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An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 18:13:40


Hitchslap
Level 56
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I thought I would share the story of my first ever Christmas Eve mass, but A little bit of context first.

Every Christmas, I go visit my family in a small countryside town near Orléans, France. And every year, there is always this time when we have to decide who is going to accompany my grandmother to the Christmas Eve mass. My grandmother is basically the only religious zealot left in this part of the family, having spent her life with only one friend, sadly imaginary, and namely Jesus. So far, I had religiously avoided going to the mass all these years, but this time I thought I would show support, since she had a tough year, my grandfather having died earlier this year, and she has been fighting cancer for the past couple of years. I knew that faking an interest in Jesus would make her happy and that was the least I could do for her. Plus I thought it would be an interesting anthropological experiment.
I finish my beer, and here we go, me, my mother and father, my elder sister, my cousin and her children, and my grandmother, in route to the Christmas Eve mass. All atheists except my grandmother. (edit: to be fair to them, i'm the only one being a dick about my atheism)

When we arrived at the local church, at the entrance, a woman was handing us a colorful piece of paper and a pen. I didn’t know what this was all about, so I politely said that I wasn’t interested, thinking this was a Christian tradition I wasn’t aware of and I didn’t want to look like a fool not knowing what to do with this pen and paper. Then the woman said it was for a surprise, so I told her that I liked surprises, and I took the paper and the pen.

As soon as I entered the church, one man was standing out. He was wearing a very shiny white liturgical vestment, with a very peculiar fabric, similar to the “Rich Bazin” fabric (a traditional fabric in West Africa). He was black, the only black guy in the room. And I’m talking dark ebony black, not milk chocolate black. He was the priest. I instantly knew that this would be a great evening.

At this moment, two pleasing thoughts crossed my mind. The first was the confirmation of the current trend of Christianity’s decline in France, where the profession of priest is known to be lacking candidates, leading the churches to import priests from West Africa’s former French colonies.
And the second thought was about the irony of being here, in a small countryside town, populated mostly by elderly white people, therefore likely to be mildly racists. And their town’s priest is a black guy from West Africa...I wanted to burst in laughter (I just checked the results of the last regional elections to be sure that I wasn’t making an unfair assumption, and unsurprisingly 40% voted for the far-right nationalist party…)

I then find somewhere to sit, my father and I exchange a few jokes, and the mass begins.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To be continued...
Next episode will have to wait for 2016, I'm out for the night. Have a great New Year’s Eve everyone
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The priest comes up to the altar, in his magnificent vestment, and asks us to stand. It wasn’t my first time in a church, so I knew the drill: stand up, sit down, I just had to do what everybody else was doing and I would be fine. As soon as the priest started talking, much to my pleasure, it made me travel back to my childhood, having lived 11 years in North and West Africa as a child. I was observing the audience, the three girl in the row before me were giggling, and the rest of the people there had an awkward look on their faces, making it clear they couldn’t make out what the priest was saying, due to his very strong West African accent. I found the whole situation hilarious.

I knew before going in that I wasn’t going to like the Bible stuff, but I was aware of that and was prepared to overlook it. And apart from a few things I thought it was fine anyway. I wanted to partake in the singing, but I honestly couldn’t get myself to sing to the glory of God, it just felt too weird for me. The only time I got myself to sing was when the chorus was in Latin, “Gloria in excelsis Deo”, for some reason it didn’t seemed as bad as in french.

Surprisingly enough though, apart from the Christmas songs, not much of what the priest said was about Jesus, the Bible or God in general. Most of his talk was about human misery, wars, climate change. We were asked to pray for the well-being of the people in Syria, especially Christians. Even the passage he chose to read from the Bible, and written on the brochure they gave us at the entrance, was the gospel of Luke, where Syria is mentioned (though to be honest, I’m probably overthinking it, since the story was more about the birth of Jesus). Overall, the speeches in between songs were about peace, and about how we could make our world a better place.

Right after talking about the COP 21, the priest asked us to take the piece of paper and the pen, and write on it something each of us can do, in our day to day lives, to help preserving the planet. It was only then that I realized the piece of paper was shaped in the form of a tree leaf. Before that I thought it looked like a fish, the kind of fish-shaped piece of paper children stick to the back of their friends on April’s fool day. I pledged on my paper that I would refrain from throwing my cigarettes’ butt on the pavement (which I already do whenever I can, but a reminder doesn’t hurt). Everyone was then invited to go hang the leaf on one of the two leafless trees standing below the altar, which I hadn’t noticed until then. In a matter of minutes, theses leafless trees were covered with colorful leaves, where you could read everyone’s pledge to make the planet a little better. I remember reading a leaf with a child handwriting where it said “I pledge to turn off the Wi-Fi every night before going to sleep”, which I found cute.

