Remember Jesus?

An email to my thirteen-year-old daughter


Remember Jesus?
by Setareh Sabety

This is the first Christmas that I am without my children.  But I am not sentimental about Christmas not having really grown up with it.  As a child in Iran I remember having a tree in my room and singing carols in Mrs. Hekmat and The Community schools, the former run by a wonderful Jewish woman and the latter by old American missionaries.  My mother having also attended the same missionary school run by American’s in Iran had a soft spot in her heart for Christmas and indulged me in my requests for a tree.  But Christmas was, in truth, an import, something taken from the westerners and enjoyed, a novelty like Lego blocks.

I am an atheist with very little tolerance for the pseudo-spirituality that has gripped the secular world of perfectly educated people.  With the rise of the Christian Right in the West and Islamic Fundamentalism in the East I have indeed come to see religion more and more as a dangerous force or at least a great liability for the cultural and moral evolution of humanity.  Yet this morning when I wrote an email to my thirteen-year-old daughter I found myself singing praises of Jesus.  Here is why:

Jesus as a historic figure, or even a mythological one for the die-hard skeptics, is a great role model.  He was a man who bore a message of love, forgiveness and peace. Jesus embraced poverty and preached honesty.  He rose up to defend the poor and down-trodden in a time when violence, hypocrisy and corruption were rampant throughout the mighty Roman Empire. He believed in his message to the point of self-sacrifice. This willingness to die in order to make the world a better place this ultimate show of courage is what gives Jesus his historic and mythological stature and makes us remember him today.  Had Jesus repented we would not have Christmas. No Cross, no Jesus.  Many may say that we would not have the in Inquisition or the Crusades either but we cannot blame a man who by all accounts acted peacefully and preached love for the act of mal-intentioned followers many centuries later.  

From Jesus we learn that love is more powerful than hate.  We learn from him that in fact loving those who hate us is the best way to teach them how to stop hating.  We learn from Jesus that greatness comes more from the strength and logic of ideas than wealth and power. That there is no shame in poverty only in our inability to hope and endure suffering. Jesus teaches us that true freedom comes from our ability to forgive our own shortcomings and those of other’s and to imagine a better world.  I do not believe in Jesus as a prophet, I am an atheist but I can still tell my children that they can learn a lot from the basic tenants of his teachings. Here’s to Jesus! 

Merry Christmas everyone!    


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Way to go Athiest & Jesus.

by Ladan K (not verified) on

Bravo Athiest!
Your thoughts are clear and well thought through, unlike so many people who are "religious". While this does not put down all religion, religion does make it easy for poeple who cannot think for themselves to go off an rampage to spew hate and narrowminded-ness in the mistaken belief that they are supporting a "faith". You don't have to be religious to see that Jesus was probably a cool cat. Ironically, he would have been the kind of guy that most "republican-religious-right" folks would actually NOT approve of if he were alive today. He probably would go on marches to protest the war so many Christians voted for, and would probably wear hemp (and maybe even smoke it too?) He certainly would not have looked up to our president today (either idiot: Bush or Ahmadinejad) and he probably would have been just the kind of guy I'd have invited over to dinner with my family. And I am a muslim. (Well, sort of I guess. I too, don't approve of people representing my religion today).
So I say Way to go Jesus. You an this atheist are more like me than I'd been brought up to belive.


I deny the heavenly father I

by kurdatheist (not verified) on

I deny the heavenly father
I deny the son
I deny the holy spirit


Dear "LostIdentity"

by sister Jahn (not verified) on

My son LostIdentity - you are doing very well. Nice video. Mary is very beautiful in this video ;), I am sure holly God will bless her. Keep up on writing good short and precise comments. I am proud of you my son.

Smile and stay happy, it is a season of jolliness.:)


Christmas is the day of

by LostIdentity (not verified) on

Christmas is the day of Jesus and Mary for Jesus love eminated from Mother's Love;


Merry Christmas



by dp (not verified) on

I wish all atheists thought like you. But there are lot of hatred in this world that hide under religion or other forms of political/social philosophy.
Merry Christmas


Sabety Supporting Jesus? No Thanks!

by Dutchman (not verified) on

I genuinely feel sorry for Sabety’s children. The example set by their mother is one of insincerity, opportunism and hypocrisy. Are they going to believe that their one time Pahlavi bashing, Arafat worshipping (not to forget, Sharon applauding) Castro cheering mommy is now going to have tea with Asfhraf Pahalvi as a “love-thou-enemy” gesture? Is this not the same Sabety who wrote:(//

"Understand that to be secular-minded, to want democracy, to want a referendum, like you propose, we do not have to forgive the mistakes of Mohammed Reza Shah's regime."
Well, the pigs may fly but Sabety supporting Jesus? No thanks I’d rather be on side of Pontus Pilot. If she is a Chist lover then I am a Dutchman.
Hans van de Groot


That is true my son!

by sister Jahn (not verified) on

That is true my son! It is very hard for us to figure it out ourselves. We should first consult with our holly father. God bless you my dear.


You needed Jesus to tell you

by kurdboy (not verified) on

You needed Jesus to tell you that Love is more powerful than hate? You could not figure that out on your own?