The Shotgun Blog
Monday, December 25, 2006
If Mary and Joseph Went to Bethlehem Today
Would this be the result? (from Denis MacEoin, via Judith):
Here is a letter I have just sent to The Independent about Mary in Bethlehem.
Johann Hari asks: 'What would happen if the Virgin Mary came to Bethlehem today?' The truth is that she would not last twenty-four hours. Hamas activists would kill her and Joseph for the crime of being Jews. If she concealed her religious identity, morality brigades would gun them down as adulterers, or her own family would polish her off in an 'honour' killing for having become pregnant outside wedlock. If she escaped that, Muslim radicals, faithful to Qur'anic doctrine would put her to death as a heretic for claiming to be the Mother of God, and would execute the infant Jesus for his pretension to be the Son of God. The three Magi would be beheaded as star worshippers, the shepherds hanged as apostates from Judaism (a crime under shari'a law), and the angel Gabriel sent back to heaven for re-training in Islamic theology. The reality of life in the West Bank and Gaza has as much to do with unreformed Islamic conservatism as it has with Israel's repeatedly thwarted attempts to achieve peace and goodwill in equal measure for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Dr. Denis MacEoin
Newcastle upon Tyne
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Posted by: Brent Weston | 2006-12-25 8:36:28 PM
what do the Muslim radicals think of immaculate conception?
Posted by: kelly | 2006-12-26 12:01:41 AM
Alright, it's officially Boxing Day now in my time zone, and I've had about enough of this crap. Christmas is said and done for this year; no more Mr. Nice Guy from me now.
What if Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem today? What, you think the Three Kings didn't disobey Herod? Get a grip you people. Mary and Joseph's trip to Bethlehem was a blessed event then, were it, per se, to happen today, it would be a blessed event today -- otherwise it wouldn't count.
Isn't that the message of the O Come, O Come, Emmanuel carol? Isn't the point that the divine intercedes when needed to save man?
Why is it that I, a sorry atheist, have to go around reminding Christians of their own theology? I must say that I'm sadly disappointed by the lack of faith and celebration of the meaning of Christmas among the regulars here at the Shotgun this year, considering their purported normative tendencies.
Maybe you're all just afraid. Maybe you're all just pissed off. Maybe you're all just new to this on-line intraweb thingy. Maybe you'll do better next year.
And maybe, if I can help in some small way, I can kick off the next 360-odd days, by remaining us once more of the original spirit of this celebration: a savior exists, in our name, to guide us away from our human ugliness. Rejoice! Peace on earth, and goodwill toward man.
Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-12-26 4:13:31 AM
I am in no way anti-Jewish or anti-Semetic and have many close Jewish friends but historically wasn't it the Jews that had Jesus put to death in place of Barberus--because they failed to believe he was a Messiah? Your saying that he would be killed for being Jewish makes no sense. More than likely Jesus would grow up to join Hamas after living under Israeli occupation and become a terrorist.
Israel turning Bethlehem into a prison - Catholic Patriarch
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
JERUSALEM (AP) - Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, has been turned into a large prison by the separation barrier Israel is building in the West Bank, the top Roman Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land said yesterday.
Delivering his annual Christmas message, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah also said Israelis and Palestinians must not miss the current opportunity for peace.
Sabbah spoke a day after the United Nations released a report on Bethlehem, describing it as an isolated town with boarded up shops instead of a bustling cultural and spiritual centre.
Urban Bethlehem, with a population of 61,000, is surrounded by a multitude of checkpoints and the barrier, which is nearing completion on two sides of the town. As a result, Bethlehem has become isolated from the rest of the West Bank and, most importantly, from Jerusalem, which is only a few miles away, the UN report said.
"The Israeli authorities resumed the work to complete the wall, which makes Bethlehem a big prison," said Sabbah after delivering his Christmas message. He urged Israel to stop construction, and to halt its raids to arrest wanted militants.
Posted by: Micheal | 2006-12-26 6:52:17 AM
Oh moreover, doing a little research on Dennis Maceoin, I don't think he would appreciate you posting him on this open blog given the level of bigotted and racist posts seen here daily.
"In that respect, I do think your websites suffer from commentary from people who clearly know next to nothing about the subject (Islam). Would you think it arrogant of me to write that if I were, say, a medical doctor commenting on remarks by poorly informed laymen, or a professor specializing in almost any other subject?
