After seeing an article repeatedly describe Satanism as a “fake religion”, I was having a discussion with an acquaintance about the use of the word “fake” in this context, and what constitutes a “real” religion. I feel that the topic could be expanded upon, and so here is this blog post.
Most people would probably presume that a religion requires a god, or a defined pantheon of gods. Perhaps an afterlife too. There are usually prescribed and proscribed behaviours intended to please those gods and ensure a positive outcome after death.
However in recent decades this rather simplistic view of religion has been increasingly rejected by scholars. Look at Buddhism, for example; it is a religion, but the Buddha is not a god and Buddhists do not worship him. Buddhists do not strive to reach a heaven-equivalent, instead seeking something more internal and personal.
Hinduism is also less simple to define as a religion than many people realise. Hinduism is a convenient term used to describe a huge variety of different beliefs and practices; two Hindus from different areas will have vastly differing ideas of what Hinduism is. The word “Hindu” is actually just the Persian word for “Indian”, intended originally to describe a nationality rather than a religion. Hinduism lacks most features usual for religions: it has no single moral code, no specific scripture, it has no founder, it is not prophetic.
The spiritual lives and practices of peoples such as Native Americans and Australian Aborigines were not recognised as valid religions when first observed by Europeans; such peoples were thought to be godless savages. However further study revealed that these “savages” had complex belief systems which played important roles in their lives. They are now recognised as religions just as valid as any other.
Satanism, as codified by Anton LaVey, involves the worship of no gods. Satanists are Atheists with rules. The rules lay out a moral code, requirements of behaviour, and reasons for them. The centralised structure, existence of officials, and single moral code make Satanism, in some ways, more closely resemble the mainstream religions such as Christianity than the others listed here.
It turns out that our understanding of religion, and what constitutes one, is much more complex than one might initially think. So I think a “real” religion is one which has real people who accept it and follow its tenets, whatever they may be; an additional favourable condition is legal status and state recognition of an organisation as a religion.
1kg mince beef
1 onion, chopped
1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1 cup chunky salsa
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chilli powder
Mix everything together thoroughly and press it all firmly into a big baking dish. Cook at 220 degrees Celsius for 50-60 minutes. Nom!
This morning as she searched through the floordrobe (you know, the pile of clean clothes on the floor) she told me, “I’m looking for something to make me the most beautiful!”
And suddenly it struck me: the word “beautiful” is probably the most frequent compliment I give her. Along with “cute”, “gorgeous”, “lovely”, and so on. Most of the positive things I tell her about herself are about her appearance.
In fact, the quality I think is the most remarkable about Elspeth is her intelligence. She’s very bright, very sharp. Yet I hardly ever tell her in a similar praising tone that she is “clever” or “smart”. She’s also, on occasion, very sweet and kind, and I try to praise that when I see it too, but it’s still not as often as the appearance-based compliments.
She has clearly received the message that it is important to be beautiful. That’s not something I really intended. I need to work on making sure she knows that beauty is not the only quality worth having – indeed, it is perhaps the least important!
Home made ice cream! Yes please! This is delicious, I’m really pleased with how well it turned out.
4-6 kiwi fruit
300ml double cream
1 cup sugar
Mash the kiwi fruit well, then mix in 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Put this mix in the fridge for an hour or so to chill.
Beat eggs well, until light and fluffy. Whisk in the rest of the sugar, a bit at a time. Pour in cream and blend well. Add the chilled kiwi fruit and stir well.
Pour entire mixture into a container and put into the freezer. After about two hours, or when it is just beginning to freeze, beat or mix it again. Return to freezer overnight.
I should imagine this recipe would work well with several flavours, replacing the mashed kiwi with mango, banana, or whatever takes your fancy!
Elspeth is now officially enrolled in kindergarten for next year. What?! How did this happen? Surely just yesterday she was a baby! I’ve been in denial about this for a while; in fact I submitted her application for kinder several months late rather than face up to it!
I’m going to have to start looking at schools soon too! Friends with children of similar ages are already thinking about that. I wanted to homeschool my girls, but I don’t think that’s going to be feasible, at least not immediately. I will have to entrust them to the public schooling system, although I do so with great apprehension!
I wish she’d stop getting older…
Tonight, for a change, I have no pressing obligations. I mean, obviously I still have the kids here, but they will be in bed shortly. But I finished an essay, and don’t really need to start next week’s uni stuff until, well, next week – Monday.
I hate not having anything I need to do. I can never decide what I want to do; there are just too many things. Should I watch a DVD? If so, which one? Read a book? If so, which? Write my own fiction? Take a bath? (I tend to read in the bath, which brings me back to my previous question…)
I simply have no idea how I’m going to spend my free evening. I’ll probably just end up on Facebook all night. Sigh.
I try not to jump on bandwagons. I like to do my own research and form my own opinions wherever possible. So when everyone I know started saying how bad 50 Shades of Grey was, I knew I would have to try reading it for myself.
So a few months ago, I downloaded the free sample of the ebook. It’s about twenty pages, and I read those, and really I thought it was pretty boring. I might have been a little more interested if Kate was the main character, but I just couldn’t get into Ana. So I put it down, and thought no more of it.
But yesterday, prompted by a mention of your trilogy on a forum, I thought I should give it another shot. After all, the point of an erotic novel is the sex, and I hadn’t read any of that yet. So I purchased the entire ebook and flicked forward until I found something clearly intended to be erotic.
This time I wasn’t bored. No, bored doesn’t describe it. I swung between confusion, amusement, and frustration. I think within about three minutes of reading time, Ana said ‘Holy hell’ or ‘Holy shit’ about twenty times, which got old fast. And both characters seemed to suffer mood swings which were bamboozling: in one instance, Ana ‘snaps’ at Christian and then, literally on the next line, she is speaking ‘sweetly’ to him. There’s no indication that the sweetness was an attempt to make up for the snap, or that it was false; it’s just a straight-up mood change within a second.
As for the physical activities and reactions described, when I try to imagine what they might look or feel like, I’m left bemused. Many of them seem like something a suppressed and inexperienced person might imagine, because they don’t reflect how a real body works.
The long and short of it is, I read for about an hour last night and failed to find anything interesting, engaging, or believable. Both main characters, along with the activities they undertake, are incomprehensible and unrealistic.
Can I have my $9 back please?