Category Archives: C
Corinthians, I and II are letters written by St. Paul to the early Christian community in Corinth. Corinth was the city of Aphrodite, where temples of various Greek deities could be found.
It seems that Paul was concerned about members of the Christian community becoming too individualistic in their faith. Paul emphasizes the ‘body’ of the community, a body with many members. As such, each member has different gifts but belongs to a single body. And those gifts are meaningless if not rooted in unselfish love.
Paul stresses the importance of either unmarried celibacy or married sex, the former being more desirable. Everything else is regarded as sinful. He warns against falling back into idolatry, perhaps due to the community’s precarious location.
Toward the end of the second letter Paul defends himself, Titus and another ‘brother’ against allegations of fraud. Some in the community had voiced concerns that the collection money intended for Jerusalem would be pocketed.
On this point Mike adds:
Something you didn’t mention about 2 Corinthians is that because of the need to defend himself Paul has to describe his ministry. » See in context
- 2 Corinthians…Greetings! (promisebook.net)
- The Sheep Dip (brokenbelievers.com)
- 2 Corinthians 1…Greetings! (simplyjuliana.com)
- Sex and the Church (getreal.typepad.com)
- Pilgrimage in Medieval Corinth (mediterraneanworld.wordpress.com)
- Do Everything In Love (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com)
- Why Do We Expect More from Non-Christians Than Christians? (getreal.typepad.com)
- Modern Commentary on 1st Corinthians by Fr. G. T. Montague (jkarblog.wordpress.com)
- Picking apart the word (Day 5) (revmichaelslifejournal.wordpress.com)
- Images: A Ton of Cattle Bones (livescience.com)
In the ‘original’ (1978) and ‘reimagined’ (2003) versions of the science fiction film and TV program Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons are a mechanical race of beings created by mankind but which have turned on their creator.
In the reimagined TV series, the Cylons may look exactly like human beings. Not unlike the Hal 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Borg and The Matrix, Cylons symbolize the possibility of mankind becoming endangered by machines. And on the sociological level, Cylons could be taken to represent the very real issues of depersonalization, alienation and, as sociologist Max Weber put it, the bureaucratization and rationalization of human beings in contemporary society. Not only that. As the above poster suggests, Cylons could represent hostile spies in otherwise healthy societies.
The background story to the Cylons is pretty complicated. It’s actually quite amazing how thoroughly the Battlestar Galactica writers fleshed out – maybe not the best metaphor in this instance – their identity.¹
The word Cylon, itself, stems from an actual Athenian nobleman.
¹ Especially in the reimagined series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylon_%28reimagining%29
- [Books] Battlestar Galactica: The Cylon’s Secret (geeky-guide.com)
- WATCH THIS: “Battlestar Galactia: Blood & Chrome” (lezgetreal.com)
- BSG: Blood & Chrome (Ep. 9-10) (storiesbywilliams.com)
- ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ Blu-ray Review: Prequel Mocks Pre-9/11 Mindset (breitbart.com)
- Roundtable Review: Battlestar Galactica, “The Long Patrol” (thiswastv.com)
- Intergalactic War-Porn: ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- After Action Report: Battlestar Galactica RPG (blackcampbell.com)
- Luke Pasqualino and Ben Cotton Talk ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome’ (advocate.com)
- Battlestar Galactica “Twelve Cylon Models Note” Original Backup BSG Prop (ephemera.typepad.com)
- Artificial Intelligence (unrealengine.com)
Cyclops [Greek cyclops: round-eyed] – In Greek mythology, the Cyclopes are one-eyed giants, often employed as smiths and associated with volcanoes.
The cyclops appear in several ancient literature sources. In Homer‘s Odyssey, the Cyclops Polyphemus is tricked and eventually blinded by Odysseus. In anger Polyphemus tries to destroy Odysseus’ crew by tossing huge rocks at their ship during their narrow escape.
Although they have one eye, the cyclops should not be confused with the Asian idea of the “third eye” or, for that matter, with the Christian idea of the “single eye.”¹ Not to say that these ideas are identical. They’re not. The Hindu Siva, for example, burns his enemies to ashes with a heat ray that emanates from this third eye.² By way of contrast, Jesus Christ never advocates this kind of violence. Even if they’re not the same, these two images of the single eye, Hindu and Christian, do share the connotation of some kind of privileged spiritual perspective.
