Betsy asks some good questions as she brings extreme religion into the picture. I have a great example of how they react to Dante, though I can’t speak for how he would view them. My sister is a partial-extremist. They have mandatory classes, rules for everyday living (I don’t just mean regular life rules, I mean specific acts they must perform), they speak in tongues, etc. I rarely talk to her because every conversation turns to religion, or judging me, or her favorite topic: “How much longer are you going to go to college instead of getting a job?” I always hand the phone to mom. Because of a death in the family this weekend and my mother being gone to comfort her mother, my sister decided to call me many times, which I couldn’t pass off to mom. I told her late Sat. eve. that I was starving. I hadn’t eaten all day, decided a week ago to fast for a day to try and cleanse my body. “Why would you do something like that?” Well, I’ve felt fatigued, my adult acne has gotten worse regardless of meds and I think a day of cleansing could be good. I drank protein water, green tea, milk, OJ, and V8. Probably not what a typical fast would be, but hey, it’s my first. I told her that two of my classes have brought up this kind of cleansing and about reading Dante and the sins in Purgatory… She attacked him. I kept saying it was not supposed to be literal, the ideas were supposed to teach us to be better people, etc. “That’s what church is for. There’s no such thing as Purgatory. You’re supposed to read the Bible as a guide, not literature. And many more that I won’t quote.” Yes, I tell her, but sometimes outside sources help as well because they give us examples. Anyway, she went on for about 20 minutes. Not sure what all she said because I held the phone away until she sounded like a mouse with a high-pitched voice. So, don’t know how Dante would view her religion, but it’s one conversation I would love to watch. Got any popcorn?
Natalie questions Mary’s part in the Catholic religion. The way I was taught was that the Catholic’s worshipped Mary and that is why I should never be a Catholic. Let’s just say, as I got older I have come to realize many things that I was told was untrue. I have to view it for myself. I did attend a Christmas Mass with my aunt once. The deacon who sang was tone deaf. I didn’t understand what was going on; huge difference from Southern Baptist, and my aunt couldn’t explain it. She just kept telling me that Catholicism would be a good religion for me. I don’t judge other religions, wouldn’t that be hypocritical anyway? I figure if they all have the same God… Anyway, just because I don’t understand, doesn’t mean it is wrong. I would like to know more about various religions, what they have in common, how they differ, etc. I too am curious about Mary’s figure in the Catholic religion. I was relieved when Prof. Anderson brought her up in class. Like I mentioned above, sometimes an example is better than a guide. No, I’m not saying that Mary is more important that the Bible. I just know that some people learn better through example.
The Dude mentioned how in Purgatorio, the sun couldn’t be seen but felt as the warmth of God’s love. I immediately think of the valley winters. So often we see sunlight sending its rays down in various fields and wish to be able to step out of our gray, cloud-shrouded area into the warm rays. These two images combined brings to mind how some people believe that our life on earth is Purgatory as we try to learn and strive for Paradise. I personally believe that all of us have at least one of the seven sins haunting our lives. Instead of one prominent one, some of us may have a few that aren’t as extreme as the one. For instance, gluttony and sloth can sometimes run hand in hand (wouldn’t they be an ugly couple). So, while we are on earth, we can face these guys head on, read a little Dante, and try to make the best of our lives.