Christianity in the Chrestoverse

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Jul 20 09:50:53 EDT 2005


Hallie wrote

>   >So, would you see people in the world reading the Biblical accounts of
>   miracles and thinking Christ was merely another magician then? Even if
>   they were saw the miracles done then as having happened before magic
>   developed, it still makes Christ just a bit of an early developer, doesn't
>   it?  A bit squidily like Native Americans seeing white men with guns and
>   thinking them gods.

and Katta replied:

>   Or like how we look at Leonardo DaVinci...
>
>   But then, the point of Christ is hardly the miracles - after all, the
>   people *in* the gospels seem to think there are others who can perform
>   miracles as well and who aren't divine.

It was expected of any decent prophet, I think: holy men do miracles, it's
part of the job-description along with virgin birth and not washing too
much.  Two or three attested miracles are a requirement for beatification
in the Roman Catholic Church even now (unless one is the late[st] Pope,
obviously, in which case the 2000-year-old rules get thrown out and he gets
beatified on the never-never).

I'd suggest that the Tanith Lee quote makes the point: if Christ was a very
good magician (both senses of that phrase), by getting rid of the
distracting matter of his miracles (just magic, only rather superior magic)
it is made possible to concentrate on his message, which was "love God,
love one another".

Pity that in our techno-world that got lost in all the squabbling about who
was going to run the Church and for whose benefit, really.  A bit more love
and a bit less hating anyone who doesn't exactly follow one's own ideas
about what some bloke one happens to have come across at a formative age
has said God has told him He intended might do the world a lot of good.

If it was all magic, that might also get rid of the silly business about
speaking in tongues, which (like Communion) has ended up simply the
backwards of what is in the bible: speaking in tongues was originally (at
Pentecost) talking your own language and being understood by people who
don't talk that language at all (not babbling nonsense noises, as now) and
is thus as magical as the babel fish.  If it were possible for it to be
recognised as such, there might be a bit less hysterical and completely
incomprehensible (unless it turns out to be vile blasphemy in medieval
Swedish or something, occasionally) ranting among some congregations.  Oh,
and if there were a universal acceptance of magic as part of the church,
there'd be no excuse for torturing children on the grounds that they are
using magic, as happens in some sects of voodooish
not-very-christian-really church at the moment, it seems.

But I don't entirely see why there's a problem about there being more than
one God in Chrestomanci's world's (worlds') theological set-up[s].  We seem
to be able in the here-now to worship several dozen quite different Gods
even just in different sects of Christianity, and that's not counting the
same God being a different God (or different large number of God) when He
is the God of the Jews -- whichever of the disparate God a particular
splinter-group holds by -- and when He is being Allah for a bit (one of
several dozen Allah, by the looks of it).  He must find it rather confusing
remembering which One He is being at any given moment and place.  Not to
mention that when He is being the Quaker God He is subdivided in order to
be a little bit of Him in each member of the [Religious] Society of
Friends, and presumably in every other human being and possibly in every
other sentient being on the planet.  Maybe He gets together and has a chat
among Himselves in the Meetings.  ;-)

Personally I am never surprised if an author leaves the whole business to
one side a bit, because getting involved is too complicated for fiction: it
could only exist in Real Life (OMT).

Minnow (through a glass, darkly)


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