Striking me in today’s news is a prevalence of stories on religion from a few different angles, and if it weren’t the BBC I was reading this morning … and if I looked at things a bit differently … I might say ‘different angels’.
The first gives an historical perspective, considering that it’s a temple to a cat god found in Egypt that’s reported upon.
Archaeologists found statues of Bastet, worshipped by the Greek-speaking Egyptians as the moon goddess.
For thousands of years the Egyptian Pharaohs believed Bastet was a lion-headed goddess, a relative of the sun-god Ra and a ferocious protector.
But her influence waned as the Pharaohs declined, and the Hellenistic Egyptians resurrected her as the equivalent of the ancient Greek deity Artemis.
Seems somehow fitting that concepts of a moon goddess could wax and wane over the centuries.
On a modern note, this story about biblical references to Jesus marked on gunsights of weapons “widely used by the US and British military in Iraq and Afghanistan” should give much pause for thought for the thinking.
The company that makes the sights says it runs to “Biblical standards” … an interesting idea in the manufacture of items designed to make killing easier, and considering the fact that the US DOD expenditure for 2009 alone on these “aim in the name” items was around $66 mil, that’s a whole lot of John 8:12s out there.
The issue has been thrust into the spotlight by the US Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) – an advocacy group that seeks to preserve the separation of church and state in the military.
On 14 January, the MRFF received an e-mail, purportedly from a Muslim US Army infantryman, complaining about the markings.
“Many soldiers know of them and are very confused as to why they are there and what it is supposed to mean.”
The email adds: “Everyone is worried that if they were captured in combat that the enemy would use the Bible quotes against them in captivity or some other form of propaganda.”
And I can’t help wondering what Jewish soldiers think training their eye down the barrel of the New Testament . The very idea that we need a group like the MRFF, given the US constitution and all, shows just how tenuous freedom can be. “Fanaticier than thou” is not where anyone should be going, especially when armed.
The last I have the time for today is titled Why does God allow natural disasters? and asks the question of a few.
Archbishop of York John Sentamu said he had “nothing to say to make sense of this horror”, while another clergyman, Canon Giles Fraser, preferred to respond “not with clever argument but with prayer”.
But not as blatantly moronic as:
Less reticent is the American evangelist Pat Robertson. He has suggested Haiti has been cursed ever since the population swore a pact with the Devil to gain their freedom from the French at the beginning of the 19th Century.
Or, how about this circular thinking … ?
The second century saint, Irenaeus, and the 20th Century philosopher, John Hick, appeal instead to what is sometimes called soul-making. God created a universe in which disasters occur, they think, because goodness only develops in response to people’s suffering.
In contemplating all this, one thing comes to mind …
It occurs to me that cats move in mysterious ways.