Case in point. A recent post on the Last Hiker blog is all about adult coloring and mandalas (Adult Coloring Books and Mandalas, A Warning for Christians).
There’s a whole whack of info there on what other people think of mandalas and how they use them (Hindus and Buddhists, and even poor Carl Jung gets dragged into this). But all through this post is the fact that because some other people (not all, by any means; some just like art) use mandalas for some sort of “mind opening” purpose, these things somehow inevitably lead a Christian to opening their mind to Satan. (By this same reasoning, because these people all wear clothes when engaged in pagan worship…)
What this is doing is giving utterly inanimate objects some mysterious, virtually irresistible power. This is akin to the old pagan practice of believing that a small creek has a “spirit” that hangs out there. A piece of paper with swirly lines and colors has mysterious power over you? So does the “spirit” of that reputedly “sacred” rock over there. What’s the difference? There is none.
What these mandalas actually are is pieces of paper with swirly lines and bits of color on them. They have no power whatsoever–except what people voluntarily attribute to them. (I don’t say “voluntarily give to them,” because even if you decide to “give” a piece of paper some power, it remains powerless. Everything is all in your own mind, and nothing you do will ever produce any extra “power” in that object. Sorry to tell you this, guys, but our minds don’t have extrasensory powers over inanimate objects.)
And these Christians are supposed to be all about knowing that the only power is in God, while there is no power in inanimate objects.But almost every evangelical/fundie Christian I know is this superstitious about inanimate objects. They are afraid that pieces of paper will somehow “lead them astray.” If that’s not superstition, even by their own definitions of “pagan superstition,” I don’t know what is.
And why are they afraid that pieces of paper will undo them? My guess is that it’s because their faith is utterly weak–and they know it. They have to avoid pieces of paper or they just! can’t! keep! believing! This is extremely sad.
So why am I mentioning all this? A niece on Facebook posted a link to the above post, and I (more briefly) responded about this being superstition, and no inanimate object having power over Christians. I received a chastising private message telling me not to post such things but to keep it all quiet and only talk to her about it privately if I have something to say. (Meaning that all her superstitious Christian friends who read that post of hers won’t have to see any reasonable, and yes, dammit, biblically-based response. Fuck that shit.) I am so sick of being chastised by someone thirty years younger than me for something I know way more about than she does, so I unfriended her. Alas. I will miss the pictures of her kids.
But also, I posted a similar response on the Last Hiker blog itself. However, the comment is “awaiting moderation,” which means it will never see the light of day on that blog. One thing evangelical/fundie Christians are very good at is blocking out any view that might give them more accurate information or might–*gasp*–point out any errors in their world view.
They are vastly more afraid of contradictory information even than they are of pieces of paper. Which is saying a lot.
So here is the comment I made there. But alas, none of the readers there who have commented enthusiastically and embraced the superstitious fear of pieces of paper with lines and colors on them will ever see it:
Christians are not supposed to be superstitious. (“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”)
Giving some sort of mysterious power to a piece of paper and pigments on the paper is superstition, pure and simple. Remember how the gold and silver of pagan Egypt was used to create the tabernacle of God in the wilderness? It’s the heart of the USER that decides whether some inanimate object is put to good use or to bad use.
There is NO power in an inanimate object, no matter who else has chosen to use it in a bad way. To say that these bits of paper with lines and colors can have some mysterious influential power over you is pure, PAGAN superstition.
Christians are supposed to be better than this. “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back — look at some swirly lines, be led astray” — these are BOTH bits of superstitious nonsense that Christians are supposed to be understanding enough not to fall for.