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Steven Godby
May 31, 2022
In Hero with 1,000 Faces
For Freud, the relationship between fathers and sons is the essential key to understanding religion. Sons are diminutive beings before their fathers. Sons struggle to establish their independence from his power and authority. The movie Star Wars illuminates the struggle. It is a story of a young boy becoming of age and facing choices between good and evil. Young Luke Skywalker is terrified to learn that his father is the malevolent Darth Vader. If Darth Vader is his father, then does Skywalker have evil within him? Can he become independent of his father and turn toward the good? Will the father murder his son, or will the son murder his father? Is it the binding of Isaac again or Oedipus Rex revisited? Luke Skywalker has encountered a naked and horrifying reality. Here are some other examples of fathers and sons. Martin Luther (1483-1546), the father of the Protestant Reformation, transformed his allegiance from his harsh earthly father to an angry heavenly father. Luther was raised by stern and strict parents. Thus, creating a guilt-ridden son. His father wanted him to be a lawyer, but he sought solace in religion. The pivotal event from law to religion, from his biological father to his heavenly Father, was a thunderstorm. On July 2, 1505, a bolt of lightning struck close to him. In trembling fear, Luther promised God that he would devote himself entirely to God. Erikson writes: "At its height, Luther’s rebellion centered in the question of man’s differential debt of obedience of God, to the Pope, and to Caesar…..At the beginning of his career another and, as it were, preparatory dichotomy preoccupied him: that between the obedience owed to his natural father, …. and the obedience owed to the Father in heaven, from who young Luther had received a dramatic but equivocal call." [1] Likewise, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) had an estrangement with his father. Thomas Lincoln could only sign his name and was unlettered. David Hebert Donald writes: “In all of his [Abraham Lincoln] published writings, and, indeed, even in reports of hundreds of stories and conversations, he has not one favorable word to say about his father.”[2] Lincoln escaped and established his independence with education. His “unquenchable ambition” propelled him from his father and placed him in a world his father never imagined.[3] Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was born in Austria. Alois, the father of the future Führer, was a "hard, unsympathetic, and short-tempered" man.[4] The young Hitler hated his father. They had frequent and violent arguments over his future career. His father wanted young Adolf to be an Austrian civil servant like himself. The son wanted to be an artist. When Alois Hitler died in 1903, Adolf left for Vienna. With War World I erupting, Hitler did not volunteer to join the Austrian army, but the German army. According to Walter Langer, Austria represented his hated father since his father was an Austrian custom official while Germany represented his mother. Langer writes that "although Germans, as a whole, invariably refer to Germany as the 'Fatherland,' Hitler almost always refers to it as the 'motherland.'"[5] War meant that Hitler could fight for the "motherland." With Hitler’s invasion of Austria (1938), and according to Hans Frank (a high-ranking Nazi within Hitler’s circle), Dollersheim, the birth town of Alois Hitler was used as an artillery testing field.[6] It was totally obliterated and today, the town can only be located on maps prior to 1938.[7] Patricide takes many forms. Barack Obama (1961) entitled his book Dreams from My Father. When he was two years old, Barack Obama Sr. abandoned his son to continue his education at Harvard University. It was later, and after a divorce, he returned to Africa. When Barack Obama was ten years old, he spent a month with his father. During that short month, they had a strained relationship. In 1982, Barack Obama Sr. was killed in a car accident in Kenya. The memoir begins by describing how his family members created an image of his dad as larger than life. With the same name, abandonment issues, and American racism all created a struggle for both independence and acceptance from father. The future president Barack Obama writes: "Yes, I’d seen weakness in other men --- Gramps and his disappointments, Lolo and his compromise. But these men had become object lesson for me, men I might love but never emulate, white men and brown men who fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela…..my father’s voice had nevertheless remained untainted, inspiring, rebuking, granting, or withholding approval. You do not work hard enough, Barry. You must help in your people’s struggle. Wake up, black man!" [8] Sigmund Freud understood God as a projection of father. God is wit large a projection of the child’s relationship with the father. A small child is totally dependent upon the parents for survival, protection, play, and happiness. The child’s needs for parents are internalized. Upon arriving at adulthood, the person confronts frustrations, pleasures, punishment, and death and we still need a father figure who is now recognized as God. Moreover, if the father is kind and loving, then the child will understand God as kind and loving. If the father is harsh, demanding, and judgmental, then the child will understand God as harsh, demanding, and judgmental. Our perception of God reflects our relationship with our earthly father. [1] Erik H. Erikson, Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (New York: Norton, 1962), 49. [2] David Hebert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 33. [3] Richard Carwardine, Lincoln: A Life and Purpose and Power (New York: Vintage, 2007), 4-5. [4] Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. Revised Edition. (New York: Harper and Row/Harper Torchbooks, 1964), 25. [5] Langer, Walter C. The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report (New York: New American Library/A Mentor Book, 1973), 159. [6] Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil (New York: Random House, 1998), 11. [7] Rosenbaum, 4. [8] Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004), 220.
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Steven Godby
May 18, 2022
In Hero with 1,000 Faces
"The first function of a mythology is to reconcile waking consciousness to the mysterium tremendum et fascinans of this universe as it is: the second being to render an interpretive total image of the same, as known to contemporary consciousness. Shakespeare’s definition of the function of his art, “to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature,” is thus equally a definition of mythology. It is the revelation to waking consciousness of the powers of its own sustaining source. A third function, however, is the enforcement of a moral order: the shaping of the individual to the requirements of his geographically and historically. The fourth and most vital, most critical function of a mythology, then, is to foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity, in accord with d) himself (the microcosm), c) his culture (the mesocosm), b) the universe (the macrocosm), and a) that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things" Cambell's Creative Mythology, Kindle location 168, 173, and 212.
