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Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian, Part 12: Angels

12/01/10

Permalink 11:40:00 pm, by Norgaard Norgaard Email , 688 words   English (US)
Categories: Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian

Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian, Part 12: Angels

So we're all familiar with what angels are, right? Winged creatures, maybe with halos above their heads, sent from heaven to deliver messages, and living in heaven singing praises. We have all seen images like these in religious art. A lot of people believe in angels. The Bible talks about them and even mentions specific high ranking angels. But what are angels? Do they exist?

My understanding of the concept of angels is probably similar to most people. We all see images of them in art. These days it is often some advertisement that we see a drawing of what is supposed to be an angel. Now, I was raised Catholic and I believed in angels when I was young just as I believed in most of the myths that I was taught in my youth. I was taught specifically that everyone has a “guardian angel” who is supposed to protect us from harm. This believe I guess comes from a Bible verse that tells of angels guarding us. It does not say that each of us is assigned his or her own angel for life, as I was told.

My mother took this angel believe quite seriously and would pray to them. We were taught to pray to our angels as follows: “Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God's love entrusts me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide.” My mother would often attribute our safety to the work of our angels. Like if someone almost got injured or something, she would think that someone's angel intervened and prevented harm. Also on days when she was for some reason unable to go to mass (Catholic church service), she would make a request to her angel to go to mass in place of her. If the car was not working on a Sunday or my parents were sick or something, or if we were just too busy she would say to us “I sent my angel to mass, you kids send your angels as well.”

The modern Catholic conception of angels is quite different from the original conception in Biblical times. These creatures were really not thought of as having wings going back that far. They were, however, thought of as being spiritual creatures that were kind of like deities. I was taught about archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, each of whom has special powers. Michael fights evil, Gabriel delivers messages, and Raphael comforts those in suffering. The legends of these three go way back, even before Judaism emerged as a monotheistic religion around 1500 BC.

Actually, it is interesting to note that the Bible also mentions Azrael as an archangel, though he is supposed to be the angel of death. The modern interpretation is that Azrael is another name for Satan. This was certainly not what people thought in Biblical times. They thought of Azrael as a real spirit, but not entirely evil like Satan.

So the legend of angels really goes even further back than the Bible and stems originally from primitive beliefs in supernatural creatures that have special powers, like lower level Gods. It is pretty ludicrous to believe in these mythical creatures in today's age. The concept of angels is one of the most obvious examples that the Bible is unreliable and that Judaism and Christianity were both evolved from earlier primitive religions of tribal peoples who made up myths to try to understand the world. They made up supernatural creatures to explain things and to think that somehow they had access to the supernatural workings if they could get on good terms with these creatures.

This is all pretty silly stuff. Jews, Christians, and Muslims today actually often have beliefs that stem from these primitive beliefs. They might try to eliminate these beliefs, but this is tough unless they want to take an honest critical look at their worldview and their holy scriptures.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Is faith virtuous, or is it harmful? Let your voice be heard in the forum.
You can also email the me at brandon@enlightenedworldview.com

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