religion

Cemeteries and Churches

Today was another day of summer camp for the boys. One was at soccer camp and the other at skateboard camp. That, however, is not really what this post is about. 

Apocalyptical : Tracking Apocalypses Since 2013

I want to create a Website, unless one already exists and maybe even if it does, that tracks upcoming apocalypses (or is it apocalypsii?) so that we can turn the end of the world into a spectator sport of sorts. This is a lot more clever than you probably think it is, and likely to become really big and makes piles of money, and let me tell you why. 

Open Scripture Project - Making the Perfect God

Today, I want to introduce you to the "Open Scripture Project". OSP will be a community built religion with a git repository for changes. The purpose of OSP is to give us all the chance to make the perfect god.  We will do it by following a time honoured open source philosophy. Release early and release often!

International Blasphemy Day

Today, September 30th, is International Blasphemy Day, designated to commemorate the publication of 12 editorial cartoons in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, which depicted the Islamic prophet, Muhammad in less than favourable and deeply satirical ways.

Salvation Army : Gays Deserve To Die!

For many years, I lived under the impression that although the Salvation Army had a religious base, it did not discriminate and reached out to help those in need regardless of the personal beliefs of those in need. I don't  know where or when I was told this, but I believed it.

The Lunacy of Exorcism

One of the most ridiculous notions in religious dogma is that of demonic possession, followed inevitably by exorcism. The practice, aside from being completely insane is also barbaric and inhumane. For the purpose of this article, I'm going to concentrate on the insanity. 

Nailed for Jesus

Over at Thailand's "The Nation", you will find coverage of a bizarre practice, made all the more strange by the fact that it happens each and every year. In this report, 24 penitents had themselves nailed to crosses in a recreation of Christ's crucifixion and death. They apparently leave out the death part, but they do go through the actual process of having themselves nailed to a cross, with large nails hammered into their palms by guys dressed up as Roman soldiers.

Now you've got to hand it to them (no pun intended), these are people who really truly believe. They're also not entirely sane, I'd wager. But I guess nothing says "I believe" like participating in a brutal display of torture and human sacrifice.

A lot of questions surround this practice, and I'm not even talking about the question of whether there was a Jesus who died for our collective sins. The questions are more along the lines of this:

Found on Wikicommons: Saint Michael parish church in Untergriesbach. Fresco at the ceiling: Last Judgment( 1780 ) by Johann Georg Unruhe - Good souls rising to heaven.Pfarrkirche St. Michael in Untergriesbach. Vierungsfresco: Jüngst

Jesus and the Resurrection. Been There. Done That.

Let me see if I get this straight . . . a long time ago, this guy was born of a virgin, performed miracles, collected disciples, then was eventually crucified, died, was buried, and rose again to redeem mankind? Does that sound about right?

I thought so, except I'm not talking about Jesus. In this case, the guy's name was Attis and he was a fairly popular Phrygian man-god some 400 years before Jesus Christ came on the scene (though the origins of the story go back as far as 1200 B.C.). Attis was born of the virgin, Nana, became the consort of the mother Goddess Cybele. Attis is sometimes depicted as a shepherd, his priests are celibate (they are in fact, castrated),  is crucified to a tree (accounts vary somewhat on this point), dies, is buried, and rises again to bring life to the world. The Attis myth reaches its peak sometime around 200 BC.

Attis isn't special though. In point of fact, guys who were born of virgins, performed miracles, died, then rose from the dead are common to many religions. Christianity adopted a lot of these old stories to make their new religion more palatable to the dominant religions of the day. As for all those miraculous things . . . well, your god wasn't much of a god if he couldn't perform miracles or had some kind of miraculous birth. Born of a virgin sounds pretty miraculous so it makes sense to start there. Water into wine? That's an old one too.

In 405 B.C., Euripedes' "The Bacchae" was released. It features Dyonisus who, among other things, is born of a virgin, turns water into wine, and has someone crucified to a tree. Dyonisus was called "King of Kings", "Redeemer", "Savior", and other familiar titles we associate with that Johnny come lately, Jesus.

14
Feb

The True Meaning of Lent

Even though the language I am most comfortable with is English, my first language was French. I spoke my first English words when I was 9 years old, and to this day, I still remember those first words. We had moved from Alma, Quebec to Ontario and didn't yet have a place to live. So my parents rented a room at the Sleepy Time Motel in St. Thomas, Ontario, where we stayed for a couple of weeks. The motel was just on the outskirts of town. Just a short walk down from the motel was a chip wagon selling hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, and so on. I wanted a hot dog, so I asked my Dad for some money and the English words I would need to ask for my treat. I practiced that line over and over again, reciting it out loud and in my head as I walked toward the chip wagon. Those words, "I want a hot dog with everything on it" still echo through my mind to this day.

Those types of early language memories can be powerful. Consequently, there are still a lot of French idiomatic expressions floating around in my head. I still occasionally say "Close the light" instead of "turn off the light". Which brings me to Lent.

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