By way of contrast, Wikipedia says this about the cyclops:
They were giants with a single eye in the middle of their forehead and a foul disposition. According to Hesiod, they were strong, stubborn, and “abrupt of emotion”. Collectively they eventually became synonyms for brute strength and power, and their name was invoked in connection with massive masonry.³
This clearly isn’t about spiritual insight. However, the cyclops do fashion thunderbolts (as weapons) for Zeus’ purposes. But they’re just the tool makers. It’s Zeus who decides how his thunderbolts should be used in the cosmic battleground.
² Many Hindus, of course, would argue that Siva’s death ray is only aimed at the inferior deities, these symbolizing the inferior aspects of the self. An excellent book about Siva in Hindu mythology is Siva: The Erotic Ascetic by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty http://books.google.ca/books/about/Siva.html?id=dnfZ_MBErlQC&redir_esc=y
- Blinded Cyclops Robot Dance by Alex S. Johnson (imperialyouthreview.wordpress.com)
- A Few Etruscan Tombs (raxacollective.wordpress.com)
- Violent Books. (deangroom.wordpress.com)
- Cyclops’ Cat, Illustration of the Superhero Cyclops Using His Optic Beam as a Cat Toy (laughingsquid.com)
- The Wamogossey-A Freshman’s Modern Odyssey in the Style of Homer (usedbooksinclass.com)
- Alien Ocular Accessories – Wear a Geeky Cyclops Eye Mask to Conceal Your Eyes (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Singer Promises “Epic” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (spinoff.comicbookresources.com)
- Examining Flowers’ Influence in Mythology (proflowers.com)
Cybele was a Mother Goddess with local manifestations in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome. Some scholars believe that she originated in Anatolia around 6000 BCE. She appears in literature and sculpture from about the 5th century BCE onward. She presides over the gods, humans and beasts.
The lion was her sacred symbol. In statues, reliefs and coins she’s often depicted seated on a throne with a lion on either side.
Sir William Smith in his Smaller Classical Dictionary says
The Corybantes were her enthusiastic priests, who with drums, cymbals, horns, and in full armour, performed their orgiastic dances. In Rome the Galli were her priests.¹
In Rome she was introduced as an official state religious figure and hence closely regulated and officiated by upper class priests.
Today, some people are drawn to her cult and, perhaps, numinous power – or what they believe is her numinous power. So her worship continues in the 21st century among New Age and neoPagan religious groups.²
¹ Sir William Smith, Smaller Classical Dictionary [revised by E. H. Blakeny and JohnWarrington], New York: Dutton, 1958.
Cupid ((Latin Cupido, “desire”) comes under many guises. As the Roman god of Love, he’s the son of Venus.
The 2nd century Latin writer Apuleus portrays him in The Golden Ass as the lover of Psyche. But the timeless tale of Cupid and Pscyhe goes back at least to the 4th century BCE, where its depicted in Greek art.
Depth psychologists have much to say about the relationship between Cupid and Psyche. In Jungian archetypal psychology Psyche is taken as the cold, somewhat icy soul in need of a “shattering” or “melting” from the warm, sensitive Cupid. Cupid, on the other hand, risks utter destruction unless Psyche’s gaze is tempered with love.
In the language of symbols, the successful union of Cupid and Psyche represents a fruitful togetherness, not unlike the Yin and the Yang, love and knowledge or affection and wisdom.
In art Cupid is usually depicted naked. He’s often winged with bow and arrow, wearing a boyish or cherub-like countenance.
In folklore, Cupid, like the Indian kama, afflicts human beings with a proverbial “dart to the heart.” His marks invariably fall in love or become filled with desire for another person. His chief mythic parallel is the Greek god Eros.
