Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Myth and the Pulpit


When the Harry Potter books debuted and churches and some schools got all up in arms over the "wizard, devils, and witchcraft" debate, I had to roll my eyes. Sorry, but I couldn't help thinking...here the religious zealots go AGAIN.

Stories of weres, vamps and other "creatures" evolved from myth and folklore many years ago and they've been embellished over past decades. There's nothing wrong with that. Personally, I love the Irish/Celtic stories of fairies and sorcerers, wizards and witches. They are fun tales that play to our sense of fancy and our longing to know about the paranormal or what could exist "on the other side".

Around our house we're addicted to shows like A Haunting and Ghost Hunters and I find it interesting to note that obviously The Church believes in things such as demons and entities because every now and then they tote out the holy water and relics to perform exorcisms. I was raised as a protestant but the other day I remarked these featured hauntings usually happen to Catholics. Don't really know what the protestants do to get rid of ghosts. Maybe they're stuck with them.

Religious scholars apparently study the paranormal but I know for sure they don't advise their congregations to "believe" in the existence of ghosts or other paranormal entities. They're told about the devil and that's about it. Reincarnation is dismissed and witchcraft is labeled as bad when most know WICCANS are about peace and harmony with nature. A nature created by God. Go figure. Books like Harry Potter are demonized and folks in rural areas all over the country worked to see they were banned from school libraries.

Why would we doubt the existence of other worlds or universes when even the pyramids feature hieroglyphics of space ships. Ancient Native American carvings show the same. Evidence of the an active spirit world are all around us, documented and catalogued. Why not explore theories or the afterlife, ghosts, parallel universes and reincarnation? Does this fit with today's religious theology. I don't know. I'm not a student of what religious people believe about it and if they think about it and study it, they certainly don't share their thoughts with the rest of us. At least, my pastors never did.

I've always lived in small southern towns, attending tiny churches where black was black and white was white. There was no shade in between and no room for ghosts or spirits. No room for exploration. The Word was the Word and wasn't open to interpretation. I see the world, however, as multi-dimensional and full of secrets that deserve to be explored and examined.

Granted, I find the idea of actual shape-shifters and vampires a tough sell in the 'reality' department but they sure are fun to read and write about. They spark my curiousity and make me think along with taking me on trips to other worlds. I don't have any qualms with my faith in indulging my enjoyment of the paranormal. It's my business and I could care less what a church thinks about it.

14 comments:

  1. Great post, Regina. You echo many of my own sentiments and come Friday, it will look as though I've echoed you a bit too closely, if I don't do some do some creative revisions, lol.

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  2. You have NO idea how many times I wrote and re-wrote this one. ACK!!!! Glad to know I'm not alone when I sort of feared I might be.

    Thanks!

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  3. I grew up in a religious home and was not permitted to ask the questions because of the lack of gray areas. It didn't stop the wondering then nor the questions now.

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  4. Very wisely spoken Regina! I was also thinking about the Harry Potter pandemonium created by the Clergy & the likes.

    As far as myth goes, I always feel that Life is a gossip on the eternal silence of existence, and Man a gossip creating animal. Man is NOT rational and it is good that he is not, Man is 99% irrational and it is good because through irrationality, all that is beautiful and lovely exists.

    Through reason mathematics, through irreason poetry. Throughreason, science, through irreason religion.Through reason, market & money, through irreason love.

    Man is a gossip creating animal, he creates religion, myths, stories about existence. Since the very beginning, man has been creating beautiful myths.Life would be absolutely boring without myths around it.

    But Myths get dropped in the process of rationalization because it is indefensible, so it gets destroyed with arguments.But by destroying it, one destroys the only beauty that exists in human heart.If you kill the myth, you kill the heart.

    All rationalists who kill the myth, find that life goes meaningless after that. All festivity disappears, and without myth, the world becomes just a marketplace, and all relationships become a bargain. Without myth, man is alone in vast emptiness.

    And unless you are enlightened, you cannot live that way, otherwise you will feel meaningless and a deep anxiety will arise and anguish will enter your being,and you will be driven to commit suicide; or you will find some way or the other, drugs, alcohol sex, anything, to drown yourself into in order to forget.

