Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Christmas, Whose Christmas?

So my news feed the past few days has been full of people who are throwing tantrums over the tantrums thrown by a few fundamentalist Christians over Starbuck's seasonal cups, and someone is like "Have people lost it all completely?" Talking about the fundamentalists, mind you, not the people who are upset about them.  What I don't get is the notion that religion is supposed to be all peace 'n' love 'n' shit. A look at religious history indicates otherwise.

It also looks like all the liberals I know have become really obsessed with this nonsense, posting every silly thing they can find about Starbucks and the reaction to their cups. It's not just a few fundamentalists who are getting overwrought. I'm no fan of Jesus -- I don't like hellfire-and-brimstone preachers and other religious nuts -- but he did say something about plucking the log out of your own eye before you fuss about the speck in your brother's eye. And I see many faux-Buddha quotations, often from the same people, about how you have to find your own peace within yourself rather than getting it from other people; yet they're having hissyfits about the War on Christmas team's hissyfits over Starbucks cups. Um, practice what you preach?

The person whose post inspired these notes answered that it was time to fight absurdity with absurdity.  I don't see any absurdity in his high dudgeon, but it's his mind.  He's one of the self-styled Buddhists I referred to, by the way, but fighting absurdity with absurdity isn't a teaching of the Buddha (or of Jesus) as far as I know.  This is, however:
"He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me" — for those who brood on this, hostility isn't stilled. "He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me" — for those who don't brood on this, hostility is stilled. 
The Dhammapada, verses 3-5.  And you know, the Christians who were pissed off by Starbucks' Christmas cups didn't actually insult, or hit, or beat, or rob my Buddhist friend, or any of the other liberals.  Nor have they hurt Starbucks.  Whatever my liberal friends are fuming about, it's not because they or anyone else has been hurt.  They're just outraged that someone somewhere is expressing beliefs and attitudes they find unacceptable -- just like the War on Christmas crowd.  They can't stop brooding on it, so their hostility isn't stilled.  Is this true spirituality?  Are these hissyfits what I'm missing by being an atheist?  (Though of course, some atheists are also doubtless having hissyfits over the disrespecting of Starbucks.)  I don't see that I'm missing anything.