Tuesday, November 22, 2005

on anthropological and theological observations

its interesting, i though to myself in a moment of breathtaking pretension the other day, how europeans view jesus and the devil. now presumably both satan/shaitan and jesus would have both been generally semitic fellows, jesus as a man of the middle east would have had dark curly hair, a strong nose, dark eyes and presumably a pretty formidable tan given the whole wandering in the desert that he favoured. we can pretty much imagine the devil as being the same. now somehow throughout the ages in greece first and europe later ol'jesus ditches the arabic/jewish look- he gets lighter, gets a pair of blue eyes along the way, looks a lot like an idealised image of the europeans themselves.
now your satan, he keeps the curly dark hair, the deep dark skin and the generally semitic nose beloved of nazi racist charactures, plus with a smattering of snake and goat.
so why does jesus get turned into a european and satan not? strange one that. other than of course it gives a excuse to medieval europeans to blame the jews, and possibly the arabs too, without having maybe to think that actually the messiah might have taken a little after his mother.

And why are goats always associated with satan? seems they too historically got a raw deal, what with them being able to take on the sins of whole communities in biblical times (Scapegoat, natch)then being ritually slaughtered. They're not really satanic animals, they are not like say wolves or snakes that are kinda dangerous. all they do is eat, though as they are a major cause of grassland turning into desert simply due to their ability to eat anything and everything those ancient people may have been on to something. Then again maybe its because they have scary eyes.
i read somewhere the only thing humans are pre programmed from birth to be afraid of is snakes, dating back to when we mammals were small and squeaky and an easy meal for the creture that crawls on its belly. That primal fear is meant to be the source of the garden of eden snake.

so satan therefore is a personification of our primal fear of snakes and that goats will eventually consume everything edible leaving us all only with desert.

and its funny too that the desert is where people go for religions but also where traditionally demons hide out. its a thin line, presumably you have to be careful which spirits you talk to. perhaps it is just like how forests have been seen by europeans- a place of myth and potential enchantment, of ancient wisdom where humans have very little control.

i wonder what the equivalent of that is for inuit people? what are they traditionally afraid of? Polar bears probably.


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