Merry Christmas!

I just received an iPod from my wife for Christmas, and I'm listening to Michael Bolton's rendition of "Silent Night." I could just listen to it over and over again. It's beautiful. There are other Christmas songs I like very much too. I like Christmas music. Why? Because it helps me to remember what I was doing and thinking when I heard it in years past, and because it's just, well, beautiful. It also makes me want to believe again. That's right. All the arguments in the world don't phase me in the least. But music!? Ahhh. Music. Christmas music. Hymnal music. Chorus music. I love it! Sometimes it just makes me want to believe again. Sometimes I miss the Christian relationships I had developed in over 25 years. I miss it all the most at Christmas time. But even listening to this music I cannot bring myself to believe. I just cannot do it, even in these moments when I wish I could.

I hope that those who hate me and what I'm doing can see fit to forgive me even though I cannot repent of what I'm doing. I'm just doing what I think is best and true and right. I just cannot see things otherwise, given what I believe now. I can't do it.

I know we have our debates, and sometimes there are hard feelings between those of us who debate the issues surrounding Christianity. But we are all flesh and blood people, with feelings, hopes, and aspirations. We all have family and friends we can count on, and who can count on us. Most of us have pets that we love as well, and who love us. We all try to make a living the best that we know how. And it's a struggle for us all, no matter what we believe.

But at this Christmas season I wish every person who visits here a Merry Christmas, especially every team member at DC both past and present! I wish we all weren't separated by our beliefs, but even though we are, I still wish upon you the very best in life.


Anonymous said...

thank you John,pv63, lucky you, i-pod.

DagoodS said...

Merry Christmas, John W. Loftus.

Interestingly, I have been listening to The Messiah, since it is still one of my favorite pieces of music. I know the words and can follow along. (Ha. Ha.)

Thanks to all who have had the patience and time to interact with a talkative, (almost never-ending) skeptic.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, John.

And a merry Christmas to all of the other contributers, too.

Anonymous said...

I incidentally also love most Xmas carols.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas John and much love to all you!


Glenn Dixon said...

I wish you a fun holiday season, filled with family, friends, and lots of toys. :o)

By way of comparison, there is very little in the way of xtian music that still 'gets' to me in any way. Perhaps a few CCM pieces here and there, but most of it just reminds me of how many hours and dollars I can't have back. I do cherish the few friends and the good memories, though.

We are beginning to reshape our holidays by spending them in places like Las Vegas or New Orleans. We still do the gift-exchange w/ family, but spend a week or so in someplace fun with lots of drinking, carousing and reveling. It helps. :o)

Martin Wagner said...

Christmas? I thought it was Monday. Oh, that's right. The Christians are having some holiday today.

Joe E. Holman said...

Ditto, John!

Merry Christmas to all at DC and our readers and contributors!

Hey, I got an ipod too! :-p

Now everybody back to the champaigne!


Anonymous said...

What wonderful, and yet, sad thoughts you expressed John. Like you, I love music, even so much of the music I enjoyed as a believer so many years ago.
Now, as I sit silently in church next to my girlfriend, listening to them sing all the songs of worship, both at Christmas and other times, I feel kind of sad that I just can't bring myself to that point of believing again. I am no longer easily persuaded. So, in order to be true to my self and those around me, I sit silently, very alone in a crowd of hundreds. But, at the end of the Christmas Eve service, I am snapped back to sober thoughts as the minister takes that moment to remind me, and all those who think like me, that this loving baby Jesus, this little new-born bundle of flesh and spirit, will send me to an eternal hell simply because I can't surrender my need for proof, and just believe.
Thank you for all your posts John, you and all the other contributors. I visit here daily.

Anonymous said...

Oh John...Michael Bolton?

I always knew you were evil... ;)

Dave Armstrong said...

Public Service Announcement:

DagoodS wrote on my blog:

How curious to only link to one side of the discussion if a person is attempting to convince the open-minded who are to listen to both sides of the argument.

DagoodS | Homepage | 12.24.06 - 11:21 am | #

I replied:

No problem. Send me the various links to your answers and I'll be glad to post them here.


Of course, you can just do that yourself, here; you don't need me. I have no problem with it. Please do so.

So if DagoodS wants to make links to his interminable posts about biblical inerrancy, he can do so right below this post:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes what one needs is a divine wake-up call, not another debate. All too often we know that God is real, but the party is too good to give up, so we willfully refuse to believe.

