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Merlin religion?

The Eye of the Phoenix is my favourite episode of the Third series. It raises the question of religion. Uther has outlawed the "Old religion," but what has replaced it? Pure reason? Hardly likely in a mediaeval-type world with uneducated people in fear of sorcery. Arthur kneels in the throne room for a night for inspiration for his quest. Knights would have kneeled in front of an altar. Crowning and marriage ceremonies are performed by a secular figure, Geoffrey of Monmouth. He uses the term: "by the sacred powers vested in me."  What is sacred? Characters invoke God and Heaven. Uther says he doesn't believe in miracles, a Christian term. It feels to me as if Christianity is there as a shadow.

I wonder if this shying away from the question of religion is merely overly PC spineless ingratiation? As if Christianity may not be mentioned in case it offends anyone. While only a nominal Christian I don't think Christianity has a worse record than most other religions. Certainly, it's current attitude is moderate, tolerant and conciliatory. (Too tolerant and conciliatory for the times, I think.) Even in the past the basic beliefs and mores of Christianity weren't bad but twisted by particular churches and fanatics and discredited by corruption. I think a Celtic-type church would fit in well in Merlin's world and give a base for opposing sorcery. They need only use a priest and an altar, with a couple of plain churches.

I've recently read a good novel by Elizabeth Chadwick on the Cathars in France who were declared dangerous heretics by the Catholic Church, hunted down and killed. They interpreted the bible differently and believed in a humane way of worship and living. This in a time when the Catholic church was particulaly corrupt and vicious. What I particularly like about the Cathars is that they were vegans!



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 25th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
I'm still only a few episodes into the second series of Merlin, so I'm not in a position to comment on "The Eye of the Phoenix". Arthur struck me as being very Christian, but that might be because he seems so much like a medieval Christian knight. I wonder if Uther hasn't quite embraced Christianity yet. Maybe he was raised in a Pagan household and hasn't quite managed to leave the old religion behind him. It does seem strange that a Christian wouldn't believe in miracles, unless it's a part of the new religion that Uther can't come to terms with because of his hatred of magic.

That Elizabeth Chadwick book sounds good. I have to admit that what little I know about the Cathars came from reading Ariana Franklin's A Murderous Procession.
Apr. 26th, 2011 07:24 am (UTC)
All I know about the Cathars, which is not a lot, is from novels. I should be less lazy and read something academic because they are interesting.

I can recommend Elizabeth Chadwick if you like historical novels. Her's are neither brutal nor romanticised. I find them absorbing.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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