I wasn’t able to read the whole article, but notorious Irish priest Tony Flannery has allegedly suggested that the Christmas story is just a myth.
What I really, honestly, hand on my heart and slap on my head can’t believe is why liberal clergymen think it necessary to weed the supernatural out of religion. I’ve never for the life of me understood the point of trying to de-mythologize the Christian faith.
For those of you not in the know, this is the attempt of liberal theologians and Bible scholars to winkle out the miraculous and supernatural aspects of the gospel story.
Oh yes, I know the supposedly good intentions. They want to present a Christianity that is believable to modern people.
The problem is that once you start pulling on the yarn the whole sweater unravels.
Let’s say you have a problem with the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, so you do the really sappy thing and say, “You know the real miracle is that everybody shared their lunch.”
Here’s the first problem with such nonsense. You might explain away the feeding of the five thousand or Jesus walking on the water, but you’re left with a few other real doozies that are even greater miracles and which are at the very heart of the faith: that is–the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation and the Resurrection.
It is logically impossible to be embarrassed and do away with Jesus walking on the water or stilling the storm without also denying the incarnation, Virgin Birth and resurrection.
You can’t disbelieve in the lesser miracle but then pretend to believe in the greater one.
No. Sorry. The Christian faith is supernatural. You can’t get around it, and if you can’t believe it, then please resign your position as a New Testament scholar, a Catholic theologian or a priest, but please don’t parade around as a Catholic leader…and then go on to grumble about how people are hypocrites!
Here’s another problem with the whole liberal agenda of getting rid of the supernatural.
When you pull out the supernatural what are you left with? A bland mish mash of religious bromides and an idea that you ought to be a nice person:
When you pull out the miracles you’re left with (at most) a pretty parable along the lines of “Every cloud has a silver lining and let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy day.”
The fact of the matter is, nobody wants that garbage. If they want a greeting card they’ll go to Hallmark.
They want religion, and religion–any religion from the most primitive Neanderthal to the most barbaric New Yorker–knows instinctively at gut level that religion is about a connection with the other world. Its about an encounter with the divine. Its about the meeting place of earth and heaven, the terrifying encounter with God of earthquake wind and fire.
They know–all ordinary people know–that religion is about the supernatural. That’s what it is. It is not a bland recipe for being nice and doing good and making the world a better place.
It is about falling on your knees in the face of the Almighty and repenting and crying like a baby and knowing that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is waiting on the threshold of your consciousness. It is knowing and glimpsing that a band of angels is waiting just beyond your field of vision and that a great cloud of witnesses sings endless praises just beyond the limits of your apprehension.
That’s religion and yes its is mythical, but it is only mythical because it is mystical and it is only mystical because it is reality itself.
Read The Mystery of the Magi to discover the historical foundations of the story of the Wise Men