Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul by Ariel Glucklich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Pain is something we often shy away from at every opportunity. It is something to be driven away with pills and medication. We are afraid of pain. But this has not always been the attitude toward pain. In many religious circles ranging from Native American all the way through Christianity pain is embraced . Monks in monasteries will flog themselves , aboriginal tribes will pierce their chest muscles and be suspended by rope, Jews, Muslims and African Tribesmen will perform circumcision rights at various times during a mans life. While true the medical establish tries to evade pain, but this was not always the case. In earlier times pain was seen as something healing.
There are reason why people inflict religious pain on themselves. One reason is to atone for a sin. Better to punished now than in the afterlife. It could also be used to build empathy in a community members to their leader. Some will inflict pain in order to fight the body and egotistical desires. Sometimes pain will bring one closer to divinity and drive evil away. Pain as mentioned earlier is used in initiating ritual.
Pain has an integrating effect and a disintegration affect . Pain is used at times to allow the follower to be possessed by an entity.
The book has some strong points. I the first chapter that gave a thorough and understandable treatment of pain in the various religion. Chapter 4 related it well to possession and all the different aspect of personality thT come about or our through religious pain. The last chapter spoke of pain and psychology. Other than that I found this work to be very dry and uninteresting. I had to stay interested in. Too academic.
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