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A good time to rekindle faith in one another

CHRISTMAS is not just a Christian festival, but one that is shared by secularists and atheists alike, having its origins in North European pre-Christian rituals.

Ultimately, ritual and celebration are not the exclusive right of the churches.

The winter solstice celebrations, or Yule, that Christmas displaced, give thanks for the gift of light and for the return of the sun from its long winter sojourn. Echoing these sentiments, Christians speak of Christ as the light of the world.

In many ways we are moving towards a post-religious society where people feel free to express the beliefs they hold not out of obligation, but from conviction.

Many, including myself, feel more at ease with various forms of agnosticism, where answers to questions about belief are tinged with elements of not knowing.

My atheist friends often seem to have a more compassionate view of what it is to be human, particularly about what it is to be human to one another.

The loving of God sometimes occludes the more obvious need to love and forgive one another.

This is a time for rekindling faith in one another, reinvigorating our humanity and hoping for better things to come.

PHILIP O'NEILL

By email

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