Monday, May 22, 2006

On the question of faith,..

The Da Vinci Code is banned in Samoa.
Because being the religious church-going God-fearing Sunday feasting country that we are, it would disrespectful to offend and cause distress to the angelic masses.
Freedom of Religion is not a light matter in our beloved country.
In some cases, expressing that freedom will land your balls on the sacrificial chopping board (metaphorically speaking / sometimes literally).

Last year, I went home and told my devout Catholic relative (Lucia) about the Da Vinci Code book.
She is my mother’s brother’s wife’s mother from Safotu.
Safotu is the village with the three churches, that every Tom, Dick and Sione sings about “Metotisi, Lamosa ma le Katoliko…Lou vai sa fee, lou vai taele, e pei o le kiona lona malulu tele.
Anyhow, back to my little conversation with Aunty Lucia,
“Lucia, this man’s book suggests that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child.”
Lucia looks at me, her face pale with shock and turned to her grandchild,
“Filisi! Get me my handbag, you pogaua!”
Filisi runs to the shelf with Bona Mere, Mother of Christ porcelain and grabs the Elvis Presley handbag, hands it to Lucia, and she holds my hands with so much urgency,
“Fotu, let us pray, Hail Mary, Full of Grace…x10.”
Oh yes, the answer to all our problems is through prayer.
And I agree.
"I am certain that somewhere in our brains or train of thought, a generator sputters into life every time we pray" Philosopher Jackson. J. 2006 "Psychotic Blog Meanderings"
I must confess.
I do not pray as much as my momma thinks I do.
I pray in times of need, desperation, sadness, achievement, but only the extreme stuff.
I remember when we were young’er’ and we all had to sing the generic ‘Malie Pule le tama e’ before we chow on our taro and brainy fish (my fancy name for faiai elegi).
I also remember praying that when I should open my eyes the herring would have transformed into KFC drum sticks.
Needless to say,
It didn’t happen.
And I began to question things.
So one day, at Sunday school, I summoned the confidence to ask one pressing question.
“Axcuse me geegar? (Transliterated: Excuse me teacher)
“If Jesas changed waters into wines, how cum we still eat faiai elegi all ta tyme?”

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

That’s the sister principle to ‘prayer’ in our Treasured Isles of the South Pacific.
Beating a child to the pulp is love, or so my Uncle said.
Discipline is beating your child till she cries, and then grabbing her by the face and asking "Why you cry? Huh? Answer me! Why the hell are you crying? Kuu laia! Stop it, okay? Stop crying you ungrateful alelo”
“Do you know why I fasi you?”
“Becoz we love you!”
Love is strange I realise, Love is expressed in peculiar ways.
What happened to 'Love is kind, Love is patient, Love conquers all?"
They must have skipped that page of the Bible.
“O le kama a le kagaka e fafaga I upu, ae o le kama a magu e fafaga I fuga o laau”
Feed the human with words (and a 2 by 4), while birds/animals are fed with leaves and fruits”
Give me fruit anyday, I say.
Prayer is Power.
And that power translates to large expensive churches, hefty donations (alofa=love), chubby servants of God and pathetically broke church goers.
Oh yes,
Prayer is Power in our priddiful country.

I am a hypocrite,
That much I know.
I smile to the priest and bid him ‘Good Day’
When deep down I really want to say ‘Stop sucking the village dry and go on a diet you bloated "#@^#$("(censored by the National Council of Churches).

I surely know how to digress far and yonder, that is a fact.
I started with Da Vinci and ended with a falling out with the bloated priest.
Oh well, same difference.
But if it is any consolation, I will be buying the first copy of Da Vinci movie and sending it to Samoa, and perhaps set up the Priory of Samoa, after all, isn’t that what Freedom of Religion is all about?


dasifi said...

