Thursday, December 27, 2007

O little town ...

According to the report on the BBC, the Greek Orthodox contingent wanted to place a ladder over Armenian airspace at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. They were trying to clear up a bit after the Catholic bash on December 25th and before their celebration on January 6th.

Armenians have to wait until January 19th for their Christmas, so were probably a bit cranky after watching everyone else on the planet opening their presents.

In the broom fight that followed, four people were injured and the already-shaky reputation of Christianity for tolerance was badly bruised. Please tell me there's footage on YouTube - would love to see the old guys in robes and long beards square off with brooms - like Jedi Knights with light sabres ...

The history behind the three different dates of Christmas is interesting (well, to me anyway).

The pagan celebration of Saturnalia was celebrated on December 25 in Rome, while Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus on January 6. The pope of the day, Sylvester, in order to abolish the pagan feast, moved the celebration of Jesus's birthday from January 6 to December 25, but the Armenian church had no reason to change the date because there was no pagan feast in Armenia on December 25. Since the Armenians maintain the ancient date of Christmas as well as the old (Julian) calendar, 13 days are added to January 6, postponing Armenian Christmas until January 19 on the modern (Gregorian) calendar.

Anyway, that's the reason why three Christian sects can share the same church and have the celebration of the birth of their founder on three separate days.

And the point to this : these three groups have so much in common. If these guys can't share nicely, how are the Israelis and the Palestinians ever going to get together?

Just to rub it in, Islamic extremists killed Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), whose creed begins "Islam is our faith ...".

Whatever it is that will bring the world together - it certainly isn't going to be religion.

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