When I was 20 and lost in college, I at least maintained a general belief in God--one chief reason was because of Bach's music. I knew that it was inspired. Later at 26, going though a divorce, and repenting of my sins for the first time in my life, I became spiritually born from above, but not based on intellectual certainty-- although I knew that nearly all intellectual systems were false. I spoke out to an unknown Jesus, "I don't know if you exist, but you are the best reason to believe." Then, as I was reading the Bible--the Gospels -- I became experientially changed from within and filled with the Spirit. Now I knew with certainty he existed. I have never doubted since. I credit in part the act of reading of the word with my being given new life. Heb 4:12. also "My words, they are spirit and they are life" We truly are saved through the "washing of the word"!

Thanks for writing that, John. May God divinely intervene in your life!

Chris Beyer said...

Merry Christmas, John. Merry Christmas everyone!

As a Christian who is not too crazy about Christmas (it has much too little to do with the Gospel of Christ, even in our churches as Anonymous pointed out) I still find that it can be a sacred time, a 'thin place', as the Celts say, in which we may catch just a glimpse of the 'otherness' beyond our ken. It's one of those times that tell so many of us that our lives should, and perhaps could, be just a little bit better.

Dax Williams said...

Dax here. I'm sort of a between . I believe in a god. Period That's it
Love Xmas or at least the wife tells me I do. Large trees in living room
Small trees in family room. Lots of charity work. Nothing to do with
a birth or anything . An excuse for spending a lot of money and having a
good time. Carols blasting through the house. Airline tickets for inlaws
and outlaws.
Really love it.

Dusty said...

Faith can never be a purely intellectual experience. Emotions and intuitions are part of human existance, and some how spirituality exists beyond the definitions of science. Not that Evangelical Christianity has the answers, but I have not been able to shake my own personal encounter with Christ no matter how much I see inconsistency in the human influence in the church.

Anonymous said...


My name for now is Leopold. I would like to add that I agree very much with what you say about the church's pomposity regarding it's moral character. It is a shame that so much of what Christ said is missed. This to me is the really problem with Christianity today: not that they are merely self absorbed and pompous, living with a narrow worldview, at least politically and collectively if not individually; the real pressing problem with Christianity is that it often has so little to do with Christ.

As a Christian what I have come to understand as morality is this: The fact that there are biblical commandments ad infinitum points not to the fact that this moral code is the basis of morality but that it outlines a way that peope will live if they do in fact follow a deeper basis of morality. Instead, I grant you, modern Christians tend more to talk about these more superficial aspects of what Christianity is about.

In response to your post, which was well written and well thought out, I would like to argue a different perspecitive than I think has been presented here yet, though arguing is not really my main goal. Thomas Merton said that freedom is not being allowed to do whatever you want. Freedom is when you are free not to kill, not to lie, and not to steal. To elaborate on this, I will add that I believe freedom to be that which comes when what you want most cannot be fulfilled by killing, lying stealing, etc. The basis of a Christian morality therefor, should be to align our desires with the perfect desires of God, and in doing so become as much like ourselves as we can be. While Modern Christianity often falls short of this, it would be unfair to generalize by saying that either Christians or non-Christians are morally deficient, or have less of a base of morality. If we really wanted to answer the question of morality we would need to look deeper than the sophic arguments that pour out of both sides of the christian atheist schism.

Perhaps freedom and morality are really the same figure in a different set of clothes. Either way, and I say this to Christians in particular, some of whom have posted here: intellectualizing Christ does not get you closer to him. Talking to him with openness does.

In regard to moral commandments which are often mistakenly veiwed as the basis of morality: these are not the root, they are the fruits of a moral person. And when, as has been said on this blog, the cruelty of the world seems to preclude the existence of God, I will add that if we have been talking all this time about how we should be acting and not why, then I think the problem lies less the existence of God, and more in the fact that we just never seem to listen to Him. We've been told time and again what to do, but we surmise that obeying will mean the death of own personalities, when we would be obey the very source of our identity. Hence we lack the courage to choose, and believe that when we make no choice but intellectualize about it that we have chosen. This is not so. A choice is an action. A moral action is based on a desire for love. This kind of action isn't all that present on any of the 'sides.'

John W. Loftus said...

Leopold, I think you may have posted this in the wrong spot. Try again, and my name is John. Thanks for writing.