I suppose there are still people around here and there who complain about the creeping secularism of the Holidays and who in consequence admonish others to “keep Christ in Christmas”. I well remember such exhortations from the time of my childhood, growing up in Wichita, KS. Such hortatory rituals were often accompanied by carols, religious services, and – I would argue, curiously enough – by a reading of Charles Dickens’ perennial A Christmas Carol. I say “curiously enough” because I have just finished reading Carol for the few-hundredth time and for the first time, I noticed the absence of Christ in Carol, except in a very "thin", allusive sense. Carol without Christ, or with Christ in the background of the background, is a much more universal, even “archetypal”, story of the awa
Now that Christmas is over -- unless you celebrate Christmas from the first Sunday of Advent through and including the Feast of the Epiphany -- it might be a good time to examine the political and ideological questions raised by Christmas carols ... which I do in this week's "Skeptic's Collection" column in hopes of increasing the "woke-ness" level for Christmas of 2019. No reason to thank me ...
Recently, the cultural outrage factory, never short of work, has managed to evoke a sense of high dudgeon about the allegedly sexist lyrics, amounting to an advocacy of date rape, attaching to the well-known Christmas carol “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. Before following the controversy on Facebook, I would have thought that this kerfuffle
So I’m going to take a little time to say what my intent is not. First of all, my intent is not to ridicule Christianity. Sincere critique is one thing: I agree with Sam Harris, who says, early in The End of Faith, that religious propositions and principles should be no more immune from searching critique than any other type of propositions. But ridicule is something different. So my purpose is not to ridicule. Rather, my purpose in writing as below is very simple: I have questions. That’s all. Just questions. To orthodox – lower-case “o” – believers, these questions may be, probably will be, at least somewhat uncomfortable to contemplate. But I also believe that no question should be literally un-ask-able. Progress often comes from asking uncomfortable questions. (Like