What Is Sacred and What Is Profane? Ah... that is the question.
Article ID: 5051
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,365
Times Read: 5,200
Author: Ginger Strivelli
Posted: January 19th. 2003
Times Viewed: 5,200
Well, some people think the 60-foot tall cell phone tower disguised as a cross that looms over my neighborhood is "sacred". I'd say it was profane... might even employ some profanity to explain just how profane I find that ugly monstrosity. I might ask why other torture devices aren't also used as Cell phone décor... a huge electric chair, or guillotine-themed cell phone tower seems like an unlikely design... .but going by their theme, it seems logical to me. Well of course they think it is a sacred symbol. (Though no other "sacred" symbols are cropping up as cell phone towers, unless I somehow missed the 5-story Star of David that plays Tweedle Dee to our neighborhood's Tweedle Dum cross tower.)
Some people might say a battlefield is sacred holy ground... while some would think it had been holy flesh of the Mother Earth now made profane by the bloodshed it witnessed. Some people think all Earth is Sacred... some think only their churches are holy ground. Some think burial grounds are sacred, while some find them profane. Some say ground is only sacred if it is blessed and certain rituals are done upon it in certain prescribed ways. Some persons may have other prescribed ways. I've been told it is profane to "worship the creation and not the creator" by Christians who do not worship the Mother Earth at all.
Native Americans worship totem animals. Some faiths find some animals too sacred to eat... others find the same animals too profane to eat. Some hunters worship all animals but kill and eat them... some hunters seem to think all animals are profane but still hunt and eat them. Some Hindus think cows, snakes, and even rats are sacred... Now I can give them cows, without cows there'd be no cheesecake so I'm thinking they are pretty close to sacred. Snakes... I think not... Rats? You got to be kidding me! PETA activists seem to worship all animals and go to great lengths to protect them from man... protecting the beaver dams from human damns, protecting the whales from human fishermen but they also protect the sharks who have fished for the same whales for millions of years. Whaling is a good example, as the Native Makah tribe goes through legal upheaval yearly to secure the rights to hunt whales as their ancestors did, because to them the hunt is sacred... but the animal activists find it quite profane. Who is correct?
Dancing is sacred to many faiths... while it is profane to others. Idols are worshipped by various religions, while idolatry is blasphemy to others. The fact is that surely every thing some person finds sacred another will find to be profane. There must be a right and a wrong answer... but are we to know it? Perhaps we outreach our grasp when we seek to know such answers. Some wisdom belongs to the Gods, alone. Do we even need to know what is or isn't sacred? Isn't it enough to simply believe what we each believe, and live and let live on the matter? Well in an ideal world, yes... but alas, 'tis not an ideal world.
One should be able to say for themselves at least what is sacred or what is profane... and one may be right or may be wrong... as long as it effects only that 'one' then it is really not important to anyone else. Alas, too many things one person does affect the rest of us. We can usually be generous in our understanding of differing belief systems. So many belief systems are so similar when one strips away the window dressing. Even the faiths that are truly 'odd' and differ greatly from the rest of religious dogma often are harmless, and in the end, mean well. Sadly, though, there are some who have perverted religion so terribly that what they call sacred is beyond being just not sacred and has actually strayed into the category of truly being evil. No matter how forgiving, understanding and open-minded we want to be as a society, we can't allow ourselves to accept or much less respect their warped ideas of sacredness.
So what is the answer? Well obviously it varies depending on whom you ask. Nonetheless, the answer isn't that simple, nothing is that simple. We can't let everyone dictate to us what is sacred even for themselves... I mean Jack the Ripper likely thought his mission to murder women was somehow 'sacred.' Hitler thought his beliefs were sacred... David Koresh... .Osama Bin Laden... No we can't agree that whatever every person says it sacred to them is sacred, because alas, a lot of people are profane (not to mention insane, and even mundane).
So, what is sacred? Depends on who you ask. However, we can't always buy every answer as the gospel truth. We should accept a diversity of spiritual beliefs, of course, but that doesn't mean we should stick our common sense in the sand with our heads and be tolerant of any and everything. Some things are simply not tolerable. We can't tolerate those who cloak immoral, illegal evil behavior in the robes of "sacredness" and accept it out of the duty of political correctness. We must set some limits. We can be accepting, understanding, even tolerant within those limits allowing for a wide variety of different beliefs on what is or isn't sacred, but we can't just blindly bow our heads and observe the warped beliefs of every lunatic with a crazy notion that some nonsense is "sacred".
All healthy relationships have boundaries. Our relationship as the global community of mankind is no different. We must have some boundaries as well. Some things that we will and some things we won't tolerate. It is a frightening thing to let someone draw these boundaries for us all. Ideally we should all participate in drawing up these rules, laws, taboos, and codes. However, still lacking that ideal world... we can't all have say or get our way in the drawing of these boundaries. Yet, we can choose for ourselves to either respect them or ignore them once society as a whole has drawn them. Then we are back to the question of whose opinion is correct.
In some places abortion is illegal... .seen as immoral, profane and blasphemy. While some people think it nearly sacred in its "right" to be allowed. Some people wish to do drugs, drink and drive, not pay their taxes, and roll through stop signs. Someone can roll through a stop sign twice a day coming and going home, for years... and it is their business... but years from now, one day when my child is out driving home on the crossing road and that person rolls through 'their' stop sign for the millionth time and plow into my child's car... then suddenly it is my business. If my child marries some person who abuses drugs, then they ruin my child's life along with their own and it becomes my business... as it was their loved ones and employer, and child's and neighbors' business, all along when their behavior affected those around them adversely. The fact is, what we do or don't do affects others around us, which affects others around them... we with our simple choices of what is good and what is bad, send ripples of effects out into the pool of humanity. So we can't just live and let live, we can't tolerate everything and everyone. We can't allow everyone to choose for himself or herself what is and is not sacred or profane. We must recognize that we are connected, we are all intertwined in the web that the Fates weave. When we twist our own thread we shift and maneuver the whole web. So we must set boundaries for each other, how much twisting of your own personal thread will not too greatly affect the others around you, and how much is too much to be tolerated, because it effects others whether they like it or not.
Alas, with this I think we are back to outreaching our grasp for wisdom. We each know what is sacred, and what is profane, where the boundaries of tolerable should be drawn, but none of us should be the one to say that for all of us. The best we can do is try to respect what is respectable, accept what is acceptable, and tolerate what is tolerable. Nonetheless, we must not accept the unacceptable, respect the unrespectable, or tolerate the intolerable.
Location: Weaverville, North Carolina
Author's Profile: To learn more about Ginger Strivelli - Click HERE
Bio: I am Ginger Strivelli. I am a writer, an artist, a homemaker, a Witch, and most importantly the mother of six young children. I am the co-founding priestess of The Appalachian Pagan Alliance, which I devote a lot of my time to running. I am also currently the National President of Pagan Unity Campaign, which takes up even more of my time. When I find MORE time, I write poetry, historical, fantasy and science fictions, as well as religious articles and even still paint occasionally. I have been a featured writer for Circle Network Magazine for the last 12 years. My short fiction and poetry has appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, The Ultimate Unknown, and several other magazines.
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