Two more letters from friends regarding the “War on Christmas” post, from Sue:
Hear me, friend, Ed is exactly right.
You are not an atheist as far as I know ... by definition, an atheist has disbelief in God. What I read in your blog is a justified disbelief in the honesty of the so called believers who do not practice what Christ preached. Not the same thing. (That they go to church, and don't walk the walk and call themselves Christian is like me sitting in the garage and saying I'm a car ...)
God is. Simple. When I walk my dog in the black of early morning and can see millions of stars in the open of my country world, the sheer magnitude of it humbles me. There is order in the world. Life cycles, seasons. If that order doesn't come from something you can call God, it comes from some higher power. Call it what you will. Name it and believe in it ... but you are not an atheist.
That people of many religions who say they follow their higher power do hurtful and awful things does not diminish that Higher Power, but instead speaks volumes about them. Not the same thing.
That Christmas has become so commercialized has been a story for decades. It may change this year as people have less money to spend, and have to get back to basics. We, here, will still help the local economy by getting our loved ones things they want/need as a show of our love for them ... and a reminder of God's love as He sent Christ to die for our sins.
Remember the love you have for your children, even if/when they behave badly. Pretty much how God sees us ... that is the same thing. We can be angry, but He is still there. And He doesn't stop loving us.
Believe in that Love. Express it in ways that are meaningful for you and your family. Putting away the Nativity scene is so sad ... it would be better to put out of your mind the people who hurt you (I know that is hard) ... remember the ones who make your life meaningful and warm your heart. Believe in the positives ... break the cycle.
And then, from Bonnie (not my mother in law, mind you):
Hope you have been well. So anyway, it is with great interest I have been reading your blog about your disenchantment with Christmas and all things Christian. I'd really like to have a conversation with you about it since I had a lot of similar issues and feelings when I decided to go pagan. It's hard to go from believing in a certain faith or tradition to go to nothing at all, even if you have slowly become increasingly unhappy with it - albeit the unhappiness stems more from those that preach and practice it rather than what you take away from it on your own. Since I was raised Catholic and was made to go to church with my family until I left home, I certainly had my fill of hypocritical teachings and decrees aimed at keeping the sinners in line along with a number of inane degrees from the pope. Yet on the other hand I also knew a lot of members of the clergy who had their own views on how things should be and made it one of their missions to change the church from within as much as they could. I can't say they made a lot of progress since there seems to be a return to more rigid rules, and some of them even left the church although they managed to keep their faith intact, but some of them are still trying.
While my god is no longer a Christian god I find I have to believe in something greater than me. Whether that is a collective power or just elemental energy, I may never know, but I do know that I'm driven to believe in something. Where you end up finding yourself and your system of beliefs as you continue on this particular journey of faith/faithlessness may or may not surprise you, but do know that it is indeed a journey. (sorry, I don't mean to start sounding like Confucius or that I even really know what the hell I'm talking about) Please don't think I'm trying to push paganism on you either, I just find the whole subject interesting and I think it would make for a good chat. The other thing I'm curious about and you didn't mention in any of your blogs, is what is Tod's take on your feelings and revelations about religion. Is he in agreement with you, or is this the cause of a bit of tension at home?
Edit: that’s a good question, I will ask him!