What Defines YOUR "Christmas Spirit"?

Submitted by Charles Knighton
Christian philosopher, Blaise Pascal opined - He who is accustomed to the faith believes in it

Christian philosopher, Blaise Pascal opined – He who is accustomed to the faith believes in it

It has become a self-help axiom that one way to achieve an ambition is to act as though you had already done so: to become a winner act like a winner. Perhaps the most striking example of the flaws in this thinking comes not from a so-called life coach but a great Christian philosopher, Blaise Pascal.

Pascal reasoned that without knowing whether God existed or not, it was a better bet to believe that he did than that he didn’t. Believers had comfort in this life and a better chance of getting into any next one, while non-believers would have to live without any hope and no entry ticket through heaven’s gate, should it turn out to exist after all.

The logic of this is dubious, but even if it holds, how can you get yourself to believe in God if you don’t have good reasons to think he exists, merely that it would be good for you if you did believe?

Pascal’s answer is that you should act as though you do believe and, in time, belief will come: “He who is accustomed to the faith believes in it.” There seems to be something very wrong about this. By cultivating the right habits, a person may end up with what looks and feels like genuine piety. But since its basis is nothing more than a self-serving desire to tilt the odds of happiness and salvation in your favour, it can be no such thing.

This shows why there is more to who we are than what we do. What also matters is how and why we do it. For instance, one volunteer in a soup kitchen might be trying to impress a potential mate, while another doing exactly the same work could be acting out of a genuine sense of duty. What looks like the same action, even the same way of life, can in fact be very different, depending on the beliefs and desires that are driving it.
So the old saying “the habit does not make the monk” turns out to cover more than our appearance: what we do or how we behave can reflect, even mould, but not entirely make who we really are, which comes from within.

What might a close examination of our seemingly altruistic behaviour discern?


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No Comments on “What Defines YOUR "Christmas Spirit"?”

  1. Andy Yearwood December 19, 2012 at 1:00 AM #

    You don’t understand Pascal’s wager, Mr Knighton, so you simplify it. This is understandable, given that you over-write every sentence in your every submission into everyone’s worst nightmares of pretentiousness.

    Try to write a basic narrative sentence, Chuck. Christopher Hitchens won’t help you with Pascal’s wager any more than he can help you with writing a basic narrative sentence. A man has to know his limits, Chuck, and your limits stop very short of Pascal and Hitchens and knowledge of how not to write bollocks that reads like it came from the mind of a not-too-bright but really-trying oddity.

    You’ve tried Dawkins, I imagine, but doubtless Sam Harris was a bit too challenging.

    By the way, Chuck, we’re just loving those pictures of plants. Best wishes to the spouse.


  2. islandgal246 December 19, 2012 at 6:58 AM #

    It is very difficult to differentiate between a believer and a player. On the outside they look the same but on the inside many believe for various reasons. Many take out insurance in case there is a God many prefer to believe because they are afraid not to. The celebration of Christmas has many players and actors.

    Many celebrate Christmas because of tradition, few because of religion, many because of what society expects. Whatever the reason it is celebrated. I see it as a time for family and friends and most of all for children. Yes the music is another tradition that is welcomed as well as the food and the decorations and the pine tree. Traditions are very hard to break whether you believe in God or not. Many Hindus around the world also celebrate the Christmas holidays, some Muslims join in as well. Not that they believe in the Jesus baby thing, they simply celebrate for the sake of celebrating because others are doing it. One Hindu lady told me that she will celebrate any festival whenever it comes around whether it is a Christian, Buddhist Hindu or Muslim festival. I actually like that way of thinking.

    Look at the origins of Christmas, it was not about the birth of a baby boy at all. “The origins of the holiday and its December date lie in the ancient Greco-Roman world, as commemorations probably began sometime in the 2nd century. There are at least three possible origins for the December date. The Roman Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus dated Jesus’ conception to March 25 (the same date upon which he held that the world was created), which, after nine months in his mother’s womb, would result in a December 25 birth.

    In the 3rd century, the Roman Empire, which at the time had not adopted Christianity, celebrated the rebirth of the Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus) on December 25th—this holiday not only marked the return of longer days after the winter solstice but also followed the popular Roman festival called the Saturnalia (during which people feasted and exchanged gifts). It was also the birthday of the Indo-European deity Mithra, a god of light and loyalty whose cult was at the time growing popular among Roman soldiers.”

    So those of you who have the Christmas spirit(s ) for what ever reason enjoy it.


  3. Pachamama December 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM #

    These white people that are presented to us invariably copy the works of other people or ‘discovered’ things thousands of years after others, like the case of the Great Imhotep and the oath conventional doctors take presently. More broadly, worthy polymaths and other geniuses from the African, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Islamic and other traditions that those who are so wrapped up in western traditions or are limited by the devotion to the English language continue to live in their self imposed linguistic and constructed ignorance.


  4. Georgie Porgie December 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM #

    Pascal reasoned that without knowing whether God existed or not, it was a better bet to believe that he did than that he didn’t.

