It has been a few weeks since my last posting but, truthfully, I have been rather busy and no special issues have attracted my skeptical eye.
And then comes Holy Week.
So many things to be skeptical about. The very existence of Jesus as a true historical figure is in doubt and then, in my country, we have all this big celebration and ritual - which is now more teatrical than ritual.
Let me explain.
In Guatemala, as in no other place in the world (yes, not even Seville, in Spain), catholics have a very deeply ingrained custom of taking their figures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary on procession all over the place. Now, catholic processions are common everywhere, but not in the scale we do it in Guatemala. I was looking at one of the larger ones and it is being carried by 116 men! The whole thing must weigh at least 3 tons! A picture follows, to give you an idea.
Is it belief that takes people to the street and makes them carry these heavy loads on their shoulder, risking their very own physical integrity? There are so many issues we can discuss about these rituals - like atonement by pain and suffering, "veneration" (the Church's term) or "adoration" (my term) of these Jesus and Virgin Mary figures, the catholic cult of the Virgin Mary, etc, etc.
I guess I will tackle these issues in further postings. In the meantime, let us be skeptical.