The unacknowledged gods and goddesses of America

A problem I have with Neil Gaiman’s “American God’s” is that the book and TV series do not give nearly enough credit to the staying power of the old gods. Mars, the god of war, is still worshipped by many Americans, as is Hermes, the god of commerce and communication, and Vulcan, the god of technology. But the goddess Libertas, the goddess of freedom, she virtually reigns supreme, evidenced not least by the homage given to her enormous statue in New York and the daily invoking of her name in American discourse. We may not make the connections as automatically as in the past but they still persist.

American Christian Bible Devotion

Restoration by Edwin Lester
“Restoration” by Edwin Lester

What is your response to this image? It kinda reminds me of Loki’s colour change when he first realised he was a Frost Giant in the first Thor movie, but I doubt that was the artist’s intent. Instead I gather it is expressing the experience of restoration through the Bible, but it seems a wee bit close to Bibliolatry for me to feel fully comfortable with it. Then again, maybe that’s just my Australian sensibilities. So I would be interested what Americans have to say about it, particularly if there are any black Americans here. What impact does this image of Bible devotion have on you?

Jesus Christ Visits The Americas

 

Jesus-christ-visits-the-americas-john-scott
“Jesus Christ Visits The Americas” by John Scott, 1969

In case the Mesoamerican pyramid in the background doesn’t immediately give it away, this illustration by artist John Scott is not one you can expect to find mirrored in the New Testament.

That’s because it comes from the Book of Mormon, a sacred text unique to Mormonism, or as it is also known, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I find this image of Jesus descending to the ancient Americas (immediately after his ascention in Israel) to be a powerful illustration of just how different Mormonism is from traditional Christianity (and by that I mean Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant). Not only do Mormons reject Trintarian understandings of God, Mormans also significantly expand on the witness of the New Testament apostles and Old Testament prophets by adding their own alternate history.

Native American interpretation of the transfiguration of Jesus

Transfiguration of Jesus by Fr. John Giuliani

Father John Giuliani is the founder of the Benedictine Grange, a small monastic community in Redding, where he nurtures a variety of ministries that flow from the contemplative life.

In 2006 he was nominated for the Mother Theresa Award for his role as an American Religious Artist, especially in the field of Native American Spirituality. His work is in churches throughout the United States and in many private collections.

This image is of the transfiguration of Jesus