Showing 11 - 16 of 16 posts found matching keyword: religion

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the Sun!

I think that if I were a religious person, I'd probably worship the Sun. Sure, the Sun provides the light energy that makes life possible on Earth, and it has been worshipped by humans for as long as we've been standing upright. Links between the Sun and Christianity (the religion of the "Son") are as well established as the date for Christmas. (Interestingly, the name of the Islamic god, "Allah," may have been derived for a pagan Arabic god of the Moon, the anti-Sun. But that's not today's point.) Despite all of this, the Sun's unique relationship to modern culture goes largely ignored. The Sun gave us superheroes.

The archetype of the modern costumed hero, Superman is powered directly by the Sun. The rays of the Earth's yellow sun charge Superman's amazing Kryptonian physique, allowing him the powers of flight, super sense, and invulnerability. Without the Sun, there's no Man of Steel. That makes the Sun directly responsible for Earth's greatest champion.

Red Sun = No Superman

The anti-Superman, Batman, is also controlled by the Sun. Unlike Superman, Bruce Wayne has no alien physiology, and must limit his crime-fighting to survivable situations. He chose to adopt a demonic costume and fight in the dark, knowing that his training, combined with mankind's inherent fear of the unknown ("Things That Go Bump in the Dark") will give him an edge against the criminal element. The fictitious construct that is "The Batman" could not function in daylight, and only inspires fear in situations where the Sun is absent. (You can't have a Dark Knight without the dark night.) Again, the abilities and character of one of the archetypical heroes of modern culture, The Batman, is determined directly by the Sun.

As if those two weren't great enough examples of the Sun's influence on American popular culture in general and the superhero in specific, the modern archetype for the superheroic family/team, the Fantastic Four, gained their powers from Cosmic Rays, which by their very nature are generated by the Sun. The Sun's natural radiation must also be responsible for some of the X-Men's bizarre super-human mutations, such as those possessed by Sunspot and Dazzler.

If the Sun has provided all of these powerful and admirable superheroes with their reason for being, I can't think of anything better to devote to worshiping. It certainly makes more sense than Catholicism.

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I recently read that Pope Benedict XVI's chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth believes that Hitler was possessed by the Devil. First of all, I would like to point out that this, taken literally, would make a GREAT movie. Secondly, why does the Pope have a chief exorcist?

To quote Father Amorth from a Vatican Radio broadcast:

One of the key requirements for an exorcism is to be present in front of the possessed person and that person also has to be consenting and willing. Therefore trying to carry out an exorcism on someone who is not present, or consenting and willing would prove very difficult.

If the possessee has to be present, consenting and willing, isn't an exorcism more like an intervention? The language used in the above quote seems very... less than supernatural. Couldn't any behavior that is clearly contrary to the tenants of the Roman Catholic Church be considered satanic in nature? Therefore do Catholics see exorcists instead of psychologists? Exorcisms don't seem nearly as exciting as Dr. Strange would have had me believe.

Note, please, that Father Amorth is also the founder of the International Association of Exorcists, an elite band of professional, church appointed exorcists. (Priests can now take exorcism classes at the Vatican's Pontifical Academy. I hear that the exorcism classes fill up fast, behind only "Why You Can't Put Holes In Holy Water And Other Confusing Catechisms Explained," and "Holy Eucharist, Altar-Boy!".) He has said that "behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil." And who would know better than Vatican City's official exorcist?

By the way, Father Amorth considers The Exorcist his favorite movie. Go figure.

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I just read on that there are Catholics in India who have started a hunger strike to protest the release of Sony Pictures' The Da Vinci Code. Apparently, they think that if they kill themselves, Sony will pull the picture from wide release. Good luck with your strike, guys. I'm pulling for you.

Several friends of mine have theorized in the past that Tom Hanks sold his soul to the Devil in the late 1980s. (Some say that it was just before Big in '88, but I suspect that it was more likely not until after Bonfire of the Vanities went up in flames in '90. Sure, Hanks was nominated for Oscar for Big, but who sells their soul to get parts in Turner and Hooch, The 'Burbs, and Joe vs. the Volcano, the films Hanks 'starred' in between Big and Bonfire?) Could it be that there may be some truth in this rumor? Could The Da Vinci Code really be Hank's latest step in repaying his Dark Master by corrupting the Faithful? Hmmmm... could be, could be.

This whole brew-ha-ha is amusing to me. The last time I remember anyone reacting this strongly to a movie release was over The Passion of the Christ two years ago. Funny how the sides have been switched from then to now; then it was the Church urging people to see the movie to further their understanding of the Faith. I look forward to seeing how well this film does. (Christ grossed over ten times its budget in America alone. For Da Vinci to do the same, it would have to pull in over one billion dollars domestically, the equivalent of the GDP of Greenland.)

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All this week, the national media has been abuzz about the spat between South Park and Scientology. Apparently, Scientologists are crazy. (Thetans. There, I've said it.) But is that really news?

I'm no expert in the matter, but it is my understanding that Mormons wear special underwear. (Underwear is next to godliness.) I've read that Catholics consume the actual body and blood of the son of their god. (And we give them a hard time about their preference for young boys!) I've seen Southern Baptists prohibit the use of playing cards while allowing dominos. (A rose is a rose, unless you're a Southern Baptist.) I've witnessed Jews celebrate oil that burned much longer than it was advertised to burn. ("Tightwad" was originally a Yiddish word.) And I've even heard that Muslims receive 100 virgins in heaven. (I hope those virgins aren't going to stay virginal for eternity? As my friend Chris said: "Dude, virgin pussy sucks.")

So every religion has it's share of wacky ideas. And now we're going to fight over whose ideas are the stupidest? That's like entering siamese twins in a beauty contest and then arguing over who looks better in the swimsuit competition. Grow some thicker skin, people. Or better yet, a sense of humor about yourselves. Now quit throwing stones at each other so I can go back to watching news that really matters: is Britney is pregnant again?

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I just returned home from my trip to Canton, Ohio, where Dan "The Greatest Quarterback of All Time" Marino was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. We were surrounded by thousands of Dolphins fans wearing Marino jerseys. The level of fanaticism was almost creepy.

Marino HOF

We drove through Amish country to get there. I was really quite surprised to see that there is still such a high demand for carriage & buggy shops. When you think about it, they are already compliant with President Bush's new energy plan, so maybe they are ahead of the game, not a more than a century behind it. (Vote Amish in 2008! They are no strangers to federal government; look at C. Everrett Koop.)

In fact, the Amish may be one of the last reamining groups that someone can carelessly insult on the internet. They certainly aren't going to find out what you flamed them about.

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If Kool-Aid Man is made out of a giant pitcher of Kool-Aid, when he drinks a refreshing glass of Kool-Aid, would that be considered cannibalism? Or is Kool-Aid Man a Christ-like figure whose faithful followers drink the blood of Kool-Aid Man? All I know is that I have some deep soul searching to do before I drink anymore Kool-Aid this summer. I'm not sure I'm ready for a beverage with this many issues yet. Oh, Yeah.

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To be continued...