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Steven Godby
May 07, 2022
In The Tao
Daoism In Our Time Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Daoism, a Chinese belief system encompassing both religion and philosophy. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wlgbg
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Steven Godby
May 05, 2022
In Hero with 1,000 Faces
"....the most prominent among them being Yahweh’s wife, the goddess Asherah. The biblical writers cannot help but reveal that she was worshipped alongside Yahweh in his temples in Jerusalem and Samaria, while inscriptions dating to the eighth century BCE attest to worshippers seeking blessings from ‘Yahweh and his Asherah’ " God: An Anatomy, by Francesca Stavrakopouloup, p. 24. "Her state cults waned in the aftermath of the Assyrian assault on the kingdom of Israel’s capital, Samaria, in 722 BCE, and the later Babylonian destruction of Judah’s Jerusalem temple in 587 BCE." God: An Anatomy, by Francesca Stavrakopouloup, 152 "...more accurately understood as a radical form of pantheon reduction: Yahweh lost his wife, while other members of his divine council were downgraded from deities to minor divine beings..." God: An Anatomy, by Francesca Stavrakopouloup, 152 Through the centuries, YHWH took on feminine aspects of his former consort such as wisdom and the coming of the Sabbath.
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Steven Godby
Apr 29, 2022
In The Tao
Chinese art does not emphasize portrait painting. Rather painting reflects nature, and the small figures in the painting represent the insignificance of man in the Dao of nature.
Man in Nature content media
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Steven Godby
Apr 29, 2022
Man in the Landscape by Kotei content media
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Steven Godby
Apr 28, 2022
In Hero with 1,000 Faces
In other societies, such as in Africa, if a young boy could kill a deer or another large animal, then it was reasoned that he could support a family. He is a man. In what is today’s upper state New York, a young Indian boy was given only a knife to survive during the harsh winter. If he survived the ordeal and returned in the spring, then he was a man. Some of the Native American religions had a Sun Dance which was reproduced in the movie A Man Called Horse starring Richard Harris. The Australian Aborigines have a very demanding rite. The Australian aborigines known as Aranda are also organized as patrilocal bands... . The Aranda puberty rites, though, are much more elaborate, and they go on for weeks instead of only days. The initiate is led from one ordeal to another; he is circumcised, lacerated, and made to suffer terrible pain in many ways. One night he is suddenly thrown spread-eagled on top of a human operating table formed by his kinsmen kneeling on their hands and knees. Other kinsmen stretch him on his back while the ritual surgeon seizes the boy's penis, inserts a long thin bone deep into the urethra, and slashes at the penis again and again with a small piece of flint used as a scalpel. He cuts through the layers of flesh until he reaches the bone, and the penis splits open like a boiled frankfurter. The boy is then led to a fire over which he squats while his blood runs out into the embers. This operation, known technically as subincision, is the final step in his becoming a man in the Aranda band.[1] The male’s rite of passage can be psychologically and physically dangerous if not deadly. The female rite of passage is far less frightening. One day, the little girl runs to her mother and says, “Mommy, I am bleeding.” Her womanhood begins with the menarche. For many young males, must continuously demonstrate their manhood to others, and more importantly, to themselves. [1] Peter Farb, Man's Rise to Civilization: As Shown by the Indians of North America from Primeval Times to the Coming of the Industrial State (New York: Avon/Discus Books, 1969), 99.
Rites of Passage content media
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Steven Godby
Apr 26, 2022
In Hero with 1,000 Faces
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Steven Godby
Apr 19, 2022
In Hero with 1,000 Faces
Both rituals and habits are stylized patterns of behavior. Rituals are generally more ceremonial, formalized, structured, and are usually public. Habits are personal, individualized, and typically private. We are habitual animals. Thus, there is a pleasure in practicing familiar social rituals found in games, musical events, conversations, dancing, singing, dining, and public gatherings. Other habits can be more restricted from the public, such as reading, sexual activities, meditating, walking, or talking. Walking and talking are arduous tasks in learning as infants. However, once the major 'highways" are constructed in the brain, we walk and talk without conscious thought. It is a habit. We all have a morning "ritual" of a meal, coffee, and newsgathering with our electronic devices. We have other essential rituals upon entering our workplace, returning home in the evening, and at nighttime. When we cannot have or complete a ritual, we feel something is out of joint or incomplete. In short, habits are essential in our lives, but the most critical shared habits are ceremonial rituals. Rituals are the cornerstone of religion. Religious rituals include life cycle events connected with birth, the transition to adulthood, marriage, the birth of children, and death. Seasonal rituals usually include ceremonials for the fall, winter, spring, and summer solstice reflecting such holidays as Passover, Diwali, Christmas, Saturnalia, May Day, Yom Kippur, or Easter. Explicit religious holidays include Baisakhi, Declaration of the Bab, and Ramadan. Even within the faith religion of Christianity, procedural rituals are found in Bible study groups, Sunday school, church services, and proselytizing. Without rituals, we would not have religion, as we know it today, and without habits, we would not have life as we know it today. We are habitual animals because chaos is more than unacceptable. It is intolerable.
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Steven Godby
Apr 19, 2022
In Hero with 1,000 Faces
Types of Heroes content media
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