The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Purpose

Above all other things, this blog exists to capture my meanderings and ruminations regarding religion and . While I am a pagan[1], my studies and writings tend to orbit about Christian history as the most significant movement across Western culture. My goal as a writer is to make this material as accessible as possible to a general audience. While the nature of the game makes this a challenge, it is one I gladly accept.

My understanding of Jewish and Christian history can be best defined as “minimalist”, in that I accept a minimum of information from the as being valid, or truth. My current stance is that the development of both Judaism and Christianity is defined by political machinations, not religious ones. “Jesus son of Joseph the Nazarean” was unlikely to have been an historical figure, but he has certainly been an important mythological figure for the Roman state religion that we know as Roman Catholicism. It is my understanding that the fabric of culture was such during the early that there were many mystery cults and foreign cults throughout the Empire, with wide varieties of rituals, theologies, and mythologies. Christianity was built top-down by fiat of an Emperor, and encompassed as much of this religious fabric as it could handle.

What I began, my goal was nothing less than a map of the development of Christianity over a thousand years, from 500BC to 500AD. Part of my motivation was a juvenile desire to know why things became the way they are. Another element of motivation is my desire to understand how people express their connection to the divine. I know from personal experience that religion and the of can result in some astounding situations, and has the greatest potential for accelerating what some people consider to be the “evolution” of the human race. Personally, I’d say that the exercise of religion simply allows for a fuller expression of the equipment we’ve already got, but if it makes people happy to think of themselves as “evolved”, I’m all for it.

What I’ve ended up with is a much deeper appreciation of early Roman and Greek religion, along with a recognition that the expression of religion worldwide and throughout history reveals the importance and value of religion to human psyche and human culture. I can’t say that Christianity is irrelevant, but it does present the very thinnest possible veneer of what religion has been in the past and what it could be in the future.

Comments, corrections, and questions are encouraged. I’m not very academic in my studies (although I’ve been doing better with citing my references lately[2] ). F’rinstance, I’ve read a lot of stuff, but much less than a real academic might, so I’m sure to miss a lot of detail. When you know better than me, please let me know about it. Even if you’re sure you know less than me, I invite your questions and comments.

  1. specifically meaning that I do not confess a Christ, and tend to call upon the old gods as needed
  2. Roll over the footnotes and the Biblical references!