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Thread: What does Christmas mean to you?

  1. #41
    Himster's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamat View Post
    This thread is thoroughly protestant, lol. Even the atheists are now doing sola scriptura stuff.
    Well, duh. Discussing with the frame of a la carte Christians can only lead to "well we don't actually believe that literally." followed by "what about this?" "no" "and this?" "also, no." That's just no fun.
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts.
    -Betrand Russell

  2. #42
    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Himster,

    It must be terrible for someone on the outside trying to look in but that is to be expected. Still, it's good to hear from you again.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Himster,

    It must be terrible for someone on the outside trying to look in but that is to be expected.
    I like to think it gives me the privilege of a kind of objectivity, detached and removed, with a broader view.

    We must concede that things like love or faith must necessarily appear absurd when viewed objectively. Those messy little rituals and gestures meshing gently into their soft asymmetry can only be the behaviour of the mentally ill... all of those whisperings of "father" or screaming "daddy".. Madness, surely.. that is until one joins in.
    Did I ever tell you that I accidentally joined a right wing Buddhist cult when I lived in Japan? Also, now I'm a teacher in a protestant school and this week I've been substituting for the religion teacher. Crazy old world aint it.

    Still, it's good to hear from you again.
    It's good to be heard, you marvellous old man.
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts.
    -Betrand Russell

  4. #44
    MaximiIian's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaidin View Post
    The thing basics can’t wrap his head around is that his religion will never have a monopoly on the Winter Solstice and celebrations based around it around the world that have nothing to do with his religion.
    Fun fact: Yule had pretty much zip to do with the Winter Solstice directly, and was celebrated on the first full moon following the solstice. It's mostly a coincidence that we think of it as a solstice festival, partly because of close timing of the solstice and the full moon when Bede wrote about it in the 720s, and partly because of the drift between Julian and Gregorian calendars (like, even by Bede's time there's several days of difference between what his December 20th is and what our December 20th is). Yule was more of a propitiation of the gods in the dark of winter, and a celebration of feasting and the bonds of reciprocity; it was more communally-focused and had a religious character, not really having anything to do with the solar year. Poor scholarship among 19th century Romantic historians definitely played a part in perpetuating this misconception.

    In fact, I can't really think of many preceding festivals that directly handled the Solstice, despite it being a time of immense importance to the agricultural year. The Saturnalia was a week-long affair of raucous partying that would close out the year as a whole, and wasn't particularly solstice-focused. The Dies Natalis Solis Invicti was celebrated on the 25th of December, sure, but that simply commemorated the date on which a temple of Sol Invictus was dedicated; Christmas happening on that same date, by the by, is also a complete coincidence-- Christians were doing it at least as early as the 220s, some fifty years before Aurelian dedicated his sun temple. The Roman Brumalia is just about the only one specifically about winter, but it was a very minor festival. It's possible that Celtic peoples may have had some celebration about the solstice, there is some evidence they paid some attention to the solar year and the summer solstice too. But it's impossible to know, their religion was either erased or syncretized by the Romans, and later winter celebrations in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and northern Gaul are intertwined with Christmas.
    Last edited by MaximiIian; December 06, 2019 at 05:32 AM.

  5. #45
    Diamat's Avatar VELUTI SI DEUS DARETUR
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    I like to think it gives me the privilege of a kind of objectivity, detached and removed, with a broader view.

    We must concede that things like love or faith must necessarily appear absurd when viewed objectively.
    To the contrary, they only make sense when viewed objectively. Pure subjectivity is the definition of absurdity.

  6. #46

    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    Well, duh. Discussing with the frame of a la carte Christians can only lead to "well we don't actually believe that literally." followed by "what about this?" "no" "and this?" "also, no." That's just no fun.
    Hi Francis.

  7. #47

    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    As an Atheist, Christmas means... nothing other than a massive pain in my arse. I actually wish Christmas was like the Olympics and only held once every four years. It would save me having to deal with the relentless march of commercialism, crappy seasonal songs (Slade can f-off forever!), Brussel Sprouts, spending tonnes of money on plastic rubbish and having to deal with irritating relatives.

    I suppose it works if you're a Christian or a kid, but for me? No. It's bollocks and I could do without it.

  8. #48
    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeft View Post
    As an Atheist, Christmas means... nothing other than a massive pain in my arse. I actually wish Christmas was like the Olympics and only held once every four years. It would save me having to deal with the relentless march of commercialism, crappy seasonal songs (Slade can f-off forever!), Brussel Sprouts, spending tonnes of money on plastic rubbish and having to deal with irritating relatives.

    I suppose it works if you're a Christian or a kid, but for me? No. It's bollocks and I could do without it.
    TheLeft,

    Now I can't keep quiet! What's wrong with Brussel Sprouts?

