“Del de Chant’s The Sacred Santa (2002) […] disagrees with those who argue that Christmas has been secularised. Rather, de Chant contends that Christians have lost the holiday to a cultural religion in which meaning and value emerges from elaborate practices of commercial acquisition and consumption. He builds a narrative about this ‘religion of consumption’ that helps us make sense of a complex social phenomenon.”
From Mahan, Jeffrey H. 2007. Reflections on the Past and Future of the Study of Religion and Popular Culture. In Between Sacred and Profane: Researching Religion and Popular Culture, ed. Gordon Lynch, 47-62. London: I.B. Tauris, p. 54.
I HAVE to see this book. Seemingly it sums up position on Christmas. Christians do not have a monopoly on the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas. In fact, if anything, the ‘true’ meaning is now what De Chant seems to describe.
Anyone read it?
The following provided much hilarity over Christmas lunch. Typically, it is one of those chain-type-emails where no-one knows the author… whoever it was, they made me chuckle!
Thanks to Josh for sending this along (and making some grammatical corrections).
From the author (“the wishor”) to you (hereinafter called “the wishee”),
Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, the wishor’s best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter holiday; practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all; and a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or dietary preference of the wishee.
By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that:
- This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal.
- This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.
- This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes.
- This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor.
- This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably as may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.
- The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.
- Any references in this greeting to “the Lord”, “Father Christmas”, “Our Saviour”, or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged
I noticed this in a friend’s facebook feed, and I am unsure who to credit with this genius. If you do know, please come forward… however, I shall leave you with the appropriate message: “YULE SHALL NOT PASS!”
[PS – I just told my Dad about the “Gandalf-in-Santa-hat” picture and he said, “Just got to get one for Smirnoff then… Smirnoff? No, I mean Smeagol!”. Christmas has gotten off to a fine start!]
This morning I was watching Red Dwarf, Series 1, Episode 4 – “Waiting for God” (thanks Lindsey!) and there were some epic references to ‘religion’, and I suddenly thought that so many of my favourite TV shows/films etc. do have an awful lot to say about religion – maybe that’s why I like them so much, eh?
So, from now on I am going to attempt to share those moments with you as and when I discover them. I don’t intend to provide a compilation of pro- or anti-religious television moments (although, I guess that most of them might end being anti-religious, given that most of them will be comedy references), but just a compilation of some of the more ‘deep’ thought present in some of my favourite programmes.
Thanks to http://www.ladyofthecake.com/rdscripts/ for providing the scripts for this one. Please feel free to share your own favourite moments… I’m always looking for new material!
Firstly, Lister’s critique of the ‘point’ behind asking “The Big Questions”:
“RIMMER: Lister, don’t you ever stop and wonder: why are we here? What’s the grand purpose?
LISTER: Why does it have to be such a big deal? Why can’t it be like, like, human beings are a planetary disease? Like the Earth’s got German measles or facial herpes, right? And that’s why all of the other planets give us such a wide berth. It’s like, “Oh, don’t go near Earth! It’s got human beings on it, they’re contagious!”
RIMMER: So you’re saying, Lister, you’re an intergalactic, pus-filled cold sore! At last, Lister, we agree on something.
LISTER: What do you believe in, then? Do you believe in God?
RIMMER: God? Certainly not! What a preposterous thought! I believe in aliens, Lister.
LISTER: Oh, right, fine. Something sensible at last.”
The following section comes from the part of the episode where Holly is revealing to Lister the extent to which the Cats (evolved from his own pet cat, and now personified by the Red Dwarf character “Cat”) revere Lister as “God” and have taken on his own life-ambitions as their vision of paradise:
HOLLY: “`Yea, even individual sachets of mustard. And those who serve shall have hats of great majesty, yea, though they be made of coloured cardboard and have humorous arrows through the top.'”
LISTER: Does it say what happened to the rest of the Cats?
HOLLY: Holy wars. There were thousands of years of fighting, Dave, between the two factions.
LISTER: What two factions?
HOLLY: Well, the ones who believed the hats should be red, and the ones who believed the hats should be blue.
LISTER: Do you mean they had a war over whether the doughnut diner hats were red or blue?
HOLLY: Yeah. Most of them were killed fighting about that. It’s daft really, innit?
LISTER: You’re not kidding. They were supposed to be green.
And later on, when Lister his bemoaning his position as the God of the Cats:
RIMMER: You’ve just come here to rub my nose in it. I could have been God, you know, given a different start in life, given the lucky showbiz break you had.
LISTER: I don’t want to be a god. That’s the point.
RIMMER: Oh, vomitisation! I don’t believe it! “I’m God, but it’s a bit of a drag, actually?” Come on!
LISTER: I’m not a god! I’ve just been … misquoted.
[…] RIMMER: Well, that would look spectacular, wouldn’t it, Lister? God returns in all his splendour, and says, “Sorry, it’s all been a total cock-up!”
To close, just in case I don’t get a chance to write another post before Christmas, I just wanted to finish with the following quotation from the Dalai Lama’s twitter feed this morning:
“It is clear that feelings of love, affection, closeness and compassion bring happiness.”
Talk about stating the obvious?
Merry Christmas everyone!