born in 1 AD. Or on December 25th. These are as fundamental to Christian theology as whether you read the Bible in Turkish or Dutch. There is Tradition, and there are traditions.

Similar kinds of ignorance thrive in the presence of traditional religion. Foundational narratives of the Liberal religion, like humble Rosa Parks at the back of the bus, go utterly unchallenged as sacred (and unchallengable) fact. We are expected to believe that our choices lie between taking the Bible completely literally or realizing that the whole thing is made up. Ah, Liberal sophistication and nuance.

Well, no need to go on. There's a whole website dedicated to showing the gross ignorance of our journalist class about matters religious. If journalism makes you a "professional", so does prostitution. As I've said before, I don't know which event would be more traumatic for me, if one of my nieces or nephew decided to marry a Muslim, or to go to journalism school.

*About Mary conceiving Christ without a man, he makes the rather obvious point that if God is not master of matter, he is not God. If God can raise Jesus from the dead, a virgin conception should not be difficult, right? But in these matters, people confuse what they think God a. can do, b. did do and c. should do or d. would do.

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