Editor’s Note: This Christmas season we have published several articles about the mythology that surrounds major religions and the capacity of those myths to provide inspiration but also to do harm. See, for instance, “Gott mit Uns”; “How Myths Can Kill”; and “Sorting Through the Jesus Myths.”

Reflecting on these myths, one reader wrote about her regret that she had taught Sunday school for three decades without putting the Christmas story in a true context. Here is Judith C. Berry’s comment:

Just like Easter, Pentecost and the Eucharist celebration. AND, that is not just my opinion, but also many theologians and others.

I feel that I taught my Sunday school children the wrong way for 30 years. The Christmas story could have been taught like any of the other children’s fairy tales, BUT unfortunately it will not be taught that way. It will be taught that God loved us so much that he sent his son, Jesus, to “save us from our  sins.”

When you really think about it, what kind of father sacrifices his own son for others? Why not sacrifice himself?

You see, there are a lot of questions about this whole Christian philosophy. Some of them don’t even make sense.

We try to put God in a box and say he did this or that when in reality we don’t even know God. We like to think he is a loving being, because he did make the world and all that is in it, but then we rationalize and say that he gave us our own free will and we can make it better just by our actions or worse just by our actions.

It’s like a painter who is painting a picture . . . how many times does the painter sketch a painting before he gets it right? Why didn’t God just re-do the world and all that is in it if man was such a terrible mistake. That is how some people seem to think. We are a bad item that needs redoing.

Since the whole creation thing isn’t going to be redone, then we have to make the most of it. What good does it do to speculate of what could have or what could now be done? We are what we are, and we just need to regroup and
try and tell others that they are one of a kind, and this life is all they get, no strings attached.

We should take better care of others, the world, and ourselves.

It’s funny that we marvel at the Christmas story and all its components. Wouldn’t it have been better if we emphasized the idea of Christmas being a time to promote love, which some do, and “God’s presence is a part of our
world each day, and every day, in all of our lives, in our person and our humanity, and in our capacity to love.”

“Humanity was doing comparatively quite well with the pagan world of Hellenic and Roman civilization.” I don’t know enough about that to comment, but what I do know about history and the Christian church is that it was brutal and much of it is based on untrue facts.

The whole thing is based on “fear” and continues today. I don’t think Jesus would recognize his ministry in any shape or form. I see many examples of the church creating fear (that we are sinners and are going to Hell if we don’t
repent), and greed.

All the money that many churches spend could do the world a great service if the monies went for the poor instead of the facilities/institutions.

I love Christmas now, just because it seems that the whole world stands still for 24 hours, although I’m sure there are still millions of people whose stomachs are empty and who are cold. This year there will be many who will not be able to celebrate in the manner in which they are used to.

If the churches get it right, there will be an outpouring of compassion for those who will be going without. We’ll see!

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