Man of Steel movie supposedly full of Christian Jewish References

I definitely want to take my older kids and go see the new Superman movie, but I am not so sure the makers of Man of Steel filled it with Christian references. Just because Superman holds his arms out (in flying position?) it resembles a crucifix…? The other so-called Christian references are reaching too, imo, such as his father Jor-EL appearing as a ghost resembles the Holy Spirit and / or God-the-Father and God-the-Son working as a Trinity.

The article is very interesting though, especially intriguing is the reminder that the original Superman creators were young Jews. They chose names with -El endings for Superman and his father, El being the Jewish god’s name (and thus the Christian god’s name) and appearing in popular names Micha-EL, Gabri-EL and girls’ names EL-izabeth, Rach-EL etc.

Neil Cavuto on Fox News Business just mentioned another Christian “similarity” not listed in this article. Someone didn’t like the moviemakers switching Clark Kent from a reporter to a fisherman. Neil Cavuto humorously said, “Hey. It worked for the Apostles…”

Either way, the esoteric references will be fun to try to spot. Gotta see this flick soon.

‘Man of Steel’ filled with Jesus, Christianity references
By Justin Craig
Published June 14, 2013

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It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s … Jesus?

When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created their iconic comic book hero Superman in 1938, their character wasn’t just a representation of “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” but for many, a metaphor for Jewish immigrants in 1930s America. Created by two young Jewish men, Superman was an allusion to the Jewish faith and history, from his baby Moses-like origins to his golem-esque invincibility, to his outcast status and his ultimate struggle to assimilate in a new land.

But somewhere along his journey since 1938, Kal-El converted to Christianity, which is no more evident than in Zack Snyder’s current “Man of Steel.”

Snyder and his “Steel” co-creators Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer have layered this latest incarnation with quite a few allusions to Jesus Christ. Here are a few:

While there isn’t a miraculous birth per se, Kal-El’s (Henry Cavill) father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) claims that his son is the first “natural” birth in centuries. All children on Krypton are genetically engineered to a pre-determined purpose and thus artificially inseminated. Not Kal-El. Jor-El and his wife Lara had some legitimate baby making going on.

There is some Christ-like imagery planted throughout “Man of Steel.” One blaring symbol occurs during a climactic battle: Superman jumps from General Zod’s (Michael Shannon) ship and hovers in the sky with his arms out-stretched like the crucifix. Freeze-frame it and you can have your own Superman prayer card.

Kal-El says he is 33, a not-too-subtle reference to the same age as Jesus Christ when he was crucified.
The Passion of Superman. Kal-El is more than willing to sacrifice himself to save the people of Earth. Originally reluctant to reveal his identity and powers to the world, Supes decides to turn himself over to Zod to save humanity from annihilation.

When things get tough, Clark Kent seeks advice from a priest. Visible in the background is a large painting of Jesus so you can see Supes and Christ side-by-side.

Superman is a non-violent being. Even though people everywhere seem to want to beat up on Clark Kent, he never returns the favor, always opting to keep the peace.

Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner), Clark’s adoptive father, is somewhat like Jesus’ adoptive dad, Joseph. Both are tradesmen: Joseph a carpenter, Jonathan a farmer. Superman’s ship (or manger, if you will) is even kept in the Kent’s stable.

And finally, don’t forget the Holy Trinity. Jor-El returns to Kal-El on Earth as a ghost, guiding his budding superhero son on his journey to salvation. Before Jor-El sends his son off to Earth baby Moses-style, he tells his wife that, like Jesus, “He’ll be a god to them.”

With Superman’s seemingly invincible powers, he is.

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Not so sure Why God is Father but not Mother

Wow, this author “argues like a Jesuit”, probably is one. I am partly persuaded by some of his arguments, but not all. Seems to me we can also call God “Mother” and recognize Her in and above Creation (as supposedly only the Father can be recognized). See what you think…

Why God is Father and Not Mother | Mark Brumley | ;

“The Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man” is how the 19th century liberal Protestant theologian Adolph Harnack once summarized the Christian faith. Nowadays Harnack would find his brand of reductionist religion dismissed as hopelessly sexist and exclusive by many feminist theologians. The “brotherhood of man” might be reworked into “the family of humanity” or its equivalent. But what would they do about the Fatherhood of God? Can we replace the allegedly “sexist” language of Divine Fatherhood with so-called gender-inclusive or gender-neutral terms such as Father/Mother or Heavenly Parent without further ado?

Many people–including some Catholics–say “yes.” “We not only can,” they contend, “we must. God is, after all, beyond gender. Calling God ‘Father’, without adding that God is also Mother, unfairly exalts one image for God above all others and ignores the culturally conditioned nature of all our images of God,” they argue.

A Consensus of the Many and the One

Of course, not everyone agrees. While most “mainline” Protestant churches have acquiesced, Evangelicals, the Orthodox churches and the Catholic Church have maintained traditional language for God–although even within these communions some people’s sympathies run in the other direction.

That the Catholic Church and these churches and ecclesial communities would agree on a point of doctrine or practice presents a formidable unity against feminist “God-Talk.” How often do we find that kind of united witness among that range of Christians? Yet as solid a prima facie case as that makes, a more serious obstacle to feminist revisionism exists–an insurmountable one, in fact. Not the witness of this group of Christians or that, but of Christ Himself. The commonplace manner in which Christians address the Almighty as Father comes from Him. In fact, Jesus actually used a more intimate word, Abba or “Daddy.”

Unfortunately, twenty centuries of Christian habit has eclipsed the “scandal” of this. For the Jews of Jesus’ day, however, it stunned the ear. They did not usually address the All Powerful Sovereign of the Universe in such intimate, familiar terms. Yes, God was acknowledged as Father, but usually as Father of the Jewish people as a whole. Jesus went further: God is (or can be at least) your or my Father, not mere our Father or the Father of our people. Anyone who wants to fiddle with how we talk of God must reckon with Jesus.

But did Jesus really call God “Father”? Few things in modern biblical scholarship are as certain. Skeptics may question whether Jesus turned water into wine or walked on water. They may doubt that He was born of a Virgin or that He rose from the dead. But practically no one denies that Jesus called God “Abba” or “Father.” So distinctive was the invocation in his day, so deeply imbedded in the biblical tradition is it, that to doubt it is tantamount to doubting we can know anything about Jesus of Nazareth.

What is more, not even most feminists deny it. What then to make of it?

Since Christians believe that Jesus is the fullest revelation of God, they must hold that He most fully reveals how we, by grace, should understand God: as Father. Otherwise they tacitly deny the central claim of their faith–that Christ is the fullness of God’s self-disclosure to man. Non-Christians may do that, of course, but Christians cannot–not without ceasing to be Christians in any meaningful sense of the word.

“But surely we must hold,” someone will object, “that Jesus’ view of God was historically conditioned like that of his contemporaries? His masculine language for God cannot be part of the ‘fullness of God’s self-disclosure,’ as you suppose. It was merely a residue of first century Jewish sexism. We must look instead to the ‘transhistorical significance’ of his teaching. And that is not the Fatherhood of God but the Godhood of the Father–that God is a loving Parent.”

Two Errors

At least two false claims lie hidden in that objection. The first is that Jesus’ own concept of God was “historically conditioned.” The second, that we can strip away a patriarchal “coating” to His notion of God to get at the gender-inclusive idea of the Divine Parent beneath. In other words, God’s Fatherhood, per se, is not central to Jesus’ revelation of God, only those qualities which fathers share with mothers–”parenthood,” in other words.

But was Jesus’ view of God “historically conditioned”? Not if you mean by “historically conditioned” “wholly explicable in terms of the religious thinking of His day.” We have no reason to think Jesus uncritically imbibed the prevailing ideas about God. He certainly felt free to correct inadequate ideas from the Old Testament in other respects (see, for example, Matt. 5:21-48) and to contravene religio-cultural norms, especially regarding women. He had women disciples, for example. He spoke with women in public. He even allowed women to be the first witnesses of His resurrection. How, then, on this most central point–the nature and identity of God–are we to suppose He was either unable, due to His own sexism and spiritual blindness, or unwilling, to set people straight about God as Father? Even if you deny Jesus’ divinity or hold to a watered-down notion of it, such a view remains impossible to maintain.

Furthermore, even if Jesus had “picked up” the notion of God as Father from His surrounding culture, we can not simply dismiss an idea as false merely because it happens to have been held by others. Otherwise Jesus’ monotheism itself could be as easily explained away on the grounds that it, too, was generally affirmed by the Jews of the day and therefore must, on this view, be only ‘historically conditioned.’

