Now listening: Explosions In The Sky, 'Those Who Tell the Truth ...'
Especially: Track 2, "Have You Passed Through This Night?"
There is, perhaps, some relation between religion and violence?
This statement does not perturb me. Exchange the interrogation mark for one of more conclusive punctuation, and I'm still fine. It does seem to perturb (some) others, though; specifically in the western/american context? that christianity could sanction such things. I think one benefit of having been exposed on the hill of catholicism as a child is that this particular relation feels obvious. How many steps into the long, contiguous (and fractal) history of the church can you go before hitting an Inquisition, a Martyr or a Crusade? A religion with an obvious authority structure is easy to peg for the legitimation of violence.
The magical, mystical, ecstatic ascesis of the passion is one obvious source for the (here in a specifically christian language) link between faith and fuckedupedness. Another is the Augustinian theology of the ghetto: he wrote that the Jews should be protected but constrained - as an eternal example of God's wrath towards those who would not take up the new covenant. To his credit, he was arguing against their genocide, so it's a 'frail theological lifeline,' to quote some guy.
There's always something really, REALLY bizarre about a christian typological reading of Hebrew scriptures, I gotta say; it's a visceral punishing god through a new loving revelation. But still visceral and punishing. But as a type. Perhaps brilliant, definitely fraught, this sanctions the suffering of life's torments by good christians themselves, since God obviously directs those toward his chosen people (this is especially pertinent in a culture only a few hundred years out of some pretty hardcore Puritanism; and mythically, there's some of it to us still.) It also, historically, sanctions slavery, torture and some pretty bloody warfare against the enemies of christendom. This isn't news, good or otherwise.
As for original explanations of the modern americhristian mindset? In their theo/ideology? To be simplistic, let's look at two rituals of judaism and christianity, respectively: passover? reminds the guests at table of the horrors of slavery and oppression. communion? reminds the queued communicants that this flesh was given up for all. In the latter case, violence buys redemption in an ongoing exchange. In the latter, it was a long-ago suffering to be avoided and lamented. This, again, is an oversimplistic read on my part; but it's not wrong. Christianity can take (some of) the same scripture that yields the passover meal - which narrative could dwell on the bloody, but often, for whatever overdetermined practical reason, doesn't in a jewish context - and type it with a crazy Mel Gibsonian hand. And not just catholics, is what i'm saying. Y'all. This confuddles my point, because I can't think of an iconic christian ritual that really draws on passover per se, (since old testamentry tends to play a larger part in protestantism, where rituals? don't so much); but I'm gesturing towards something, I think.
Religion and Violence more generally? Sure. Everything is violence. Everything that almost isn't? Legitimation. That doesn't mean everything isn't lots of other, happier, healthier things too. And it doesn't make me heartsick or disappointed, or even convicted and contrite. It makes me wary. And as ways to fare forth? I'm good with that.
In other news: I'm pretty sure that had 'Hotblooded' been released in Athens around 5th/4th Century b.c.e, it just might have been attributed to 'Ksenos,' though the press release might have spelled it a little different.