Nezua has an interesting post up about Santa Muerte, which you should read and ponder.
I would like to take as a starting point for my tangent this little bit:
If your idol has let you down, and in the face of that, demands too much in hard times you create another idol in your own image. One that only asks for devotion and judges not.
“All you have to do is believe and ask and she delivers,” Sanchez said. “The Santa Muerte does not discriminate.”
As La Santa Muerte requires no middle man to collect her tithing and better yet, delivers on the prayers sent her way, she begins to replace the former idol. [Wordpress fucked up the quote of the quotation from Sanchez, but I hope it’s obvious that Nezua is quoting from something in that middle paragraph.]
Of course, I cringe at the use of the term “idol,” but otherwise, I think this is such an interesting point, a PR problem for the Christian god. Yeah, sure, He can have the Mexican government go in and demolish shrines, but everyone knows it was the Feds. An easier way to deal with the problem of losing followers to Santa Muerte is to come through for the people who are faithful to you in clear and easy to understand ways. To answer them when they call, to hold up your end of the bargain.
My life has improved tremendously since I stopped waiting for the Christian god to do right by me, to miraculously change me and, by extention, my life. Because isn’t that the promise? Give your life over to Jesus and He will work through you His good in the world? And when you do that–give your life over–and nothing comes of it? And your problems are still the same? You pray and pray and there’s no answer?
If you cannot give up your belief in Something holy and inexplicable, it makes complete sense to start asking around, to see if there’s Someone else willing to play ball, so to speak.
My gods seem to be much different than the Christian god (though I would argue that the Christian god just usually has a better PR machine). They are not all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present judges of my every move. As far as they’re concerned, I have not sinned and fallen short of anything. And when I ask questions, I get answers. Not platitudes, not weird signs that need to be interpreted.
I ask and I get answers.
Clear and plain.
As far as conversion tools go, it’s a pretty effective one. If and when someone is around to talk to you, he or she does.
It seems to me that it’s a pretty basic human need–to reach for the Divine and experiencing it reaching back.
And I think it’s interesting to see folks willing to ditch Jesus in order to get that.