Nor can we simply ignore Jesus’ teaching about God’s Fatherhood, as if it were peripheral to His revelation. Time and again Jesus addresses God as Father, so much so that we can say Jesus’ name for God is Father. If Jesus was wrong about that, so fundamental a thing, then what, really, does He have to teach us? That God is for the poor and the lowly? The Hebrew prophets taught as much. That God is loving? They taught that as well.

Notice too that these truths–still widely held today–are subject to the “historical conditioning” argument. They are just as liable to be wrong as Jesus’ views about the Fatherhood of God, are they not? They, too, can be explained away as “culturally conditioned.”

Furthermore, Jesus’ way of addressing God as Father is rooted in His own intimate relationship to God. Now whatever else we say about God, we cannot say that He is Jesus’ mother, for Jesus’ mother is not God but Mary. Jesus’ mother was a creature; His Father, the Creator. “Father” and “Mother” are not, then, interchangeable terms for God in relation to Jesus. Nor can they be for us, if Catholicism’s doctrine that Mary is the “Mother of Christians” is correct.

The Real Issue

Undergirding Jesus’ teaching about God as Father is the idea that God has revealed Himself as to be such and that His revelation should be normative for us. God, in other words, calls the theological shots. If He wants to be understood primarily in masculine terms, then that is how we should speak of Him. To do otherwise, is tantamount to idolatry–fashioning God in our image, rather than receiving from Him His self-disclosure as the Father.

Many Feminist theologians seek to fashion God in their image, because they think God is fashionable (in both senses of the word). Many feminists hold that God is in Himself (they would say “Herself” or “Godself”) utterly unintelligible. We can, therefore, speak only of God in metaphors, understood as convenient, imaginative ways to describe our experience of God, rather than God Himself. In such a view, there is no room for revelation, understood as God telling us about Himself; we have only our own colorful, creative yet merely human descriptions of what we purport to be our experiences of the divine.

Whatever this is, it is not Christianity, which affirms that God has spoken to us in Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis, in an essay on women’s ordination in Anglicanism, put the matter thus:
But Christians think that God himself has taught us how to speak of him. To say that it does not matter is to say either that all the masculine imagery is not inspired, is merely human in origin, or else that, though inspired, it is quite arbitrary and unessential. And this is surely intolerable: or, if tolerable, it is an argument not in favor of Christian priestesses but against Christianity.
Cardinal Ratzinger made a similar point in The Ratzinger Report: “Christianity is not a philosophical speculation; it is not a construction of our mind. Christianity is not ‘our’ work; it is a Revelation; it is a message that has been consigned to us, and we have no right to reconstruct it as we like or choose. Consequently, we are not authorized to change the Our Father into an Our Mother: the symbolism employed by Jesus is irreversible; it is based on the same Man-God relationship he came to reveal to us.”

Now people are certainly free to reject Christianity. But they should be honest enough to admit that this is what they are doing, instead of surreptitiously replacing Christianity with the milk of the Goddess, in the name of putting new wine into old wineskins.

Taking Another Tack

Here proponents of feminine “God talk” often shift gears. Rather than argue that Jesus’ teaching was merely the product of a patriarchal mindset to which even He succumbed, they say that Jesus chose not to challenge patriarchalism directly. Instead, He subverted the established order by His radical inclusivity and egalitarianism. The logical implications of His teaching and practice compel us to accept inclusive or gender-neutral language for God, even though Christ Himself never explicitly called for it.

This argument overlooks an obvious point. While affirming the equal dignity of women was countercultural in first century Judaism, so was calling God “Abba.” Some feminists counter with the claim that the very idea of a loving Heavenly Father was itself a move in the feminist direction of a more compassionate, intimate Deity. The first century Jewish patriarch, they contend, was a domineering, distant figure. But even if that were so–and there is reason to doubt such a sweeping stereotype of first century Judaism–revealing God as a loving, compassionate Father is not the same as revealing Him as Father/Mother or Parent. That Jesus corrected some people’s erroneous ideas of fatherhood by calling God “Father” hardly means we should cease calling God “Father” altogether or call Him Father/Mother.

Feminists also sometimes argue that Scripture, even if not Jesus Himself, gives us a “depatriarchalizing principle” that, once fully developed, overcomes the “patriarchalism” of Jewish culture and even of other parts of the Bible. In other words, the Bible corrects itself when it comes to male stereotypes of God.

But this simply is not so. Granted, the Bible occasionally uses feminine similes for God. Isaiah 42:14, for example, says that God will “cry out like a woman in travail.” Yet the Bible does not say that God is a woman in travail, it merely likens His cry to that of a woman.

The fact is, whenever the Bible uses feminine language for God, it never applies it to Him in the same way masculine language is used of Him. Thus, the primary image of God in Scripture remains masculine, even when feminine similes are used: God is never called “She” or “Her.” As Protestant theologian John W. Miller puts it in Biblical Faith and Fathering: “Not once in the Bible is God addressed as mother, said to be mother, or referred to with feminine pronouns. On the contrary, gender usage throughout clearly specifies that the root metaphor is masculine-father.”

In fact, the Bible ascribes feminine characteristics to God in exactly the same way it sometimes ascribes such traits to human males. For example, in Numbers 11:12 Moses asks, “Have I given birth to this people?” Do we conclude from this maternal image that Scripture here is “depatriarchalize” Moses. Obviously, Moses uses here a maternal metaphor for himself; he is not making a statement about his “gender identity.” Likewise, in the New Testament, both Jesus (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34) and Paul (Galatians 4:19) likened themselves to mothers, though they are men. Why, then, should we think that on those relatively rare occasions when the Bible uses feminine metaphors for God anything more is at work there than with Moses, Jesus and Paul?

Of course there is a crucial difference between God and Moses, the Incarnate Son and Paul. The latter possess human natures in the male gender, while God, as such, is without gender because He is Infinite Spirit. Furthermore, the biblical authors obviously knew that Moses, Jesus and Paul were male and intended to assert as much by referring to them with the masculine pronoun and other masculine language. The same cannot be said about the biblical writers’ notion of God. Even so, they speak of God as if He were masculine. For them, masculine language is the primary way we speak of God. Feminine language is applied to God as if it were being used of a masculine being.

Why the Masculine Language to Begin With?

Which brings us to a more fundamental issue, namely, “What is the masculine language about in the first place?” Since Christianity, as St. Augustine was overjoyed to learn, holds that God has no body, why is God spoken of in masculine terms?

We could, of course, merely insist that He has revealed Himself in this way and be done with it. That would not, however, help us understand God, which presumably is why He bothered to reveal Himself as Father to begin with. No, if we insist that God has revealed Himself as Father, we must try to understand what He is telling us by it.

Why call God Father? The question is obviously one of language. Before we can answer it, we must observe a distinction between two different uses of language–analogy and metaphor.

Sometimes when we speak of God, we assert that God really is this or that, or really possesses this characteristic or that, even if how He is or does so differs from our ordinary use of a word. We call this way of talking about God analogy or analogous language about God. Even when we speak analogously of God, however, we are still asserting something about how God really is. When we say that God is living, for example, we really attribute life to God, although it is not mere life as we know it, i.e., biological life.

Other times when we speak of God, we liken Him to something else–meaning that there are similarities between God and what we compare him to, without suggesting that God really is a form of the thing to which we compare Him or that God really possesses the traits of the thing in question. For example, we might liken God to an angry man by speaking of “God’s wrath.” By this we do not mean God really possesses the trait of anger, but that the effect of God’s just punishment is like the injuries inflicted by an angry man. We call this metaphor or metaphorical language about God.

When we call God Father, we use both metaphor and analogy. We liken God to a human father by metaphor, without suggesting that God possesses certain traits inherent in human fatherhood–male gender, for example. We speak of God as Father by analogy because, while God is not male, He really possesses certain other characteristics of human fathers, although He possesses these in a different way (analogously)–without creaturely limitations.

With this distinction between analogy and metaphor in mind, we turn now to the question of what it means to call God “Father.”

The Fatherhood of God in Relation to Creation

We begin with God’s relationship to creation. As the Creator, God is like a human father. A human father procreates a child distinct from and yet like himself. Similarly, God creates things distinct from and like Himself. This is especially true of man, who is the “image of God.” And God cares for His creation, especially man, as a human father cares for his children.

But does not what we have said thus far allow us to call God Mother as well as Father? Human mothers also procreate children distinct from yet like themselves, and they care for them, as human fathers do. If we call God Father because human fathers do such things, why not call God Mother because human mothers do these things as well?

No doubt, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 239) states, “God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature.” Scripture itself, as we have seen, sometimes likens God to a mother. Yet, as we have also seen, Scripture never calls God “Mother” as such. Scripture uses feminine language for God no differently than it sometimes metaphorically uses feminine language for men. How do we explain this?

