Tim Wildmon, of the Christian hate-group the American Family Association, just published an on-line article titled “If Jesus had never been born…”
It’s an interesting hypothetical. The first thing that comes to mind is that we really don’t know if this person existed. The character created by the various authors of biblical mythology almost certainly didn’t exist. Water to wine; virgin birth; walking on water; healing the blind; etc. are all things of the imagination and are no different than any of the other supernatural and magical attributes that man has been applying to mythical characters since before writing. Gilgamesh, Beowulf, the Maya hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque, and so on.
But Wildmon’s article isn’t about a thought-experiment, it’s about delusion. In his delusion, the United States is a direct result of a mythical person named Jesus Christ. He begins, “[i]f Jesus Christ had never been born, you would not be reading this column [and] there would be no United States of America.”
Wildmon is, of course, flawed and falacious in his reasoning. His premise assumes the conclusion, which is that Jesus Christ did exist as described in biblical mythology. This is the same circular logic that causes religious nuts to believe in most biblical mythology as fact rather than the myth it actually is. To support his circular claims, Wildmon cites Pres. Truman’s address to the Attorney General’s Conference on Law Enforcement Problems in 1950. Truman said, The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days”.
This couldn’t be further from the truth and, if one were to look at the documents involved (Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution), one would see that they in no way compare to the religious mythology either Wildmon or Truman refer to. In fact, biblical doctrines that Christians like to attribute to being the “foundation” of our great nation’s laws and government are down-right un-American. Leviticus alone is full of un-American dogma and doctrine: Rancher’s have a long, American tradition of raising a variety of cattle, the diversly planted victory garden is about as American as it gets, and the cotton-polyester blend is an American classic, but each of these is forbidden by Leviticus 19:19. The cruel and inhumane author of Leviticus was also unconcerned with national diversity and freedoms of speech and religion for death was the penalty for gays, adulterers (and their spouses!), and anyone who blasphemed his own particular notion of god.
But maybe Truman and Wildmon weren’t thinking of Leviticus. Surely they consider the Ten Commandments to be this “foundational” source for their own twisted idea of American origins. And yet when you compare, the American traditions and the 10 Commandments only share two out of ten things in common: don’t kill and don’t steal. Truman and Wildmon might as well attribute the Code of Hammurabi to “fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights.” In fact, the Code of Hammurabi is a much closer match to a potential origin of our Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution). The CoH provides for due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to present evidence, and some references to religious freedom (biblical mythology is very bigoted in this regard).
So Wildmon (and, by extension, Truman) are both flat out wrong about America being founded by Christian mythology. I challenge any one who thinks they are well-versed in this mythology to show where American Founding documents (Constitution/Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, etc.) are directly produced from Christian doctrine.
Wildmon continues with his failed article: “[i]f Jesus Christ had never been born, obviously, there would be no Christmas celebration or even a “holiday season.”
I think he’s wrong again. The Christian celebration of the alleged birth of Jesus (again, his premise assumes the conclusion) was intended by early cult leaders to replace pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. We can still see the remnants of this celebration in our modern representations of Christmas: holy, the tree, yule logs, etc. Had early cult leaders not claimed Jesus was born (he may or may not have been), we would still have a holiday season. It would simply be a celebration more obviously based on the Solstice.
Wildmon’s attempt here is to claim that Christmas is about Jesus… for some that may be true. But for most, it’s about family, children, world peace, love, giving, getting, eating, and so on. It’s a moment of social embrace where a family or even a community can come together and remind each that even though they have separate lives, they still have a common purpose. The season was always a celebration that we’ve reached the shortest day of the year and we’re about to embark on longer days ahead -we made it! Christians can do whatever the hell they want on Christmas: pray, go to mass, worship little barns with infants, whatever. They even have the right to bitch and moan that the rest of us just like the holly, mistletoe, snowmen, snowflakes, holiday trees (not a single religious ornament), reindeer, santas, and so on.
The axial tilt: it’s the real reason for the season.