Monday, December 18, 2006

Away in a manger

It's been a nice few weeks off. I've spent most of it trying to shake off this double consciousness I'd acquired, trying to get back to my non-analytical doggie worldview. (Okay, it wasn't that hard.) But it hasn't been all bones and blankets--I spent a few hours following up on the project I started during NaBloPoMo: a cursory glance at that Christian tradition humans get so hung up about this time of year. As I think I made pretty clear with my post about the creation story, I'm not a believer in this whole anthropomorphic Christianity thing. But I thought that maybe I should give the New Testament a try, and what better place to start than with the Nativity story.

I do see an important moral lesson in the story, but once again, it's not the one humans have gotten out of it. In fact, they've pretty much interpreted the whole thing backwards. They act like the fact that Mary had to give birth in a manger, surrounded by animals, was some big hardship, a last resort. "No room at the inn"--strike the violins. Now let's look at this objectively.

Human childbirth: normally excrutiatingly painful, long, lots of maternal and infant mortality, etc. etc. Human nature: often petty, cruel, vindictive, greedy.

Animal birth: easy, quick, safe, neat. Animal nature: usually good, humble, compassionate.

Jesus's birth: easy, quick, safe.

Jesus's nature: good, humble, compassionate.

Do we not notice some similarities here? Don't we think the logical conclusion is that what set Jesus up for all his good works was the fact that he was born among sheep and sheepdogs? I don't know about founding a religion about this guy, but I certianly see some public policy implications. Fewer OB-GYNs, more OES's!*

*Old English Sheepdogs.