“I can’t believe THAT!” saidAlice
“Can’t you?” said the Queen in a pitying tone.“Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said,“one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” saidthe Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Whysometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!”
Obsessed with death
|Death…and loving it!|
I have always been bewildered by the human inclination to accept the most preposterous propositions. And yet not only does society as a whole subscribe to absurd views, but to question such views is considered to be an indication of questionable sanity, and certainly an indication of bad taste and insensitivity.
|Oh, god…you are so wonderful!|
In Western society it is considered borderline sociopathic to suggest that there is something bizarre about the near universal acceptance of propositions including: That our lives are governed by a supercreature that requires that we get down on our knees and tell him through telepathy every day how wonderful he is. That, this apparently being insufficient, he further desires that we underscore our worship at least weekly by repeating a ritualised cannibalistic ceremony, wherein we symbolically eat the flesh and drink the blood of a dead two thousand year old delusional preacher. The Catholic sub–sect of this death cult maintains that the bread and wine employed for this purpose is not symbolic but is the “substance” – the real, actual, genuine flesh and blood of the long-dead rabbi. Real cannibalism.
|Take and eat of this,
the body of Christ
And yet these same people, who claim to be rational, look with tolerant amusement tinged with superior contempt at the religious beliefs and behaviours of other people.
|C’mon, Mom, we’re going to your funeral!
This claims to be a genuine Toraja walking corpse
|Let’s go, Dad…shake a leg!|
The Torajans are pragmatic people though. Because ideally it is huge and expensive and the family often needs to save up, the funeral ceremony often takes place months, even years after the passing of the family member, and the service is regularly held quite a distance from the temporary resting place of the deceased (usually in the family home). As the territory in the Toraja region is very rugged, the family will often persuade the corpse of the deceased to help out by walking to the site of the funeral rites. This requires some effort and ceremonies on the parts of the bereaved, but is considered fairly routine, although somewhat fallen out of favour as more and more Torajans have access to modern transportation. Nevertheless, a similar rite is still routinely performed on the beheaded water buffaloes to encourage them to walk from the holding pen where they were ritually slaughtered to the site of the feast where they are cooked.
|“After this, we’ll take a little walk…”
A water buffalo is slaughtered for the feast
Nevertheless, the cults persist. The unhealthy obsession with death and dying which characterises so many religious beliefs seems to be particularly hard to let go. But at least in Toraja, they deal with it honestly…they confront death with all its grim reality of decay and grief. The christian cult on the other hand, has sanitised and ritualised the obsession, so that there is an element of plausible deniability to employ when accusations of its being a death cult are levelled.