Happy Newtonmass! (Yes, today is the anniversary of the birth of our rationalist saviour, Sir Isaac Newton.)
I have a personal tradition of always putting in some working hours on December 25th — not being Christian, and being a bit of a curmudgeon, it seems important to do so (even if I subsequently drop round on some friends and eat and drink far too much). I can just about categorize blogging as work (it's marketing/communications, dammit!) so this is my work for the day.
Because I'm a curmudgeon (the "G" in my initials is short for "Grinch"), the Christmas spirit thing really irritates me. A big part of it is the saturation-level advertising that crops up at this time of year: it leverages the winter festival to convey the message, "you will get into the festive spirit and Buy Our Stuff, otherwise you are socially inadequate". I do not care to be lectured about my social inadequacy by big box retailers: I especially dislike being defined as socially inadequate because I don't follow someone else's religiously-ordained festive tradition. Consequently, Christmas puts me in a contrarian mood. As a contrarian, right now nothing would cheer me up like a nasty, mean-tempered flame war — just to prove that the turbulent masses (this means you) haven't suddenly been turned into insipid, saccharine carol singers chorusing goodwill to all and peace on earth.
But I couldn't make up my mind whether today's blogging should be "gun owners: evil or wicked?", or "abortion: if you oppose it, you are murdering women"; I'm sort of in donkey-starving-to-death-between-two-mangers mode today. (Normally I try to avoid starting flame wars. Turning to the dark side, I suddenly find myself in a target-rich environment!) So I decided to go with something a little less controversial; why Jesus Christ bears such a remarkable similarity to Osama bin Laden that by 2312 there may well be a syncretistic religion worshiping him as the second coming ...
1. Jesus Christ is not his name. If he existed, his actual name would have been rendered in our alphabet somewhat like Yeshua bin Yussuf (he was later renamed Jesus™ by those pesky greeks). Also: forget that long-haired hippy 16th century Spanish nobility lordship you see in portraits of Jesus: he probably looked more like the guy on the left, only short and brown-skinned.
2. Yeshua, like Osama bin Laden, was born as the heir to a family construction business.
3. Yeshua, like Osama bin Laden, was a bit of a mystic and a dreamer. He dropped out of the family business, and took a good look at the society around him. In particular, he retreated into the desert for a while and tried to avoid the temptations of the flesh.
4. Yeshua, like Osama, decided that it was extremely important to get the imperial hegemon of the day to pull its troops out of the holy places of his religion.
5. With his followers, Yeshua attacked a major banking hub — the Wall Street of its day — in the shape of the money lenders in the temple grounds. (Due to the non-availability of weapons of mass destruction in his day, as opposed to Osama's, the temple survived.) (See also Revelations 18:11 and Revelations 18:19.)
6. Yeshua, like Osama bin Laden, preached subversive sermons, which were widely circulated among the masses suffering beneath the imperial jackboot.
7. Eventually Yeshua got up one privileged nose too many, and wound up being executed in a grotesque manner, to warn the masses (and his followers) what happens if you speak truth to power. See also Seal Team Six.
8. Over the subsequent decades and centuries, the numbers of his followers increased — principally finding recruits among middle-easterners pissed off at the imperial hegemonic power's continuing occupation and exploitation of their holy places. The followers of
Osama Yeshua multiplied in numbers despite organized clamp-downs and purges.
Osama Yeshua's followers are — or were — big on holy martyrdom.
10. ... Okay, I've now run out of immediate similarities between Jesus and Osama bin Laden. Help me, somebody?