The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Understanding Pokey Finger

July 26th, 2008 · No Comments · announcements

Above all other things, this blog exists to capture my meanderings and ruminations regarding religion and politics. 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 Bible 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” may have been an historical figure, but any religious movement he may have led had little bearing on the development of the state religion known today as Roman Catholicism. Rather, it is my understanding that the fabric of culture was such during the early Roman Empire, that there were many Christianities — many Mystery cults with their own rituals, their own theologies, and their own anointed Christs, scattered like chaff across the eastern Mediterranean.

What I seek is nothing less than a map of the development of Christianity over a thousand years, from 500BC to 500AD. Part of my motivation is 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 practice of faith 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.

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!