Monday, March 24, 2008

Free association and the (d)evolution of religion

OK, so yesterday's smorgasboard of pan-cultural Easter weirdness got me thinking...

Anyone who has done even the most cursory study of comparative religion knows that there are what can be tactfully described as "similarities" in the narratives of all major religions.

Example: Isis, with Horus at her breast, was the prototype for the Christian Madonna.

We all pretty much know that Christmas and Easter have roots in (gasp) pagan fertility rites. This we also know: the rabbit has been the mascot for Team Fertility since way back in the Way Back Time. Later, somewhere in sixteenth century Germany*, someone came up with the idea that a white bunny, the Oschter Haus, would lay colorful eggs in the homes of well-behaved children (thusly providing yet another opportunity for holiday-oriented parental coersion).

*Let us all share in a moment of thanks for the fact that we celebrate Easter with chocolate and jellybeans, rather than blood-sausage and zwiebelfleisch.

Somewhere along the line, we went from wild pagan hootenannies to, if you'll pardon the expression, a neutered, sugar-coated holiday that is manifested with an obsessive eye toward fuzzy bunnies. But when and how did the fuzzy baby chicks jump into the fray? I can't prove it, but my money is on the Hallmark Company.

Joseph Campbell observed that the interpretation of God(s) changes to reflect the changing character of society.

Oh mighty Isis, is this what we have become?


Random tidbits for my foopeeps:

In my *cough* research for this blog, I watched a video about the pagan fertility origins of Easter on the History Channel website. The video was sponsored by Viagra. Effin brilliant.

I caved and finally took my first trip to the local sprawl-mart (eau de humanity!) in search of at least a few non-sugar-based items that could fit inside weensy plastic eggs. I discovered approximately nine billion and ten Hannah Montanna items as well as these adorable (gak) CAMO eggs. While I was not able to find a Jesus-as-Rambo action figure, I'm sure it's out there.

Lastly, while Isis can kick your ass, Jesus is way cool:


flutter said...

perhaps next you can dispell the many questions surrounding arbor day. I hear it's the next President's Day, no lie ;P

I love this post.

furiousBall said...

As long as Isis doesn't get me with her truth lasso, I'm cool.

What's that? That was Wonder Woman and not Isis? Oh nevermind.

Oh, The Joys said...

I just flippin' love you, my Davey.

Maggie said...

I don't know about Jesus as Rambo but I do know you can get Jesus action figures from Archie McPhee's and other great things - check here:

slouching mom said...

Yes. Hallmark as the root of many, if not all, evils.

I love it.

Gwen said...

I just read your profile page. South Crackalacky huh? That is some good stuff.

Jesus action figures, maggie? Oh that is too much!

hele said...

What a delight to meet you, the cheese people and Miss Feeney.

In thanks I will offer the plastic Batman egg and toy I got for Florian's nephew on the altar of Isis this evening.

Mmmm, what to wear?

bzybead said...

A road trip to Ann Arbor in search of our religion -- what, 1992? WE are SOOOOO cool.

Keep the intellectual inquisitive rolling. . .

Ponygirl said...

Easter on the left coast was all about a barbecue, laying around in the sun, and watching two 2-year-olds steal easter eggs out of each others' baskets instead of searching them out in the backyard. Hope yours was as enjoyable as ours.

PS - King Missile still rules

NotSoSage said...

Jesus so wouldn't have looked cool if he jumped too high on that trampoline and hooked himself on the clothesline. Dude.