Monday, December 18

The Star of Bethlehem – a reality check.

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Ideas put forward for the Star of Bethlehem include; Jupiter, Venus, any combination of planets converging, supernova, comet, miracle star and UFO. With the exception of the UFO (which falls into the category of ‘if we can’t explain something it must be aliens’) it is totally impossible to follow any of the above, let alone locate a small village (or even smaller stable) under the ‘star’, yet this does not seem to bother the theorists or theologians. At the risk of upsetting a few folk I suggest that both logic and common sense are absent here.

Also lacking is the knowledge of how our ancestors put together their fabulous stories and it is this gap in our understanding that allows belief and superstition to overcome reality. However, during the past twelve years or so I have been endeavouring to plug the afore mentioned gap and, greatly to my surprise, seem to have succeeded. What I have found with regards most (if not all) old stories, including the Bible, is this: they are based on star patterns or, more precisely, pictures in the night sky. Our ancestors used this ‘star-art’, perfected over millennia, in much the same manner as comic-strip cartoonists do today, by combining words and pictures to create their stories. The Bethlehem Star is a picture in the stars, rather than any of the previously mentioned suggestions.

Now, don’t panic if you are one of those who immediately think ‘atheist!’ for there is more to this than meets the eye, just as there is more to spirituality than religion. Throughout my life I seem to have played the bridging role, the go-between, and if you care to look you will see how divisive religion is. Not only does it divide countries; not only does it divide a population; not only does it divide towns and villages; not only does it divide families; it also divides the individual for it asks the impossible. It asks you to believe exactly what somebody else wants you to believe. Any of us with a free spirit (that’s all of us initially) should find this totally abhorrent.

The good news, I have found, is that belief itself is not a requirement for a spiritual approach to life. In fact it is probably a hindrance as it stops us searching for knowledge. The Church, never a fan of public knowledge, repeatedly tells us that only through faith are we to be saved. Yet, I say, without knowledge we are open to all manner of deceptions, belief being one of them. For belief, if you give it a moment’s thought, reveals itself to be a totally egocentric occupation, it panders to our most intimate emotions. Don’t trust it, for it is heady and dangerous stuff. Miffed? Don’t be, for life is a great learning curve and should be fun. If you’ve reached a full stop then turn the page or, better still, throw away the book!

So, how to prove that Knowledge holds the trump card over Belief? What better way than for the ultimate belief symbol to enter the world of knowledge. The sun stopped going round the earth; the earth stopped being flat; the Turin shroud stopped being genuine; and now the Star of Bethlehem is back, not as something inexplicable, but as a visible entity. Its return should herald a new spirituality – one based on careful observation, on knowledge – for all we need to know is shown us. It is simply a matter of knowing how to look and of not being blinded, as we have been for centuries, by those whose power and position depend on our ignorance.

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