This is a page that focuses on religious and theological issues, as well as providing comprehensive teaching from a classic Catholic perspective. As you read the articles, it is my hope they will educate and bless you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mythical Creatures - Is there Spiritual Truth Behind the Myth?

As I write this week, I do so in a sort of drained state – my batteries are in real need of a recharge on all levels. I haven’t been this wiped out personally in a long time, and am looking forward to a possible break soon. But, you don’t want to hear my lamentations on my overall general state, so let’s get started for this week’s thoughts. Being I work for the county government here in Clearwater, FL, I managed to get a day off yesterday in observance of MLK Day. However, it was not a day of rest, as I was finally able to start organizing my “man cave” closet, of which there were piles and piles of receipts, periodicals, etc., that needed some organization. Due to a rather busy work schedule – I haven’t missed a day of work in over a year actually – a lot of duties have been neglected, including my personal filing. And, it was a chore – I worked on that almost 5 hours straight yesterday, and still only managed to get 1/3 of what I wanted done. So, my plan is to do a little bit throughout the coming weeks at a time, pending the reception of more filing boxes, etc., until I have everything ship-shape. Then, in the process I plan on also getting rid of some junk I don’t need as well, which should prove interesting. It will also make my material for my family tree and life story projects a little more user-friendly too, as it will be all in one box instead of scattered here, there, and yonder. My back is still a little sore today from the monumental task of yesterday, but I’ll live – no pain, no gain. As to other issues, I was watching this History Channel program on Saturday I believe about the Beowulf legend, and based on a mass grave that was recently excavated at Sutton Hoo on the English coast, there is a strong possibility that Beowulf could have actually been a historical figure. That leads me to something I have had in the back of my head for a while and really need to get down on paper, and that is the fact that within every myth, there is some truth that inspired the myth. If this be the case, it would radically re-define the way we read certain things. Of course, the Bible would be excluded from this reasoning because it does have divine authorship – if any book on earth has complete truth, it is the Bible. That statement will probably garner a positive response from my Christian friends but possibly also some derision from some non-Christians – to the latter, I say too bad; fact is fact. Although there are people, many well meaning and sincere Christians who do take the Word of God seriously (as they should), sometimes they don’t fathom that the Bible is a record of salvation history, and therefore unrelated details are often not found. However, true science, history, and everything else concur with what the Bible does say, because again the Bible has divine authorship and is the inspired Word of God. However, fortunately God has left us the liberty, as well as blessing us with the intelligence, to at least theorize about the “gaps” that are so often perceived in the Biblical record, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. I have several of my own theories about things that would be too extensive to get into now – for instance, I believe personally Adam had other children besides Seth, Abel, and Cain, and I believe that may even account for the ancestry of far-flung peoples outside the Biblical landscape, such as the Orientals, sub-Saharan Africans, and Native Americans, and that possibly (this is NOT something I am dogmatic about, but just a theory I am still testing myself) some of these people may not have been affected by the Deluge of Noah’s time – but I maybe should start a blog or something (that was my bishop’s wife, Deaconness Susan Stanley’s, idea, and it is brilliant – thanks Sis. Susan!) to expound more on some things like this. Also, it must be understood too that although some of us believe certain things like this, they are not contingent upon one’s salvation and are just peripheral issues that do not affect the focus of the Bible’s central message – God’s plan of salvation for mankind. That all being said, when I mentioned the Sutton Hoo site, it is of interest that what the archeologists found there were these mangled bodies – no conventional weaponry or technique available in the 7th century was responsible for this either, I might add! – that had evidence of blood drainage, etc. For those of you familiar with the Beowulf epic, you know that the monster, Grendel, killed in this manner. Now, to see where the truth is in the legend, I am about to say something that will rock some worlds, but again, this is JUST a theory of mine and is not Church dogma or anything like that, but it will be something radical – it is possible that something real could have been the inspiration for Grendel, and in talking with some people who were born again after deliverance from occultism, I have been told that when demons possess people, sometimes they manifest as grotesque creatures that have superhuman strength and can kill a human being with little effort. If this is a possibility, what that means is there may be some substance to things like werewolves (told you this would get bizarre, didn’t I!). One can also find beliefs like this among many other cultures – the ancient Olmecs of Mexico, for instance, believed certain people had the ability to “morph” into wer-jaguars, and their artwork reflects this vividly. Among some Plains Indians in the US, there is also the “skin walker” phenomenon, in which the “gifted’ can morph into a wolf, bear, or whatever. I don’t think personally these things are mere myth and the product of the imagination either – it must be understood that many of these societies are relatively free of the skeptical/analytical thought we in the West are used to, and thus they are open significantly more to the realities of the spirit world and such. And, without the light of Christ, these cultures are open season for Satan and his demonic hoardes to mess with these people, deceiving them into practicing bizarre rituals, and if people are open to that stuff, the demonic spirits have a free rein over the people in that society and are given a carte blanche to do things many of us in “civilized” society have said were impossible. Only by the blood of Christ, shed on the cross for the redemption of humanity, has the power to break that bondage over these people, and thus the urgency to reach them with the true Gospel. And, often, when a culture like this really embraces Christianity, they likewise are more open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do, and it is in these places where true revival breaks forth, and not only are souls saved but people have been known to be miraculously raised from the dead, healed of dehabilitating disorders, etc. This is something that the Western world has long forgotten, as we have replaced faith in many cases with reason, and thus if it seems illogical to us we dismiss it. However, remember this – God does use the foolish things to confound the wise too. The “Fools for Christ” in the Eastern Christian traditions knew that well, and what was viewed by “normal” society as insanity was in reality a gift of the Holy Spirit imparted upon these “Fools.” Often, our own wisdom sells us short, and in some cases we labor under the delusion of knowing more than God does, although we often don’t want to admit we are even entertaining such a thought. However, God is still God, and he does what he wants; therefore, when reports of revivals in Africa and elsewhere come in about raising the dead, healing diseases, and other miraculous things, let us not be quick to dismiss such things. Could be, those “ignorant” Third World saints may actually be taking God’s word more seriously than we do because they are not encumbered with all the garbage our society here puts upon us. Therefore, if we want to see a move of God in our midst, maybe the key to that is laying down our over-rationalizes skepticism at the Throne of grace, and let God show us some things He is capable of. That is truly something to think about. All of Christianity knows the power of the miraculous – some, such as the Pentecostal churches and us Catholics to a degree, take it a little more seriously than others, but it is still part of our heritage regardless. Perhaps now it is time to let God be God, and perhaps we “wise ones” can be educated by that which is simple and foolish. Again, some more food for thought. This all being said, I leave you for the week, and look forward to talking more with you in the next post. God bless.