on-religion

Honestly my favorite thing about the holiday season is when Christians are like, “Yes, first we must ritualistically cut down a tree, bring it indoors, and decorate it with lights and symbols that are meaningful to us. Then, we will all light candles and chant and sing together. But don’t forget to leave out an offering the night before, so that the amalgamation of various folk characters will be pleased, and bless us with gifts! This is totally Christian, and absolutely what Jesus would have wanted, in a month not related to his birth!”

I just read an article about the ancient Egyptian game of senet.

The thrust of the article is basically some guy wondering why senet remained so popular for so long, even though it’s pretty badly designed as a game, struggled to spread beyond its native culture (which is freakishly unusual for a popular and long-lived game - at the time, board games were one of the primary vectors of cultural exchange), and contemporary accounts suggest that not even the ancient Egyptians enjoyed playing it very much.

The best theory they were able to come up with is that it hung on due to its religious significance.

Now I’m sort of wondering what future archaeologists will make of Monopoly - I mean, doesn’t it satisfy all four of those criteria? Badly designed, limited cultural reach, nobody actually seems to enjoy playing it, yet within its native range, everybody and their dog seems to own a copy?

Is playing Monopoly a religious observance?

“Christianity is possible as the most private form of existence, presupposing a narrow, remote, completely unpolitical society. So when reformers indulge in politics, as Luther did, one sees that they are just as much followers of Machiavelli as any immoralist or tyrant.”

—F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, §211 (edited excerpt).

Okay, so it’s JKR confirmed that Tina and Queenie Goldstein are related somehow to Anthony Goldstein, a Ravenclaw from Hogwarts. Who is the only confirmed Jew in all of Hogwarts. Because that makes sense for London population. (I’m not bitter what are you talking about)

So. Jewish wizards. Let’s talk Jewish wizards. 

Orthodox/Chasidic Jews not practicing magic on the Sabbath because no work is technically allowed. People questioning why they’re walking everywhere instead of Disapparating and then having to sigh and roll their eyes and explain.

 Having separate spells specifically for different types of Kosher plates if they do that for washing them. Spells to make sure that meats and dairy never touch. Charms that alert them at restaurants or school if there’s pork or shellfish in a dish. The house elves learn about this and purposefully mark food Pereve or not and start to list ingredients for all the dishes. (Hey as somebody with food allergies, this would just make my day anyway)

 Magical menorahs that light themselves, enchantments on the Torah so it will never accidentally touch the ground or get smeared by hand oils (which is why Yads are used anyway, but it would be more out of tradition), the eternal light magically not being able to go out. OR BETTER YET wands being used with a spell as Yads

 WIZARDING BAT MITZVAHS AND WEDDINGS OH MY GODDD The chair holding the bar or bat mitzvah or the married couple magically being held up. The chuppah with magical lighting. Voices magically amplified so no microphones are needed.

 A fucking giant Menorah in the Great Hall and not just a stupid Christmas tree because we seriously don’t need more of those (sorry I’m just very sick of holiday season meaning only Christmas. There are like four other religions I know of that have holidays around this time)

 Days off for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and Passover, etc. and leaving sections of the tables empty for those fasting to be able to chill away from temptation but still with friends in the common social environment. Matzos alternatives during Passover. A signified Seder table and a Jewish member of the faculty as the head of the table and the youngest little first year reading the four questions. Or a group of first years.

 A Sukkah outside for Sukkot and enchanted lulav and etrog. A small sanctuary for High Holy Days and Shabbat services. (There should also be a safe place or several for Muslim students to pray throughout the day, just FYI)

And in Fantastic Beasts? Queenie teaching Jacob old family recipes for challah and bagels that he starts making for his bakery…Just…ugh, I want this all so badly.

 And don’t get me started on WWII and the Holocaust! Wizarding Nazis? Very probably. Using Muggles and wizards alike for their “experimentation”? Yeah. And Jewish wizards using concealment charms all over the place and trying to take care of their friends and family. Muggle born wizards and witches being hunted even more…Just think about it….

That’s all I got for now please FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR HEADCANONS

The whole history of religion is the history of the failure of preaching. Preaching is moral violence. When you deal with the so-called practical world, and people don’t behave the way you wish they would, you get out the army or police force or ‘the big stick.’ And if those strike you as somewhat crude, you resort to giving lectures–'lectures’ in the sense of solemn adjuration and exhortation to 'behave better next time.’
—  Alan Watts; Cloud-Hidden, Whereabout Uknown: A Mountain Journal; “Spectrum of Love”

it sucks how in every era we have those people who are so against science. I’m not talking about the evolution aspect (that’s another story) but more like the testing and the stem cell research etc. why are people so against it? like those same people demand change and improvements in our healthcare systems but then they’re anti-testings and research that needs to be conducted to find solutions. Do you think we’d have gotten anywhere if scientists never moved past the people who tried to stop in their way of research?? you most likely wouldn’t have a life expectancy of 80 years if they did tbh lol

The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra sings Christmas carols with Palestinian Christian children inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

soundvenue.com
De religiøse symboler i ’Skam’ – afkodet
Det vrimler med referencer til religion i tredje sæson ’Skam’, men hvad skal morens sms’er og den famøse Jesus-t-shirt egentlig betyde? Vi har sat to…

Here’s an article from the Danish magazine Soundvenue about the religious symbols in SKAM. I translated it myself and it took forever. Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes! :-)

The religious symbols in ‘Skam’ - Decoded 

It’s full of references to religion in the third season of ‘Skam’, but what does the the mother’s texts and the famous Jesus-t-shirt really mean? We have put two students of sociology of religion on the case.