  9. #49
    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Brussel Sprouts
    I concur with basics what is wrong with brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts figure in one of my favorite stews for winier, a Belgian one with beer, pork, and of course a lot of them sprouts that is.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB Dromikaites

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    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place; some swearing, some crying for surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    Hyperides of Athens: We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we (the Demos of Athens) have no need of a master at present, even a good one.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamat View Post
    To the contrary, they only make sense when viewed objectively. Pure subjectivity is the definition of absurdity.
    That's what I thought. But hard-won wisdom has schooled me otherwise.
    I mean pure subjectivity is the definition of absurdity, but that is in no way a negative thing: that is the essence of life. Pure objectivity is the worst thing possible, it is the negation of life. The birth of objectivity is the death of love, art, beauty, happiness... everything good in life. It would make us into a hivemind, everyone in absolute unison and agreement, individuality forgotten, humanity devolved into some twisted parody, like walking calculators that eat and .

    But thankfully, objectivity of this sort is technically impossible. There is no such thing as truth, there are only interpretations, only subjective experience(s). The illusion of objectivity is found in superficially similar experiences or when we take the structures outlined by another, apply it to our own experiences and we all pretend that that is objectivity. It is practical, sure, we can fly to the moon and so forth using these schema, but that doesn't make it "truth" or maybe it does, maybe practicality is the closest thing to truth/objectivity we can get. It's not so terrible a thought really.
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts.
    -Betrand Russell

  11. #51
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Come on guys, be honest, not even vegans like brussel sprouts.
    Last edited by mishkin; December 07, 2019 at 02:31 PM.
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

  12. #52
    Diamat's Avatar VELUTI SI DEUS DARETUR
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    That's what I thought. But hard-won wisdom has schooled me otherwise.
    I mean pure subjectivity is the definition of absurdity, but that is in no way a negative thing: that is the essence of life. Pure objectivity is the worst thing possible, it is the negation of life. The birth of objectivity is the death of love, art, beauty, happiness... everything good in life. It would make us into a hivemind, everyone in absolute unison and agreement, individuality forgotten, humanity devolved into some twisted parody, like walking calculators that eat and .

    But thankfully, objectivity of this sort is technically impossible. There is no such thing as truth, there are only interpretations, only subjective experience(s). The illusion of objectivity is found in superficially similar experiences or when we take the structures outlined by another, apply it to our own experiences and we all pretend that that is objectivity. It is practical, sure, we can fly to the moon and so forth using these schema, but that doesn't make it "truth" or maybe it does, maybe practicality is the closest thing to truth/objectivity we can get. It's not so terrible a thought really.
    That is one way to look at objectivity. Let me propose another one:

    Objectivity provides the structure within which subjectivity can be fully expressed and realized. In other words, subjectivity is mediated by objectivity. A subjectivity disconnected from objectivity will find no recognition among other members of society. One should never view subjectivity and objectivity as separate things, but understand that these are merely two different levels of the mind's self-development. This self-development can naturally lead to perverted situations in which a haughty subjectivity attempts to remove itself from objectivity. This is very much the case with cult leaders, who subsequently enlist the passions and nimble-mindedness of their conspecifics to form a new group-centered objectivity, which, when confronted with the objectivity of society at large, will naturally result in a clash that is expressed subjectively. When objectivity fights itself in this way, it develops itself further and further, using the passions of humans to serve its ends.

  13. #53

    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Speaking of Christmas and the question of this thread.



    Have a good Sunday peeps!!
    One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas.
    -Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

  14. #54
    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    Come on guys, be honest, not even vegans like brussel sprouts.
    mishkin,

    Sorry to disappoint you but I like them very much and I am no vegan.

  15. #55
    Himster's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamat View Post
    That is one way to look at objectivity. Let me propose another one:

    Objectivity provides the structure within which subjectivity can be fully expressed and realized. In other words, subjectivity is mediated by objectivity. A subjectivity disconnected from objectivity will find no recognition among other members of society. One should never view subjectivity and objectivity as separate things, but understand that these are merely two different levels of the mind's self-development.
    Absolutely, yes. My main point is in how we have erred, since the Enlightenment, in the direction of perversely exalting objectivity beyond what it actually is. Objectivity is merely collective subjectivity applied in some practical way. It's an illusion and historically speaking: temporary.

    I am very much taken by Nietzsche's thoughts on epistemology that are quite relevant. He offers a kind of parable:
    There are two primitive tribes. One tribe holds that the future will be like the past (ie they're the intellectual ancestors of scientists) and the other tribe hold that the future will not be like the past. Imagine these ideas/memes are like genes and get passed in much the same way. The two tribes experience a thunderstorm and they both see lightening strike a tall lone tree in a clearing. The first tribe understands this to mean that lightening will strike trees like that in the future, therefore it is dangerous to hide under trees and the second tribe believes that lightening won't strike like that again, therefore it is safest to hide under trees. So in the next thunderstorm they make preparations to protect themselves based on what they saw. It's easy to see that certain ways of thinking will survive for reasons as simple as: they're practical, they're useful, they aid in survival, they're evolutionarily advantageous.

