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Holy or Holey?

I was amused to see a recent story at the BBC web site which said that senior members of the church were recommending that holy water should be removed from churches in Britain to help prevent the spread of swine flu. Apparently there was a chance that people dipping their fingers in the water to make the sign of the cross could spread infections to others.

It really makes me wonder about what’s so holy about this water then. Surely if it is blessed or has some sort of divine magical properties it would be immune from spreading infections, I mean why would God let infections spread between his worshippers through something like holy water?

I don’t know how many people genuinely believe this water has some sort of special properties. I guess it would be like a lot of Christian beliefs: its either to be taken literally and seriously, or to be interpreted figuratively, or is just a non-factual part of the tradition, depending on what’s convenient in the current circumstances.

The same applies to the communion wine. According to advice anyone with flu-like symptoms shouldn’t drink from the chalice. I always thought the wine was also magical, being either literally or figuratively (again depending on the circumstances) the blood of Christ. Well I guess even he can get the flu!

And just to make the whole thing totally farcical, a chaplain discouraged pastoral visits and said if a visit was necessary priests should wear sterile gloves, an apron and a face mask. Its like a scene from a Monty Python comedy sketch, but a lot of religion is like that, I suppose.

Really, when I look at these primitive Christian rituals I can’t see much difference between that and a primitive tribesman doing a black magic ceremony of some sort. Its all just so pathetic. When I have to attend a Christian ceremony of some sort I find it hard not to laugh as I watch the believers automatically muttering their silly incantations like a flock of lost sheep.

In reality the whole Christian belief system is full of holes. In fact you could say the holy water story is more holey than holy!

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