I was indeed a Baha'i for many years, but have been a secularist for much longer. I was not taught by Muslim teachers at any stage of my career. I do not hold a brief for Islam. On the contrary, I have some negative feelings about it, but still try to appreciate those elements that elevate it (such as the finer forms of Sufism, the poetry, the architecture, and the belief in material simplicity over greed). I did not teach at Durham university (though I was for many years an honorary fellow there). I am an opponent of political correctness and did not object to postings because they were not PC, but because many of them were actually racist and bigoted. I'd rather that wasn't so because I think these sorts of blogs could perform an invaluable service if they were not open to postings by people who make the whole thing seem somewhat grimy. That doesn't mean everyone, but enough objectionable material seems to get through. I am not anti-American, in fact I have a great admiration for America's constitution and its love for justice and democracy. I do, however, have many objections to the dangerous far-right Christian policies of George Bush and his administration."
Posted by: Micheal | 2006-12-26 7:03:52 AM
Bethlemhem a "boarded up town" with closed houses and shops! Jeez I guess that's why Joseph and Mary looked for a place out of town. No room at the boarded up Holiday Inn. What were the Romans doing
in Bethlehem at the time? Probably checking out the Three Wise Men, plus their donkeys, and camels.All this nonsense is based on an article in the London UK based Independent which I read daily, but the Independent does attract some of the scum of British Journalism, the article in question is focused by "Honest Reporting" Tel Aviv New York and Toronto Today. MacLeod
Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2006-12-26 7:56:02 AM
What attracts my attention is that some people are believers while they think they are atheists! It's Christmas. Come on people, ask the Lord to come into your heart. Recite the sinner's prayer.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
To sup means to have fellowship and enjoy Christ's blessings.
I invite you to say the sinner's prayer:
Dear Lord, I invite you into my heart. I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins, past, present and future. I accept You as my savior and Lord. I promise to obey You and read Your Word and follow Holy's Spirit's directions.
If someone truly repent and accept the Lord, he is saved, meaning he can rest assured that he is already in the presence of the Lord and will go to heaven.
Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-12-26 8:54:39 AM
In the spirit of fairness,I would now like to invite you to see things my way.
May you soon wake up to the fact that as there is no Santa,Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy,there are no Gods.May you soon gain the bravery required to accept that ALL the different religions,in every corner of the earth serve the same basic purpose....to give people some hope that death is not the end.
Enjoy eternity,as I know I'll evaporate into nothingness in 20-30 yrs max.
It was indeed witnessing countless acts of hypocrisy that drove me from the Catholic church as a teen.That was even before we discovered they were more enthusiastic about protecting pedophile priests than young boys.
Posted by: Canadian Observer | 2006-12-26 11:05:02 AM
The fact that Priests must take a vow of celibacy is a factor in the problems with the RC Church, past and present. It creates a climate for homosexuals and even pedophiles as well to ply their trade.
There were problems many years ago with "missionaries" from Anglican and United Churches, to a lesser degree, with documentation of various types of abuses within the Native Indian Schools.
It's long past due for the Hierarchy of the RC Church to get rid of this antiquated stupidity if it plans to survive.
Cost is one of the excuses for not changing which is hogwash. It's costing the loss of many practitioners of the faith, changing would bring more to, or back to, the Church.
Posted by: Liz J | 2006-12-26 11:37:57 AM
I too will return to dust, "evaporate into nothingness", soon enough. There are no gods or angels. There is life after death, just not for me, I won't be around in any form to enjoy it. So what separates me from the beast? The beast never contemplates its death, it continues to indulge its instincts until it drops. Why do I not push all limits? Without spiritual beliefs the entire universe effectively comes to an end at my death, I am the center of the universe and it is all here for me to use and enjoy as best I can because, after I die, it will mean nothing to me what comes after.
Something motivates me to hope for a better world after I'm gone, something stops me from rapine consumption, scorching the earth for my needs, ruthlessly using anyone I can to make the most of my life. I have been fortunate in my life, in my case, it is a sense of history and philosophy, something learned, passed on to me by elders. For others, the symbolism and mythology of religion is required. Modern people, even some of the most ignorant among us, probably know more about science and nature and the realities of the world than those who came before us but, looking back on more than 40,000 years of human existance, religion has probably been the most effective method of civilizing and uniting societies, to make people accept they are a part of something bigger than themselves, to not be beasts.
Yes, you can argue all the misery and wars under religious banners but, if you think about it, things would have been even worse without spirituality and religious constraints.
Posted by: anon | 2006-12-26 12:16:08 PM
Canadian Observer gets the ribbon for best comment here so far.
Posted by: Duke | 2006-12-26 1:27:48 PM
And Michael gets the ribbon for the most impassioned wish for a perfect world. Dream on dude.
And thanks for the bio ... you are truly an accomplished and an evolved person, apparently bordering on perfection in your right and opinion ... If only we unwashed could ever catch up with you this hang out for racists and bigot would not be needed.
Posted by: Duke | 2006-12-26 1:33:34 PM
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