Monday, December 23, 2013

I'm dreaming of a judgmental Christmas

Billy Graham often shows how judgmental he is in his column. But this time, we have the treat of one of his readers being just as presumptuous...
Show Christ's love for all this Christmas

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: A family in our apartment complex comes from a country that isn’t Christian. Do you think they’d be offended if we asked them for Christmas dinner? We don’t know them very well, but I can tell they’re kind of lonely. — Mrs.  E.N.
DEAR E.N.: I seriously doubt if they would be offended; in fact, they might be honored to be invited into an American home. The Bible says, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).
At the same time, ask God to help you to be sensitive to them and their customs. For example, if their religion forbids the eating of certain foods, you’ll want to avoid offending them. When you do invite them, explain that Christmas is a special holiday in our society, and you would be honored to have them share Christmas dinner with you and your family. If you’re inviting others, let them know this so they won’t feel awkward or surprised. Do your best, in other words, to make them feel comfortable.
If they do come, ask God to give you an opportunity to explain why Christmas is important to you. Remember: They may not even know what Christmas celebrates: the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. At Christmas we remember that God came down from heaven in the person of Jesus. As the Bible says, “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).
Whether they accept your invitation or not, take this as an opportunity to begin building a bridge of friendship with them. Make it the first step in your relationship by reaching out and letting them know you care. God has put them (and thousands like them) in our midst; will we befriend them and share Christ’s love with them?

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 They come from a country that isn't Christian you say? Like India for instance? Japan? Afghanistan? Or maybe even the United States? Yes, Christianity is the most popular religion in the US, but the US is not a Christian country. That's because we are lucky enough to poses the right of freedom of religion in this country. In order for the US to be a Christian nation, Christianity would have to be the official religion of that country. Those countries that are officially Christian nations are as follows:

Argentina (Roman Catholic Church)
Bolivia (Roman Catholic Church)
Costa Rica (Roman Catholic Church)
Denmark (Danish National Church)
El Salvador (Roman Catholic Church)
England (Church of England)
Greece (Church of Greece)
Armenia (Armenian Apostolic Church)
Georgia (Georgian Orthodox Church)
Iceland (Church of Iceland)
Liechtenstien (Roman Catholic Church)
Malta (Roman Catholic Church)
Monaco (Roman Catholic Church)
Norway (Church of Norway)
Vatican City (Roman Catholic Church)

If EN's new neighbors are not form one of those nations, then it is true that they are not from a 'Christian nation'. But since EN is a Christian living in the United States, it should be obvious that coming from any country other than though does not mean that they aren't Christian. EN being a American Christian is proof of that.

It makes me wonder if EN simply assumed that their neighbor isn't Christian simply because they  look different, or because of the country of their origin. But even if they come from a country with a low Christian population, they could still very well be Christian. EN said herself that she doesn't know them very well, so does she even know for sure that they aren't Christian?

Billy Graham is right about one thing... I very much doubt that they'd be offended if she asked them over to Christmas dinner. I'm an atheist, and if a friend were to ask me over for Christmas dinner I wouldn't be offended. Christmas is a time to get together and share a good time. So why would I be offended if they wanted me to share in that merriment?

Then Graham starts to get on with his usual game... First he says to explain Christmas to them, and that it is an important holiday here. To me, it sounds like he's suggesting talking to them like they're children. That is not a good idea if they're trying to get these people to like them. There are not many places in this world that are unaware of Christmas. It's a pretty global holiday. So why is it that some Christians act like it's some greatly held secret that they are one of the few that are in on it?

Finally, if EN explains that Christmas is they celebration of the birth of Christ, they would be spreading misinformation on multiple levels...

1) Jesus' existence is not a confirmed certainty.
2) If there was a Jesus, he was born in the Spring or early Autumn, not December 25.
3) The Christmas celebration is really a Pagan holiday built up with Pagan traditions that were all stolen and renamed by Christianity.

So yes, EN should invite her new neighbors over. But she shouldn't be too surprised to find they aren't as different as she may think they are. But most importantly, don't try and push your religion on someone as a conversation starter. Because in reality, it's more often a rude conversation ender.

-Brain Hulk

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