- Cupid and Psyche in Clay (janestreetclayworks.com)
- Cute carbon Cupid is this year’s tiniest valentine (mnn.com)
- Flower Delivery Express Provides Cupid The Right Arrow On Valentine’s Day (prnewswire.com)
- Love Symbols of the Regency (regencyredingote.wordpress.com)
- February 2013 Writing Contest Finalists (mistressofthedarkpath.wordpress.com)
- Digital Cupid Reveals Your True Valentine (adrants.com)
- Photos: Cupid’s Undie Run (photos.denverpost.com)
- Cupid’s Corner at Longview (longviewcurrent.org)
- Cupids Undie Run (fox2now.com)
Cults and Religions – What’s the difference?
Many debate the differences between religion and cults. Some say there’s no difference. In other words, religions are cults and cults are religions. But this kind of thinking arguably doesn’t do justice to the complexities of faith and the supernatural.
One difference seems to be that, in a cult, a charismatic leader is undeservedly glorified. Some say that this would make Abraham, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Buddha and Mahavira cult leaders. But cults also display a relatively short longevity (after the leader dies, the cult dwindles away). This didn’t happen in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Jainism. So they can’t be called cults by that standard.
Another difference is that cults typically isolate new members from their families and unbelievers. Religions tend to be less drastic, with most (not all, mind you) accepting interfaith relationships.
Steven Hassan, an expert on cults, says
Since all destructive cults believe that the ends justify the means, they believe themselves to be above the law. As long as they believe that what they are doing is “right” and “just,” many of them think nothing of lying, stealing, cheating, or unethically using mind control to accomplish their ends. They violate, in the most profound and fundamental way, the civil liberties of the people they recruit. They turn unsuspecting people into slaves. ¹
Others say the difference between religions and cults is a matter of degree, especially with those religions and cults that attract, institutionally legitimize and reproduce authoritarian personality types and the legalistic beliefs and structured practices that these individuals participate in.
In these instances, religious or cultic affiliation apparently provides a convenient means for the psychologically immature to overlook unresolved emotional issues. Accordingly, some critics of religion maintain that religious affiliation provides a safe but essentially cowardly means for unleashing centuries of culturally and perhaps genetically inherited anger onto those who don’t wish to sacrifice their free will to the dictates of an institution. These critics say that most religious institutions must incorporate (or reject) new developments within the context of their limiting teachings and traditions.
This too, seems somewhat simplistic. For religious believers will often say they are fully choosing to cooperate with God’s will as progressively revealed to them within their particular religious organization. Apparently there’s a richness in their spiritual life that the secular critics just don’t get. And individuals belonging to orgqanizations seen by outsiders as cults often say the same thing. “You don’t understand…”
This can make it difficult to tell the difference between a religion and a cult. Meanwhile, many new religions are cropping up. And some say they’re nothing more than cheap covers created by creepy masterminds aiming to get tax breaks on donations made by gullible believers.
When in doubt, draw a chart
One of the definitions for “cult” in Merriam-Websters dictionary is: “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents.”
The following chart compares some of the main beliefs and practices found within religions and cults. This is not the final word. The items in each column don’t universally apply and many of the distinctions made in this chart are debatable. In keeping with the classical sociologist Max Weber, however, this chart offers ideal types.
Ideal types are generalized constructs. They don’t provide precise definitions and they’re not comprehensive. But they are thought-provoking. And that’s their main purpose.
Above chart elaborates on many sources, including Gregg Stebben’s Everything You Need to Know About Religion (The Pocket Professor, Denis Boyles ed., New York: Pocket Books, 1999: 25-26).
¹ Steven Hassan, Combatting Cult Mind Control, Rochester: Park Street Press, 1988, p. 36.
- The beauty and the pain of fundamentalist religion (vridar.wordpress.com)
- Scientology Founder’s Great Grandson Denounces Religion As A Dangerous Cult! (perezhilton.com)
- Granddaughter Of Westboro Baptist Church Founder Defects From Hate-Cult To Speak Out (VIDEO) (addictinginfo.org)
- Scientology should NOT be protected as a religion… (girlygirl.typepad.com)
- Mexican Authorities Raid Sex Slavery Cult Led By Reincarnated Christ Figure (disinfo.com)
- Claimed By The Cult: A Mother’s Fight To Rescue Her Son-Author Recounts Experience Saving Her Son From A Religious Cult (paramuspost.com)
- Author Geneva Paulson Recounts Experience Saving Her Son from a Religious Cult in New Book (prweb.com)
- “Cathy Don’t Go”: A religious cult’s lost new-wave gem (chicagoreader.com)
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was an English magician who called himself “the Beast of the Apocalypse.” He claimed to be in touch with astral realms and beings, including his guardian angel, with whom he allegedly conversed with.