Many feminists simply dismiss this as sexism by the biblical writers. But the real answer rests with the difference between God and human beings, between fathers and mothers and between metaphor and analogy. The Bible sometimes speaks metaphorically of God as Father. But it would be strange for Scripture so often to call God Father and so seldom to use maternal language, if the whole thing were merely a difference in metaphor. By never calling God “Mother” but only likening God to a human mother, Scripture seems to suggest that God is really Father in a way He is not really Mother. In other words, that fatherhood and motherhood are not on equal footing when it comes to describing God. To understand why this is so, let us look at the difference between fathers and mothers.

Father and Mother

What is the difference between fatherhood and motherhood? A father is the “principle” or “source” of procreation in a way a mother is not. To be sure, both father and mother are parents of their offspring and in that sense both are causes of their offspring’s coming-to-be. But they are so in different ways.

Both mother and father are active agents of conception (contrary to what Aristotle thought). But the father, being male, initiates procreation; he enters and impregnates the woman, while the woman is entered and impregnated. There is an initiatory activity by the man and a receptive activity by the woman. Furthermore, modern biology tells us that the father determines the gender of the offspring (as Aristotle held, though for a different reason).

Thus, while father and mother are both parents of their offspring and both necessary for procreation, the father has a certain priority as the “source” or “principle” of procreation. (This “priority as source” is complemented by the mother’s priority as first nurturer, due to her procreating within herself and carrying the child within herself for nine months.)

This difference between fathers and mothers for the Fatherhood of God is crucial. As Dominican Fr. Benedict Ashley has argued, so long as we compare God’s act of creating to a human father’s act of procreation through impregnating a woman, we speak only metaphorically of God as Father. For God does not “impregnate” anyone or anything when he creates; He creates from nothing, without a partner. But if we move beyond the particulars of human reproduction, where a father requires a mother to procreate, and instead speak of the father as “source” or “principle” of procreation, then our language for God as Father becomes analogous rather than merely metaphorical. As a human father is the “source” or “principle” of his offspring (in a way that the mother, receiving the father and his procreative activity within herself, is not), so God is the “source” or “principle” of creation. In that sense, God is truly Father, not merely metaphorically so.

Can we make a similar jump from the occasional metaphorical likening of God to human mothers in Scripture to an analogical way of calling God Mother? No, and here is why: A mother is not the “principle” or “source” of procreation the way a father is. She is a receptive, active collaborator in procreation, to be sure. But she is not the active initiator–that is the father’s role as a man in impregnating her. A father can be an analogue for the Creator who creates out of nothing insofar as fathers–while not procreating out of nothing–nevertheless are the “source” or “principle” of procreation as initiators, as God is the source of creation. But a mother, being the impregnated rather than the impregnator, is analogous neither to God as Creator from nothing, nor God as the initiating “source” or “principle” of creation. As a mother, she can be likened to God only in metaphorical ways–as nurturing, caring, etc., as we see in Scripture.

One reason, then, Scripture more often speaks of God as Father than likens Him to a mother is that fatherhood can be used analogously of God, while motherhood can only be a metaphor. We can speak of God either metaphorically or analogously as Father, but we can speak of Him as maternal only metaphorically. Thus, we should expect that masculine and specifically paternal language would generally “trump” feminine and specifically maternal language for God in Scripture. For an analogy tells us how God truly is, not merely what He is like, as in metaphor.

But we can go further. Even on the metaphorical level, it is more appropriate to call God Father rather than Mother. To understand why, we return to the difference between father and mother, this time introducing two other terms, transcendence and immanence.

Transcendence and Immanence

Transcendence here refers to the fact that God is more than and other than His creation–indeed, more than and other than any possible creation. This is part of what it means to call God “the Supreme Being” or “that than which no greater can be thought” (to use St. Anselm’s description). Immanence, on the other hand, refers to the fact that God is present in His creation–as the author is “in” his book or the painter “in” his painting, only more so. God created the world and it is marked by His creation of it. But God also continues to sustain the world in being. If He ever withdrew His power, the cosmos would cease to be. In that sense, God is closer to the cosmos than it is to itself–closer than its very own existence is, for God gives the cosmos existence, moment by moment.

Now back to fathers and mothers. We said a father “initiates” procreation by impregnating the mother, while the mother “receives” the father into herself and is impregnated. The obvious difference here is that the man procreates outside and “away from” himself, while the woman procreates inside and within herself. Symbolically, these are two very different forms of procreation and they represent two different relationships to the offspring.

Because the father procreates outside of himself, his child is symbolically (though in reality not wholly) other than his father. Likewise, the father is other than his child (though also not wholly). In other words, the father, as father, transcends his child. Fatherhood, in this sense, symbolizes transcendence in relation to offspring, though we also recognize that, as the “source” of his child’s life, the father is united or one with his child and therefore he is not wholly a symbol of transcendence.

On the other hand, because the mother procreates within herself–within her womb where she also nurtures her child for nine months–her child is symbolically (though in reality not wholly) part of herself. And similarly, the mother is symbolically (though in reality not wholly) part of her child. In other words, the mother, as mother, is one with her child. Motherhood, in this sense, symbolizes immanence, though we recognize that as a distinct being, the mother is also other than her child and therefore not wholly a symbol of immanence.

Now God is distinct from and the source of His creation. He is infinitely greater than and therefore infinitely other than His creation (transcendent). As Creator and Sustainer of creation, He is also present in creation (immanent). And we, as creatures who are both part of creation and distinct from the rest of it, can understand God as transcendent (more than creation) or immanent (present in creation). If we go a step further and use “father” for transcendence and “mother” for immanence, we can say that God’s transcendence is represented by fatherhood, which symbolizes God’s otherness and initiating activity (His being the “source” of creation). Meanwhile, God’s immanence is represented by motherhood, which symbolizes intimacy and union with the things God created. Which leaves us with the obvious question, “If this is so, why does traditional theology use only male language for God?”

The answer: because God’s transcendence has a certain priority over His immanence in relation to creation. And this is for at least two reasons. First, because transcendence, in a sense, also includes the notion of immanence, although the reverse is not true. When we speak of God transcending creation we imply a certain relationship of immanence to it. For Him to transcend creation, there must be a creation to transcend. And since creation resembles its Creator and is sustained by Him, He is present in it by His immanence.

But the opposite is not necessarily so. We do not necessarily imply transcendence by talking of divine immanence. Pantheism (Greek for “all is God”), for example, more or less identifies God with the cosmos, without acknowledging divine transcendence. To prevent God’s transcendence from being lost sight of and God being wrongly reduced to, or even too closely identified with, His creation, language stressing transcendence–masculine terms such as father –is necessary.

A second reason for putting God’s transcendence ahead of His immanence, and therefore fatherly language ahead of motherly language for God, has to do with the infinite difference between transcendence and immanence in God. God is infinitely transcendent, but not, in the same sense, infinitely immanent. Although God is present in creation, He is above all infinitely more than the actual or any possible created order and is not defined or limited by any created order. The cosmos, however vast, is ultimately finite and limited because it is created and dependent. Therefore God can be present in it only to a finite extent–not because of any limitation in God, but because of limits inherent in anything that is not God.

Thus, in order to express adequately God’s infinite transcendence and to avoid idolatrously identifying God with the world (without severing Him from His creation, as in deism), even on the metaphorical level we must use fatherly language for God. Motherly language would give primacy to God’s immanence and tend to confuse Him with His creation (pantheism). This does not exclude all maternal imagery–as we have seen even the Bible occasionally employs it–but it means we must use such language as the Bible does, in the context of God’s fatherhood.

In other words, God’s Fatherhood includes the perfections of both human fatherhood and human motherhood. Scripture balances transcendence and immanence by speaking of God in fundamentally masculine or paternal terms, yet also occasionally using feminine or maternal language for what is depicted as an essentially masculine God. This helps explain why even when the Bible describes God in maternal terms–God remains “He” and “Him.”

The Fatherhood of God in the Trinity

We see, then, that God is Father because He is the Creator and creating resembles human fathering in some important ways. But what if God had never created the world or man? Would He still have been Father? Or what about before God created the world or man? Was God Father then?

The doctrine of the Trinity tells us the answer to these questions is “yes.” The First Person of the Trinity, Trinitarian doctrine reminds us, is the Father. He is, in fact, Father of the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity (CCC 240). Before all worlds and from all eternity, the First Person “begot” the Second Person, who eternally proceeds from the Father, “God from God, light from light, true God from true God,” as the Creed puts it (CCC 242). In the Trinity, the Father is the Underived Principle of the Son (and through Him, of the Spirit as well); He is the Source or Unoriginated Origin of the Triune God.

