Tis the season for those running for president in the Republican Party to prove that each is more Christian than Jesus. There is a minister and the son of a minister as candidates. The others are oh-so Christian, just ask them. They love Jesus. But, do they, really?
Blogger Benjamin Corey who writes on Patheos doubts that. He thinks that most don’t know what a ‘Christian Nation’ would look like. Here is a synthesis of his post.
If America Became a Christian Nation (They Probably Wouldn’t Like What it Looked Like)
Because truth be told, if America actually were to become a Christian nation, I don’t think the people who advocated for it would be too happy with the end product. Since Christian is supposed to mean “little Christ” or “Christ follower,” we actually have a way to offer some clear cut examples of what a Christian nation would look like– because all we have to do is look at what Jesus taught, and how Jesus lived, as a model to pattern national behavior.
We’d Have To Abolish the 2nd Amendment. We’d Have to Replace the Department of Defense with the Department of Enemy Love. We’d Have to End Capital Punishment. Eradicating Poverty Would Be One of Our Most Pressing Concerns. We’d Freely Care for the Sick. We’d Become The Most Loving Nation Toward Immigrants.
So, politicians can use the term “Christian nation” all they want, but I don’t think any of them understand what the term actually means– nor do I think any of them would find a Christian nation appealing.
A Christian nation doesn’t exist, nor will one ever exist. However, the Kingdom of God does exist, right here, right now– and you’re invited to live within it, where all of those above things are lived and practiced already.
Light pollution here in the 21st century, especially in metropolitan areas, obfuscates the sky that I remember seeing as a child standing in my backyard on a warm summer night. I haven’t seen the Milky Way in years. Not only the light, but cloudy skies often hide even the Moon. Still, in far away places, the evening sky is as star-studded as it was 3000 years ago. It is as if one could reach out and grab a star!
Yet that same magnificence, I would imagine, brings with it a sense of fear especially to indigenous people who do not understand the universe as scientifically as I. Superstitions develop from that awe as well as taboos. In the early 80’s I was standing outside at night with a 10-year-old refugee boy from the mountains of Laos. I pointed at the beautiful moonrise on the eastern horizon. Quickly the boy told me, “Don’t point at the Moon- your ear will fall off!”
I think back on the primitive, non-scientific minds of the people observing that wonderous star-filled sky each evening which loomed overhead. To us on those rare moments of seeing it great beauty shines in our eyes. However, I suspect that three millenia past, beauty may have taken a backseat to fear. The vulnerability under that massive dome of stars could have been terrifying for many.
What gods, demons or dangerous characters might swoop down from these heavens and curse or kill those helpless people during that long evening! There was no defense against these nighttime terrors. Except religious chants, totems, statues, beads, candles, fire or incense. The same devil-warding measures that are still functional in religious rites today.
Scientists report that the Sky Monsters are gone. Twenty-first century urban dwellers no longer see the night sky. Night and day are virtually the same to the modern eye. Religious salve that once soothed the unlearned no longer is effective. The shaman is unemployed. Heaven appears light-years beyond. Over the Rainbow. Somewhere in a galaxy far away!
irving Finkle looks a lot like Santa, but of course, being a Jewish curator of ancient tablets at a museum, I doubt if he has ever played the role. He is the author of a book titled, The Ark Before Noah– a title which sends shockwaves down the spine of biblical literalists. Yes, and sorry folks, Noah’s ark wasn’t the original source of the myth: the Babylonians wrote it first. And the ark was round. Here is a description of his book from the publisher:
In THE ARK BEFORE NOAH, British Museum expert Dr Irving Finkel reveals how decoding the symbols on a 4,000 year old piece of clay enable a radical new interpretation of the Noah’s Ark myth. A world authority on the period, Dr Finkel’s enthralling real-life detective story began with a most remarkable event at the British Museum – the arrival one day in 2008 of a single, modest-sized Babylonian cuneiform tablet – the palm-sized clay rectangles on which our ancestors created the first documents. It had been brought in by a member of the public and this particular tablet proved to be of quite extraordinary importance. Not only does it date from about 1850 BC, but it is a copy of the Babylonian Story of the Flood, a myth from ancient Mesopotamia revealing among other things, instructions for building a large boat to survive a flood. But Dr Finkel’s pioneering work didn’t stop there. Through another series of enthralling discoveries he has been able to decode the story of the Flood in ways which offer unanticipated revelations to readers of THE ARK BEFORE NOAH.
Round. Of course it was round because the fishermen in that region discovered that the round design made the boat impossible to capsize. Noah’s ark took on the shape of boats that the Israelites used in the lakes and rivers in their neck of the woods. Common sense.
The upshot of this post is obvious. Myths are often borrowed by other cultures who adapt them for the time and people they serve.
“The inattentiveness of the desert provides an inexplicable healing. Meinrad Craighead found this in her experience among the sandstone flats and underground kivas of the Pueblo Indians. “When I came to New Mexico in 1960,” she wrote, “I found the land which matched my interior landscape. The door separating inside and outside opened. What my eyes saw meshed with images I carried inside my body. Pictures painted on the walls of my womb began to emerge” (The Mother’s Songs: Images of God the Mother [Paulist Press, 1986], p. 67) She discovered the Great Mother in the awesome beauty of the desert, brooding over a world still in the process of being born. She found hope where others might have experienced only despair. In being ignored, she was unexpectedly given back her truest self.”
– Fierce Landscapes and the Indifference of God by Belden C. Lane
‘Painted on the walls of my womb.’ What a powerful metaphor! God the Mother. Where did She go?
It is interesting to note that archaeologists tell us a few secrets not found in the pages of the Bible. In digging through layers of the time when Yahweh was the tribal God of the Israelites, they found a plethora of statues of the goddess Asherah. They infer that she was worshiped along side of Yahweh. There is further speculation that the two were husband and wife.
Why was She written out of Abrahamic religion? Clearly because the culture changed and the society became strongly patriarchal. If she had not been written out (redacted by later copyists) would the world be different today? I’m betting so.
Is life a game? To many underprivileged and desperate people that ‘game’ is the game of survival- where can I find food? Yet few who are reading this post I dare say are in that circumstance. Rather, they might be in the game of upgrading their life, not life itself. We in Western democracies are essentially in the upgrade business- new TV, new Smart phone, new car, new clothes, new restaurant…
In the 1970’s a British mathematician, John Conroy, experimented with early, ie. primitive, computing programming and developed what today looks like rudementary Pacman. Except that there is no “input.” And if there is no input, then it is actually not a ‘game.’ You watch.
Here is one example of the game. Hit ‘play’ and watch.
Below are two games I generated, microseconds apart.
As creator I merely “Big Bang” and let the computer rules flow along until…well, until either it continues forever or dies out. I generated a game which, after about a minute appeared ‘dead’ when, seemingly out of no where, a comet or asteroid blasted me back to life! As I type this, my game is in the 6000th generation and appears dead, but I cannot see what is happening beyond the boundaries of my computer screen.
Those blue squares scattered among the dead green ones are alive but not going anywhere nor are they reproducing. Unless some moving pieces (glider) contacts these blue, static pieces, they are doomed to a life of eternal blinking.
Was planet Earth ‘struck’ by a glider eons ago which breathed life onto our lifeless world? Is this what those many creation myths meant from our ancient ancestors scattered throughout the globe? That something impacted Mother Earth and she gave birth?