    1Pet.1 8 states Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
    Below is a great Anglican tune based on this text especially when sung to the tune Zoan

    O Savior, precious Savior,
    Whom yet unseen we love!
    O name of might and favor,
    All other names above!
    We worship Thee, we bless Thee,
    To Thee, O Christ, we sing;
    We praise Thee, and confess Thee
    Our holy Lord and king.

    O bringer of salvation,
    Who wondrously hast wrought,
    Thyself the revelation
    Of love beyond our thought;
    We worship Thee, we bless Thee,
    To Thee, O Christ, we sing;
    We praise Thee, and confess Thee
    Our gracious Lord and king.

    In Thee all fullness dwelleth,
    All grace and power divine;
    The glory that excelleth,
    O Son of God, is Thine;
    We worship Thee, we bless Thee,
    To Thee, O Christ, we sing:
    We praise Thee, and confess Thee
    Our glorious Lord and king.

    O grant the consummation
    Of this our song above,
    In endless adoration,
    And everlasting love!
    Then shall we praise and bless Thee
    Where perfect praises ring,
    And evermore confess Thee
    Our Savior and our king.


  5. BAFBFP December 19, 2012 at 2:34 PM #


    You normally appear around this time of the year … where you at ..? Dey got a guy now who would luv to talk to you .. He name Pachamama …


  6. Zoe December 19, 2012 at 8:26 PM #

    “Now FAITH IS* the substances of things hoped for the EVIDENCE* of things not seen,” ( Heb. 11:1)

    ‘Now Faith’ ( Gk. estin de pistis) ‘Pistis’ is rendered as ‘Faith’ = belief; but, there are two kinds of ‘belief’ one that is, mental, or intellectual assent to a factual proposition, I.e., ‘I believe that Owen Arthur is a real human person’ BUT, I do NOT know him personally…never met him..’ Whereas, some other person, can say, ‘I KNOW OSA personally…I talk with him every day…’

    Those who are fooling around with Pascal’s wager, do NOT know the Lord Jesus Christ; unlike others, whose ‘FAITH’ belief, is grounded in, “The evidence of things not seen.” (v. 1b) (elpizomenon hupostasis) hupostasis means, what stands under anything (a building, a contract, a promise),that steadiness of mind which holds one firm ( II Cor. 9:4). And this is the essential meaning of Heb. 1:1.

    Therefore, to those who KNOW Him* the Lord of all Glory; our “FAITH, belief, IS* the title-deed of things hoped for.”.


  7. Simple Simon December 20, 2012 at 6:42 AM #

    What defines my Bajan Christmas spirit?

    Christmas morning in the park,

    As wunnu can see I ain’t no da^^n philosopher.


  8. Sargeant December 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM #

    You normally appear around this time of the year … where you at ..?

    Hopi disappeared at the time when some Bajan folks in Authority were accused of having digital intercourse with Myrie. From her writing it seems she was dismayed at the vigorous defence of of Barbados and Bajans that the correspondents on BU displayed.


    BTW I was watching a Jamaican channel recently and I saw Myrie’s lawyer on TV commenting on the situation as the CCJ is supposed to convene there in the New Year to examine the case and then return to Barbados. The report was matter of fact nothing controversial but Jamaica is not a member of the CCJ how come the Court is meeting there?


  9. David December 20, 2012 at 9:50 AM #


    The CCJ is the final court on matters which are governed by the Treaty of Chaguramus.


  10. David December 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM #

    It is all about tradition in inverted commas. People who don’t grace the Church door or own a Bible throw themselves with all the gusto they can muster for the Yuletide Season.


  11. ac December 20, 2012 at 8:16 PM #

    black cake. not the one they sell in the store. the oldfashioned kind that had all the ingredients fermented for a year. and some rice and peas and pork. the god stuff add a liitle flavour cause it gives more time for people to show off their new hairdos and clothes.


  12. Pat December 20, 2012 at 11:53 PM #

    If anyone wants to buy a real Bajan home made Christmas cake, I can have one air freighted to you. A 2 pound will set you back $75 plus shipping. That is Canadian or US. I only made 11 this year, so my finances short. I also do the coconut bread thing with real hand grated coconut too. A small one will set you back a miserly $10, a large $20.
    I had my fruit set up since last February and you can smell my cake without opening the tin! Before I leave for Bim I will set up next year’s batch. You can place your orders now.

    I played bridge at a Moslem lady tonight and her house was a display of lights and she had two Christmas trees. One fibre optics with ever changing lights and a small centre table tree. Lights outside, in all the windows, etc. Christmas table cloth, napkins, etc.

    Me, I dun wid all dat. I just find it a good excuse to bake, eat, drink and be merry.


  13. Kiki December 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM #

    Christmas is about hanging out with BU Fambly
    I see my light come shining
    From the west down to the east
    Any day now
    Any way now
    I shall be released


  14. Hants December 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM #

    Nice Christmas present for Barbados. Thanks Rhi Rhi.

    “three pieces of equipment to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) worth more than BDS$3.5 million.”


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