Again, we draw on the analogy of human fatherhood. As we have seen, a father is the “source” of his offspring in a way a mother is not. The First Person of the Trinity is the “source” of the second Person. Thus, we call the First Person “the Father” rather than “the Mother” and the Second Person, generated by the Father yet also the Image of the Father, we call the Son.

Although the Son is also God and the Image of the Father, He is also distinct from and other than the Father. The Son is begotten; the Father, unbegotten. The Son is originated, the Father, unoriginated. Father-Son language expresses this relationship better than Father-Daughter; Mother-Daughter or Mother-Son language.

Of course because we use analogy, there are crucial differences between God the Father and human fathers. In the Trinity, God the Father begets the Son without a cooperating maternal principle, unlike how human fathers beget their sons. Moreover, God the Father does not precede His Son in time as a human father does his son. Both Father and Son are eternal in the Trinity, hence neither Person existed before the other. Finally, while human fathers and sons share a common human nature, they each have their own human natures. The father does not know with his son’s intellect; the son does not choose with his father’s will. And while they may have similar physical makeup, their bodies are distinct and genetically unique.

Yet in the Trinity, the Father and the Son do possess the same divine nature, not merely their own, respective divines natures as humans possess their own, respective human nature. This is because there can be no such thing as divine “natures”; there can be and is only one divine nature, just as there can be and is only one God. The Father and Son each wholly possesses the divine nature, though each in his distinctive way. The Father possesses it as unreceived and as giving it to the Son; the Son, as received from the Father.

Thus, within the Trinity, there is fundamental equality–each Person is wholly God–and basic difference–each Person is unique and not the Others, not interchangeable. And there is also sacred order, with the Son begotten of the Father and the Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son. This shows that equality and difference, and even equality and hierarchy, need not be understood as opposed to one another, as some feminists claim.

Furthermore, a proper understanding of the Trinity also helps us to see why we cannot just substitute “Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier” for “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” as some feminists propose. Traditional theology allows us to associate creation with the Father in a special way because of a similarity between the act of creation and the fact that the Father is the Unoriginated Origin of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we can associate Redemption with the Son because He became incarnate to redeem us, and Sanctification with the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit proceeds in love from the Father and the Son and the gifts of the Spirit which sanctify are gifts of Divine love. This process of associating certain divine works in the world with a particular Person of the Trinity is called appropriation.

But in all these cases what is associated with or attributed to a particular Person of the Trinity–whether Creation, Redemption or Sanctification–really belongs to all three Divine Persons. In other words, the Three Divine Persons of the Trinity are not “defined” as Persons by these actions, since Creation, Redemption and Sanctification are common to all Three. What defines them as Persons are their unique relations among one another, with the Father begetting, the Son being begotten and the Spirit being “spirated” from the Father and the Son. To reduce each Person of the Trinity to a particular function–Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier –is to succumb to the ancient heresy of Modalism, which denies that there are Three Persons in God and instead holds that there is really only one Person in God who acts in three different modes–Father, Son and Spirit. Or in this case, Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier.

The Father of the Incarnate Son

But we must not stop with the First Person of the Trinity’s Fatherhood of the Son before all worlds. For the Triune God has revealed Himself in history. The Son united Himself with human nature. He is the Son of the Father in His human nature as well as His divinity. This, in part, is the meaning of the Virginal Conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary (Lk 1:35). Jesus has no human father–St. Joseph is His “foster-father.” Jesus’ Father is God the Father and He alone. That is why Jesus refers to God as “Abba”–a highly personal and intimate form of paternal address. Jesus’ existence in time and history parallels His eternal, divine existence as God the Son. For this reason, we must not speak of God as Jesus’ Mother, as if the terms “father” and “mother” are interchangeable when it comes to Jesus’ relation to God. God is Jesus’ Father; Mary is Jesus’ Mother and she is not God.

Fatherhood of God by Divine Adoption and Regeneration in Christ

We come now to God and humanity. Is God the Father of all mankind? In a sense He is, because He created us and, as we have seen, to create is like fathering a child. Yet God also made rocks, trees and the Crab Nebula. How is He Father of man but not also Father of them? Granted, humans are spiritual, as well as material, beings, which means they are rational beings–capable of knowing and choosing. In this, they more closely resemble God than the rest of visible creation. Nevertheless, human beings, as such, do not share God’s own life, as children share the life of their fathers. Thus, we are not by nature “children of God” in that sense, but mere creatures. And, as a result of sin, we are fallen creatures at that.

Yet Jesus tells His followers to address God as Father (Mt 6:9-13). He says the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Lk 11:13) and that the Spirit of their Father will speak through them in times of persecution (Mt 10:20). He tells His disciples to be merciful as their heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). He speaks of being “born from above” through baptism and the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:5). On Easter Sunday, He directs Mary Magdalen to tell the other disciples, “I am going to my Father and your Father . . .” (Jn 20:17).

Elsewhere in the New Testament, God is also depicted as Father to Christians. Through Jesus Christ we are more than mere creatures to God; by faith in Him we become the children of God (1 Jn 5:1), sharing in Jesus’ own Divine Sonship, albeit in a created way (Rom 8:29). God is our Father because He is Jesus’ Father (Jn 1:12). What God is for Jesus by nature, He is for us by grace, Divine Adoption (Rom 8:14-17; Gal 4:4-7; Eph 1:5-6), and regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:5-7).

Behind this language of Divine Adoption and regeneration is the idea that God is our Father because He is the “source” or “origin” of our new life in Christ. He has saved us through Christ and sanctified us in the Spirit. This is clearly more than a metaphor; the analogy with earthly fatherhood is obvious. God is not merely like a father for Christ’s followers; He is really their Father. In fact, God’s Fatherhood is the paradigm of fatherhood. This is why Paul writes in Eph 3:14-15, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named . . .” (RNAB). It is not that God the Father is earthly fatherhood writ large; rather, earthly fatherhood is the faint copy of Divine Fatherhood. This is why Jesus says, “Call no man on earth father. For you have but one Father in heaven” (Mt 23:9). In other words, no earthly father should be seen as possessing the fullness of patriarchal authority; that belongs to God the Father. All earthly fatherhood is derivative from Him.

Thus, God is not Father of those who have not received the grace of justification and redemption in the same way as those who have. Yet they remain potentially His children, since the Father wills the salvation of all (1 Tim 2:4) and makes sufficient grace necessary for salvation available to all. God desires that all men become children of the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit, hence the universal mission of the Church (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Acts 1:8). We can speak, then, in general terms of God as the Father of all men, inasmuch as He created all men to be His children by grace and makes available to them the means of salvation.

Language Given by God

We see now that there are good theological reasons for why we call God “Father,” not the least of which is that such language is not ours to adapt or abolish to begin with. God gave us this language–admittedly through a particular culture and its images–but it was God who nevertheless gave it. God wants us to understand Him as the Transcendent Source of creation, a truth better expressed using the language of fatherhood than motherhood. Within the Triune Life of God, the First Person is Father because He is the Unoriginated Origin of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, He is also Father of the Son in history, through the Incarnation. And, by Divine Adoption and regeneration, He is Father of those who are united to Christ in the Holy Spirit–”sons in the Son.” Finally, as a result of God’s universal salvific will, all human beings are potentially children of God, for all are called to share in the Divine Life of grace through Christ in the Holy Spirit.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 1999 issue of Catholic Faith magazine.

Related Articles:

• Father, Son, and Spirit: So What’s In A Name? | Deborah Belonick
• Mary in Feminist Theology: Mother of God or Domesticated Goddess? | Fr. Manfred Hauke
• Marriage and the Family in Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae | Reverend Michael Hull, S.T.D.
• Do Boys Need Dads? | An Interview with Maggie Gallagher
• Male and Female He Created Them | Cardinal Estevez
• Understanding The Hierarchy of Truths | Douglas Bushman, S.T.L.

Instead of telling kids to “be good!”….howabout “use your good!”

I recently found this quote by Eckhart Tolle.

“You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.” (Eckhart Tolle, Oneness With All Life)

Maybe we should tell kids, “Find your good! Access your good! Dig out your good and use it please!” instead of the tired old, “Be good, be good! Be GOOD!”  Christianity and Judaism (Islam, too I guess) have always been basically guilt-mongering religions with so much emphasis on sin, sin, SIN and how “bad” we all are. I like this positive way of flipping things around.

