Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Evil Areas" in religion

Last Sunday, my priest gave a pretty traditional sermon about Lent, and this time discussed Jesus's healing of the leppers in the desert. The Jewish society of the time had shut these people out from everyday life and, most importantly, the ability to worship in the Temple. They were also cast out to the desert, a place which they regarded as inhabited by feral, insidious creatures. Though I've heard the story a plethora of times before, this time around the resemblance of the desert in the Jewish mind during the New Testament and the Evil Forest in Things Fall Apart struck me. Both have a group of people that have been cast into them, and both are notorious for their wickedness. By offering his hand, Jesus welcomed the cripples into His kingdom, just as the missionaries did with the outcasts and twins.

2 comments:

Sri Korrapati said...

Well, I think it's important to consider WHY the lepers were cast out in the first place. Utilitarianism, it's the greater good for those who are uninfected because leprosy is transmitted from close contact. The population was a bit forced to cast them out, unless they wanted an outbreak. I think the missionaries were strategically appealing to the outcasts because they knew that those would be the first to convert. I'm sure if someone was able to cure the lepers and bring them back into society, someone would have. It's not completely fair to say that the Jewish were wrong to outcast lepers.

alex Monier said...

Something interesting to note also is the fact that leper colonies existed until fairly recently. We had our very own leper colony in Louisiana until 1999. It was located in Carverville and was between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. This goes to show that it isn't necessary wrong to outcast lepers, it was more or less a quarantine of a sort. However, there's always dark sides to religion, i.e. the whole pre-reformation Catholic church, and extremist groups within each religion.