Nightcap

  1. Central Saharan rock art Jean-Loïc Le Quellec, Inference
  2. Indigenous Japanese tattoo cultures are making a comeback Alex Martin, Japan Times
  3. 3 personality traits in the US, mapped Olga Khazan, Atlantic
  4. Humanity just had the best decade ever Matt Ridley, Spectator

The Real Meaning of Christmas

…Jesus Christ matters a great deal for this atheist. For Christians, Easter, the Resurrection, is the big date. For us it’s Christmas. When someone wishes me “Good Holidays” in my simplistically minded libprog town, I respond with a cheery, “Merry Christmas.” I don’t do it just to be churlish (though I wouldn’t put this beyond me). No, I mean it.

What happened in Bethlehem is that God became a human, completely, with a conventional birth and all, and a regular upbringing.* This is not another small unimportant religious tale. In time, it’s a world-changing myth.

When God is man, we are only one step removed from Man becoming God. In the long run, it’s the beginning of the end of our collective submission to an often savage Bronze Age divinity. It took about 1500 years but it did happen and only in the parts of the world that had been Christian (plus, maybe, in Japan. Why in Japan? Beats me!).


* By the way, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is not what many people think it is. I keep hearing the mistake on the radio. (It takes an atheist to help with Christian theology, N.S.!)

Nightcap

  1. The empty seat on a crowded Japanese train Baye McNeil, Japan Times
  2. Interstellar conversations Caleb Scharf, Scientific American
  3. Donald Trump is a weak man in a strongman’s world Ross Douthat, New York Times
  4. The Poland model: left-wing economic policy and right-wing social policy Anna Sussman, the Atlantic

Nightcap

  1. The roots of India’s nationalist politics Archana Venkatesh, Origins
  2. How torture is institutionalized in Sri Lanka Ana Pararajasingham, Diplomat
  3. Brown-faced Canadian and American men Irfan Khawaja, Policy of Truth
  4. Why Japan is learning to love rugby Economist

Nightcap

  1. Stay focused on what matters (not politics) Arnold Kling, askblog
  2. The politics of hate and artistic expression in Japan Jeff Kingston, Diplomat
  3. The US and Turkey are back together again Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor
  4. Is Europe on the Chinese menu? Andrew Michta, American Interest

Nightcap

  1. Enchiladas, a culinary monument to colonialism Alexander Lee, History Today
  2. The Marginal Revolutionaries of Austria-Hungary Tyler Cowen, MR
  3. The other side of British India Soni Wadhwa, Asian Review of Books
  4. Old Tokyo, time telling, and the Chinese zodiac Claire Kohda Hazelton, Spectator

Nightcap

  1. Just another story about a UCLA Bruin Wayne Drehs, ESPN
  2. A history of black voting rights in the US Pippa Holloway, Origins
  3. What is origin of China’s success? Branko Milanovic, globalinequality
  4. One final look at the Heisei Era Alex Martin, Japan Times