I have heard mothers say to their children things like, “don’t let your ugly out” and “sorry my ugly came out.”   I’ve heard ministers say that last to their congregations actually…hee hee.  So we can refer to our inner good the same way.  DO let your “good” out. A whole new tactic to use on the kiddos…. I am going to employ it right away…


How to Make (and use) Holy Water

Holy Water and aspergillum (sprinkler) for the minister or priest to sprinkle the holy water
Holy Water font with aspergillum to sprinkle it

“HOW DO WE MAKE HOLY WATER? WE BOIL THE HELL OUT OF IT!”  –  non-denominational church sign

The many alternative clergy in our network — ordained ministers, priests, rabbis, chaplains of all callings  — are increasingly employing holy water in their work. There has been an upsurge in requests for house-blessings and apartment blessings when someone first moves in, and for blessing of pets with holy water — and even cars! But recently there has been an upsurge in requests for  exorcisms! Holy water is good for all of the above, not to mention baptisms, blessing a newly married couple after performing a wedding, baby blessing, etc.

So the question brought up in our alumni forum recently was how do you “make” holy water. Making it is technically not the term clergy use but rather “blessing” holy water.


Here are some methods our ministers submitted to the discussion.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Technically speaking you you are opening a channel to Divine Source, bringing
creative energy down to the material plane and infusing water with it.
Practically, there many ways to do it.
Anyway, following rites without inner understanding is empty theatre.  — Ordained in Poland

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am ordained Interfaith Spiritual Minister.
Water is a necessary ingredient for Life.
To me water is inherently sacred.
Blessing it, infusing it with healing energy sets it aside as “Holy Water”.
I was ordained [live and in person] by our beautiful blessed sister Rev. Katia.
I do not belong to any specific tradition or path other than where I feel led by the spark of divinity within…my own part of the I AM presence as a daughter of the Most High.
My background is Jewish and Eastern Paths.  — Ordained in Pennsylvania

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Water is inherently sacred. God or the Divine leads us in the way that is part of our ministry.  We all serve presence of the most high by the way that he or she is revealed to us.  Our ministries are all unique.  That is why we were all called and happy to be ordained by the Interfaith ministries. I support your wonderful ministry and the way that you have responded to the Divine Calling.  — Ordained in Australia

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Put water – distilled is good – into a glass container, covered.   Then set this outside during the full moon (about a day and a half).   This will bless it and create holy water for you to use. Intention is so important, remember – blessings and love.   — Ordained in New York City

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I thought I had to add salt, but that must be for another recipe (exorcism?…not that I’m planning on doing any). I am new at this and it isn’t listed in the Interfaith Minister’s Manual. I am completely aware of the need for prayers and blessings…  — Ordained in Ohio

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hello all, Nice seeing the wide-spread interest in Holy Water! 🙂

Seems to me there are a few major patterns being painted. One point turns on the
question of Intent/Apprehension. Some faiths state the properly observing the
ritual is all that is required. Other faiths state the Intention of the person
performing the ritual in intrinsic to the outcome. Personally, I am undecided on
this point, although in most cases I tend toward considering Intent as very
important, and even intrinsic to a properly observed ritual.

However, beyond my doubt is that the Holy Spirit (or whatever one prefers to
name the Divine Spirit) will do what It will. We may or may not be attentive or
appreciative or even aware. This aspect of the Divine Will is -I think- by
definition totally Its own power. So there is that.

But I also think the best situation is where one *is* concerned with one’s
Intention. Where this may be combined with a preferred ritual of one’s order, so
much the better. And if one is of a specific order, then I would suppose it is
incumbent upon one to observe the rules of that order.

For me this is an interesting question. On one hand I tend to prefer the dynamic
flow of sensing what I believe to be the Divine Spirit, and just going with that
on a gut level. Yet on the other hand, I must admit to myself there may be
something “extra” when following a long tradition. (Which, as observed above,
the Holy Spirit may always trump!)

But ultimately, when alone, I take living in the moment by preference. However,
when performing a ritual for others, I think there is more to be considered.
There is a “body of faith” we are also working with in such cases, and in order
to provide the maximum affect upon the person(s) whom we are serving, we should
abide as best we can by the expectations of that person(s).

Putting on the Scientific Hat, I’d say this also bumps up against the placebo
effect. Our minds are powerful! When we act so as to encourage this response in
those we are serving, I think we serve them best.

And for me, serving the needs of others is one of the most important
considerations as we consider rituals and other sacred observances. When we are
standing at our altar and offering our personal oblations, that is a different

One path I see as private and the other public. Both are important, yet there
may at times be differences between them.

Thanks for the interesting topic! 🙂   —Ordained in Missouri

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[In the Independent Sacramental Catholic Church] Holy Water is blessed by a Priest with Holy Orders, generally while wearing a purple stole.  A Sacramental Priest holds Apostolic Succession and prior to ordination will be thoroughly experienced in Rites and Blessings.

There are three basic steps involved with the blessing of Holy Water.

First, the Priest performs an exorcism and blessing of salt, followed by a prayer.

Second, the Priest performs an exorcism and blessing of water (distilled water is often used), followed by a prayer.

Third, the Priest “casts the salt thrice into the water crosswise, as he or she says” a blessing followed by a prayer.

The Liturgy I use most often is The Liturgy of the Liberal Catholic Church, 3d Ed. 2002.  The blessing of Holy Water is at pp. 387-89 in that text.  Bishop Wynn Wagner has published a similar liturgy which is available in paperback. The Interfaith Minister’s Manual also has good materials on the blessing of Holy Water.

Some blessings can be found on internet sites. These are two examples:  and

Bishop James  – Ordained & Consecrated in South Carolina

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

> This is an interesting site by a group of Catholic Churches in Western
> Washington.
> The article on vestments is an excellent introduction to the topic:
> The Church ordinarily permits the use of [four] colors in the sacred vestments
> — white, red, green, [and] violet… Gold may be used as a substitute for
> white, red or green.
> Each of these colors has its own meaning. The Sacrifice of the Mass is offered
> for many purposes and in honor of many classes of saints; and these various
> purposes are all designated and symbolized by the color of the vestments which
> the Church prescribes for each Mass.
> When are these colors used? When the Church wishes to denote purity, innocence
> or glory, she uses white; that is, on the feasts of our Lord and of the Blessed
> Virgin, on the festivals of angels and of all saints who were not martyrs. Red
> is the color of fire and of blood; it is used in Masses of the Holy Ghost, such
> as on Pentecost, to remind us of the tongues of fire — and on the feasts of all
> saints who shed their blood for their faith. The purple or violet is expressive
> of penance; it is used during Lent and Advent (except on saints’ days), and also
> on the sorrowful festival of the Holy Innocents. [White] is the color of [the
> resurrection and so is used in masses] for the dead. Red is used on Good Friday
> and Palm Sunday. Green is the color which denotes the growth and increase of our
> holy Church, and is also symbolic of hope; it is used at various times of the
> year, on days that are not saints’ days.

> The article on Holy Water was informative:

> The use of holy water in Catholic Churches goes back possibly to Apostolic
> times. There is a tradition that St. Matthew recommended it in order thereby to
> attract converts from Judaism by using a rite with which they were familiar in
> their former faith. However, we have no certainty that he introduced it, but we
> know that it can be traced back nearly to the beginning of our religion. It is
> mentioned in a letter ascribed by some to Pope Alexander I, and supposed to have
> been written in the year 117; but the genuineness of this letter is very
> doubtful. We find a detailed account of its use, however, in the “Pontifical of
> Serapion,” in the fourth century, and the formula of blessing mentioned therein
> has considerable resemblance to that used at the present day.

> The Asperges.
> The blessing of water [at] Mass on Sunday and the sprinkling of the congregation
> with it, which ceremony is called the “Asperges,” goes back to the time of Pope
> Leo IV, in the ninth century, and possibly even further. The word Asperges is
> the opening word of a verse of Psalm 50, which is recited … as follows: “Thou
> shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be cleansed; Thou shalt wash
> me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.” [See Ps. 50:9 in the Douay Rheims
> version, or Ps 51 in the NAB or other modern versions, and footnote 3 in the
> NAB.]
> The custom of placing holy water at the door of the church for the use of the
> faithful is still more ancient. Among the Jews a ceremony of purification was
> required before entering the Temple to assist at the sacrifices, and this
> undoubtedly suggested the Catholic practice of using holy water at the church
> door. It is said to have been in vogue in the second century, and we know that
> it is at least of very ancient date.

> In the Middle Ages it was customary to use holy water when entering the church,
> but not when leaving it — the idea being that purification was necessary before
> entering the house of God, but that after assisting at the Holy Sacrifice it was
> no longer needed. However, the general practice now is to take it both on
> entering and departing…

> Why does the Church use salt in holy water? Because it was a Jewish custom, and
> because of the symbolical meaning of salt. Just as water is used for cleansing
> and for quenching fire, so salt is used to preserve from decay. Therefore the
> Church combines them in this sacramental, to express the various reasons why it
> is used — to help to wash away the stains of sin, to quench the fire of our
> passions, to preserve us from relapses into sin. Moreover, salt is regarded as a
> symbol of wisdom. Our Lord called His Apostles “the salt of the earth,” because
> by them the knowledge of the Gospel was to be spread over the world.
> And, there are pictures of volcanoes near the parish:
> +James

A new Catholic priest in the Independent Sacramental Movement

Congratulations to Father Michael Clancy of Florida, ordained a priest with Apostolic Succession yesterday in front of his congregation. I am honored and blessed to be his bishop and look forward to working with him, Deacon Sue (pictured right) and their congregation.

