We needed birth control, "GE" foods, medicine and sensible science. I say "needed" because I suspect it may now be too late.
Other than the odd lone voice crying in the wilderness, no one seems to dare make adverse comment, at best there is a condescending and tacit PC encouragement along the lines of "Whatever works for you dear", and at worst there is some explicit erroneous acknowledgement of the validity of the belief system being expressed in that cultural context. Only the very pious Other Superstitious Ones will dare protest – that the prayers were directed to the wrong imaginary friend. Probably the Adversary in disguise…
This is the 21st century! The ancients were not wiser than us. They did not come into direct contact with something we cannot.
Prayer does not change anything, except maybe to make us feel better about what we can’t deal with any other way. Shit happens, sometimes by coincidence, at random. Sometimes as a culmination of complicated events and even daliberate acts. But not by divine or supernatural intervention. It is time that primitive superstitions of all brands were relegated to the fairy tale book.
I like fairy tales. I love mythology. I like to glean from the stories something of how people thought in those times. I like some of the rituals. The ones that don’t involve mass murder and horrendous virgin sacrifices, anyway. I throw salt over my left shoulder. I cross my fingers, touch wood, and perform all sorts of little rituals to make me feel better. I take a little comfort from the rituals, because they give me a sense of connection to my roots, but I have no faith or belief that they actually DO anything. A witch is NOT going to use an eggshell to make a coracle, with which to chase the sailors. So me putting a hole in the shell after I have eaten my boiled egg, will do nothing to prevent it. I do it because it is a fun link to my ancestors. That is the only point. We forget why we do Ring a Rosy. We just enjoy it.
I like works of fiction. Ancient, modern. Beowulf, Bible, Lord of the Rings. When I read a novel or watch a movie I suspend disbelief and live within the story, for a short time, whatever the genre. I plot with my daughter where would be the best place to hole up against a zombie attack (currently Bunnings or Mitre Ten – because they have an amazing range of cool weapons for stabbing, poking, carving, ripping, tearing and decapitating in violent messy ways – but I digress). The point is, I am not really expecting it to ever actually happen.
Worst of all to me is the pseudoscientific garbage they call alternative medicine, Such as acupuncture. It works.. exactly to the degree a placebo does. That has been amply demonstrated, but still the myth persists, and the outrageous claims continue. Still, if whatever works for you. People get rich because you believe, and that is a fact.
As for the Wisdom of the Ancients and their mysteries; Not. They were not superior. The Mayans may have been pretty good at math, and so were other ancient astronomers, and the Polynesian navigators had amazing skills, but they did not know more than we do now. In fact they made some pretty wildly crazy deductions from what they did know.
Some "wisdom" was kept "secret" for self preservation, or to keep it from the evil ones who would misuse it. There is a conspiracy theory starter… . So how can we tell now? Some new insights and deductions caused the ancient wise ones to arrest the upstart wise ones and send them to be burned or imprisoned as heretics.
We built our knowledge on valid observations, made deductions, and learned how to prove or disprove the assumptions. Still the myths persist.
I don’t use hot bred poultices, because we have better treatments now. I miss them though, because they were an expression of the love and concern my Grandmother had for me. A sticky plaster and a dab of Savlon will do a better job, as will a doxycycline tablet, but may not have that special personal touch. If only these modern medicines were around when the wise old ancients were dying of an infected cut. The ancients died in droves from things we simply don’t hear of now.
People throughout the world are still dying from preventable hygiene related illness. Here is something to believe:
So try improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources instead ofputting faith in ome imaginary friend, or praying to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Much as I love Him, He is imaginary. Like Sam Gamgee, my hero. So I don’t have to pray to him, I really do know what I have to do to please Him. Nothing. I need not fear His Noodly Appendage. On the other hand, I know he is not actually going to save me from a tsunami, or a shipwreck, or an earthquake, plane crash, cancer, motorcycle accident, or random act of terrorism, any more than any of the imaginary friends have ever done. Anyone who says otherwise is displaying incredible arrogance by claiming they they are somehow more worthy in the sight of their imaginary friend, than those who did not survive.
Some time ago, I worked all day and spent a lot of my family income to prepare a feast. The guests, a very Christian bunch, then thanked God for it. I did get a mention, so I was appeased. Funny, though, how the harder we worked and the more we spent, the more God blessed us. The feast was a fundraiser for a family whose home was destroyed by an Act of God. Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we
comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and
mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under
our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us
to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement,
what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this
deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to
appear worthy of it?
I do not agree with Friedrich Nietzsche that accepting there is no God means we cannot have a "Christian" morality. What is right and fair is summed up neatly in Christ’s teachings, and in other religions, just lose the trappings of religion, which were mainly imposed subsequently anyway.
I need to organise my thinking. This whole thing is really an unstructured mishmash train of thoughts. I will straighten it out some time.