Not Born Worthy


Ah, Christmas. It’s that magical time of the year where families get together and celebrate the birth of their lord and savior, Jesus Christ. (A lot of the people I know do, anyway.) Everyone is reminded of the story of a god born to a virgin in a manger, brought presents by wise men and destined to atone for the sins of mankind. I find it sickening. That’s right, sickening. It’s sickening because of the emphasis placed on the infant Jesus, who is given presents and worship when, despite alleged angelic revelation that he is special, he has done nothing to deserve such things. What were his accomplishments over any other infant at the time? What did he do to earn having a halo placed around his tiny head in paintings? Leaving a womb and being placed in swaddling clothes is certainly nothing special. Of course, it could be argued that such treatment was justified because of what he eventually did in life, but a fundamental part of Christian doctrine is that Jesus is special not because of what he did, but who he was at birth. Nobody else could have been a holy sacrifice. Godliness is inherent, not earned.


This leads me to think: if he did not earn his status, why does he deserve praise for it? What causes people to fall to their knees and shout, “Oh Jesus, you’re so worthy!” Did he work for holy blood? There seems to be something unfair about this. No one else, no matter how virtuous, could have ever been good enough. You can’t be the savior unless you can walk on water. Jesus’ godly worth as told in the Bible was simply automatic and I don’t think anyone deserves praise for an automatic condition. As the song says, “born is the king of Israel.” Like most kings, he didn’t earn his position. It was given to him and nobody else had a chance. Supposedly he was even exempt from original sin, the ridiculous notion that all humans bear guilt or a flawed nature from the first biblical sin. How can a newborn, ignorant of the external world and yet to determine what is good, be perverse?


Hereditary blessings and curses are an all-too-common theme in Christian canon. Abraham’s descendents were given various promises as if DNA should be a component in how someone deserves land, wealth, or protection. The story of the prodigal son is about a man who demands an early inheritance, wastes it all, returns to his father in desperation, and is given a party. He was able to eat the fatted calf because of his family status, not due to any skills or virtues. Jacob and Esau struggled over a birthright, as if it even makes sense for a twin to deserve more status and riches than his brother for exiting the vagina first. The final Egyptian curse was to kill all the first-born children. What the hell did they do? There are numerous princes that are princes because their parents are royalty and countless slaves that are slaves because their parents are slaves. Given all this and more, I find it laughable that Christianity claims to know justice and worthiness, and it’s perfectly fitting that its hero is worshipped chiefly for a condition of birth.


“Your mind, your values” or “Automatic beliefs, automatic merits”? You decide. Merry Christmas.