From left to right Altar Server Aidan, Bishop Katia, Ordinand Michael, Deacon Sue

Abrahamic Religion Symbols: Stars, Moons – and an Execution Device

Judaism has a star for its symbol. Every time you see someone wearing that star around their neck, you know they are Jewish. Muslims have a star AND the crescent moon as their symbol, but I don’t know if they wear it as a pendant. What do Christians have? — an execution device. We wear crosses around our necks “so people know I am a Christian” I told my young daughter today. She frowned. I know, I know, it’s odd to wear an execution symbol, I added. Technically I doubt Jesus likes our choice of that symbol, he’d probably prefer the ancient fish symbol. But because of thousands of years tradition, wearing a cross is the only symbol we have to clearly designate our spiritual choice. Some people don’t feel a need to make an outward statement of their allegiance to their God/Goddess, but I am not one of them. I am stuck with this notion that my Creator, my Deity, deserves my courage to wear my beliefs on my sleeve (sorry for mixed metaphor).

My daughter paused and said, “I wish we had a star or something like that from the sky for our symbol, too.”

I said, “The Jews chose a star and the Muslims added the moon to that so they use a moon and a star. All that’s left for us to use is the sun.”  The sun, of course! I thought inside my head. How fitting since Christianity was long called a Solar Cult. How amazing the sun, moon and stars could basically sum up all three desert religions if Christians hadn’t obsessed over Yeshua’s death for our sins. On Winter Solstice I had just explained to this same daughter (ironically as she lay in her hospital bed) and later to the other two daughters how Jesus’s birthday is equated with the Sun’s annual “birthday.” This dark time of the year — she had noticed the sun going down “so early” out her hospital window — is when people all around the world look for the Return of the Light. Yeshua was called the Light of the World, etc. I didn’t go into the Sol Invictus stuff with Constantine and the details behind Jesus’ birthday change, the 12 Apostles being like the 12 houses of the Sun, nor the other evidence we are at least in part a solar religion.

We teach the solar nature of Christianity in our Mystery School with the help of books such as Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism. I am not sure if we also ask our seminarians pursuing Holy Orders to read that book.

If we started wearing suns around  our neck everyone would think we worshipped Apollo or Helios, though, eh? Hmmm, that reminds me: Helios is pronounced Elios with “El” — the same God-name used by ancient Hebrews and earliest Muslims (El and Al-ah). But don’t get me going on another tangent…it would be too much fun, I love this topic.


Cannibalistic Jesus-Religion Ended Human Sacrifice, Aztecs, Slavery, etc

Tonight I helped my 13-year-old daughter compare the Aztecs to the Mayans. She is studying for a test in our homeschooling curriculum. Both the Aztecs and Mayans, though centuries apart were in Central America, had large cities, wealth, and accurate 365-day calendars. Both had nobles, warriors and priests. And both had slaves — lots of them. The Aztecs had human sacrifice.

Daily human sacrifices were made in major Aztec cities “to make the sun rise” each day. My daughter’s 8th grade history book says 10,000 people per year were sacrificed. I had no idea that many native Central American people had their hearts cut out by their own people, to be held aloft still beating at the top of one of those stone Temples. This was done in what is now Mexico from the 1300’s until the 1500’s when the Spanish conquerors put a stop to it (by killing and/or enslaving the killers). The Spanish killed the priestly class, or most of it, and any nobles who resisted them, and took control of the vast slave population. Ten or more surrounding tribes had helped the Spanish take over, so sick they were of their family members being collected by the Aztec theocracy government to feed the blood-thirsty savage gods of Tenochtitlan. The blood bath had been going on for centuries before the Spanish arrived.

Some writers today bemoan that 50,000 Aztecs were killed by the Spanish during the takeover. Those deaths were largely the Aztec army, priests and nobles who were benefiting from this perverse demented human-eating religion-government. We always here how evil those Spanish were, those white men from dastardly Europe, to “invade” and kill all those sweet, wise and noble natives. Yeah, right. Tens of thousands of native Central Americans fought under the Spanish officers’ leadership. There were only so many Spanish present. It was an overthrow of something evil and sick which had persisted for centuries. Yes, the Spanish wanted gold and glory out of it, and their own priests came in the wake of the take-over with the ultimate religion of human sacrifice: Christianity. The rest is history – Central and South America are earth’s current strongholds of Christianity, far more fanatically devoted to the Faith from Jerusalem than Europe, Greece and Turkey, the cradles of Christianity. They say the next Pope will probably be a South American.

Tangent: The news says 50,000 descendants of the Aztecs still living in the homeland (Mexico, in other words) have died very bloody deaths in the past few years in the drug wars. It’s almost as tho that ground down there is thirsty for blood. Gives one a creepy feeling that something supernatural is down there…somethin’ blood-thirsty and not-so-human. There have been positive supernatural events in Mexico and South America, too, as we know – Our Lady showed herself in Guadalupe and millions make pilgrimages across that ancient blood-thirsty land to see Her.

Some Catholic missionary-priests in the 1500s wrote that the native Mexicans (Aztecs who survived the takeover) embraced Christianity with unbridled zeal, almost a desperate grabbing on to it. The reason? Because they would be killed if they didn’t? Were the brown-frocked and black-frocked holy men from Europe converting them by the sword out in their sun-fried extremely remote villages? No. The people willingly, hurriedly, desperately converted because for ONCE, for once, they could embrace a religion that did not daily demand their children, their youth, to die meaningless deaths. The ultimate human sacrifice was paid when a god came to earth and was sacrificed instead of just a human. It happened in the land across the sea in the center of the earth, taught this Christianity. This sounded GREAT. Yes, they thought, we can get into this! And women even have souls. The women probably realized they were finally considered almost equal to men, which although they wouldn’t probably know it, is unlike every other religion on the planet. How cool is that?

The last human sacrifice took place in South America in 1974 and some wonder if that’s just the last one we know about. The victim was slain and his blood allowed to gush onto the ground in order to feed some angry god, said the village. They believed like their ancestors that the god would feed them back by blessing their crops that year. Ugh. We can’t get this out of our system. Think of India sacrificing wives, every single wife on her husband’s funeral pyre up until the British conquest.

Think of Perseus in Greek legend saving a human sacrifice victim – about to be “fed” to a monster-son of a god. Princess Andromeda was chosen as the offering after thousands of other virgins had failed to appease the monster. Human sacrifice was so very common to our ancestors.

There is evidence of human sacrifice in Northern Europe, even among the Druids where we just wish we didn’t have to talk about it. Bogs have been uncovered with the victims ceremonially bound. Ick. Freedom from the practice of human sacrifice is another reason why Christianity may have caught on so well. We are often told it caught on because women were treated equally at least spiritually, since just like the men, they would be eligible for “salvation”, “theosis”* – and souls. (*Theosis means the process of becoming divine and is practiced today in the Eastern Orthodox Churches of Greece, Russia, etc)

The ancient world of the Bible gives us angry gods like Molech who demanded babies and toddlers daily be thrown into their furnaces. Hebrew scholars teach a fascinating theory that because it gave up human sacrifice early, Judaism was different from all the other religions of the ancient Middle East. This is why Judaism survived, and the other nasty children-killing virgin-killing religions became history. The people GLADLY embrace “decent” life-friendly religions. Okay, Judaism has its flaws, oppressive patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, lack of the Sacred Feminine, etc., but those are social products of the ancient dog-eat-dog illiterate world and are far more palatable than giving up your kid to the sacrifice collectors! This is why Judaism became the Religion of the Book, changing the world forever and spawning the other two world religions, Christianity and Islam (the Koran has Jewish and Christian bible characters all thru it. Mohammed got his inspiration from both Judaism and Christianity, and all three are collectively called the Desert Religions.) The proof of Judaism changing the ancient practice once and for all is right in the Old Testament. The Hebrew god finally got sick of this human sacrifice crap and decided to send a message, a special message. The spot where the message was delivered is the current Temple Mount so fought over by Muslims and Jews. He told Abraham to offer his boy as a human sacrifice as was his “right” as a god to ask. But the whole exercise was to teach a substitution practice – I PREFER RAMS! said God. Just like the Cain and Abel story taught – give me roast beast, not vegetables, and don’t kill your brother, just give me an animal. Satisfy your blood lust by offering animals to me. It’s worth mentioning that the priests and their families would eat the sacrifices at the Temple and earlier at the Tabernacle – these animals were not just wasted as in Rome and Greece when bulls and large animals were slaughtered, although even in those places the meat was not always wasted. Animal sacrifice could be thought of as religious slaughtering of livestock for food. Butchers who were priests.

