A Christmas Suggestion


For the moment, let’s put aside any theology debates and focus on the “spirit” of the season. As Gene Eugene wrote in “Breathe Deep“:

Evolutionists, creationists, perverts, slum lords
Dead-beats, athletes, Protestants and Catholics
Atheists, Scientists, racists, sadists…
Breathe deep, breathe deep the breath of God.

I am not concerned with how you define God or even whether you believe. What I would like to offer up is the idea that the season represents something and that something is common amongst all of us. What is it? I believe that is for us to find out but the obvious elements of peace, joy and hope surely play a part.

One of the traditions I started a few years ago was to read a book by Jars of Clay called “Peace is Here: Christmas Reflections“. It is my contention that even if you do not find yourselves within the throes of the belief system for which the book is grounded, you can surely take from it the experiences and how important they were. It sets a tone for Christmas where we are reminded to create the atmosphere through which good memories will be reflected upon. Maybe you might even consider writing down your own experiences to bind and share at a later time.

For me Jars of Clay was the Christian Toad the Wet Sprocket. They served to speak to the human condition as opposed to preaching at you. Having seen them in concert four times I never walked away not feeling good or wanting to be a better person. Simply put, they made you feel welcome regardless of what you believed.

If you purchase the book, my wish is that your Christmas may be just a bit better. In fact, purchase two and give one to a friend or even a stranger.

And if you do not know who Gene Eugene is…well, he is a man who died too soon and who I admired greatly. Though I never knew him personally I miss his music.

 

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Dissecting the Delusion


One of the benefits of retaining most of the books I have had to read while I was in college is that at times I can 1) share them with my children and 2) they have been required reading from my children. It is nice to see the money spent years ago still reaps a return. Just this past weekend I was rummaging through a dozen boxes looking for The Scarlet Letter. I was convinced it was somewhere in my possession as it was my own required reading years ago. Sadly this time I was mistaken. I had confused it with The Screwtape Letters which had a scarlet cover so while disappointed I at least felt justified in the confusion.
 
Yet the boxes spoke to me through reminders that many half-read, non-read and yet-read books demanded my attention. So I pulled out Mill’s On Liberty and Karen Armstrong’s The Battle for God along with a half-dozen others, leaving them in well walked area so they can realize their full potential of being mentally consumed. One book I passed over was Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. I vividly remember reading the book, thinking Dawkins hit on some strong, obvious and weak points in his argument against Christianity. None of them are worth going over in detail. At least coming from me.
 
David Marshall, founder of the Kuai Mu Institute for Christianity and World Cultures, took the time to write a granular and detailed response to Dawkins. Only three pages into the sixty-eight page retort and I am taken with Marshall’s mind. It would be irresponsible to recommend the paper on Dawkins’ errors but first impression tells me I will need to re-read Delusion. I am reminded of the mantra given to me by my philosophy professors: the best argument is found when building the strongest counter argument. In our daily lives we are too often only given on side of a position and in process a very weak form of the alternate position. That does not help us as a country or as individuals. While Dawkins may seem a fool or Christianity a false belief, here is an opportunity to confirm or debunk that position. At the very least you might better understand your opponent.
 

The God Delusion: 160 Errors, Gross
Exaggerations, and Highly Dubious Claims

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The God Delusion