Why does Isak’s mother text crazy Bible quotes, what’s up with Sana and Isak’s many conversations about religion, and why does Even show up in the ugliest God-costume in the world towards Isak’s Cesar-outfit, inclusive laurel wreath with clear associations to a crown of thorns and Jesus?

Religion – and especially the religion’s opinions on homosexuality – has been very important in the third season of ‘Skam’.

But how are you supposed to interpret the religious symbols of the series, and what influence do they have on the portrayal of Isak? Let’s take the most important down strokes one by one.

The itinerant Jesus-T-shirt

As many people have noticed, Isak, Even and Eskild are, by turns, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of the crucified Jesus. Already in the first clip of the season ‘Lykke til Isak’, Isak is wearing the t-shirt while he’s at a party at Eva’s place smoking bong with Magnus, Jonas and Madhi in a bathtub.

The first time we saw the t-shirt was when Eskild was wearing it in season 2. During season 3, both Isak and Even have been wearing it. But what the hell does the t-shirt mean?

It’s obviously about resurrection. Eskild, who is already ‘resurrected’ as homosexual, is the first one to wear it. Isak is wearing it at Eva’s party where he’s with the ‘førstis’ Emma to impress the guys but declines her approaches as soon as the guys have left. Maybe he’s starting to realize that his days as straight are numbered?

In the 21:21 clip where Even and Isak hooker for the first times, Even has been dressed up as God the whole evening. That the first kiss on top of it all takes place under water (baptism-metaphor much) and that Even is lying in the Jesus-t-shirt the morning after, suggest that we are working with a resurrections symbolism. That is to say, that both Isak and Even resurrect with a new sexual identity during this season.

If that’s true we can also give up the tragic Romeo+Juliet interpretation and Even’s comment in the clip ‘Even’ on the epic love story which demands that somebody must die. The theme of death which is circled about, is neither about suicide or other fatal accidents, but all about the fact that Isak and Even must crucify their heterosexual identities and resurrect as homser/bifile/panfile (or whatever Magnus wants to call them).

A thing about the ’21:21’ clip is the symbolism of numbers: From mamma’s text from the clip ‘Life Is Good, we know that Isak was born at 21:21 the 21st of June. If one read an English version of the Bible, the first book of Moses chapter 21 is called ‘The Birth of Isaac’.

The whole resurrection symbolism is very clear with both Even dressed up as God, their first kiss under water as a symbol of baptism and the repetition of the reference to the first book of Moses.

But back to the t-shirt-metaphor: After Isak’s resurrection in ’21:21’ we see them in the clip ‘Tenke det du føler’ where they behave as a couple for the first time: Even has met the friends and is making breakfast in the kitchen. If we read the Bible closely, we can draw parallels to the resurrection of Jesus, described in St Luke’s Gospel 24:4. Here two men in lightning clothes are showing themselves to Mary and Mary Magdalene. In the clip, Isak and Even are both wearing t-shirts as white as a sheet and are making out to Gabrielle’s pop song (funny, by the way, like the name is similar to the famous archangel Gabriel…).  

The Mother’s texts, part 1

Isak’s Christian and mentally ill mother texts throughout the whole season disreputable bible quotes to her son at all times of day which annoys him very much. Isak’s own clutch between mental illness and religion is not discrete at all: It’s clear in the repeated conversations he has with Sana about biology and religion.

But what do the Bible quotes mean?

In the clip ‘Morrabrød’ Isak wakes up hungover (wearing the Jesus-t-shirt) to a text from his mom with a quote from the second book of Moses 20:4. The quote is the second of the Ten Commandments which Moses got revealed by the Sinai mountain and which is about the restriction of picturing God.

The text seems irrelevant and Isak ignores it. Since mamma isn’t psychic and it therefore isn’t discontent with Isak’s way of dressing, the message is a frame for the relationship between Isak and his mother.

Next Bible quote does again seem random but it has a perfect timing. The important thing isn’t what the mother is writing but when she writes it – Because it fits perfectly with the story line. Isak has just been caught in one (of his many) lie(s) when he tries to make his friends believe that the vors the following Friday is cancelled – While he actually had been too busy eating bread with cheese and cardamom with Even.

In the text that he has received the night between Friday and Saturday, the mother quotes the first letter of the Corinth 6:11. The quote is taken from a chapter which is one of the few places where the Bible mentions homosexuality. However, she doesn’t mention the verse which is about it:

“Insert Bible verse that I can’t translate!”

