The title of this post comes from a 1971 hit single “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon:
So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun
The Ottawa Citizen “Ask the Experts” topic for the last week of 2012 ignores Lennon’s question “And what have you done?” and focuses on “a new [year] just begun.” Ottawa Citizen asks the religious experts, “What are your ‘spiritual’ New Year’s resolutions?” Two respondents are motivated by the pope to make new year resolutions; however, Kevin Smith’s resolutions are temporal and humanitarian while Geoffrey Kerslake’s are spiritual and personal.
Kevin Smith, a member of board of directors for the Centre for Inquiry, Canada’s premier venue for humanists, skeptics and freethinkers, is not in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions, but
This year, however, I’ve decided to make a few. My motivation comes from an unlikely source: the Pope. God’s deputy has taken up Twitter, and he’s surprisingly adept at pontificating in 140 characters or less. Recently, he committed what I consider his first tweet-sin, when he charged atheists with denying human dignity. He wrote, “When you deny God, you deny human dignity. Whoever defends God is defending the human person.”
Smith resolves to defend his “humanist principles”:
I will continue my commitment to skeptical inquiry, accepting nothing at faith value.
I will continue to be an activist for the rights of my fellow human beings, regardless of skin colour, sexual orientation or gender, including the transgendered. I will speak out particularly against those who take advantage of their position of power, inciting hatred towards homosexuals solely on the basis of mythological dogma.
It is worth noting that Geoffrey Kerslake did not submit an answer to last week’s Ottawa Citizen question: “Should parents allow children to believe in Santa Claus?” Of course not, he puts his faith in another, not so jolly old man, Pope Benedict XVI:
Pope Benedict declared this year to be “The Year of Faith.” I have been thinking about what this means for me, an adult Christian living in the West who has grown up in the Catholic Church and who is an ordained priest.
This year, I want with the help of God’s grace, to be more attentive to my relationship with the Lord and to try and live that relationship more authentically in my words and actions with others. This is a lifetime project! But, with God’s grace, we can all grow in our relationship with the Lord. That is the most important goal anyone can have — to grow in holiness.