After a few more songs and prayers, the mass ended. I think it lasted about 1h30. I have to say I was positively surprised by the experience. Even though I thought the speech was a bit naive at times, it was done in good spirit. I was surprised at how politically engaged it was, but when I asked my father about it, he told me that it wasn’t at all unusual. I still think that religions are unnecessary and that overall we would be better off without it. But in this particular church, combining the good messages to the fact that it was delivered by an African cleric, thus adding a bit more diversity to this tight community, I think this Christmas Eve Mass did more good than harm to everyone involved.

Peace Out and Happy New Year!

Edited 1/1/2016 15:27:11
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 18:16:56


Captain America
Level 5
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The hell is this? Did al sharpten right this?
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 18:17:28


Lord Varys
Level 47
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Are you an f***ing asshole, or what?

Get some fucking repect man! She's your dying Grandmother, not a fucking anthropological experiment... What the hell is wrong with you?

What kind of asshole...

First of all, older people aren't any more likely to be racist than younger people, and political parties have sh*t to do with it, you douche.

Talk about intolerance..... Your an intolerant dick.
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 18:19:50


Captain America
Level 5
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Elderly white people + church = Racism?. As far as I know, the nationalist party in France doesn't represent racism
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 18:20:39


Lord Varys
Level 47
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^

talk about intolerance...
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 18:21:56


Captain America
Level 5
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I mean seriously, who posts this type of stuff? If I was to post something like this mocking Muslims I would be beaten to death lol
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 18:30:11


[AOE] JaiBharat909
Level 56
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He was black, the only black guy in the room. And I’m talking dark ebony black, not milk chocolate black. He was the priest. I instantly knew that this would be a great evening.

I don't understand this part. Is it going to be a great evening because he is black?? Also why do you care about the difference between "dark ebony black" and "milk chocolate black"?? That hints of mild racist tendencies.

populated mostly by elderly white people, therefore likely to be mildly racists.

This sounds like an assumption. Just because 40% voted for "far right nationalist party" does not mean that those people in the church voted for this party or subscribe to "race-based" and "discriminatory policies". Unless you're saying you assumed this because your grandmother is a racist?

Edited 12/31/2015 18:31:42
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 18:31:55


Lord Varys
Level 47
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@ Jai, I thought the same thing.
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 19:04:29


Darth Darth Binks
Level 56
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Christian leaders =/= Priests.

Catholic leaders in specific = Priests.

And also, holy damn Hitch. Do you have a shrine to Sharpton in your bedroom?
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 19:52:40


[WOLF] The Conservative
Level 56
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^ exactly what I said
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 21:57:48


Lord of Turnips
Level 57
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Also Hitchslap, why are you in the Luciferianist clan if you don't pray to god at all?
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:18:01

wct
Level 56
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Heehee, the intolerance of those who cry, "Intolerance!" You guys need to get a grip. Nothing in his story represents any intolerance on the part of Hitchslap. In fact, he's being quite tolerant of his grandmother's religion so far. All the intolerance so far is in your imaginations, and in your hypocritical cries of "Intolerance!" At least wait until he finishes the story to see what *actually* happens. Sheesh.
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:22:00


[AOE] JaiBharat909
Level 56
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He just assumed that every white person in that church was "mildly racist". Plus he cares that the Pastor is "dark ebony black" and not "milk chocolate black"!! As if your skin color denotes how "black" a person is lol.

Edited 12/31/2015 23:22:14
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:25:41


[WOLF] The Conservative
Level 56
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outrageous and dumb
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:28:27


4Chan
Level 18
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I, for one want to see part two

*grabs popcorn*
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:28:28


4Chan
Level 18
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I, for one want to see part two

*grabs popcorn*
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:32:26


Lord Varys
Level 47
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Heehee, the intolerance of those who cry, "Intolerance!" You guys need to get a grip. Nothing in his story represents any intolerance on the part of Hitchslap. In fact, he's being quite tolerant of his grandmother's religion so far. All the intolerance so far is in your imaginations, and in your hypocritical cries of "Intolerance!" At least wait until he finishes the story to see what *actually* happens. Sheesh.


He assumed the people were racist because they were white christians.

This is how I know your dumb.
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:44:21

wct
Level 56
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He just assumed that every white person in that church was "mildly racist".

No, he didn't. Read it again.

Plus he cares that the Pastor is "dark ebony black" and not "milk chocolate black"!!

Does he 'care', or has he simply taken note of the fact?

As if your skin color denotes how "black" a person is lol.

