The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Entries Tagged as 'culture'

The Gods of Ancient Rome

August 20th, 2010 · Comments Off on The Gods of Ancient Rome · christianity, culture, history, ritual

Turcan starts by providing an exquisite view of the private religious expressions of the Roman patricians. The gods of the house, the gods of the family, and the patron deities of individuals, all became part of a complex of divinity – a web which each Roman had to carefully traverse daily. Any mistake resulted in obligatory compensation to the gods in order to salvage the future welfare of the house.

The strength of the ancestors was keenly felt by the Ancient Romans. There was not a clear distinction between gods and the honored dead, and both were frequently called upon and celebrated. The spirit of the family, which had kept it continuing as a potent force, was honored as a distinct figure. The spirits of the house were also recognized and respected. In short, everything in every part of the Roman’s life was connected to divinity, and the Romans actively sought out knowledge for how to satisfy every god.

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Assertions

October 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on Assertions · christianity, culture, history

Following are the assertions I currently use regarding the origin of Christianity. These will likely each be expanded upon over time. 1. Evidence: There is no physical evidence for the existence of a single, rapidly developed mystery cult whose theology or structure singularly informed the post 4th-century Christian church. There is no art, architecture, ritual […]

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True Believers

September 20th, 2008 · Comments Off on True Believers · christianity, culture, history

At first, I could never understand the True Believers. My first encounters with them was in Christian churches. My own, initially pedantic, attempts at Bible study repeatedly failed to illuminate the motivations or goals of True Believers. I could never understand just what was so exciting in the faith as I had ever seen it […]

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People and History

July 27th, 2008 · Comments Off on People and History · culture, history

Two famous biographies are here summarized to make a point about a significant problem in the art of archaeology. The question is whether one can even determine if the character of some ancient story actually lived when all you have are the written records that tell the story. My first subject has defined an entire […]

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Dobson vs. Obama

June 24th, 2008 · Comments Off on Dobson vs. Obama · christianity, culture, media

Dobson and Minnery accused Obama of having minority, if not crackpot, opinions about the Bible. They indicated several times that they felt he was not qualified to interpret the Bible. They wailed and gnashed their teeth at the wonton destruction laid bare by Barack’s unauthorized lay-opining. Oh, will the nation ever repair from this grievous wound? Then they changed the subject and repeated the process.

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Authority, Faith, and Identity

March 29th, 2008 · Comments Off on Authority, Faith, and Identity · christianity, culture, history

When I first started along the pagan path, ere so long ago, much of my motivation was a desire to move away from what I perceived to be the hypocrisy and false origins of Christianity. For some time — indeed, for many years — I prided myself in my paganism, especially in how it wasn’t […]

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Dog, Star: I’m serious

March 24th, 2008 · Comments Off on Dog, Star: I’m serious · culture, media

In Japan, a praying Chihuahua is bringing in lots of visitors to his master’s Zen temple. Yoshikuni said Conan generally goes through his prayer routine at the temple in the capital of Japan’s southern Okinawa prefecture (state) without prompting before his morning and evening meals. “I think he saw me doing it all the time […]

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Mint opportunity

March 5th, 2008 · Comments Off on Mint opportunity · christianity, culture, media

The other day, I nearly picked up a package of “Last Supper Mints”, which was a 3″x1″x0.5″ metal tin with 50(!) mints within, covered lovingly with a 18th C. reproduction of daVinci’s Last Supper image without. Briefly, I considered putting a photo of the box in my collection of Last Supper images, but the image […]

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House-free, not Homeless

February 29th, 2008 · Comments Off on House-free, not Homeless · culture

It seems inappropriate for me to blog my armchair ideas about homeless people, because I don’t know anything about homeless people. I’ve always lived and worked in enclosed structures with utilities, and I rarely consider abandoning it all to sleep under a bridge. It’s not a particular area of study or volunteerism for me, so […]

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Were Early Christians "Hippies"?

February 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on Were Early Christians "Hippies"? · christianity, culture, history

I suppose it was inevitable that I would find some connection between my favorite research topics, but I just realized how Diocletian’s Great Persecution of Christians and Nixon’s War on Drugs were very similar actions on the part of both heads of state. Both occur during a time of difficult military engagements in which an […]

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