Dennis Prager talks the art of gift-giving on Christmas, the tragic dechristianization of the West, and more in the latest Fireside Chat! Recorded on Dec. 20, 2018.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hi everybody I Dennis Prager welcome to my home and, as I reassure you every week, this is my home. There is no script there is no pre shooting syllabus nothing. I just get a chance to talk to you. About what's on my mind and take your questions things that are on your mind, so welcome to my home- and here we go. I've been thinking about something I think about this every year, every year than I been alive and I have been aware of issues people raise. I guess I didn't. I was unaware of this when I was seven but pretty much all of my life I have read, and I have heard the usual about consumerism and Christmas that people have made a religious holiday in to a capitalist
what day it's great for businesses, but it ruin, the Spirit of the holiday, it's just a bunch of Cora Consumerism, people spending all this money on gifts and the critic. It- has been the same. My whole life am I I never for four minutes now. I never for one minute thought it was persuasive. There is something wrong. I have to say this. I don't mean to insult any body, but I acknowledge its an insult right. I don't mean to be an insult, but it is an insult
There's something wrong with you: if you think there is something wrong inviting people gifts, he dragged me crazy. Do you understand what people are protesting? People are buying too many presence for other people. That is disgusting. Brean comes up with that. I have an answer. The well educated brain. You have to go to college. To think of something that stupid. I mean it literally. You would never have thought that in high school you have to be taught something like that. P or going out and thinking g? What would and Jenny like? That's disgusting, isn't it I mean think about how awful that is that you might be thinking that way, that grandparents are thinking what, when
really make my grandchild happy. Can you think of anything more awful? My governs the epitome of capitalist, the selfishness, of course, being sarcastic, but that's what they're saying. Wouldn't when, when you understand what is involved, how could you possibly be opposed to it? People, our spending their money to try to make people in their lives, friends and relatives happy with a gift. So I asked all these years I broadcast in almost every year. I have broadcast one of my hours prior to Christmas. I have I have asked p So what is your ideal that people not buy anything for anybody.
What is your idea? What is better, this is a classic example of people were not grateful for the for the present and they make up some image. Of some future glorious vision, which is preposterous, I use that even glorious. Yes, we are a must better society than they used to be in America, they used to buy it. Can you believe it they used by people presence for Christmas, but now we don't. We are a better people. Fourth, that's what that's what people must imagine this is. This is what we have come to where it it's like. The miserable and the cheap are dictating the narrative of our tough, because you have to be slightly unhappy and slight.
Cheap. To think that it's a beautiful thing not to get people gift, then there's the religious, the religious one it this is what Jesus had in mind. Now I mean I'm a Jew, I'm not a Christian. I admit it admitted I mean just the fact, but so you may say who are you to comment on another religion? The only answer I have two that is I'm very pro Christian as Christians. No, so this comes from a good place. So, while it is not possible to know if I really directed the question, if one directed the question to Jesus, what the answer would be it's hard for me to believe that he would think it's ugly that people by gifts on his birthday. How would you feel if people bought gifts to honour your birthday, I think you'd feel
pretty good about it right, I mean let's, let's, let's just imagine for a moment that religion has common sense. I vote. Often said about religious people, and I am a religious person. I have often said that the most Herod heretical belief that I have is God has common sense because somebody, religious people, maybe they make this picture of god- that has no common sense. Just substitute you for a moment for God or for Jesus, if you're a christian and say what would Honor me on my birthday if people bought presence for others, people that they love or if people did not by presence for people that they love, which would be a greater honour for my birthday, so that their religious question is absurd and I'll but from my own religion and in a Hanukkah conical without gifts? What would the kids do? The kids would go out of their money.
If you think they're gonna get high just on lighting candles the notion that all we have to just convey the the deep religious essence of the holiday. Of course you have to convey the deep religious essence of a holiday, but why is getting knock it out. Maybe it makes it fun and make Religion. Fun for children is a great way to keep them religious wall, until the religious home that does not bring laugh there are and smiles to its children? What do you think I look forward to is a kid for Hanukkah? lighting candles, not quite it was not a big thrill. All right. It is today because I know what it's about and I love doing it, etc. But I'm not a kid when I was a kid getting the gift. What will my parents get me for? Hanukkah was the only question I asked not what color candles will we be lighting.
It never crossed my mind. All I cared about was what will the gift be as I older, I understood the profound Mimi of Chronic and save monotheism. It's pretty big deal, but that's not what move me when I was eleven, let alone six, but it brought me great joy. My grandparents got me gifts. My parents got me gifts. It was great what's wrong with that.
