My name is Dani. I work with words and graphics.
Welcome to my personal website of articles and creative writing.
Many in the religious wings of society bemoan the secularisation of religious holidays. The Crucifix has been passed in for a chocolate rabbit. Children worship Santa, the deity of consumption, rather than baby Jesus.
But are we not surrounded by unwanted messages reinforcing Christianity? I write this on Good Friday where all the bottle shops are closed and licensed venues are forbidden by law to sell any take-away alcohol.
My two favourite radio stations are broadcasting descriptions of the Station of the Cross ritual accompanied by an unlovely wailing of the bereaved.
I’ve just driven past a hill featuring two rough-hewn beams of wood bound together with rope — a reminder of the violent origin of this holiday and as disturbing as any Anselm Kiefer piece of modern art.
I come to the argument with an unholy bias. I grew up a Christian. My childhood dreams were not of daffodils and rainbows. They were scenes of mass slaughter, public burnings and decapitations – a recurring nightmare that lasted fifteen years.
If you said I watched too many movies, you’d be right. The vivid imagery came thanks in no small part to the graphic depictions in the propaganda films screened in the clapboard church halls we went to. These gems were niche, arthouse splatterfests at their best — stuff that would warrant stickers and extra packaging from any mainstream classification board.
Hell wasn’t my only worry. The stealthy fingers of fear would crawl up my neck every time I walked into my house if it were empty. It meant one terrible thing: the Second Coming.
This was when Jesus would come back to Earth and take all the good souls up to Heaven. If you were left behind, you were left to Satan and his henchmen of the New World Order.
The New World Order could ignite and spread at any time. It could happen before the Second Coming or afterwards. The scriptures were ambiguous.
The ultimate trademark of the New World Order was the cashless society; the sign that our civilization was on the brink of collapse and the Mark of the Beast would soon be rolled-out. People would be forced to have their personal and financial identity barcoded into a tattoo on their foreheads.
If we accept that an omnipotent celestial superpower does exist, that they created the miracle that is mankind, gave us consciousness and rational thought, does it really stack up that we’d be sentenced to an eternity of heaven or hell according to whether we accept as truth a mythology that challenges that very intellect?
Richard Dawkins says that indoctrinating children into religion is akin to child abuse. I won’t make comment on that. My point is simply this. If you tell a child something as their parent, they will believe you. If their teachers at school tell them the same thing, and their Minister and Sunday school teachers reinforce it, I would call that brainwashing.
Next Easter, I’ll be making the healthy choice again – chocolate over church. The irony is that, without dogma in my life, I now feel more deeply connected to higher order, ethical and spiritual living than ever before. After all, they do say that religion exists so that people fear hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.