This morning, I woke up thinking about baby Jesus in the manger. Very cute, very hopeful. What a nice story. Babies are wonderful. As a father of two beautiful young boys, I am well aware of the anxiety and anticipation that comes with signing up for parenthood.
The disturbing thing about the baby Jesus story that for some reason I hadn't connected until this morning, is that Jesus the man ends up being crucified (according to Christianity) for the sins of mankind, at his father's behest. That's not a happy ending for baby Jesus.
Aside from the absolutely illogical and primitive concept of the scapegoat, Jesus's story, if told from a biblical perspective, is one of terrible parenting.
I ask you, fellow parents: Would you subject your child to such a brutal symbolic act? I suppose it's not surprising that we're talking about the same parent that asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, allowed Job's family to be murdered, and requested that all parents mutilate their children's genitals to be in 'the club', instead of giving out secret decoder rings, which are much cooler and way less painful.
Since I have become a parent, the erosion of my faith has quickened. Who would ask their children to believe there is a devil out there, always angling to get them? Who would tell their children that they are born in a sin so black that some man 2,000 years ago had to be murdered on their behalf? Who would tell parents of children with chronic illnesses or serious birth defects that 'This is your cross', and 'God only gives us pain that we can handle'. Who would deliver their children into the hands of charlatans and maniacs by teaching them to blindly believe the doctrines of a primitive faith, and to refuse to arm them with wonderful tool of skepticism?
In a Time Magazine debate with Francis Collins, Richard Dawkins said, "If there is a God, it's going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed." I have not heard a truer sounding statement about God or a possible God in my life. On reviewing the actions of the God of the Christian bible, it's nearly impossible not to come to the conclusion that he doesn't stand up to that criteria.
My Christmas wish this year is that my children remain healthy and happy, and that every parent out there channels whatever resources they have inside them to be the best Parent possible.
Jehovah certainly hasn't set the bar very high, but that's no reason for us to give up on ourselves. In the absence of obvious role models, it's upon us as individuals to step up.
cross posted @ The Daily Kos as 'The Dark Side Of The Christmas Story'