Emphasizing the two different spellings, he made a distinction between purportedly real magick and stage magic.
A bisexual, Crowley’s methods often entailed sex, garbed rituals, and blood sacrifice. This scandalized some and attracted others. Believing (or perhaps just saying) he reached the highest level of spiritual attainment, Crowley took a dim view of those who pegged him a black magician. He, in fact, sued Nina Hamnett, an artist, for describing him as black magician in her book, Laughing Torso (1932). However, Crowley lost the case and was plunged into bankruptcy.
Perhaps revealing the subconscious hypocrisy of the era, the judge who ruled against him spoke thus:
Crowley’s books remain somewhat popular today, especially within some circles of the New Age and contemporary Gnostic movements. And the British, in particular, uphold him as an important figure.² However, some see him as embodying all the worst characteristics of the upper class Victorians; that is, a racist sense of superiority mingled with a fascination with people of color.³
Whatever the case may be, it seems doubtful that Crowley reached the highest high of spiritual attainment. One can’t help but compare to Jesus, who patiently endured slander, flogging and murder to prove a point—namely, that there’s more to life than what’s down here.
³ wiki/Aleister_Crowley, op. cit.
- Robert Anton Wilson on Aleister Crowley (dangerousminds.net)
- Scientology Church Has Secret Alien Space Cathedral In New Mexico Desert-Founder Ron Hubbard & Aleister Crowley (countdowntozerotime.org)
- Hey hey, Aleister Crowley is the Winchester brothers’ grandpa on Supernatural! (io9.com)
- Brian Butler Performs Aleister Crowley’s ‘Bartzabel Working’ Ritual (disinfo.com)
- Did Aleister Crowley Communicate With Extraterrestrials? (disinfo.com)
- True Will: An interview with IAO131 (humanisticpaganism.com)
- Sandy Hook: Aleister Crowley, interview freak-show, police audio (jonrappoport.wordpress.com)
- The strangely true connection between Scientology, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and Occult Sorcery (io9.com)
A creed (Latin credo: I believe) is a general or precise set of religious beliefs which (apparently) are written in unambiguous language.
The philosopher of religion Thomas McPherson maintains that saying
I believe in God
is quite different from saying
I believe that God exists
The former statement, he argues, avows an attachment, commitment and basic trust in the subject matter. It’s a statement of faith. The latter statement is simply a neutral opinion or, if not perhaps neutral, it’s certainly a cooler, less emotionally involved statement.
By way of contrast, consider
I believe in my country
as compared to
I believe that my country exists
McPherson says these statements are similar to the pair of statements about God’s existence. But he also claims that saying you believe in your country doesn’t entail the same degree of involvement as saying that you believe in God.
McPherson’s claim that saying “I believe in God” reveals the most passionate of all beliefs is questionable. Dialectical materialists forwarding in the work of Karl Marx, for instance, sometimes seem tremendously passionate about their “faith” in the object of their belief.
A good example of a dialectical materialist who seems to “believe in” Marx’s ideas with great intensity can be found in J. D. Bernal, whose Science in History, Vols. 1-4. follows the Marxist ideology pretty closely.
But not only Marxists can get passionate about their beliefs. Social thinkers like Roland Barthes have argued that American patriotism, particularly during the 1950s, arguably had all the intensity of a religious faith. That is, the idea of the American Spirit connoted a intense set of beliefs about the superiority and moral goodness of America.
- Eddy Laing: Why Historical Materialism Matters (dogmaandgeopolitics.wordpress.com)
- Holy Father’s Wednesday audience: “Do not be afraid to go against the grain to live your faith, and resist the temptation to conform” (en.radiovaticana.va)
- Sinner’s Creed: A Memoir (therockriff.wordpress.com)