Please escuse my random ramblings.
A few days ago, I was privy to a conversation between my Baptist BestFriend and one of her ex-flatmates, another confessedly Christian girl of about 20.
What I heard in this conversation, and my subsequent conversation with my Bestfriend has lead me to thinking over the apparent cross-polination of religions and religious ideas.
The initial conversation was about a third ex-flatmate, who had mysteriously left the flat a few months ago. Apparently, she had been suffering harrasment from other flatmates, going so far as to find a 'Voodoo/Vodun Doll' on the floor directly outside her front door.
Now, this third flatmate - and most of the other flatmates - were all Christian, and upon discovering this Doll, apparently they all went into hysterics about curses and demons and not touching it.
The second conversation with my BestFriend was what got me thinking.
BestFriend herself does not claim to believe that a Voodoo/Vodun Doll could cause any sort of harm, but she is still wary of them (and apparently Ouija Boreds, I discovered last night, despite my explanation that the Ouija Board was first designed as a party-game and has no occult connections whatsoever) - but she explained that some Christians really are scared that something like a Voodoo/Vodun Doll can cause harm and set curses and so on.
Now - my thoughts ran like this.
Christianty does not have anything like Voodoo/Vodun Dolls in it's Holy Book. In fact, the Doll is almost exclusively a Voodoo/Vodun object. And Voodoo/Vodun is about as far away from being Christian, as I am from being a Fairy Godmother.
For more information on the religion of Voodoo/Vodun, go here.
As we have established, this Doll plays no part in Christian faith - so why did the girls react in the manner they did? Why have I heard and seen many reactions to non-Christian religious items, that are as hysterical as these girls?
Why, in fact, do Christians (and I'm sure, other religionists) actually believe a Voodoo/Vodun Doll can curse them?
The Doll is not part of Christian faith, it is part of Voodoo/Vodun faith. To put it bluntly, to believe that a Voodoo/Vodun Doll will harm you, you must first accept that the Voodoo/Vodun Faith is as legitimate as your own.
But of course, the usual answer to that will be that it's not the Voodoo/Vodun itself, but the idea that Satan or a lesser demon can work through it.
So why treat the Doll how the Voodoo/Vodun want you to treat it? ie: don't touch it and actually believe it represents the person it's aimed at.
These practices are part and parcel of the Voodoo/Vodun belief in what that Doll can do/represent. By treating it as you believe Voodoo/Vodun practitioners would, you are admitting that you believe them, that you believe that little snippet of their faith is as real as your own.
And this goes for a great number of things.
For instance, the Christians who turn to Alternative Medicine - most, if not ALL, alternative medicine is based on a faith system of one sort or another. I have yet to see any mention of Chi/Qi/Chakra/Energy being mentioned in the Bible - yet plenty of Christians (and other religionists) are completely willing to allow that this faith system is as Legitimate as their own.
So why do they do it? Why do none of them notice that allowing themselves to believe anything that is even slightly contradictory to their professed religion, is undermining said religion - because as soon as you start admitting that some other faiths are as real or valid as your chosen one, you have to start admitting that all of them are equally as valid.
And then, after a while, you start to realise that all these contradictory things can't be true, because of their completely contradictory nature. (And then, hopefully, you end up with Athiest's and people who reject CAM.)