God’s instruction to offer him only animals and not humans is kind of esoteric, and even though the great Temples were built on the spot, people today, and possibly in Jesus’ time didn’t quite get that message. But Jesus’ story really spelled it out. This time a god was sacrificed. So no more humans necessary – no more animals either for that matter, since shortly after Jesus’ lifetime the animal sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple ended once and for all. The kosher slaughterers still follow the rules for killing animals today, and they say certain ancient-sounding prayers when they kill the animals, but the large scale showy sacrifice to “appease” hungry gods and “pay” for sins/mistakes/offenses is no more.

We forget why our ancestors glommed on to the religion of the dying god. That whole “paid the price with his life for all of us” sounds like such a cliché to our ears. That’s ‘cause we weren’t there caught up in a world of blood-lusty perverted “clergy” coming into our towns and stealing our people on a regular basis. It was like paying a tax for the people in the Aztec cities and towns right up until the Spanish conquest.

Our DNA was there, even if “we” weren’t, so perhaps we can “know’ this (know with gnosis) liberating teaching and make it part of our ancestral heritage to be proud of. They were a violent perverted blood-lusty rapacious marauding sexist woman-abusing, child-abusing bunch of pigs, our ancestors, but by god they were the first to see the light and stop daily killing the weak for religious “sport”.

Wars still rage in battlefields and inner cities, but no blood-soaked stench-oozing altars sit in OUR town-squares. I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like to walk by the funeral burning grounds in India as a young woman, knowing that was where you would die someday. And die a very unpleasant manner, being burned alive. What the hell is the matter with some people/cultures? Don’t get me started on the Chinese and what they did to THEIR women. Heck, they kill their female babies today even before they are born. Sonograms to tell the sex of the child are illegal now in China in order to stop the crazy population imbalance where men and boys outnumber girls almost THREE to one. Most Chinese men will never marry now, due to their culture’s stupid hatred of females. At least they are no longer sacrificing girl-babies as much as they used to. And it was never done to feed angry gods, so China’s story shouldn’t probably be in this discussion. They weren’t feeding their gods or blood-lust, killing daughters is done merely to feed egos who think “a son” is the only kind of child capable of “fulfilling” honor (aka the human ego). Dishonoring themselves by killing innocents all to obtain family honor by having a son…

Christianity had a lot to offer thru history. It came with war and pestilence. The pestilence being European illnesses that wiped out American native peoples like the Chinese-born Bubonic Plague wiped out one third of Europe a hundred years previously. Christianity didn’t cause those wars and pestilences to spread – – human greed did. Priests came in the aftermath of conquest to spread Christianity with their fanatical zeal, but good for them. They saved thousands more natives and gave them something to believe in that was at least mildly fulfilling to the beleaguered short-life-spanned souls, and more than mildly (yes, wildly) liberating from the vile sacrifice practices of the ancestors.

I grow weary of the propaganda that European people once had slaves. YES. They sure did. Romans had millions of slaves, Greeks, even the Norse had a few. But the Western Humans were the first to free slaves. The 2% that owned them were finally overruled by the rest of the population and made to give up the vile practice. But it is still going on in Africa, Eastern Europe and India. Sex slavery and hard labor slavery are alive and well. So if you are ticked at European slave-owners, at George Washington and Thom Jefferson for owning slaves, go scream at their graves, disturb their rest. But they are dead people. Nobody owns slaves in this part of the world any more. Better to go and rail at the slave owners who are STILL buying and selling humans TODAY. Do something about slavery instead of guilt-tripping our teenagers with social studies textbooks that imply the west was the only segment of humanity to own slaves. Puh-leese. The practice came from the East and from Africa where TO THIS DAY they still sell their own people into slavery. Yes, in 2011 it is happening. And not just for sex slaves (the worse kind, imo) but for hard labor. Google it. See the faces of those forlorn African girls sold by their own fathers, uncles, aunts, into slavery to harsh masters and mistresses hundreds of miles away from their hometowns. They have to live in closets or dirt huts on their master’s property and work 18 hour days with not ONE day of school, not ONE kind word, and only one meal a day. Shut up about people 200 years, 300 years ago owning slaves. My ancestors were Europeans but none of them owned slaves. Slaveowners were only 2% of the population in the USA and Europe and they are ALL DEAD. it ended in the 1800’s. If you really hate slavery and are out to help free some, go on a crusade, on a mission, to help those crying out for your help. Africa , Pakistan and India are calling your name. Begging for you to give a damn and go and help. Don’t forget the sex brothels of Eastern Europe and the Far East, while you’re at it.

My daughter’s history book says yes, the Aztecs had slaves but the victims were mostly — it uses the apologetic vague weasel word “mostly” — criminals and prisoners of war. I have to say criminals make sucky slaves. They kill you and or your family in your sleep, kill other slaves, fight, batter, burn crops and barns, cause mayhem, dissension in the ranks, are impossible to keep a lid on, impossible to get quality work out of. The criminal mind cannot be governed, ruled, it’s in its genetics from childhood to be first oppositional, and then to be criminal. Just ask the kindergarten teachers of future criminals. It’s in the DNA, sadly. So nope, criminals were not slaves, unless you mean a few one-time offenders who should not be called criminals in the first place. Maybe a few hardened “real” criminals have worked successfully for a short time in chain-gangs, but only in chains can you get a criminal to work. Chain-gangs are short-lived – it’s hard on the body – with high turnover due to death and not much profit possible. The slave-minders are so worn out from flogging and chaining and getting them to work, that they say to hell with this and get me some docile obedient personalities to enslave or I will do this work myself. It’s easier on the overseer. Most slaves were (and still are) normal people stolen or sold from other villages and tribes. Prisoners of War says the textbook – as if that makes it okay. Yeah, they fought a war with their neighbors those Aztecs during the 200 years of their empire, so making slaves of the POWs and their entire families/villages is acceptable.

Man am I glad to be born in the West. The West is definitely Best, as the saying goes. Or at least we can say the West is the luckiest. Sheesh. Christianity has its failings, its many sins, and its lackings such as God-the-Mother and the Bride of Christ, but it kinda beats the competition hands down. I follow the esoteric versions of the Faith, but I am glad for the existence over the years of our exoteric Christian cousins. Even if you are a misogynist lot we’re hoping to reform, you are no longer a violent lot.

Back to my original reason for writing/blogging tonight. It came to me while helping Tia with her Aztec assignment that maybe Yeshua had one more reason to submit to death. He allowed his death to be turned into a public “human sacrifice” because he knew it could turn into an excuse to stop human sacrifice (and animal sacrifice was stopped by early Christians) the world over. He could have died of old age after coming to earth as a human to deliver the amazing news, the awesome message that we are all part of a Plan for Freedom. He knew when he was born of a woman he would die like everyone else, because bodies do that. He could have insisted on a calm private death. But he went along with Satan’s plan and turned his arrest and execution into a good thing. I bet the Evil One hates how the Good does that, turns such a victory for the Darkside into a liberating doctrine for millions of humans. Not only did Yeshua offer up himself in exchange for letting his students and family go free – and to keep them all from being killed while authorities searched for him – but he gave the world a story, an excuse, to free millions and millions of people from the horrors of the culture of human sacrifice. His death was 1500 years before the Aztecs (modern Mexicans) would grab onto Christianity in a desperate attempt (which turned out to be successful) to escape the vengeful daily murdering state religion of their ancestors. Others before the Aztecs found liberation in Christianity, even some of those supposedly converted by the sword.

I am reminded of the book What’s So Great About Christianity, but its author Dinesh D’Souza didn’t ponder Yeshua’s possible inner decision-making process on what might become of his life, what religion might be founded out of his decision to be viciously executed. Yeshua decided to be like Isaac on the Temple Mount, or rather be like the ram in the thicket. His story (or Paul’s interpretation and spread of it!) created an excuse to stop ritual murder. It created a rather gruesome-themed religion, true. All those life-sized and neck pendant blood-dripping crucifixes adorned with his corpse creep me out. Children are not fond of them either. Christianity is “blood-thirsty” when the people eat the god daily, and drink his blood during the eucharist. We eat god instead of the god eating the people.

Hey, this dying-god cannibalistic religion put an end to human sacrifice and offers more than a little satisfaction to a billion people. Even the Chinese are grabbing onto Christianity with a fervor not seen since Roman times. Chinese pastors are this very decade, this very year, being beheaded for passing out Bibles in China or simply for having “unauthorized” churches meet in their houses.