    This self-development can naturally lead to perverted situations in which a haughty subjectivity attempts to remove itself from objectivity. This is very much the case with cult leaders, who subsequently enlist the passions and nimble-mindedness of their conspecifics to form a new group-centered objectivity, which, when confronted with the objectivity of society at large, will naturally result in a clash that is expressed subjectively. When objectivity fights itself in this way, it develops itself further and further, using the passions of humans to serve its ends.
    Indeed.
    I would, however, hasten to point out that that cult behaviour is actually a perversion of objectivity, not subjectivity. As in, that cult leader is putting forward his/her subjectivity as if it were objectivity.
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts.
    -Betrand Russell

  16. #56
    Diamat's Avatar VELUTI SI DEUS DARETUR
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    Absolutely, yes. My main point is in how we have erred, since the Enlightenment, in the direction of perversely exalting objectivity beyond what it actually is. Objectivity is merely collective subjectivity applied in some practical way. It's an illusion and historically speaking: temporary.

    I am very much taken by Nietzsche's thoughts on epistemology that are quite relevant. He offers a kind of parable:
    There are two primitive tribes. One tribe holds that the future will be like the past (ie they're the intellectual ancestors of scientists) and the other tribe hold that the future will not be like the past. Imagine these ideas/memes are like genes and get passed in much the same way. The two tribes experience a thunderstorm and they both see lightening strike a tall lone tree in a clearing. The first tribe understands this to mean that lightening will strike trees like that in the future, therefore it is dangerous to hide under trees and the second tribe believes that lightening won't strike like that again, therefore it is safest to hide under trees. So in the next thunderstorm they make preparations to protect themselves based on what they saw. It's easy to see that certain ways of thinking will survive for reasons as simple as: they're practical, they're useful, they aid in survival, they're evolutionarily advantageous.
    Your understanding of objectivity is quite similar to mine, then. As you probably already noticed, my position is closely related to that of Hegel. Nevertheless, I would hasten to add that just because objectivity is an evolving thing does not necessarily mean that everything in the universe is relative and equally good. Although it is ridiculous to talk about objectivity outside of spirit (since objectivity is spiritual), this does not preclude the possibility of one objectivity from being better or better suited than another. It is usually through a long process of trial and error that humans come to accept things as objectively true, and these time-tested things are the things we should be careful not to abandon too quickly (like the lesson of not sitting under a tree when a thunderstorm strikes).

    Indeed.
    I would, however, hasten to point out that that cult behaviour is actually a perversion of objectivity, not subjectivity. As in, that cult leader is putting forward his/her subjectivity as if it were objectivity.
    I agree.

  17. #57
    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    The story is quite simple. A young Hebrew girl called Miriam was chosen to carry our God into the world as a man Whose name would be Jesus. Both she and her betrothed were in direct line to King David but it is only by Joseph this is mentioned as was the custom then. Gibbons cites two events in " the Decline and Fall, " where Jesus was accepted by Rome to be King of the Jews so I guess that puts to bed any argument that Jesus never existed. Therefore that is what Christmas means to Christians particularly them that are born again of the Spirit of God, as one cannot be that without God.

  18. #58

    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Jesus was not accepted by Romans as king of the Jews.
    Optio, Legio I Latina

  19. #59
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    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gromovnik View Post
    Jesus was not accepted by Romans as king of the Jews.
    Gromovnik,

    Two sons of Jude, Jesus' brother were brought before a Roman official because he knew from the records that Jesus was the King of the Jews and therefore to safeguard Rome he interrogated them personally according to Gibbons. When this official saw them to be ordinary working men and from their answers to his questions he realised that they were no threat to Rome and so he let them go. What sealed the affair was their answer that their King was Jesus Christ to be worshipped Spritually.

  20. #60

    Default Re: What does Christmas mean to you?

    Time-and-a-half, crappy music, mass marketing, occasionally higher linkage than usual to family-connected people I have little connection to, and the manifestation of beliefs and ideals that are equally substantiated as the theory that they're all bollocks and that Christmas is fundamentally a blend of the winter solstace season with a christian day to make celebration of that concept more universally acceptable.

    This is not an invitation for the recycled bleh of the first few pages; if this is just going to be a rehash of Gaidin x basics, please leave the reply at the door, as I already know no opinions shall change given the comments already.
    Last edited by CommodusIV; December 10, 2019 at 08:12 AM.

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