This is mostly going to be my unorganized and unedited thoughts and ramblings on some things I’ve been thinking about recently.
Aspects of Religion
Is the American Mythology a religion? The literal answer is: probably not- but it is definitely interesting to compare how it acts as psuedo-religion to bind, not just the American people, but people abroad.
Any good religion has sacred symbols. We use these symbols as a reverent way to venerate our common mythology, values, and deity.
Christian Symbolism: Christian art often shows deity or other praiseworthy figures often displayed in churches or in a devoted member’s home. Hymns are sung to venerate deity usually in a congregation. Holy days are sometimes celebrated for the birth of deity or in commemoration of large events. Christian symbols are even displayed on street signs, in the form of bumper stickers, and clothing.
The obvious well known symbol for Christianity is the Cross. The Cross represents to Christians the structure on which Jesus was crucified and the structure of sacrifice and salvation. Much caution and reverence go into respecting these symbols, especially the cross.
The American Mythology: American art often shows venerated American figures often displayed near government buildings or in a devoted citizen’s home. Anthems are sung to praise America usually before sports or other American events. Holidays are celebrated for some American figures’ birth or in commemoration of large events. American symbols are even displayed on street signs, in the form of bumper stickers, and clothing.
The obvious well known symbol for America is the Flag. The 13 Stripes on the Flag represents to Americans the colonial independence in which America was freed from tyranny. The Stars and Colors represent the Modern day USA and American tenets respectively. Much caution and reverence go into respecting these symbols, especially the flag.
Christian Rituals: In adolescence, children are often brought by their parents to church to learn about Jesus and other praiseworthy figures (in which the church has probably already chosen who are the good guys and bad guys). Children repeat prayers to their God and sing songs to him in praise. For non-members, there are certain rituals you have to do and certain tenets you have to live to become a Christian.
American Rituals: In adolescence, children are required by American law to learn about the founders and other praiseworthy figures (in which the education system has probably already chosen who are the good guys and bad guys). Children pledge to the Flag and often integrate American songs. For non-citizens, there are certain lawful rituals you have to do and certain tenets you have to live to become an American.
Christian Texts: Christian scripture is a closed canon and contains instructions for rituals, ideas on belief, prohibitions on satanic behavior, and structures to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Poetic literature is often written, displayed, and distributed that praise god. We see them engraved on statues and churches.
American Texts: American law and customs are an open canon and contains instructions for government rule, rights for Americans, prohibitions on unlawful behavior, and traditional oaths and pledges for veneration of the country. Poetic literature is often written, displayed, and distributed that praise America. We see them engraved on statues and government buildings.
As a side-note, I find it funny that the American idea of heaven is the American Dream in which if you contribute and work hard enough, your blessings lie in the boundary of a white picket fence.
The most important part of any “religion” is the people who form it and create the myths, accounts, and beliefs that are passed down to the next generation. The usefulness of the Christian Apostles and Jesus Christ is that all information about them are virtually concrete. Contrarily, the “deity” of today like the founding fathers, famous presidents, and more modern political figures have an extreme baggage.
I am planning a post on the creation of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr as the newest god on the American block. Because of the American Mythology’s open cannon- there is an instability in its doctrine. I believe there was a demand for a god of equality in which any one could have fit in that area.
I want to end this piece by saying that I am a proud American immigrant. I have devotion to God and my country, however, I only see it fit to critique what I find incorrect about the material aspects my practice.