Anatolie Cantir, a cultural explorer and coach living in my home country, posted on LinkedIn a reflection on the Danish lack of religiosity. With Christmas closing in, I thought this a great inspiration for an "end of year" post.
I have touched on religion in Celebrating Christmas 365 days a year and in the Danish version of local information about USA because it is such an interesting difference between USA and most of Western Europe that Americans are much more religious.
Composing a comment to Cantis's post I stumbled into this video with Phil Zuckerman, the social scientist I mentioned in the first reference above. Entertaining a skeptical American audience, he looks into some similarities among countries that have strong beliefs in a deity and how they differ from those that haven't. His data driven conclusions differ slightly from the ideas of the American Religious Right.A comment on Cantir's post told a story that said it better than I can:
"This summer I had a very special experience. A former colleague and mentor, whom I did not meet for some time, passed away. At the funeral I learned that he was a deeply religious man. And so is his family. But he never mentioned that to me. He never tried preaching to me, or telling me about his faith. Still - he had a great influence on me, through his personality, through his actions, through his thoughts, through his kindness and humor. I am grateful for having met him, and I think that his presence at some point in my life enriched me. We don't need to talk about our beliefs - but put them into practice, thus becoming a source of inspiration for the people around us.
Between not talking about our beliefs but putting them into practice and talking a lot about our beliefs and not living by our words, I know what I choose.
The Golden Rule - don't do unto others what you would not want done to yourself - doesn't even need a deity to work.
Ethics doesn't need a deity to work.
And being kind, funny, and generous with ones time to mentor others and become "a source of inspiration for the people around us" doesn't need a deity to work.
But perhaps the ancients put these rules into their religion because they knew humans needed to be reminded regularly about what works best for the long game?
And perhaps we should try to be as smart as the ancients - at least theoretically - were...
Merry Christmas - in whichever way you celebrate the turning of the year. May you get safely into 2022.