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Thread: Why are holy places and relics so important?

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    Cyborg with a Tiara
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    Why are holy places and relics so important?

    It occurs to me that the reason people find holy places so important - reading about the disputes betweens Jews and Christians and Muslims over the “Holy Land” and its buildings - is because their god is so achingly absent all these millenia, and the adherents are desperate to touch something that someone told them thier god touched.

    Since “he” is certainly not around touching anything now, they are obsessive about the few things that someone told them he had touched.

    It feels like a consistently present god(dess)(es) would not provoke a need for “relics” and “holy sites”.
    And definitely not people willing to kill or be killed over them.

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    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Why are holy places and relics so important?
    Economics. They attract tons of believers (customers) to buy the tchotchke.

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    Veteran Member Valjean's Avatar
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    Humans are obsessed with symbols and tribal markers: patriotic, religious, sports, economic... whatever. Not so concerned with the values symbolized, just the symbols.

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    The necessity of a tangible hub. I've been to quite a few of the Mormon sites (Hill Cumorah, where the fabled golden plates were supposedly recovered, the Sacred Grove, where Joseph Smith encountered -- take your pick -- a couple of angels or God + Jesus, the Carthage jail, where he was shot to death.) There are more. LDS believers come to steep themselves in Smithology.
    I have born-again cousins who are whack-ass pious about the Shroud of Turin, and again it's 'Guess who actually touched this!!' I think it is far more likely that it is something like Giotto's dropcloth -- the spill protector used by a clumsy 14th century painter with balance problems. Doesn't have to be Giotto, could be Luca the House Painter. I'm not ready to propose this to my cousins.

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    Probably for the same reason people carry pictures of famiy with them, these days on a phone. It is comforting.

    Churches are a place where people feel comfort.

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    Cyborg with a Tiara
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Probably for the same reason people carry pictures of famiy with them, these days on a phone. It is comforting.

    Churches are a place where people feel comfort.

    Yeah, that’s along the lines I was thinking. Since their God is not evident or interactive or tangible, the human church, like the photos of loved ones we will no longer see, takes on a huge meaning.

    I was thinking even further of the “holy sites” where the adherents are willing to kill and die for the ability to have access to the site. Would it even be that important if their god was evident in the world, where the events that make a site holy were still happening? I feel like no one would die for the Temple on the Mount if the god were to ever show up in, say, Jamaica, or Patagonia, or Bakersfield.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valjean View Post
    Humans are obsessed with symbols and tribal markers: patriotic, religious, sports, economic... whatever. Not so concerned with the values symbolized, just the symbols.
    I dunno. They seem to embody those values just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valjean View Post
    Humans are obsessed with symbols and tribal markers: patriotic, religious, sports, economic... whatever. Not so concerned with the values symbolized, just the symbols.
    This is true. The flag is more important than the freedom it is supposed to represent. Thus if you disrespect it, I’m going to beat the shit out of you. We give lip service to the values, but what we demand is obedience, order and power (for me, not thee). That’s why religions often turn so violent over time.

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    I don't own an American flag. Any interest I had in the symbology was lost back during the Vietnam War, when the Love It or Leave It crowd, led by John Fuck'n' Wayne, had their day.
    I also don't own a miniature Liberty Bell, a porch banner depicting the Great Seal of the United States, or a repro of George Washington's thong undershorts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    I don't own an American flag. Any interest I had in the symbology was lost back during the Vietnam War, when the Love It or Leave It crowd, led by John Fuck'n' Wayne, had their day.
    I also don't own a miniature Liberty Bell, a porch banner depicting the Great Seal of the United States, or a repro of George Washington's thong undershorts.
    Without the last thing, that’s definitely proof you hate America. And your missing out. Fly a copy of the Constitution on a banner.

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