Friday, December 24, 2004

Between Faith and Reason

There's a column in the Washington Post today by Jon Meacham that everyone should read. He writes, "The [Christmas] celebrations cap a season in which the usual culture warriors have gone through their predictable maneuvers. He continues,

We would all be better off, I think, if the religious were to acknowledge that there is room for debate and doubt, and if the nonreligious accepted the idea that faith is not fanciful. ...

By any measure, we are an overwhelmingly religious nation. According to a Newsweek poll this month, nearly 90 percent of American adults say they are believers, and 84 percent consider themselves Christians. ...

Only the foolish or the conceited would discount the possibility of miracles; as Hamlet said, "There are more things in heaven and earth . . . than are dreamt of in your philosophy." ...

To point out the possibly legendary nature of parts of the nativity stories is not to question the reality of Jesus or the truth of the Christian story and message. Like the cross, the crèche invites us to make a leap of faith from the sin and disappointment of this life to one in which God promises to "make all things new."

As I've noted here before, I'm not religious. But I have room in my heart and my mind to respect the beliefs of those who do have faith. And as a citizen of a democracy, I'm perfectly happy to join the large faithful majority in celebrating an important religious holiday. After all, what could be wrong with the Christmas wish of "Peace on Earth?"

Merry Christmas to all!


Blogger Demon King said...

Good link and well put. Peace.

8:26 AM, December 24, 2004  
Blogger RomanWanderer said...

With so many believers, I wonder why the opposition is so loud? All the PC issues this year about religious symbols- it's ridiculous!

10:33 AM, December 24, 2004  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

I agree. I think what's happening, again, is a very small number of people are making a whole lot of noise. And, of course, the media faithfully reports it.

11:19 AM, December 24, 2004  
Blogger mike said...

Merry Christmas to ya', Tom.


12:16 PM, December 24, 2004  
Blogger Gindy said...

At the very least take advantage of the time off and help some friends celebrate their holiday.

7:07 PM, December 24, 2004  
Blogger howard said...

Good post -- you always seem to find the good columns and subjects here. It does seem (and I don't know why) that many of us get so bogged down with the idea of being right that we ignore the value of just doing right -- so much so that we go past just doing our own thing, and we try to make everyone else do it as well. Maybe that attitude helps fuel the ongoing cultural/religious debate.

Whatever the case, I hope you all have a great Christmas holiday!

7:53 PM, December 24, 2004  
Blogger I Am The Walrus said...

I, too, am non religious and have no problems with religions until they become a method by which others suffer for whatever reason the religions deem to be appropriate.

10:06 PM, December 25, 2004  
Blogger MaxedOutMama said...


You have an aptitude for nailing the essential issue down. Yes, it should be all about acceptance and tolerance. If the world were to wake up one day and find we had all abruptly acquired one culture and one faith, we would all be the poorer for it.

And like Sarafenix says, religion should not be about imposing things on other people, but about giving your best to others, and as h2 says, the important thing is not to be right, but to do right. The current tempest in a teapot is all about nonsense.

7:13 PM, December 26, 2004  
Blogger Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Tom -from down under in Australia. Australians have suppoterd America in war always and there is close relationship. We are a much less religious and perhaps somewhat irreverent as a nation. I enjoyed your blog. However my idol is Albert Schweitzer who was very impressed when he visited Amererica so many moons ago. Have a look at my website if you are interested in his life and thought.I am interested in applying science to religion and are a believer but not in miracles or in the traditional fundamentalism or creation views.

Did you know christmas was originally a pagan ceremony later adapted by the church. Early christianity only celebrated easter.

5:36 AM, January 07, 2005  
Anonymous order an essay said...

By the way Meacham's latest biography, American Lion, is about Andrew Jackson and his White House circle. A bestseller, it was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

9:30 AM, January 07, 2012  

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