Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Season of Advent

Since I blasphemed in my rage against the machine (well, Mr. P), I decided I would look up Advent to see if it really is supposed to be about plastic birds or maybe something about Jesus. Not really about plastic birds...I sort of guessed that. Symbolically it marks the time that the Hebrews awaited their Messiah, and also represents the time that Christians are currently awaiting the second coming of Christ. Apparently, it is NOT tiny presents that will tide one over until the day of many presents. In more recent times (still forever ago though) the Lutherans in ye olde Germany would physically mark the days until Christmas, with say chalk lines on their doors, one per day, not unlike the construction paper chains my kids made to represent the "sleeps" until Christmas.

While I am not religious, I like more than just the secular stuff...don't get me wrong, I love presents, cookies, decorations, lights, sparkles, egg nog...am I missing anything? But I also feel more spiritual during the holidays, and have been known to attend a mass or two.

Religion has been on my mind quite a bit over the last few days, specifically because of some conversations I have had with my graduate students. They are also taking an ethics class and they had an "open mic" class period...one of my students made a comment that he didn't think you could separate religion and ethics. I disagree...I believe that morals and ethics are closely tied, and for some people, morals stem from religion, but I don't think that is true for everyone. I even made the argument, that if people are atheist and are moral for NO reason, doesn't that make them "better" than people who are good because they fear the wrath of God? (Okay, maybe wrath of God is a bit of overkill, but subtlety was never my strong suit.)

Anyways, that got me thinking about God, and horrific things happening to people. Why would God let babies die? Hurricane Katrina? 9/11?

Then I read something, and I wish I could remember where so can I reread it and make sure I am not taking it out of context. It was something along the line of God not only setting the conditions for life, but also abiding by those conditions, even when they suck. For example, weather keeps the Earth inhabitable, but sometimes, under the right circumstances, hurricanes are formed, and even when devastating, God does not interfere. For me, this helps to reconcile my scientific knowledge with that of an all poweful God, which has always been a big hangup of mine when it comes to religion (oh, and the super religious who act like complete assholes at work).

So, where does that leave us? First, I think I am closer to believing more completely in God, AND I am three days closer to the day with all the presents, and will be biding my time with three plastic birds, two plastic trees, and one plastic bird feeder thing.

3 comments:

DAVs said...

Your posts are thoughtful and also make me laugh! Huzzah to that!

Tracy said...

I see what you are saying, but it doesn't really fit into traditional beliefs. Not that you should have to have traditional beliefs, but what I have understood is that if you pray enough and are good enough then maybe God will help you...so if he never will, what is the point of church and praying?

I believe in nothing, but understand the comfort of believing in something. I kind of wish I could.

Those little trees are cuter than I imagined.

Hotch Potchery said...

Yeah, I don't know. There is just too much suffering to believe that God can interfere and just chooses not to, but too many "wonders" for me to NOT believe...Ugh. One philosophical breakthrough per decade, mmkay? Let's go back to talking about pretend boyfriends and maybe TV?

 
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