Friday, January 2, 2009


My good friend Chyt wrote a very interesting story about Jesus and Christmas Commercialism in her blog SMORGASBORD OF RANDOM THOUGHTS. There was a particular paragraph that caught my attention. It says:

"Christmas is no longer an occasion to celebrate the life of a man who turned the tables of profiteers upside down. It is the Feast of Capitalism as we are pressured to do a lot of spending, even beyond our means. The real winners of the season are the booty capitalists who, through multimillion advertisements make us feel guilty when we do not hit their malls to shop until we drop. Christmas insults Jesus’ teachings."

I stopped at that point and redirected my thoughts to the lovely dinners I attended here. Those lovely dinners where I seat and listen to them attack the Pope and the Catholic Church. Dinners where I feel I have to defend my faith rather than air my opinion. Those dinners where I have to smile while I grit my teeth and curse under my breath. The dinners that make me clench my fist and wish I were home instead of being surrounded by übermensch.

Yes, übermensch. As in, Nietzsche´s übermensch that is tied with his concept of a dead God --- meaning, that the idea of God can no longer provide moral values. Because let me tell you, these people are every inch super-men and I don´t mean that as an insult. Not at all.

BUT how can one make sense to people who had a horrible historic past with the Roman Church. A people whose pain is still very raw inspite of the fact that it happened more than 800 years ago. Scarred people with a past. A past that, as we all know, was based on the principle that the cause of God is advanced by the sword. A past that entailed so much pain and suffering.

That ghastly past when so-called Protestant heretics where burnt in stake and Prince William of Orange revolted against Philip II of Spain. Yes. The Dutch and Filipinos share one thing in common: Charles V and Queen Isabella of Portugal.

I mentioned this because it was Charles V and Queen Isabella who financed Magellan's circumnavigation of the world expedition. Charles V who thought that his divine mission is to become the leader of a Christian world, and converted the Filipinos to Roman Catholicism. The Charles who dismissed Martin Luther´s idea of Reformation and later outlawed Luther and his followers. It was also this same Charles who gave his Spanish empire (Spain, the Netherlands, Naples and Spain's colonies in the Americas & the Philippines) to his son, Philip II of Spain.

Later to become King Philip II of Spain who persecuted Protestants and whose endeavours to centralise government, justice and taxes made him unpopular and led to a revolt led by William of Orange. It is therefore of no wonder that some of these übermensch are still livid about their past, in the same manner that some Filipinos are still resentful of Spain.

But what has this all got to do with Jesus and Christmas commercialism?

Very well.... because Catholicism and Reformation segued to so many things. Among them, the conceptualization of an übermensch and the idea that with the absence of the Christian values, there will no longer be a yardstick upon which one can criticize or justify any action. (Nietzsche was brought up a Lutheran by the way.)

With God being dead in the hearts of so many people, how can Christmas be an insult to Jesus´ teachings? Some of them don´t even know why we are celebrating Christmas. So I echo Nietzsche´s ideas. He said:

`God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? .......... who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?´

As bleak and hopeless as it may sound, it is of course not the absolute truth. Besides, The Netherlands is just a tiny country in Europe. And even in this tiny country, there are still many believers in Jesus' teaching.


Droomvla said...

Some reactions:

Submitted by Rhoda Jennet on Fri, 01/02/2009 - 20:26.

Scarred people with a past...This characterizes some if not many philosophers. They were popularized because of their teachings and we have to admit such teachings are imbibed in the society whether it's highly developed or developing countries.

A hoilstic view of philosophy is that it guides us to fully appreciate our religion as we are inclined to find a reason for our faith.

Nietzsche´s übermensch was born beause he was a product of society wherein many were "playing gods." Power, prestige and wealth were the center of existence. Preachers didn't practice what they said - still evident nowadays.

We catholics are humbled by the late Pope John Paul II gesture of saying SORRY for whatever mistakes/shortcomings our former religious leaders committed . The birth of Vatican II serves as the answer for any misconception in the past.

Whatever happened in the past, it's already there but we can learn from it - change its meaning for us to become better individuals, as authentic Roman Catholics.

Shine for GOD's greater glory!

Submitted by maan on Fri, 01/02/2009 - 21:45.

Everyone who finished college in ateneo minored in philosoply.

I am a business graduate but it was what I learned in philosoply which helped me go through life.

It is not the debits and credits of accounting or financial management, the tenets of organizational development, nor economic principles which kept me whole when corporate goings got rough, but what I learned from Fr. Ferrios and my other philiosophy teacher on how to face life, what Hope really meant, or what is ethical and true.

Droomvla said...

Submitted by maan on Sun, 01/04/2009 - 09:40.

The unbelievers

You know marissa when I commented below it was in answer Rhoda's post. I didnt immediately notice your thought provoking blog except now.

Yes sadly there is too much commercialism with christmas that people forget the real reason we celebrate this. I felt it a lot this year and blogged about it in my personal blog but since some people around me were involved I had to be very hazy in descriptions :)

Yes I agree there were persecutions by Christians in the past. However it is just the same for other faiths such as muslims and others.

I saw this when I went around the former Yugoslav Republic. When the guide was explaining the enmity between christian and muslims and other religions I couldnt comprehend so much. I couldnt understand then why there could be so much hatred through the years but later I did.

It is not the religion but the people who practice them.

Why say that God must be dead? These people do not understand the essence of their faith. God is immortal but our minds are finite. Why persecute the faith when its the humans who have done this to mankind?

It becomes twisted thinking.

It pains me to see the churches of europe without regular masses or other sacraments, why? no priest, no one attends them anymore.

It is sad that within the comforts and luxury of the affluent cities, the Lord is no longer accorded His rightful place.

Bitterness and pain of the past? We must learn from the past and not be vengeful or remain with bitterness in our hearts. Jesus died to save us. Why then can't we forgive?

I can go on and on but I guess the best thing to do is to pray for the unbelievers.

Droomvla said...

Submitted by Dredd on Sun, 01/04/2009 - 16:09.

Simply RUDE and a matter of Respect!

Conversations to avoid over dinner are POLITICS and RELIGIONS! Sad you had to experience such a thing. It's just a matter of respect and one doesn't need to be UNBELIEVER to behave as such... they are just RUDE! We have Muslims friends and Unbelievers and my family are Christians and Catholics. And, yet we have great time together.

Droomvla said...

More comments:

From Hera:

......if christmas come would not be that way, my child 3 yrs old from nursery school knows what is christmas, and my kids treats me says= "if we dont celebrate christmas means Mom and Dad dont love us" they knows what is christmas apart from religious matter, but he knows its a Jesus birthday and must have x-mas deco, and lets wrap gifts, MY hubby is Islam and me converted, therefore my kids bring into Islamic way living, but in my part i would not forget what Roman catholics teachings i'll always be celebrates with out hubby enterferring even though credits crunch and cuttings rates up and down we all know how to minimize to spend the money or where to spend money......LOL.....these Neitzschies are prefered to mourned up all their lives rather than forgiveness and forgetness, as we christian Roman Catholics beliefs has life after death and lives with joy, so thats why we celebrates in some of occations to remember like christmas day....and ect......

Droomvla said...

From Dredd:

Many non-believers grew up in Christian/Catholic households celebrating Christmas so, celebrating Christmas is continuing the traditions they grew up with and the spirit of love, joy, giving and meeting families.

It has long been commercialized and it’s up to each individual how they would like it. It saddens me that some people never stop on attacking different beliefs or religion. I just hope we could all be free of questioning the appropriateness of other beliefs or at least RESPECT other’s choices.

Submitted by Dredd on Mon, 01/05/2009 - 04:43.