Masking The Face Of God

If you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?

Graham Greene, The Comedians (1966).

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Nothing so tends to mask the face of God as religion; It can be a substitute for God Himself.”

Martin Buber

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Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

–CHARLOTTE BRONTË, Jane Eyre, preface

“Masks beneath masks until suddenly the bare bloodless skull.”
Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

The quotes above attack religion, not God. An individual belief is good and harms no one. Distortion increases with amplification and grouping is a form of amplification. I say it once again, Big Religion is a threat to humanity. Small churches serve a social purpose.

I’m contemplating ideas concerning religion and masks.  Th top two quotes interest me most.

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Needing A Soul

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Artists, writers, and other creative beings need this mysterious entity. You may use other words but you must find that light in the darkness. We use terms like deep for a reason. Many cultures have used the bird to symbolize the soul. I chose the Phoenix due to the rebirth connection. Key-Hole also seems apt but notice I divided the words. Maybe the male part of my brain prefers the hole. The Egyptians use their creator god, Ptah, in their death ritual called the Open Mouth Ceremony. Ptah is the opener; he is the key. The soul gives hope. Atheists often claim Agnostics, as like minds. Believers often sound like knowers. I have a more humble assessment about what I know. I do have faith that I will follow Emily Dickinson. I choose no better fate. I see no better soul. She put her doubts in a Fly; but “Hope is a thing with wings.”

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Striptease For Trees-us

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Odin (top left) and Jesus (bottom right) have similarities. The World Tree of the Norse (Yggdrasil) and Genesis’s Tree of Knowledge parallel. Nature deities often have descent into the underworld stories with eventual return which may come as resurrection or a new birth. I used A Naiad (upper right), by John William Waterhouse because the nymph’s abduction of Hylas has similarities to when Demeter lured Iasion but with a better available image. The Inanna and Dumuzi myth and many others sound much the same. I just wonder if Jesus had stronger parallels to nature deities before Catholicism became nature hating. Islam also went the nature hating route to add a bit more dessert to their lands.

Adamites represented Christianity long before Constantine created Catholicism. A return to Eden philosophy existed among the Adamites and a couple of other Christian groups. Did Jesus walk around in a loincloth or nothing at all? Was Jesus a nature freak, a shepherd of the earth similar to King David and Noah? Are we to protect flora and fauna?

I have some disagreements with PETA, but I think they have close to the right idea. Using their tactics on all ecology issues and creating active debate about what best serves the world seems like a good idea to me. I’m sure many religious folk will hate the idea of a Treesus, but many may agree with the principle. Nude females often represent nature. I’m sure many can see the message in Ernest Board’s Nature Cast Out (lower left).

I’m still trying to refine my message about nature in my work of fiction, but I’m hoping this post and my last can help clarify my views. An occasional nude or near nude ballet doing the Rite Of Spring or other nature based ballets might breathe life into botanical gardens. Can’t we have classy showings of skin?

Images come from Wikimedia and more info on the upper left and lower right is below:

Odin’s_Self-sacrifice_by_WG Collingwood

Rembrandt_The_Three_Crosses_1653

Druthers for Killing the Others

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In the Inquisition, Roman Catholics killed and persecuted other religions; other religions have done the same. Is their much difference between the Inquisition and Nazism? They both operated as hate groups against the “others”. Many will not like this post, but I believe in learning from history. Religions and tribes still act like the Catholics of the Inquisition. You can look up George Carlin’s joke about the Vatican being without a nuke and be thankful the Pope does not have such power. Even American nuns may have found themselves subject to a Papal bomb for standing their ground against the Pope. Iran can point at the many Catholics in American politics to justify their nukes. I’m not affiliated with any religion, so I’m an other to both Catholic and Muslim. The monster sized religions do come off as a threat. Join the collective or die, does not thrill me.

I use the Lost poster from season one because of their use of the term, “Others.” The other image comes from Wikipedia’s page for Self-categorization theory. Feminists often treat men like others and I use this concept in my book. My two chapters, most devoted to the “Others” concept, frustrate me more than any other; the àpropos has become ironic.