 

One can interpret the quote in several ways. A classic fundamental interpretation of the quote is the explanation of the idea that homosexuality is a sin and can be cured through faith. This interpretation is used a lot in conservative, Christian movements in the USA. An interpretation like this is strengthen the impression of the mother being very faithful and, according to Isak’s logic, against homosexuality.

Another interpretation is more positive – being that mamma doesn’t mention the part about homosexuality, but has chosen to quote the part about forgiveness. Since Jesus already has forgiven all people’s sins, as the Christian dogmatism say, the mother uses the quotes to tell Isak that he is already forgiven. Maybe she has already figured out that he is gay?

A third possibility of interpretation points in the direction that the mother is timing her texts better than she knows herself. Isak has just let his friends down and lied to them. The chapter from which the mother’s quote has been taken is called “Warning about trail between brothers”. Several times in the series, the friends often call each other bros or brothers. In that way, the quote can be seen as the mothers warning to Isak about not letting his friends down. Generally, the quotes of mamma – which seemed preachy and out of place – have a clever timing which slowly starts to make sense.

Another central aspect of the mother’s character is, that she, like the other parents, never gets time to speak despite having an important role. She is invisible and seems weird, old fashioned and extremist (NOTE: FOR A DANISH AUDIENCE, SHE PROBABLY STANDS OUT MORE CARICATURED IN HER RELIGIOSITY THAN TO A NORWEIGIAN AUDIENCE. IN NOWAY A BIGGER PART OF THE POPULATION IS STRONGLY CHRISTIAN THAN PEOPLE HERE IN DEMARK).

The discussions between Isak and Sana

Isak’s intimate and critical questions to Sana’s religion and Muslims’ acceptance of homosexuality in the clip ‘Evolusjonsteorien’ show many Norwegians’ – and Danes’ prejudices towards religion in general and in particularly Islam.

His rant is the result from several texts from mamma where she quotes the book of the hymns 51:4-7. The hymn is about David who has gotten Bathsheba pregnant even though she’s married to Urias. David is forgiven by God and is cleared for his sins – like David, Isak is still loved by God (and mamma).

At the same time, the quote can be interpreted as the mother’s wish for Isak’s forgiveness. The quote is also in contrast to the subject of the biology class “genetics” – The religious picture of the World meets the scientific.

However, it doesn’t seem like Isak is thinking much about the messages in his mother’s texts. Instead he puts out all his frustrations over religion on Sana. She generally has the role of a prejudice destroying, politically correct character who has no problems with going to rave parties being sober and wearing a strong combination of purple lipstick and hijab. At the same time, she often must be the scapegoat for critique of religion: In the first season for Vilde’s slightly racist comments and in the third season for Isak’s mamma-issues.

The interesting thing about Sana is that on one side she is extremely conservative: She doesn’t believe in sex before marriage, she’s wearing a scarf and she doesn’t drink alcohol. At the same time, she manages to live a completely normal, Norwegian life as a teenager filled with parties, gossip about hooking and a chill opinion about her friends’ drinking sprees.

Sana is an opponent to Isak’s mother – She is subtle and doesn’t refer to the Quran. Here one also experience a break with the structural idea of the suppressed, Muslim woman versus the free, modern western woman.

As much as we love Sana, she quickly becomes a caricature of the ideal Muslim immigrant. Madhi has the same function in the guttegjeng. But woops, here are the viewers confronted with their prejudices. Even though Madhi is black, he isn’t a Muslim?!

This circling around prejudices – an immigrant is automatically a Muslim, religious people are against homosexuality and mental illness is pure dritt – speaks well to the prejudices one see in both the Danish and Norwegian society.

Isak’s name

To those of you who doesn’t know the the Old Testament and the first Book of Moses by heart, is here a public-service announcement: Isak is the son of Abraham (aka. The fist ancestor of the Jews). Abraham is demanded by God to sacrifice his only son, being Isak. Abraham gets ready to follow God’s saying but in the last minute he’s stopped by an angel that says: “Just kidding, God just tested you”. So, let’s put our money on everything being okay for Isak in the end?

The mother’s texts, part 2

After Isak went to see the awkward but well-meaning school’nurse’ in the clip ‘Kvart et menneske er et øy’ mamma texts another Bible verse. This time it’s from the book of Josva 1:9, and she is nothing less than right on spot.

She is (unknowingly?) taking part in supporting Isak on his way out of the closet. Throughout season 3 the mother is via Isak’s point of view portrayed like being narrow minded and judging right until her declaration of love in the ‘Life Is Good’ clip.

Even though it’s hasn’t seemed like this earlier. Mamma’s latest text backs up this analyze. The constant bible quotes is her way of showing support and care towards her son. The mother’s choice of quotes is all about forgiveness and love and via them she points out that there’s also a place for Isak in her religious picture of the World.

It seems like Julie Andem tries to normalize the three biggest themes of season 3, homosexuality, religion and mental illness. And therefore, we are sure that when we meet the mother that seems crazy and judging mamma, a whole other picture will be created. Everybody’s prejudices will be shamed.