So that's so much with the religious arguments. Let's see this, they so there's the capitalist and big business argument. There's other religious argument. There was, I think there was a third argument that people give against it, but I maybe I'm wrong- I mean that's. Those are the two big ones. Can you think of any that's pretty much it right. I mean that's what people a people will raise opting outside as to be in nature, you mean and that so they're not giving we can't even give gift outside. Oh, I see ok, That's a little too well over my head. I think that those those pretty much cover what what people say. Oh yes, I think that this is not an objection, but one of my favorite lives
You know what I don't like. I We have a real distaste for make believe in this sense that I think adults should live in reality? We should address reality for one of his people live according let's, like socialism, is beautiful and capitalism is, is ugly, its base star non reality. Reality. Only capitalism has ever gotten people out of poverty. Only right socialism spend the money. The capitalism creates. That's that's all. Paying you that's effect. So here's another example. It's it's it's it's the thought that counts. When people talk about presence. And you know what that sometimes true, and sometimes most of the time. It's not true. It wouldn't be honest.
If somebody gave you a dollar for Conoco or Christmas, and I doubt that you would say well it's the thought that counts it might be. If the dollar were given by an impoverished relative and I'm not being cute, I could understand nothing, but generally speaking not true. I remember this. Is you see I've learned the lot when you talk to millions of people all the time, You learn a lot, so was a woman called me. This is years. Ghosts achieves a grandmother and cheese. Dennis I give I grandchildren every four, thereby using the birthday. Your Christmas, I remember which I think birthday
give my grandchildren on their birthday. Something from my heart was thinking. What might that be, and she said I write them a poem, and that means much more than any gift that I could give them- and I remember telling her wrong- that's just not true a gift would be more appreciated than your poem. That's just a fact. That's not even my opinion, but back to facts. If you gave a poem along with a gift. That's that's a separate issue. It me more to you, your poem, but it does. It mean more to them. The purpose of a present is to be meaningful to the recipient, not the giver. This is sort of elementary logic right. If it will, it would be like me
giving a friend for for his birthday a beautiful box of Cigars and but he doesn't smoke choking myself up. If you give me a beautiful boxes, cigars, it's very meaningful does smoke cigars, but if you give somebody doesnt smoke cigars, even if it's the most wonderful brand in a beautiful box, it's irrelevant it bit means it doesn't mean anything to them. That's what matters! This notion, the thought. It's the thought that counts, Well, let me tell you first of all the fort and the amount of money or not unrelated. If somebody is, I mean, what's in text, to be honest, if somebody gets you inexpensive gift, the rich, keep gift, he of course you're more move by the expensive gift. Unless I mean I want to talk about, a billion air was got me would expensive give to show that there are billions air. Let's, let's talk in the in real life,
in real life. If somebody went the extreme nine yards or x, Ray aren't as it were and brought you something that is relatively expensive versus something that's very cheap. Of course you will appreciate the expensive thing more. That's natural! There's! Nothing wrong with that! This is real life, doesn't make you bad, it doesn't make you a selfish. It makes you real. So that's that that's the reality of all of this when, when people a guy called me. I did show my radio show and by way case. You don't know latin inferno, review, may not especially younger people little tent, the listener radio. I have a national radio show, and I talk about what's happening in the world every day for three hours. So it's it's something you might want to look into its or it's on the internet, its there's an app and therefore
local radio stations all over american which can be accessed all over the world, but a guy. I called me said my wife and I make forty thousand dollars a year And we spend two thousand dollars on Christmas gift. It's a lot of money for a person making forty thousand dollars. It is that's. Five percent of his whole income is going to buy, gives that's a gross income so, but he said it gives us great joy and US when you give a gift- and you see the person light up two great feeling. Why would anybody back to my original plan? Why would anybody think ill of gift giving? So that's via my case, sir, on its behalf.