 

Deists vs Atheists

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I’m an “ic”; I’m an agnostic. I don’t care what people believe as long as they don’t kill those who don’t share the same belief. Deists and Atheists are both theists; they killed each other during the Reign of Terror. One had a mandatory belief in god and the other had a mandatory disbelief. Baroness Emmuska Orczy used the Reign of Terror as the setting for her novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel. They say this book denotes the first use of a hero with a secret identity, so we now have Batman because of the Scarlet Pimp. I don’t use this part of French history in my book, but it does represent stupid battles over god. The guillotine is a symbol of this time.

 

Worshipping Narcissus

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“I know you – You don’t know” has led to images on the right. Death may give you an answer about God, but until then you know what I know = Nothing. Does a God care if I’m a Doubting Thomas? Thomas saw much more than I did and Jesus accepted him. God may hate the Narcissus label more and people who say they know God may find themselves in deep doo-doo. Michener’s book The Source played a part in my decision to use a fertility cult in my own book. Images like those on the right play a part in my motivation and why I prefer the spiritual, but not religious label.

Images clockwise starting on the top left (from Wikipedia)

Narcissus by Caravaggio depicts Narcissus gazing at his own reflection.

Both pictures on the right come from the page about the Waldensians. Yes, Jews have been persecuted but Protestants didn’t fare any better than Muslims, Native Americans, or Jews under Papal rule.

The Source by James A. Michener explores the roots of religion.

 

Grandma?

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Alice Nutter — Witch? Doubts on both counts, but possible. The witch part depends on what makes a witch. Many today adopt the witch label. Does brewing up old recipes make someone a witch? The crime came from the overreaction. The Church of England resembled the Catholic Church in patriarchal  bureaucracy. Some systems resist change. The Lancashire witch trials show justice in inaction.

Salem citizens admitted their wrong, but Popes and Kings stay away from such admission. Some Americans learned a lesson, some will never learn. We may have even gone backward in more recent years.

Gaiman and Pratchett did a good job with Good Omens. They have both done better work and I’m sure the team writing helps and hurts in different ways.

To Cult or Not to Cult

Raëlian

Some hate the label. Can we call these “Out There” religions because they have outer space links. Big Religion has caused wars, so I try not to judge to hard. These three have had impact on Florida, so they sit in my domain.

Raëlians hung out in Miami for a while. Do I now much about them? No, but I’m sure few will like a peek and they embrace Peeping Toms.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism had serious impact on major issues. I do like spaghetti, so I have no gripes.

Scientology has big lawyers and big stars, but they also have a movie bomb. I tried reading Battlefield Earth and it ranks as the first book that I started never finished. I’m sorry it doesn’t reflect well on their religion. I believe in religious freedom, so I believe they have rights and I have a right to my own opinion.

The Crews Way to Twist Screws

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Harry Crews uses shock. Lightning served great purpose to primitive man; it started fires and fire can be very good. Some may start fires with these books. Crews doesn’t shy away from much and will offend the book burning type. He wrote one book about a guy eating a car to make a case against, what he saw as, an irrational love for cars.

The outer two books look at religion and the snakes you find. You often seen snakes in religion. In Feast of Snakes, Crews shows the practice in extreme. Snakes symbolize intertwining bodies; male anatomy; life reborn. in their shedding skin; and eternity, in the circle form shown on the cover. The Gospel Singer shows a devil in angel form. A charlatan who preys on people in their search for hope.

The Hawk is Dying comes in book and movie form. Falconry, an old practice, and when you favor Free Bird; it hurts a little.

Celebration takes place at a trailer park for retired persons. A young woman sparks some old fires. Naked in Garden Hills takes place in my neck of the woods, Bone Valley. I made a short post on phosphate and it shows a book about the importance. Crews writes about her rape of land.

Absurdity = Killing for God (doh!)

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Kafka (left) and Camus (right) are masters of the absurd; I believe they would agree in my premise. Atheists are without hope; many of religion are without reason. A life without belief is empty; too much belief is insanity. Does a god need puny humans to fight his or her battles? Tis a shame, all religions have a criminal past. Anyone proud of their religion should read history. Protestants get a bit of a break because the don’t fall under a unified religious belief; they just protested against Big Religion. My book began when I saw my ancestors on both side of the blade at the Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Have god in your heart not your sword. Jaroslav Róna’s statue of Kafka (center) stand in Prague. You sculptors out there need to get busy; Camus and the Godot dude seem lacking.