In few past posts I have pondered the historical reality behind religious stories that people are taught to take at face value. I chose Christianity because it is most familiar in my society and because it is the main thrust in the  western secular societies to challenge science and reason. Here in Finland we percieve creationism as just a minority of looney people, but it is part of the ideology of the agressively spreading Christian evangelism, wich has significant political power in some western countries and ever growing influence in many developing countries. And we are talking about people who in general think that the sooner the end of the world comes the better. In effect a fundamentalist doomsday cult.

Evangelism is an important tenet in the Christian religion. All forms of it. For some reason the alledged panultimate creator of time, space, all the billions of galaxies, every grain of sand and dust, all the tiny creepy crawlers and bacteria in the universe, needs the help of human individuals to spread the word, even though these individuals and groups of believers cannot really agree upon what that word is supposed really to mean in any individual case. And for personal reasons peope do fall for this, even though most people who are part of this social movement are not because of some personal choise between different such ideologies, but rather because of their cultural heritage.

How do these people percieve themselves? One depiction wich intrigued me as a bit of a medievalist was found (thank you very much) by a fellow blogger

Check out the video:

Apparently this was a private Christian school advertizing itself. Obviously the advertisment was a rip of from the Narnia Chronicles. Some of my readers might not know, that C.S. Lewis the writer of the Narnia books was an atheist who turned back to being a Christian and for that reason he is revered by many Christian conservatives who have not even read any of his science fiction, or fantasy books. From the Narnia books one may find some allegories to the fairy tale elements of Christianity. What allways seems to go beyond and past the attention of people, is that there are actually a lot of references in the Narnia stories to other religions as well. Perhaps, we western people are not as prone to recognize those other religions, not even when they might be references to our own lost ancestral religions. Well, just bear that in mind, if you ever read the books (again). Any fairy tale gains plausibility and sense of reality by loaning from reality, or from stories we allready know. The Narnia books are hardly any allegories about any particular religion, but they do give an important lesson. They tell the reader, that part of becoming an adult is to learn not to take fairy tales for real.

Anyway, the school promo video is not just a fantastic appeal to fairy tales (like the Bible), it is also an obvious war propaganda video. War propaganda allways begins before the actual conflict. Usually there is a certain dehumanization of the enemy and a setting of black and white world view, where the audience is depicted as the good side. Not so much because what action they take, but because who they are, or even more likely, on whose side they are. And then there is the call to arms. Wich is meant to be the final emotional appeal.

The militaristic symbols in this video are obvious, though antiquated. It is an American video and Europeans like me sometimes forget, that the medieval times are not as real part of history to the Americans, who are somewhat removed from the medieval monuments and history. Even for many Europeans the medieval times are sometimes mixed with all the fantasy stuff of swords, dragons and witchcraft.

However, the medieval times were real enough and it is a bit ironic, that the symbolism on this video is not meant to evoke images of fantasy worlds with different cultures and religions, but rather to refer to the one religion that was dominant and autocrhatic in western societies in the medieval times. So, a few burning heretics on the castle yard might have made the video all the more coherent.

The video also promotes an ultra conservative idea of values. The age old fantasy of how things used to be better in the good old days. But the historical society it draws the images from, was often indeed ultra conservative and how well were things in them days? I constantly fight against the popularist images of medieval times having been the ultimate dark ages where people did not even wash themselves, or that they were all just mindless brutes, but it would be silly to suggest any one of us in the western culture today, would choose to live in that society and in conditions like the great majority did lived.

Such symbols of power as in the video, like the castles and armour did not appear from nothing, nor were they given by a god to the men who ruled the society. They were the products of toil by the peasants and serfs often living in terrible powerty to pay for the lawish lifestyle castles, wars of conquest, wars for their god, weapons and armour of their lords and bishops.

Finally, I have to say that the image of a young maiden in armour is a funny one as depicted as the defender of Christianity, because only one historical (that is – one real) example comes to mind. And she was burned at the stake in the name of this very same god, not for hearing the alledged voice of her god inside her head, nor for witchcraft, or even for heresy, but for wearing pants and armour. No god ever appeared in her defence, and the people responsible for her torment and execution honestly thought they were doing right what their god wanted them to do. Did these people get acces to the heavens?