Last month, I took a look at how much fun Thanksgiving is. Now, Christmas is upon us. I’m writing this on the first night of Hanukkah, I work for a Jewish man, I’m engaged to a Jewish woman, and no one said Happy Hanukkah today! I guess that means Christmas rules in America! I’m not going to complain about how everyone is being forced to say “Happy Holidays,” I’ll just assume they’re trying to be inclusive and trying to find the least offensive way to say “Merry Christmas.” Or it could be that the person wishing you Happy Holidays could be an atheist or practice something other than the Christian religion. No one has the guts to ask!
One quick look at Religious Tolerance.com and you’ll see the Christianity majority in America is actually a minority around the globe. This made me curious, so I went to SelectSmart.com and took the quiz to help me see which religion matches my belief system. The results were interesting to say the least. The percentage next to each religion below is the percentage that my answers match the religion. I’ll show only my top 10:
1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Mainline – Liberal Christian Protestants (89%)
3. Reform Judaism (89%)
4. Liberal Quakers – Religious Society of Friends (88%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (86%)
6. Mahayana Buddhism (84%)
7. New Thought (80%)
8. New Age (79%)
9. Secular Humanism (77%)
10. Taoism (77%)
There really is a very small difference between the ideology of a Unitarian Universalist and a Protestant; between a Quaker and a Buddhist; or between a Buddhist and a Taoist. There is almost no difference in my answers between the ideology of Liberal Christian Protestants and Reform Judaism. This is not to say that I practice any of these religions – I’m just pointing out the similarities between people who do practice their religion while ignoring the existence of all other religions.
Wars have been fought for centuries over religious differences. Catholics had the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition (no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!), the 30 Years War, and the Northern Irish Conflict among many others. Islam has their Jihads. Palestine and Israel have fought a religious and ethnic war forever. The Civil Wars in Iraq and throughout the Middle East are religious wars. Even the Buddhists have had an uprising!
Deep down, we are all the same. We want to explore the philosophy of our beliefs and find people who share those beliefs. I urge you to take the quiz I took and see how close your beliefs are to people with whom you come into contact . Christians should be able to celebrate Christmas. Jews should be able celebrate Hanukah. Costanzas should be able to celebrate Festivus. All of us should be able to celebrate whatever our chosen group wishes to celebrate. You and I are not that different. You and the cashier at Target are not that different. When they wish you “Happy Holidays,” just smile and say, “Merry Christmahanukkah!”