Ok time for your cue and it. No, your cue, my a your questions, my answers. If, in fact I have an answer for MAC twenty to Vienna, Georgia high Dennis I met- I am about- this. But I want to know what you think of Pope. France is changing the line in the Lord's prayer from lead us not into temptation to abandon us not went into when not we abandon us, not when in temptation. Let me repeat that the Lord's prayer lead us not into temptation undressed, but everybody knows that to abandon us, not when in temptation
since maybe your eye or Catholics thanks for taking my question, so I'm on a few things to say about this first, the truth is the change makes sense again, let's be real, lead us not into temptation, as opposed to discuss the Pope's argument is goddess not leaving you interpretation is a prayer to God. So, but of course it's not an assumption that God is it's that don't let us really into temptation, that's what the original meaning would be. I I would assume, but on a ban but but a ban, and the most not women temptation is very- is a very nice change. However, having said that, I might do obviously mean that, but having said that, I am very wary: changing traditional prayers, because what happens is
ten years later. Somebody has better idea. And then ten years later, someone has a better idea: whereas being being attached to and keeping something alive that has been existence for so long there's something I think valuable in that in my religion, Judaism, the the non orthodox movements. There were four called core reform and conservative, they changed a lot of prayer, so, for example, that the basic press it three times a day in Judaism- includes the prayer blessings you God, let's see, the God of Abraham the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob right. That's that met, write em, like I'm, asking you if it's right, Keith
but anyway that's the way it goes. You said that set a lot and though they changed it, the guard, Of Abraham and Sarah, the God of Isaac and Rebecca the God of a Jacob and Rachel and Leah, and so the You understand states, they included the matriarch, even though the traditional prayer had the patriarchs, so that makes sense. The matriarch are incredibly important figures in India, emphasis I know genocide, I mean, I know my first five books pretty well up working ANA five volume commentary on a cold, the rational Bible, And so I understand that I understood that change like I understand this change. It makes sense, but what happens? Is they keep changing because tastes keep changing? so unless nobody saying.
The traditional lords prayer thought, oh god, you're responsible for my temptations and and by the way, to a certain extent. I guess God is my god- made all the temptations of the world. God made em, but I don't think that that's what was meant, but it doesn't matter so the change makes sense, but unless a change is critical in religion, it's probably not a good idea. Mac, twenty seven Kansas, I MAC in your opinion, what's the best way to change someone's mind also, what is your feet which cigar now, those are two related questions. I like it all right, we'll begin. What is the best way to change somebody's mind, well, you have to be working with somebody who thinks rationally and for whom feeling
are not primary in making in drawing a conclusion in making a judgments. That's that's the issue and you have to be an you have to use reason So if you use reason- and they use reason like I'll, give you a great exam What happened today? I'm a radio show so I have mentioned and in some context, that the alarm over the context. Actually I I mentioned that the West is abandoning
It's it's not always at abandoning religion. It is also banning abandoning, though the enlightenment, which was secular, because there is an anti reason, movement leftism is telling people view go by feelings. It's like the woman who wrote once that I should have actually wrote this in it. In a major newspaper. Dennis Prager has no right to opine about abortion. He doesn't have a uterus. My thought wow. That's awesome that she really believes that, so you can only have an opinion about the worth of each of us.
Human foetus. If you have a uterus by the way, she probably wouldn't say that today this was just five years ago, but today, having a uterus doesn't make you a woman. Nothing makes you woman, not not breasts, not menstruation, not ovaries, not a vagina. It's amazing! None of it. You are what you feel that's a perfect example feeling is everything there. No objective, realities or feeling. So I said we're not only rejecting the religious foundations of the westward re, rejecting the enlightenment, secular foundations, because it was the age of reason, its feelings, today. So their known, as Jerusalem and Athens, Athens from Athens. We got the logic, reason, philosophy basis
and from Jerusalem we got the morality basis. So guy calls me up. Incidentally, you forgot Rome and I said to the guy you're a hundred percent right. I did forget Rome because is absolutely right with from from Rome the intellect, the western religion, obviously through the catholic Church and of roman law? So your ear irrationally right and the guy goes. Oh, that's all I had to say I said: that's all you had to say you were right, you cracked up, So if he's rational alarm rational, if so, U S. The best way to change people's wine. If Europe, she will in their rational. You can do it, but if you're not right, sure they're not rational. It's a lot harder. What I have found the most effective thing that I have found it
by my motto, I prefer clarity to agreement to work with somebody that you're a true differ with and say, look what's, instead of arguing, let's just let's just establish where we differ. That's very that's very helpful because then a person's am, I really do. I really the first. Is that really what I'm saying that's for effective my favorite cigar? If it's from Nicaragua on its strong tends to be my favorite cigar? I am not a fan of cuban cigars, not because Cuba is a kick a communist country Nicaragua is essentially a communist country to under the sun. The so does has nothing to do with politics. It's just the I think Nicaragua has surpassed it. Ponderous makes great cigars and soda Dominican Republic
Rock was my favorite SAM thirty, nine Semi Valley, California, Winston Churchill was alive today were still alive. What would you say to him? I would say you were gone, man, sir and this age is not appreciating you properly. Am I I have proof of that, the what was the name of the astronaut Scott Kelly? What was his name, the one with the space station he's very popular anyway. He he sent out a tweet about a month ago. He he wanted Americans to come together. So we said in victory, Ye shall show magnanimity something like that very sweet tweet. Oh, oh excuse me. He said as the great as the great twenty century british leader when
Then Churchill said in May in India in in victory show magnanimity and he was lamp. Asked by the left, who hate Churchill, because they said. Churchill was a racist and the the The point I made on the radio it was so depressing- was everything good. The left tears down everything. Virtual is just the latest example. I didn't even know that they were tearing down Churchill, but everybody that the founders of the United States were thrown out. Churchill was torn down, religionist torn down the boy scouts, a torn down the arts or torn down everything is torn down. It's like a giant wrecking bull to civilization, from the left, not liberals, but from the left. Churchill was a great man.
