The holidays are always a strange time. The Winter Solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years – it can be argued that astrological events led to the creation of religious practice – but different cultures celebrate in unique fashions.
But modern Western culture embraces such a confusing hodgepodge it’s bound to cause discord.
One baptist minister for example is drawing heat for a church sign that reads “Santa is Satan.”
He’s not the first Christian to complain that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and Santa is just a commercial pagan novelty. But who really has the greatest claim to the holiday season?
Even if he was historical – any first year theology student will tell you that December 25th wasn’t his real birthday – that date didn’t get introduced into Christmas practices for centuries; and it was assimilated because it was too strong a cultural tradition (already being practiced and celebrated for millennium) to scratch out. So Christianity embraced it and set Jesus birthday to match the dozens of other saviors also said to have been born on that day.
Where does Santa fit in?
Santa is actually Saturn, the old man in the sky (the only god of the pantheon with a … Read More »
It’s a classic love story.
Boy meets girl.
Girl is wistful and spiritual, boy is scientific and needs facts and data.
Girl gets cut in half when elevator fails.
Besides having the most gruesomely tragic death scene I’ve ever witnessed – something out of a Final Destination movie – I.Origins starring Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey and Michael Pitt is an interesting, in-depth look at God, faith, spirituality and the space between.
In the metaphor that frames the storyline, worms have no eyes: they can’t imagine that light exists. But it’s all around them. They are surrounded by it. The scientists are trying to give worms eyes so they can see the light.
Do humans also lack a sense that would give us the capacity to see another dimension?
Or have only some of us evolved, but not all?
The lead scientist begins as an atheist, and studies eyes because they are “the one thing religious people always use to challenge the Theory of Evolution.” They’re all so different and unique. He discovers the evolution of the eye and then goes on to write the book, “The Complete Eye” explaining every evolutionary stage so it’s no longer a mystery.
Later, him and his lab partner-turned-wife have a son – at first … Read More »
Dracula Untold: making vampires into heroes and Muslims into devils (Was Vlad the Impaler a Christian?)
I’ve been excited about the 2014 retelling of the Dracula mythos for quite some time.
A Faust-based narration, casting Vlad the Impaler as a suffering hero who made a deal with the Devil to save his people?
Sign me up!
What I wasn’t prepared for was the sermonizing, heavy-handed Christian morality, and cliché, card board cutout representations of good and evil.
Let’s start with the basics.
Vlad the Impaler, Vlad III, was a Prince of Wallachia – Transylvania – who lived in the 15th century.
He was sent to live with the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.
He was called Dracula – he was a member of the House of Drăculești, his father was the Dracul, and the added “a” just means “son of.”
And he was bloodthirsty – and he did have a reputation for staking a lot of corpses and leaving them to rot.
Where do vampires fit in?
Although Romania does have its own legends of supernatural horror, including bodies rising from the grave and sucking out the life force of humans, and these legends inspired early Gothic Literature and stories of erotic vampire romances, Vlad wasn’t connected to vampirism until Bram Stoker wrote a novel pairing two and two together.
Stoker did it so well that Dracula became The Vampire – the stereotype … Read More »
In the PhD Thesis I’ll finish one day, I make the connection between the rise of pirates, libertarianism and democracy with sacrilege and devil worship – not “real” devil worship of course, simply people who openly rebelled against the idea of God and aligned themselves openly with the politics of Satan.
So I’ve been pleased to watch the sudden increase in pirate fascination… which I thought was running dry after the Pirates of the Caribbean movies but keeps popping up in new TV series like Black Sails.
Tonight I’m watching Episode One of Crossbones, and after some fighting and not great acting, we reach the first real conversation between a doctor and the infamous Blackbeard, which turns immediately theological.
What led you to the physician’s life?
An interest in the mechanism of the human body.
Is that what the human body is – a mechanism?
In many respects… in most.
That doesn’t strike me as a very godly proclamation. Do you accept God?
I fear I have no love for him.
Why ever not?
Because he wishes me to fear him.
That is a splendid answer.
And you… do you call yourself a Christian?
Why would I not?
Because many legends abound about you, not all of them flattering.
You’re the devil. You spit … Read More »
25 years ago, God disappeared. Some angels blamed humans, and led by Gabriel, they waged a war against the humans. Other, higher angels, led by Michael, decided to protect the humans. A child is born, with markings on his body, who will grow up to become the savior of the human race and lead mankind out of darkness.
Followers of the faith “continue to believe that the chosen one, our savior will reveal himself to us.”
The main character, Alex, is a rebel (secretly in a relationship with the leader’s daughter). Michael and the leadership are authoritarian. “Someday,” Alex says, “We’re going to live in a place where there aren’t any numbers. Where we aren’t told what to do, where to sleep and whom to marry. One day… we’re going to be free.”
Here’s the funny thing – the TV series, along with the screenplay “Legion” that it’s based on, appears to be a remake of basic Christian mythology; as such it should be a cool show for Christians to enjoy.
But the call for ‘FREEDOM’ against authority has never been the Christian war cry; the quest for freedom is part of the Satanic tradition – a liberal philosophy first set out openly in … Read More »
8 more shocking things you didn’t know about the Biblical Noah’s Ark story (that the movie totally got wrong)
I was less than impressed with the 2014 remake of the biblical story of Noah and the Ark, featuring Russell Crowe. While some of the thematic and symbolistic changes they made were interesting (I’ll discuss those below), the controversy itself offers much for discussion. People are angry because it “wasn’t true to the Bible.” But the truth is most Christians don’t realize the version they learned in Sunday School isn’t in the Bible either – the stuff that’s actually in the real, Bible story is more surprising than anything that happened in the movie.
So let’s start with some background, and contrast it with biblical knowledge and what was in the movie.
1) The story doesn’t come from the Bible
The Epic of Gilgamesh, the greatest literary accomplishment of Mesopotamia, was widely translated throughout the ancient Middle East long before the Old Testament was written. The similarities between it and the story of Noah should be apparent to anyone familiar with the biblical account of the flood. The Babylonian Noah was named Utnupishtim, who with his wife became immortal after surviving the great flood. Gilgamesh, in his quest for immortality, seeks him out and gets to hear the story first hand. The gods … Read More »
It’s Valentine’s Day again, which means we’ll all be buying cards, chocolates and flowers for our significant other (or ridiculing the holiday for its commercial vapidness). Since Valentine’s Day is one of the major holidays of the western world, you’ve probably heard the history:
We celebrate Valentine’s day in honor of St. Valentinus, who was martyred a long time ago around February 14th – the “romance” part is because he continued to marry soldiers during wartime; the crime that led to his death.
Except until the 18th Century, the “romantic” part wasn’t celebrated at all (although kind of referenced in some literature) and suddenly burst into being, with the popularity of mass-produced, factory-made Valentine’s Day cards. So how did we get from a guy dying for marriage – through an interim of around 1500 years – to the romantic meaning we have to day?
Like almost all western holidays, St. Valentine’s day is a massive Christian cover up.
Christian leaders soon learned that officially prohibiting a thousand-year-old cultural custom was impossible, so in every case (even the very minor holidays which they made Saints Days) they took the dates people were already celebrating and shifted the “why” – so that people could keep doing … Read More »