Letter: The gospel truth
Monday 27 December 1999
It is fair comment that conflicts of view between people claiming to be inspired by the Holy Spirit undermine the Christian claim that God will be present in spirit within those who trust him, and will guide them.
But I wonder how well Mark Steel could substantiate the statement that some of the most appalling tyrants of history claimed they received their inspiration from God. It is at least arguable that even with the hindsight of history more good than harm has been done by people seeking to follow Jesus.
Since those of us who observe the Christian festivals are a minority, it is indeed presumptuous if some of us spend our time criticising the way others celebrate the season of the Winter Solstice, Saturn and Janus, merely because it is different from ours. It is equally presumptuous for a journalist, who may also be in a minority, to deplore the actions of those whose celebration includes buying and listening to a trendy version of the Lord's Prayer.
As for the millennium, your columnist can rest assured that many of us regard it as a secular festival, like those of 1851 and 1951, to which the religious can attach their hopes and prayers if they wish. Even if we adopt pragmatically the calendar conventions for the birth of Christ, we shall not be celebrating 2000 years until 25 December 2000.
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