I'm reading a thousand page biography of right now by Andrew Roberts- and I- and I am roberts- is totally honest about its flaws. Everybody has flaws, he defended the british empire, so this is why they call him racist and because they say that EU hee hee couldn't feed that the people in West Bank Gall and India during their famine, because they weren't white, but it was it was during the war, and it always was very that there war one or as a world war to one of the two world wars. This fact anyway. It wasn't because of racism. Nevertheless, that, Sir, that's enough here hero the man saved his the irony. The man save the west from a racist Hitler and he's called a racist, and then I'd have a cigar with him.
How you doing on time? What's our story here, okey Doke, Marlene, Thirty four Arlington Tennessee high Dennis I? How do you think humanity would change a fold humans? Life expectancy was significantly increased, let's say to around five hundred years. I am a great question and off the top of my head I would say things would be pretty be pretty dark. It would give people a lot more time the cause trouble. That's my first reaction, they'd have so much time on their hands. They'd be bored, people want excitement and in an evil, is exciting. Listen!
I'd like to live on and on and on I love life. I can't tell you I'd love it so much. I've always loved it. I'm having a ball. I know. But I know that it would be good if I live to five hundred. The a finite the finite number and which were at is, is not bad it its long enough to to live a full life and its short enough to give life meaning. So if you are five hundred years, if I, if one of the reasons I ve been, reproductive, not as productive as I could, because I'm a lazy streak, but I'm pretty productive. One of the reasons is, I know, time is limited, he's if you know you're gonna live two five hundred m
somebody somebody says to you: No, why you? really read this book? You go in Africa, another three hundred and seven years I'll I'll check into it. Then. But if you have to do something meaningful, you know you have to do it now, because you don't have so much time so the death. That's why death gives life meaning I've guy can't stand death, but it does give life meaning. It's not here forever, you better! You better use it wisely. So I don't. I don't pray for five hundred years for people. No, seventeen Irvine California High there either Noah. What's your opinion of the going abandonment of the church, and how do we fix it? I think it's a tragedy, the decreasing!
This is a Jew saying that the christianization of the West as a tragedy. I am totally aware of the flaws of of of Christianity in history. I'm totally aware of, and I wrote a book on, Anti Semitism is huge chapter on Christian Anti Semitism. Nevertheless, words were doomed without it in the west, how to fix it. People have to peat. Religious people have to understand how to make the case for the indispensable d of the bar
people and religion. That's what I'm trying to do with the rational Bible an end. If you read the reviews on Amazon, I have done it with a lot of people. They they entered as an agnostic or atheist and then leave with the least and understanding of the importance of God and the Judeo Christian religions that have developed from the Bible. But the problem is people don't know how to make the case for good stuff people or more eloquent in destructive ideologies than they are in constructive ideologies. I guess it's easier to be eloquent on behalf of bad than eloquent, on behalf
good, I'm not exactly sure why my have theories on it. Maybe I'll, take it up another time so anyway, with all of those thoughts reminding you it's nice to buy gifts for people. You love em, it's nice to receive gifts from people. You love. I can't imagine anybody arguing against that basic points. Life. I'm Dennis Prager, and let me Think oh yeah! You know what I should. I should say that I should add.
A nice gift is my book, the rational Bible. I don't push my stuff much at all, but that's meaningful and it's beautifully bound and printed. It's a beautiful gift that and of course, if you want to give a donation to Prager University, so we can keep all of this stuff free all of our videos, that'll be nice to in any event, I'll see you next week, thanks for being with me
Transcript generated on 2020-04-27.