    Myth gives meaning to life, it helps one to LIVE, it helps you to travel, to journey in the world, it gives a Human atmosphere around you, otherwise the world is very stony!

    man gives meaning to existence. That is what gossip & myth is all about.

    Christ must love stories. that is why he went on talking in parables.Buddha too talked in stories I feel God is the first who created the whole idea of gossiping..

    So unless you become God, you have to love gossiping, love stories, love myths.You will love, Greek, Chinese, Indian, American, Arabian, all kind of stories. Millions of them exist- all so beautiful!

    You don't bring logic to them, they can reveal inner doors, inner mysteries.

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  5. My background shares to fundamental denominations that would hiss in the direction of the Harry Potter type debates. They hate any mention of popularizing the genre. The synod we are in now won't talk about it unless already brought up, but seem to have no problem discussing it once it is. I appreciate that about Lutherans... At least this synod anyway. But then Lutherans have beer, laugh loudly, chant, and don't mind Harry Potter either. They trust that you know your faith well enough to distinguish the differences in the shared church belief and the common, "wouldn't that be cool if" beliefs.

    I'm with you Regina. I'm pretty sure that if you are worried over vamps, weres, wizards, witches and sorcery shaking the basics of your fundamental beliefs then you have much bigger problems. It's a diversion, a curiosity, an awareness of things that are which have no stress-applications to my core beliefs. So why does everyone worry that it will crumble the church? I just don't get it.

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  6. Very nice! A lot of valid points in there. As James said, I'm going to have to work harder now.

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  7. Mona, I must be irrational as hell!!! Thank goodness. Consider...we were born with curiosity and to be non-conformist but others start hammering that out of us from the moment we're born. If life isn't interesting, what's the point?

    As to churches, I'm sure others are different and I can only speak from my own experience. They DON'T encourage curiosity and free thought but seek to suppress that and encourage only a "follow me" attitude that doesn't readily accept QUESTIONS.

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  8. A couple points:

    1. The HP protests were, I believe, a vocal minority. The vast majority of Christians (certainly all I've ever met, and my DH, father, and brother are all pastors. Eek!) don't give a hoot, think they're fun reads, and enjoy them as much as everyone else. I'd also quibble with the characterization of all the protests coming out of rural areas, but I don't have any data to back up my defense (I grew up in a rural area and it raises my hackles when those who live there are all assumed to be backwards, superstitious, unreasonable, etc.)

    2. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier this week: there is a mostly unknown story in the book of 1 Samuel about Saul. Samuel, the prophet who called Saul to be king of Israel has died, but Saul is desperate for his advice. So he goes to a medium (aka "The witch of Endor") to call up Samuel's spirit. And Samuel's spirit does come. So there is at least one spirit/ghost in the Bible. The problem is that mediums and the practice of medium-ship (I don't think that's a word, but you know what I mean) goes against Torah law (by which Israel was supposed to live). Samuel's none to pleased with Saul, as you can imagine. (If by chance anyone wants citations, I can provide them; doubt anyone does, though.)

    The essence is that yes, it is possible for people to communicate from beyond life. But we're not supposed to mess with it.

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  9. As someone who has been punished for seeing what (to me) is clearly there, this is a powerful subject. Too many people have that moment or those moments of otherworldly for it to be nut cases on the job.

    Amusingly, I once had a priest give me his interpretation of the ever-changing text of the Bible. And, yes...it does change, depending on who is holding the reins and the politics of the time.

    Back to the subject... The Bible specifically bans certain types of "mysticism" and allows others. Why? If it was used to benefit the Church of the time, it was okay.

    So, that...to me...speaks of fear of anything that wasn't under their control. It wouldn't be the first time. Why do you think midwives were attacked?

    At any rate, great post. These things exist, so turning a blind eye to them is pretty ridiculous, in my book...literally.