oohh that's kinda sad. For me ones faith should not be deterred by material that contradicts what u have accpeted as the truth.
If you believe that Jesus Christ is who he was/is then no book/movie should change that.
Dan Brown is not the first person to try and discredit the accuracy of the Bible nor will he be the last. There have been others like him before and the results are not always negative take General Lew Wallace former mayor of New Mexico.
For years he gathered information to invalidate the Bible but ended up writing a testimony for it. Like Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, Lew Wallace's book was also made into a movie. Today it remains one of Hollywood's great epics. Most of us have either seen or heard of it "Ben Hur : A Tale of Christ"

salty said...

i really enjoyed this post, made me laugh!

understanding faith has nothing to do with the da vinci code. i am amazed that so many are offended by it, it is a fun story. just as the bible is a collection of fables to help people navigate their lives and bring some sort of understanding to their lives. unfortunately it seems to have created a mass of people who use it to justify their selfishness by quoting 'hey, I'm in the right cause I got jesus in my life.'

i was raised in the catholic church and the only good i saw in it was when we got to eat the cracker and drink the wine because the rest of it was guilt, guilt, guilt. later in life i discovered spirtuality and faith have nothing to do with other people trying to tell you what it is. the only church i care for would be a small gathering of people by the ocean enjoying each other's company and telling tales to help each other through their lives. those other ones, those monoliths of boredom, they're like mcdonalds - taste good maybe but bad for you.

Peachy.. said...

Hi Fotuosamoa ( Been a while ),
Dan Brown is probably sitting somewhere in his million dollar home sipping on a hot, grande mochalatto and laughing all the way to the bank. Once again a book and now movie has caused so much hoopla and angered all the leftist,over zealous, and conservative Christians. I know it struck a nerve with a lot of people here in my ultra conservative State of Colorado ( Beltway of Churches ). It is no different from “ The Holy Blood, The Holy Grail “ written and published in 1982. In fact, Dan Brown mirrored and based all his hypothetical scenarios from this very book. My faith and relationship with God is very important and a book/movie that is merely done for monetary profits and to promote material for the sake of being controversial will not sway my deeply rooted beliefs. It has caused a raucous with a lot of Christian Groups. I don’t blame them, nor do I blame friends and relatives who are boycotting the movie and telling me not to see it. The ultimate decision is mine to make, and frankly I will save my $12.00 ( to include popcorn & soda ) and wait for someone to buy the DVD and I’ll borrow it than.( Reviews by the way have been poor ) Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion is everyone’s right . Was it advocated by our parents when it came to religion while we were growing up , NO WAY….
“ Ole lotu lava lea ole tatou aiga, ole lotu lava lea ole a tatou lolotu ai…” Religion in Samoa is so unique and a lot of times we were forced to follow-suit in religious practices that have been laid out since the missionaries arrived ( Toana’I for the faifeaus every Sunday, giving your very best earthly possessions/peleti/alofa to the Clergy/Priests etc..) It’s part of our custom ( Fa’aaloalo i sui vaaia a le Atua ) and I think it will never go away. Regardless, e pei lava ole fa’aupuga fa’asamoa: “ E pule lava Sitafune I le La o lona Va’a.” Manuia le Vaiaso Fotu... Fa...

Shark Girl said...

ehhh aikae. makuai ova lou malie (maile? lol) i le mea lea ua iai. I was loyke it your post a lot. You digressed all the way to China and up the wall. But YEAH...fuggen Samoan censors. Stalin and the crew would be proud.

Remember to send us poor lost, weak-of-faith souls a copy ua e iloa.

fotu of samoa said...

For that copy you're sending us... (to quote Nyds while she waited for me at Bad Billy's the other night) "I was be patient like Iopu"

dasifi said...

se Fotu, Iopu would have been part of the
Fai le isi koeaiga "Nofo ma faatalitali pe pau mai se kopi i le lagi".. Jody hurry up n send da girls a copy before they recreate the Jesus/Mary Madgalene scenes with the help of 'em local stars like Etuale n da gang.*jokes* giving the NCC something to really worry about.

