Re: virus: (gods and other) Imaginary Friends

Robin Faichney (
Thu, 25 Mar 1999 08:00:02 +0000

In message <>, Eva-Lise Carlstrom <> writes
>On Wed, 24 Mar 1999, Robin Faichney wrote:
>> In message <>,
>> Eva-Lise Carlstrom <> writes
>> >
>> >I've experimented with meditation on a medicine wheel arrangement of
>> >personal fetishes (miniature animals of one sort and another, in this
>> >case), and received advice from each of them, some of it novel and
>> >surprising to my usual conscious mind. I understood throughout that these
>> >spirit guides were imaginary friends, but that didn't negate the value of
>> >their collective viewpoints to my coming to some decisions. Gods and
>> >spirits can be useful focuses for thinking about personal questions,
>> >whether or not one actually Believes in one's phetishes.
>> I don't think it can be emphasised too often around here:
>> that is exactly the basis on which many "religious"
>> people operate -- fundamentalists are the only entirely
>> literal believers.
>Perhaps that's true to some degree. But I don't think most Christians
>would feel comfortable attending an institution called
>"The Church of Christ, Imaginary".

Sure, but I guess few of you on that side of the pond have heard of the previous Bishop of Durham -- just about everyone in the UK knows about this. A few years ago, while fairly new in that job, he let it be known that the virgin birth and the resurrection were not to be taken literally. Of course there was a great hoo-ha, but if you listened carefully, you could hear it being said that the Bishop's views were perfectly acceptable, perhaps even the norm, inside theological colleges. You are surely right about "most Christians" now, but it can only be a matter of time before they catch up. (Among the non-fundamentalist sects, that is, of course.)

Another factor, though, is the national/cultural one. Regular church attendance here in the UK, as in nearly all Western countries, has been dropping steadily for many years, and I *think* is now down to single figures (%) here. In Ireland the Catholic monastic tradition is in big trouble due to the unwillingness of young people to join up, and looks likely to all but vanish as the present generation of monks and nuns dies off. The US is about the only exception to this trend in the West, with regular church-goers still over 50%, I believe. It would be interesting to speculate on why the US, in religious terms, is more like a developing country than a developed one.