Heehee. Okay, so what does 'black' refer to if not skin colour? lol
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:46:31

wct
Level 56
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He assumed the people were racist because they were white christians.

No, he didn't. Can you quote him on that?

This is how I know your dumb.

*you're ;-D
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 12/31/2015 23:57:42


[AOE] JaiBharat909
Level 56
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And the second thought was about the irony of being here, in a small countryside town, populated mostly by elderly white people, therefore likely to be mildly racists.

No you read it again WCT!! He assumed they were "likely to be mildly racist" because they were 1) elderly 2) white people and 3) from a rural area. Trends do not connote fact. Unless he asked each and every single one if they were a racist and then they responded yes could his theory be correct.
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 00:15:14

wct
Level 56
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Do you understand the word 'likely'?

From google:
like·ly
ˈlīklē/
adjective
adjective: likely; comparative adjective: likelier; superlative adjective: likeliest
1.
such as well might happen or be true; probable.
"the likely effects of the drought on sugar beet yields"

expected, anticipated, predictable, predicted, foreseeable;
informal in the cards
"it seemed likely that a scandal would break"

2.
apparently suitable; promising.
"a likely-looking spot"

promising, hopeful
"a likely place for a picnic"

adverb
adverb: likely
1.
probably.
"we will most likely go to a bar"


'Likely' is a judgment of *probability*. It's not an *assumption* that the thing is *certainly* true, which is what you were saying when you said, "He just assumed that every white person in that church was "mildly racist"."

Ironically, you are yourself displaying prejudice, when you take his innocuous statement about probability and *assume* that he is making a blanket statement about everyone.

[See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Likelihood#Historical_remarks ]

Edited 1/1/2016 00:18:11
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 00:19:55


Onoma94
Level 59
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So... what this post was meant to prove?
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 00:23:26


Mister Kl
Level 55
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It was a confession, to his God.
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 00:34:36

wct
Level 56
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Prove? It's a story.
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 02:08:10


Darth Darth Binks
Level 56
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Do you understand the word 'prejudice?'

From Google:

prej·u·dice
ˈprejədəs/Submit
noun
1.
preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
"English prejudice against foreigners"
synonyms: preconceived idea, preconception, prejudgment
"male prejudices about women"
2.
LAW
harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgment.
"prejudice resulting from delay in the institution of the proceedings"
synonyms: detriment, harm, damage, injury, hurt, loss
"without prejudice to the interests of others"

Jai has not acted in the form of prejudice. He has not made any preconceived opinion, as he is commenting on what he has read. Actually, Hitchslap is acting in prejudice. He assumes that people who vote for the Nationalist party are racist. He assumes people who live in right-wing areas are "mildly racist."
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 03:13:13

wct
Level 56
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Yes he has. He has judged Hitchslap's character and thoughts (as being intolerant and racist) before he has enough information to make an informed judgment.

He assumes that people who vote for the Nationalist party are racist. He assumes people who live in right-wing areas are "mildly racist."

And now you're making the same mistake. I note that you fail to quote him, but only paraphrase (inaccurately).

Edited 1/1/2016 03:35:22
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 03:18:46


Platinum
Level 58
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waiting for part two..
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 04:07:41


[AOE] JaiBharat909
Level 56
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These were my original questions: Is it going to be a great evening because he is black?? Also why do you care about the difference between "dark ebony black" and "milk chocolate black"??

I'll wait for hitchslap to respond instead of his proxy (wct).

Edited 1/1/2016 04:58:21
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 05:08:38


Lord Varys
Level 47
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*you're ;-D


Grammar Nazism - the sign that someone knows there wrong and are desperate too take any victory, however pathetic.

He has judged Hitchslap's character and thoughts (as being intolerant and racist) before he has enough information to make an informed judgment.


Irony- you slam people for slightly misquoting Hitchslap, and then drastically misquote Jai.


You Sir, should be thrown out of any debate.

You're sad.
An atheist at Christmas Eve Mass: 1/1/2016 05:20:14


Darth Darth Binks
Level 56
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Are you f*cking kidding me?

And the second thought was about the irony of being here, in a small countryside town, populated mostly by elderly white people, therefore likely to be mildly racists. And their town’s priest is a black guy from West Africa...I wanted to burst in laughter (I just checked the results of the last regional elections to be sure that I wasn’t making an unfair assumption, and unsurprisingly 40% voted for the far-right nationalist party…)


He wants to burst out laughing because of his assumptions he has made. He does believe Nationalists are racists. He does assume that people living in right-wing areas are racists. He assumes right-wing people in general are racists. Otherwise, he wouldn't have f*cking put above quoted sh*t in his story. Either that, or he has succeeded in his attempt to start a flame war in the Off Topic forum.
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