Goddess of Savaii said...

yeah man, NCC are just shetting their pants coz being the male-dominated dictatorship that they are, the mere suggestion that women may have run the show drives them blonkas..
Power to the 'WOMAN ON TOP'!!

yeah mon, the da vinci code movie will come to Samoa!!!!

tel said...

lol @ sending Da Vinci movie to Samoa. More like lmao @ Samoa sensoring it, yet they allowed for soft porn movies and violent movies being screened at local cinemas.
Anyway, I don't really see the point in banning the movie, when I am sure a lot of people back home have read or are able to borrow the book which is way better than the movie itself. (if you haven't read it, borrow it as I am sure someone in your office would have a copy).
Raised Catholic, attended catholic school all my life and had religion class probably 85% of my schooling years (doesn't make me an expert but gave me enough understanding of the bigger picture), I don't have any qualms with the ideas presented in the Da Vinci code. I have always found it interesting how books and even comics adopt themes from the bible and historical events surrounding religion to make for an interesting abd very believable read. Plus, I have always been able to question my religion without being hit in the head or made to weed the grass.
I mean the bible itself, is being picked at everyday by scholars who are finding out more and more of what was misinterpreted by earlier scholars. So, are we to disallow those ideas??? Are we to just accept the interpretations from thousands of years ago and ignore the fact that those minor misinterpretations could have a huge impact on how some of us live our lives???
And as for the idea that a woman was supposed to found the church, what is so wrong with that idea??? Because seriously, being seen as the bad "apple" for a very long time had suppressed generations of women, and only now are women are being forced to be reckoned with. But Dan Brown through his book is not the first to have suggested this, and nor will he be the last. Historians, theologians and archaeologists alike whom are faced with proving and disproving conspiracy theories by sorting fact from fiction know of this theory and some even think there is evidence to support this. But yeh, not trying to get all illuminadi on you...but I don't see why a concept which has been around for a while all of sudden seems like blasphemy to some is such a big deal. but then again, I don't have much to lose or protect, not like the big churches do.
Da Vinci Code makes for an interesting read, but that is all it is supposed to be. I am sure Dan Brown didn;t have the intention of starting up a whole new religion(although I am sure some crazed lunatics would do so), but stirring up enough controversy to reap in his millions.
I can see why the church is against it though, as it does discredit it's very existence and the basis of it's billions of followers faith. Hence why Samoa which is "founded on God" seems threatened of releasing the movie back there. But it's just a movie and the govt should allow the people themselves to decide whether they will watch it or not. Democracy and freedom of speech??? Where is the "freewill" we were supposedly given by God???
Sometimes I wonder whether our society back home is regressing as much as it is progressing.

jp crocka said...

George Orwells was actually a Samoan 'cause he wrote about the "thought police" and "big brother". Saddam Hussein was his first cousin 'cause he dictated to the masses and had a dozen wives (luckeee!). Our tiny atunu'u is fast becoming the beacon of light for hope and salvation for all. Now that we have all being classed as dumb, all moral and personal judgements to made is off limits, they'll do it for us. Just make sure everyone put on their whitest for church and wallets at the ready.
I saw the LIGHT many years ago when the pride of our culture became the force behind this bizzare concept that the bigger your alofa to the faife'au and the loku, the better chance you have of getting a front seat in heaven. All this happening while the kids are going without, which continued to fuel the stigma with our people at schools being underachievers and dysfunctional. My granddad was a master at this... eg
One day he gave a 'spej' which guaranteed the sky was going to fall down and before you know it, everyone was scrambling for wallets and handbags and handing over the last of their money. (I didn't put in 'cause I was too la'ikiki). My buddy and uncle Afa completely forgot that that particular cash was for another AND more important reason. Later on I confronted him, "Farrg man, that was our beer money," I guess some things are more important than others.
And another thing... I made a pact with my uncle Noa that if one dies before the other, the dead one comes back in spirit and tell the other how his judgement went and where he stays now. Uncle Noa passed in '97 and I'm still waiting. Not sure if his case is deferred due to the judge being busy or he's still looking for a laywer. If it's the latter, he will be waiting for a long time 'cause I heard lawyers normally go straight to hell.
People tell me about my potentials...whateeeva...but I have a simple philosophy, if I put a smile on someone's face, I'm happy. Can't stand facades.