Sunday, March 09, 2008

Protestant vs Catholic


I think I have figured out the main difference between Protestants and Catholics. I must preface my answer by saying these observations are localised. This is just what I have observed from my interaction with Protestants and Catholic in this tiny part of France I live in.

Literacy.

Yep. I go into a Catholic church and I see a ton of paintings or sculptors depicting some scene of the sacred. Tons of symbols everywhere. Even the mass is a symbol. The robes the priests wear are symbolic. The Scripture is read. The homily spoken. The songs sung. Granted, there is usually an order of service (that's to help us outsiders follow along or for those who are not used to coming to church often). But by and large the faithful have it all memorized. Afterwards, everyone exits the doors and finds their way back home or some other Sunday afternoon activity.

At the Protestants. The walls are white (or at least plain). You might see a cross up front somewhere. The service is usually routine. You sing from a book a couple of songs. You pray out loud or silently (this is one oral part of the service). You sing again from the hymnal. You sit down and "turn in your Bibles" to Book Chapter Verse and hear a sermon usually read for a literate audience. While you are trying to pay attention to the 3 to 5 points (outlining is highly literate skill), you notice the only vestments on the walls are things written, like a verse or two. Afterwards, you get plenty of oral interaction. People usually come up to you and give you kisses and talk to you for a minute or so.

I wonder if the reason Protestantism is not more widespread in France is because they are trying to appeal to the mind instead of the heart. Who knows? I say let's learn from each other. The Protestants can learn how art can help us engage in worship, and the Catholics can learn how to fellowship better.

3 comments:

drlobojo said...

Literacy is exactly correct. Good call. But it might be better characterized as the linear alphabet verses the symbolic image.
Images are right brain functions, the "femine" side of the brain. Reading is left brain function the "male" side of the brain. The right hand has been forced into dominance mainly by reading. Reading the left to right or right to left linear scripts. The right hand is the weapon hand, the salute hand, the hand shake hand.
The Roman Church, supporters even of the iconoclast, was very much a left brain/right hand church up until Latin died and the dark ages overtook Europe. 800 years latter as Europe crawled out of the gloom their Church had reverted to the Church of images, icons, and Mother Mary as a substitute for the ancient Isis/Gaia complex of Goddesses.
So you got it, right on brother.

pecheur said...

All this right brain male female sounds like concrete religion, throughly mixed up and set in place. =)

Interesting thoughts on linear vs symbolic images.

drlobojo said...

It is actually basic science these days. Certain parts of the brain control certain ways of seeing and behaving. In relgious practice both the Catholic and the Protestants are moving more towards the balanced center. Re: via music, art, DVDs, movies,TV, etc. We are beciming a more image/symbolism driven world at the same time we are reading and writting more. (Actually using a keyboard has change our culture. Prior to the introduction of the typrwriter and its two hand keyboard all of the stenographers/scribners were men. It wasn't but a few years before women demostrated that they could handle the keybord faster and better than men. Within a decade the women took over those jobs.)
There is a book about this. If only the right no the left or maybe back of my brain could just remember its title.