Saturday, March 17, 2007

We are the Christians

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
On this St. Paddy's Day, I was greeted with this tidbit from Yahoo Answers:

"There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the evil eye."

Funny, believing that the odd left-over body part had magical powers must have been in a chapter of the Bible that I skimmed over. Must have been buried somewhere in the middle of the "begats" in Chronicles. Or, is this just another instance of warping local superstition into the Jezamagod myth?

I think this likely. There had to be some incentive for local shamans of whatever religion not to fight conversion to Christianity. The only way to establish a hold was to co-opt the local leadership, or a faction thereof. Those that played ball were rewarded, those that opposed were destroyed in one way or another. This meant a certain amount of "business as usual" crept into the local version of the Christian model of the religious scam. This also made the transition easier for the locals to swallow. The evolution of St. Patrick is also fascinating. He has gone from being the famous banisher of non-existent snakes to being the patron saint of drunken excess. Hooray!

Anybody have any trouble seeing the correlation between this drunken revel, the Festival of Bacchus, and the celebration of the Equinox by pagan and other religions?