Is Christmas Christian?

Author:Serumaga, Kalundi

Does Christmas, hollowed out of its spiritual aspect, have any relevance any more? Perhaps it is time to return to the more substantial native beliefs that were flattened by a Christianising colonisation.

The dominance of secular activities--shopping for gifts, feasting and drinking--over the religious roots of the Christmas season is a fitting symbol for the one religion that has done more than any to shape the world as it currently is: increasingly devoid of spiritual ballast.

Whole continents owe their countries, official languages, official symbols and even judicial systems to the energies of first the Roman Catholic Church, from the time of Pope Alexander VI, to the Christianity spread by the British, Spanish, French and Dutch empires.

One feature that is often remarked on by visitors from Africa and the Caribbean to the UK is the contrast between the full drinking pubs on a Saturday, and the empty, magnificent old churches on a Sunday.

Europe, it would seem, is no longer a Christian continent. It simply holds a legacy of Christianity.

It is an interesting fact about Christianity that it did not establish a single state in its name throughout the region in which it was founded. This is quite unlike Islam which, though coming much later, had a much more visible cultural and political impact on the region, to the point of creating a succession of Islamic states and kingdoms there.

One has to look much further north and north-west of the Middle East in order to begin finding the historical trace of Christian states, starting of course with the conversion of the Roman Empire.

The story of African spiritual resistance to this European-state-backed Christianity is a long and continuing one. Having become the dominant faith in Western Europe (and Russia), it became a key tool in their imperial conquests.

"A hundred years ago, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, challenged a generation of public schoolboys to offer themselves as 'missionaries in the imperial work of the Church of England"', wrote the Reverend Giles Fraser in the UK Guardian of 13 October 2003.

"His friend, Henry Montgomery, sent out to be bishop of Tasmania, insisted 'the clergy are officers in an imperial army'. This Christian army of missionaries spread the theology of the CofE [Church of England--Ed] throughout the world."

Anti-witchcraft law

The resistance to this clerical imperial army took the form of native spiritual and religious movements, organising...

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