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SCUBA-L  September 2000, Week 2

SCUBA-L September 2000, Week 2

Subject:

Re: religion & scuba diving

From:

"Huntzinger, Hugh A [AMSTA-AR-CCL-B]" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 11 Sep 2000 17:03:37 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (80 lines)

Aldo writes:

(admin: "Gud" --> "God" typo fixed)


> How  does  the  marine  environment  and  scuba  diving  fit into
> different religions ?

While the Greeks had Poseidon and I'm sure that the Polynesians had their
analog, I doubt that there were many "Sea Gods" among the myths & beliefs of
the inhabitants of the Sahara Desert, of the Southwestern US Indian tribes,
etc.

But who says it _has_ to fit?   After all, many pre-Christian religions were
polytheistic, with personalities for any multitude of "environmental
hosts"...Gods of the Dead/Underworld, Gods of the Sun/Moon/etc...and for
cultures that were not exposed to the seas, there could quite easily be a
void within their pantheon.


> How does the idea of God fit into diving ?

A beautiful dive site can remind one of virtually any creation myth, stories
of the Garden of Eden, etc, or it be a form of worship, YMMV.   As Jeff
said:  "To me, diving itself *is* a religious experience, in it's own way,
despite your belief system", which I empathically agree quite strongly with.


> Could the sea be a creation of an almighty god or any other
> supernatural force ?

Ummm...have we recently found evidence to the contrary? <grin>.    Yes, of
course it can.  After all, it has even been postulated that God created all
the fossils, too, as part of His greater plan to challenge Man.   What it is
that you individually believe is a YMMV of the highest order...and often,
one of the most dangerous discussion topics at parties, right up there with
Politics :-).


> Divers  in  Spain  (and other Mediterranean countries) use to put
> statues of Mary and Jesus underwater. Some divers are religious.

There's a Christ of the Deep statue in the Florida Keys (Key Largo).

Symbolism and iconization takes many forms in different religions...prayer
wheels and flags in the Himalayas, written prayers stuffed into the Wall in
Jerusalem, the taking of Communion, beautification of Saints, tithes,
pilgrimages, sunrise services,  special meals, the zodiac, even a golden
calf :-).  The list is virtually endless and what seems perfectly logical
worship within one culture is often viewed as barbaric and/or irrational by
the next.  Particularly when coupled with intolerance and an unwillingness
to listen, communicate and understand, it has started many wars...too many.
Some cultures learn, grow & thrive, others refuse to change and don't.  The
perspective depends on your worldview and one thing that diving does tend to
do is to promote travel, which in turn will generally bridge these gaps and
foster cross-cultural understanding in this regards through a broader
worldview; YMMV.


IMO, much of the enjoyment and appreciation while scuba diving seems to
merely be a modern interpretation of Gaea, where there is a simple
appreciation of what is most often just called 'the wonders of nature'.
That which is is what it is, although we do tend to try to seek out the
"better spots"...Little Cayman, Red Sea, GBR, etc.   But this isn't unique
to diving, for the same can be said for those who go out to enjoy a hike in
the mountains...the Alps, etc...or for those who watch for the green flash
at sunset with a drink in hand...Corona, please :-)...which is collectively
a reverent appreciation for that which is, and the beauty that it has.

And lest we not forget, beauty is in the eye of the beholder:  some of the
USA's most celebrated landmarks are wastelands such as the Badlands, SC,
Bryce Canyon, UT, Painted Desert, AZ, or the Grand Canyon (take your pick:
AZ, WY, ID, or PA! :-).  For scuba diving, instead of a super wall dive, it
can be a "muck dive" for tiny critters...perhaps amid the trash under the
pier in Bonaire, or in less WWW climes, up in Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn, to find
dozens of seahorses before they die off as fall approaches.


-hh

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