Friday, August 28, 2009
Remember "Stone Soup?" A stranger wanders into town and claims that he can make a wonderful culinary concoction using a stone as the base. He fills a kettle with water, drops in a stone, and let's it simmer. As it cooks, he interacts with a number of locals, and of each one, he requests another ingredient. "Stone soup is really good with carrots," he says to one. "I had a great stone soup one time that had onions in it," he says to another.
Eventually, everyone in town has contributed various items to the pot, and the resulting mix is... well, it's soup. Real, honest to goodness soup. Of course, the townspeople think that it's a miracle that one could make this great soup from a stone, since they are oblivious to the fact that they created the soup incrementally... they are like that frog in the bowl of water that is slowly heated to a boil. They don't notice the addition of this or the inclusion of that. They can't see the forest for the trees. I'll run out of cliches eventually, I'm sure.
Christianity is a lot like Stone Soup... There isn't a lot to it that is unique or original. It has, impressively, assembled some of the best stories and beliefs and components of countless belief systems that existed before it into a wonderfully complex narrative.
Most people are familiar with some of the bible stories that are retellings of earlier tales. I'd like to extend an invitation to contributing writers, commenters, and any of the hundreds of random observers who stumble across this blog to share examples of this tradition of assimilation... whether it's the parallel of the apple in genesis with the pomegranate in Persephone and Demeter, or the coincidence of Christmas with Saturnalia, or the relationship between Mary/Jesus and Isis/Horace...
This isn't an attempt to disprove, but rather an invitation to understand through dissection and deconstruction. It should be an honest set of vignettes that illuminate the ideas presented in Christianity. Add your contribution either in the comments or write a featured post. Take it wherever it wants to go. Sphere: Related Content