Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Christian celebrations of death

In my past entry, I discussed the virtue of non-sacrifice. It is improper for a virtuous person to be obsessed with death, of the self or others, as a positive force. Certainly I admit that one can conduct himself with dignity when faced with death, and that such a dignity is not only an honour on him but also a good example to show. Also, I agree that our modern societies are not nearly concerned enough with dying well. However, there is a vast chasm between understanding death and glorifying it.

And yet Christianity is dedicated, not to understand death, but to glorify it. Christianity is, in fact, pretty much black and white on this issue. It trivializes death as a mere stepping stone to an either infinitely blissful or infinitely painful "afterlife". The act of dying is seen by Christians as yet another occasion for rituals and religious reinforcement. They have no respect for the dead (or their wishes while they were alive, for that matter, but that's par for the course).

On the other hand, Christianity and the Bible glorify death from cover to cover. Despite its admonitions not to kill or commit suicide, the Bible praises war, murder, sacrifice and divine wrath at every turn.

The most obvious manifestation of glorification of death is in the central character of "Jesus". There can be no doubt that "Jesus" killed himself- that is the whole purpose of his presence in the story. Not only does it glorify suicide, but also executions, sacrifice and suffering. Christians love the suffering of "Jesus" on the cross so much that they made a blockbuster out of a movie that concentrates almost solely on that aspect. They just love to glorify death on the big screen, and inflict such visions on their children. They adore a bloodied loser on a cross. You shall know them by their symbols!

Another movie that came out, concerned Moses and his messiah status to lead his tribes out of Egypt. This story is almost nothing but an orgy of death- innocent babies killed, livestock killed, rivers filling with blood, bugs attacking people... and of course, the Red Sea, where countless soldiers no doubt drowned. It is nothing but a magnification of the terroristic genocide that takes place all throughout the Old Testament.

Do I even need to explain another popular story used to indoctrinate children- Noah's Ark? Where the drowning of all life on the whole planet is portrayed as a wonderous, magical adventure? This goes beyond glorification of death- it treats total genocide as a walk in the park!

What about the book opener, the story of Adam and Eve ? Sure, no one dies in it per se, but what is the story meant to explain? Suffering and death! Why doesn't the Christian creation story try to explain anything else?

Why is death, indeed, the primary motivator for religious belief? Every concern of Christians is really a fear of death. The search for purpose? Answered by the afterlife- death. What is our comfort? The prospect of the afterlife- death. Where will ultimate justice come? At the afterlife- death. Forgiveness? You get the idea. Death is their answer for everything.

Sure, there is more to religion than the glorification of death. But seen from this perspective, it is hard to see religion as anything more than campfire stories people make up to reassure themselves that the grim expectation of their death should be a joy. In a world where our lives are more and more in our hands, such beliefs are fast becoming horrifying relics of a primitive age.

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At 7/11/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger olly declaimed...

"Sure, there is more to religion than the glorification of death."

I think that you are right that there is more, but not by much. Most religions in the world are trying to explain three things: where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Where we came from is really less important, because we are already here, and it doesn't materially effect us. Why we are here is fairly central, but seems to be often answered in some transitional sense to the third question (i.e. to 'gain perfection before Nirvana', or to 'atone for our sins' or some such nonsense). However, where we are going, i.e. death, becomes central to all religions because it's the constant that all humans on the planet are aware we will face at some point.

Everyone dies, plain and simple, and even the most back assward religious person will admit that.

The difference is, rather than accepting that fact, religion comes up with mumbo-jumbo to negate it, deflect it, or at least soften it.


At 7/11/2006 11:37 AM, Blogger BlackSun declaimed...

"I thought they would go to heaven."

That statement by Andrea Yates about sums it up. To christians, death=heaven. We might add Muslims here as well--I'm just getting the news about another train bombing in Mumbai, India this time. 70 deaths so far reported. Guarantee that has a religious connection as well.

Many liberals will whine that terrorism is economic and political, not religious. Yeah. Keep telling yourself that, people.

The drumbeat of religious death continues.

At 7/11/2006 12:30 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Good one Franc!

Yea this death obsession is pretty bad. Its like an immature morbid fascination of, and rebellion against, the concept of ceasing to exist.

The obsession with death stems from the insecurity about it, and the concept of the afterlife is meant to allay ones fears about dying by simply removing the "termination of consciousness" factor from the whole equation!

At 1/12/2008 6:19 PM, Blogger OK ROY declaimed...

No sin is not a product of an bad gene, it is the forever developing and ever present development of an advancing consciousness. Evolution has given all life a choice to coexist with nature and humanity, and in a reasonable compatible manner, and in a reasonable compaitible manner we live or die, give life or deprive it. Religious structure has associated this with a grand creator, One that tends to the needs of human beings, agrees with our photo cell advancments and changes in the cycle of life and death. Therefore it creates a sense of compatibility with conscience awareness. Reality is our Grand Canyon, it is where we stand above the elements of nature and the challenges our our every day world, of our minds, and the choices' we make. It effects everything and everyone we have ever known. Science clears the darkness that has transcends the generations, Enlightens our eyes and lifts our hearts. We will continue to forever press foward into the foreverness, transending light and matter togeather into the Great and ever present forever. Thanks



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