Sunday, March 23, 2008

True Fundamentalism

Slate has an article by James Martin on why Easter has resisted extensive commercialization compared to Christmas. I largely agree with it, although I have a quibble with this:

...while Christmas is forced to contend with Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, there is little holiday competition around Easter time.

It seems to me that from a commercial standpoint the other holidays don't compete with Christmas as much as they serve as supporting players, creating the "holiday season" that gives Bill O'Reilly such a snit but that has broadened the shopping clientele. It's worth noting that this season existed before Christianity; indeed, the early church intentionally put Christmas at that time to coincide with the celebrations already going on so as to make Christianity more popular.

I do agree with this point.....

Easter is an event that demands a "yes" or a "no."

The events alleged to have happened in the the Easter story are the true fundamental Christian beliefs. If you believe they're true, you're a Christian; if you don't, you're not. Either way,you make your choice and get on with life. The troubles start with the other Christian "doctrine", which is the result of people either trying to explain unrelated things, or trying to exclude (or worse) others they find objectionable. If people who call themselves "Christian fundamentalist" actually had to act that way, they'd have to be much more liberal and tolerant than they'd probably find comfortable; indeed,they'd probably belong to a denomination that allowed more restrictions and possibilities for exclusion.

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