There must be something to Christianity that satisfies so much among persecuted populations. Something is there at the heart of it, a mystery…

So there, say I, to the Christian-bashers, and don’t get me started on the Jew-bashers. Y’all need to go find the real enemy.

10-23-2011 3:33 a.m.

Italy to have the First Woman Priest – and She’s Married

Italy to have first woman priest

A married teacher is poised to become Italy’s first woman priest when she is ordained later this month in an Anglican church close to the Vatican.

Maria Longhitano, a member of the breakaway Old Catholic Church, says she hopes her ordination will break down “prejudice” in the Roman Church.

The event may energise the debate among Roman Catholics about the role of women, a BBC correspondent says.

Pope Benedict is implacably opposed to women as priests.

His predecessor, John Paul II, even banned official discussion of the issue, BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott notes.

Although Mrs Longhitano will not be a Roman Catholic priest, her ordination in the borrowed Anglican church will be acutely uncomfortable for the Vatican, he says.

When seven Roman Catholic women were unofficially ordained in 2002 they were promptly excommunicated.

Mrs Longhitano, who says she has always wanted to be a priest and played with communion wafers as a child, has accused the Vatican of preventing women from fulfilling their vocation.

She said she hoped her ordination would galvanise debate among Roman Catholics about modernisation.

Some Catholics believe reform is necessary to reverse a decline in numbers and influence and an Austrian bishop said this week that the Church should eventually consider the ordination of women.

The Old Catholics broke away from the Vatican in the 19th Century, rejecting belief in the immaculate conception and the infallibility of the Pope.

Their Church – which leaves issues such as homosexual relationships and contraception up to the individuals’ consciences – has ordained women since 1996.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2010/05/13


Let’s Talk about Faith, not Religion; God is the Great Whatever

God is the Great Whatever. God is “un-getable” — we just can’t “get” the idea of God like we get algebra or something. Yeah.

I like this lady’s use of words. And yeah also to her plan to talk about our partnerships with God, not argue about what we have decided He/She/It is like. Her new discussion sounds worth joining. — +Katia


By Martha Woodroof
Washington Post
April 30, 2010

I am a person of faith who is not religious. By this I mean that while I live in partnership with God, the great Whatever, I claim no knowledge of God’s relatives, nature and modus operandi. I believe that everything about God beyond the simple fact of Its existence and availability is beyond my understanding and so beyond the scope of my words. I make no claim to wisdom of any kind about God, only to experience with God.

That’s why I decided to start Faith Unboxed , which I hope will be an unconventional online conversation about living one’s faith rather than practicing (or preaching) one’s religion. I’d much rather talk about how we experience God than argue about what we have decided about God, wouldn’t you?

As I’m not a pundit, a preacher, or a scholar, deciding to host such a faith-centric conversation about the great Whatever leaves me wide open to charges of uppityness. What’s the deal here, lady? You think you get God and the rest of us don’t? Not exactly: What I think is that a) God is intrinsically un-getable; and b) most of our current conversation about God and God’s doings ignores this, conflating practicing one’s religion and living one’s faith.

God, the great Whatever, is ubiquitous in American thinking, society, politics, literature, architecture, conversation — even, through quarterback Tim Tebow’s facial paint in college football. I would wager heavily that none of us escapes growing up without a kissing concept of the great Whatever–some idea implanted in our brains by our elders about what we’re supposed to believe or not believe about God’s presence, doings, relatives, etc. As adults, we may decide to accept those ideas, modify them, rebel against them, or turn our backs on the whole confusing mishmash. But we have all most likely decided something about God.

What we don’t often do as adults — whether because we lack inclination or courage or imagination — is to acknowledge that God, in order to be God, exists completely detached from any human conception of God. The great Whatever is only what the great Whatever is, not what our parents, pundits, preachers or priests say It is. Or for that matter, what they say It isn’t.

So . . . with all due respect, it seems to me desperately wasteful, arrogant and cowardly for us humans to argue so much about religion — i.e. our human-sized conceptions of God’s aforementioned relatives, nature and modus operandi. Missing from most of these battles is any recognition that if God is, God is also beyond our comprehension. We can never know about God in the same way we know about chickens or algebra or documented history; elaborate and compelling religious stories explaining God and God’s family are still stories. Insisting that these stories are true, or even integral parts of our relationship with God, seems to me to confuse the value of accepting what humans have said about God with the value of living in partnership with God.

Arguing about God is, of course, much less troublesome and anxiety-provoking than taking on the demands and responsibilities of a partnership with the Almighty. Indeed, the challenges of any organized religion (or those other God-in-a-box concepts, atheism and agnosticism) begin to seem like effortless glides on greased grooves when compared to the challenges of living one’s faith. Perhaps that’s why there’s been a great deal of public wrangling about the fine points of religion and very little useful public exploration of what it means to live and work together — in this world at this time — as persons of faith.

I hope this online conversation starts such an exploration. I challenge you to join me in thinking beyond everything we’ve come to accept about the great Whatever through habit, upbringing, learned ritual and doctrine. I challenge us, instead, to explore afresh the meaning and responsibilities of faith, of living in active partnership with God, both as an individual and in community. And I challenge us to do this exploration fearlessly, with uncensored curiosity and open-mindedness.

To give our conversation structure, over the next 12 months, I’ll post a dozen questions (one each month) along with my own short (for the most part) answers. My hope is that you will post your own answers and then respond to each others’ posts. Civility and respect are the only criteria for participation. This means no talk of burning in hell or scholarly howls of derision.

Join me here at On Faith the first Sunday of each month for a look at the question. Join me every day at Faith Unboxed for the discussion. Is it possible to have an open, useful and civil online conversation about faith, not religion? We shall see.


Martha Woodroof freelances for NPR and writes, reports, and blogs for public radio station WMRA in Virginia.

Priest Makes Updated (and Slanted) Version of 10 Commandments

You can read the reworded 10 Commandments below.

Notice the priest adds to the thou shalt not kill commandment making it,  “Thou shalt not kill any one for any reason”. Very firm, no wiggle room. No exceptions in “for any reason”.  So, soldiers fighting in war, police taking out a sniper or school shooter, a woman shooting a man who is kidnapping/raping her (or her child), is breaking that commandment.

But yet look how for the priest made the adultery commandment way more lenient.  “Don’t fool around with anyone you’re not married to.”  How about making that commandment, the only sex commandment, more firm with less wiggle room also? Why not word it as “Don’t have sex with anyone you’re not married to, nor anyone that is underage”. What is this vague “fool around with” language? Kids say that all the time when answering this question, “What are you doing?”  “Nothin. Just foolin’ around, Ma.”  Fooling around is such a weak term for the only commandment about sex.

I think he’s making a subtle political statement about war when he says “for any reason” regarding killing. He seems to view inappropriate sexual urges and wrongful sexual acts, something that not only breaks up families and causes children to lose a parent (as in the case of adultery), but also can get women and children (and sometimes men) raped and killed just to satisfy that inappropriate sexual urge — the priest demotes that commandment to mere concern over “fooling around.”  Weird.

Maybe he shouldn’t be putting words in God’s mouth in the first place.

But then again that’s what the “official” Church has been doing for centuries. It’s how they set their agenda and con us into buying it. <sigh>

In this case he does it so skillfully, so convincingly as though God is talking to us in our day. It’s an attractive “translation” here that Father John Behnke made — and I usually like his work. This is too politically correct, however, in my (humble!) opinion.

How could we re-word some of these 10 commandments below to make them a little more politically INcorrect?



By Bob Zyskowski
The Catholic Spirit
March 2, 2010

Ever think about the Ten Commandments in modern conversational English?

Paulist Father John Behnke, former chaplain at St. Lawrence Church and Newman Center, offers a re-write of the biblical language in a new book whose target audience is younger people.

In “Lent and Easter for the Younger Crowd” (Paulist Press), he offers this take on Exodus 20:1-7, better known as the Ten Commandments:

“One day God said to his people, ‘Here are some rules I want you to always follow:

1. Pray only to me because I’m the one who made you and saved you.

2. I don’t want to hear any of you swearing.

3. I want one day out of the week to be a special day for you. Don’t do too much work that day so you can relax and spend some time praying to me.

4. I want you to listen to your parents (even when you grow up) because they have lived longer and know more about life than you.

5. Don’t kill anyone for any reason.

6. Don’t fool around with someone you’re not married to.

7. Don’t take anything that isn’t yours.

8. Don’t lie about anybody.

9. Don’t always be wanting things that belong to other people.

All I’m really asking is that you ‘love me and keep my rules.’