Monday, April 21, 2008

Holy ground requires holy living

One of the amazing things about visiting the 'Holy Land' must be walking around places where Jesus and his disciples did. It must help put you in touch with Jesus in a way that feels more tangible than living elsewhere. This is because Christianity is an historical faith, making claims about historical events that happened in real places.

However, Jesus is quoted as saying in the fourth gospel (John) that worship of God was no longer to be limited to one place that one group of people (be they Samaritan or Judeans) had control of. The recent carry on at the Holy Sepulchre, the supposed site of Jesus burial (kind of funny in a sense since he is meant to have been raised from the dead) is disappointing. Greek Orthodox and Armenian believers came to blows over control of this site. While it is understandable in a sense, is it not an exercise in missing the point when they are coming to physical blows? If it really is Holy ground, then shouldn't they be behaving in a holy way? I am no iconoclast, but when a place becomes a source of such bickering, then the point has long since been lost.


Ariane said...

I've just gotta comment on this one. :)

I went to Jerusalem in 95. I spent a bit of time in the old city. There was nothing dignified about the Christian quarter of the city. The Muslim quarter was just people living their lives in the sights of Jewish machine guns. The Jewish quarter was more restrained, but with plenty of propaganda. The Christians squabbled over the right to squat on patches of roofs.

And the Holy Sepulchre? Wow, what an experience. It took me utterly by surprise. You know my (lack of) belief, and I was expecting to find it of mild interest. When I walked through the door I was hit by an overwhelming sense of horror. No other word for it. When I spoke to my colleague about it, he asked me what I had felt, and said he'd had exactly the same response. Weird eh?

This was 13 years ago, so make of it what you will. I mean no disrespect, but that behaviour seems in keeping with what I saw.

Anonymous said...

Rather a strange thing for a "natural" philosopher to say about a piece of very ordinary and really depressing piece of real estate.

I have to agree with Ariane.

Why do you even call it the "Holy" land?

It is really no more holy than Highpoint shopping centre which ia a CATHEDRAL to the now dominant religion of shopping.

I shop therefore I am being the now universal credo.

When was the last time that someone who was/is genuinely Holy emerge from there. And who had a world influence?

Meanwhile As Ariane points out it is just a lunatic asylum, and a vast charnel ground of history where countless thousands upon thousands have been murdered.