The Symbol of Faith

The Symbol

The Symbol

Christ triumphant over death? Or the crucifix, “the emblem of suffering and shame” (from the Protestant hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross”.)

Jesus came to earth to bring a new way of life, a way of love, to replace the old Hebrew God of wrath. He taught us two new laws, consisting of five words: Love God. Love your neighbor. Keeping those two commandments, in every aspect of our lives, we would need no others. Would one cheat on, lie to, kill or steal from a neighbor who we loved as we love our very selves?

For that reason, something that has long puzzled me about the Christian faith is the symbol which was chosen to represent it to the world. Why, in founding a religion to be based solely on love, was the crucified Christ the choice over the risen and glorious Christ, who had triumphed over Death and the grave? Why blood and torment over transcendent rebirth and eternal life?

When Jesus walked this Earth, he held himself apart from no man – or woman. He was all about love and forgiveness. The new Christian faith he was founding had a place for everyone. Tax collectors, fallen women, thieves, Samaritans and those from all walks of life were welcome. Jesus came to save all of us, not only the righteous. He spoke of his Father’s kingdom where there was a place for everyone.

Until about the Fifth Century, women were full participants in the faith. They preached and prophesied, they healed and distributed the sacraments. They were the equals of the men in the church, until those men decided that women were no longer to have the rights granted to them by Christ while he was here on Earth. Things went quickly downhill from there until it reached a point where women were not considered capable of sinning, because they lacked the intelligence to understand what sin was.

In the early 1500s, when the Protestant Reformation began, the other Christian churches which were formed made a lot of changes, but the religious disenfranchisement of women was as popular with them as with the men of the Catholic church. There came a time when the men of the church seemed to be unsure if women even had souls (although I found a site which said that was a myth). Don’t you just love it when fully half the population of the world gets thrown under the bus? I mean, it’s one thing to want to deny us the vote, but now we don’t have souls?

Considering all this, and in view of the fact that Christians (or those purporting to be Christians) have, over the long centuries, slaughtered literally millions of people for the sin of not being, or wanting to be, Christians, I have to wonder how happy Jesus would be today if he came back to Earth to see the many terrible and unChristlike things that have been done in his name. But then what do I know? I’m just a woman.

(Originally published August 31, 2011.)

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About the Author:

Born in a small, Illinois log cabin. No, that won't work. The pampered only child of incredibly wealthy parents. No, that doesn't fly either. Raised by French nuns after her aristocratic parents were beheaded. No, that's been done! An East Coast transplant to the Pacific Northwest, this notoriously late bloomer began her new life with a new career as a writer and blogger. She has taken to both the new location and the career move like a duck to water. Writing for Expats Post is a new adventure, and our intrepid risk-taker is diving in, feeling right at home with so many old friends.
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  • http://thetrumpetsummons.blogspot.com/ Larry Conley

    Melody,

    You are indeed a woman and I hear you roar! As I read this piece, I was struck by the denial of souls to females and I immediately thought of the denial of voting rights before you commented on that parallel.

    I am willing to acknowledge Jesus as a sage, but I have no esteem for Christianity as a religion. Many sound observations on right conduct are contained in the Bible, but if one wants my support or admiration, they have to do right, not simply profess to believe in the correct scripture.

    For me, a symbol more in line with the worthy things Jesus is purported to have said, would be a calendar with becoming pictures of Mary Magdalene and eleven of her fetching colleagues. Now that would convey the concept of a creed of love!

    Larry

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    • http://www.pacificmelody.wordpress.com/ Melody J Haislip

      Larry, I had hoped to get some discussion on the actual topic of the article, because this is something which has always puzzled me.

      There is one thing I’d like to say about your calendar idea, and that is that Mary Magdalene was a virtuous woman. It suited the purposes of the church to call her a prostitute, but this was disproved many years ago. It was merely another way the church tried to marginalize women and their role because, you know, women -- what do they know? All they’re good for is yadda, yadda, yadda.

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  • http://thetrumpetsummons.blogspot.com/ Larry Conley

    Melody,

    Did I make any slanders of Mary Magdalene’s character. No. I just have the impression she was hot and photogenic.

    Beauty is neither a sin nor a crime and some old prudes disapproval is just one more in a long line of injustices.

    When will the calendar be ready?

    Larry

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    • http://www.pacificmelody.wordpress.com/ Melody J Haislip

      By the end of the year. We’re still in negotiations with Jezebel.

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