    BTW, I was raised Roman Catholic and am now something of an eclectic in the style of Peligius (a 4th C cleric who preached the opposite of many of the doctrines of Augustine and was branded a heretic). But, I was awarded a religious studies award. Why? Because I could tell them where the religion was weak, with their own teachings to prove it. IOW, when they were teaching conflicting things, I spotted it and challenged it. They never answered the questions, which is why I went in search of my own answers. They just awarded me for posing them, because it showed aptitude. Go figure.

    Brenna

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  10. Hello there friends, I am a "Saved" Christian. I read my Bible and know it pretty well. I am also a believer in the supernatural. If you believe the Bible, it is full of supernatural experiences. The transfiguration for instance. Christ talked to several prophets who had been dead for many years. The fact that we believe we will live forever in Heaven is in itself a supernatural event. The Bible also warns us that we "Do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principilities of the air. I don't ever get into a debate with ANYONE over doctrine or things such as this, because in the end, being ready to meet your maker is what is it all about anyway. Learning more and growing closer to God is the gravy of the matter and is wonderful to experience. I have had several experiences, and I believe that Satan and his demons are here to make Christians miserable or to even put them under attack. IF you don't believe that, you are welcome to believe the way you do. But...I have seen things that can't be explained, I have experienced these attacks and by the word of God, I rebuked these evil "creatures"...I have the Holy Spirit living within me, and that alone is "supernatural"...as far as going to a fortune teller, I don't do that because in the Bible, Saul met a deadly end because of his actions. You see...we as Christians are supposed to put our faith in God and not someone else. There is so much out there that we will never understand. There are other "universes"...where do you think Heaven in. And I love the scripture that talks about "A new heaven and a new earth." Many different explainations for that scripture, based on what religion you are, but again, not something to argue about. We must concentrate on spreading the LOVE of God and not confusion. IF you don't believe the way I do, that's ok...I have lived in a home with a "shadow person"...I don't know what that was in actually, but both me and my husband saw it often. I have awoke and knew that Satan was attacking me spiritually (He can't touch me physically) and I saw his image as well as some of his demons in front of my eyes...once I rebuked him in the name of Jesus of Nazereth, he fled. It was an impowering sight to see. It is told to us in the Bible that we..Christians..would experience and do more miracles than his original apostiles. I am nothing special..only a child of the King..that is the only thing that is special about me. As far as big foot...yea. He could exist. How arrogant are we to think we have seen everything God created. As far as the dinasours, I have taken many classes on this and could talk forever, but before the flood, the earth was encased in a veil of water. The ground was receiving moisture from beneath, so it had never rained. Life flourished in these conditions, much like a hothouse effect. Men lived to be hundreds of years old, plants and animals, reptiles etc. grew for hundreds of years. Did you know that most reptiles never stop growing? So IF they lived hundreds of years, can you imagine how large they would be. Check out the website http://www.3bible.com/index.php and look for the video section. There are hundreds of hours on this subject taught and it is very interesting. In the book of Job, he describes a "fire breathing dragon... Anyway, after the flood, things changed, men didn't live nearly as long and their time on earth kept diminishing as did the life span of all other life. Now...aliens??? on that I have no opinion one way or the other. However, this universe is only one of millions...who is to say that God didn't create other lifeforms? Since we as humans have been such a disappointment to him as it is, I couldn't blame him if he had. Just incase you are wondering..I am not on medication for a mental illness LOL! Great Blog!

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  11. Refraining from comment. Hands off keyboard now.

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  12. Interesting. As always, no two people have the same viewpoint. Whatever we believe, whatever our background, isn't it wonderful that we are free to express those beliefs, ask those questions, speculate about the worlds and universes around us?

    That in and of itself is a miracle. Blessings on all who have commented today.

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  13. Elisa, Please post your comment. We all believe differently and that's ok...you have me curious as to why you are keeping your hands away from the keyboard...anyway, I am glad we are free to post what we think and this is a great blog. Thanks for starting it. I have loved reading everyones posts.

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  14. What great comments today! I'm with Anny. It's great to be able to express our opinions in a civil forum and this is, no doubt, a controversial subject. Thanks to everyone for jumping in.

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