In the my independent reading book tilted The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the protagonist Robert Langdon is analyzing a dead body alongside Captain Bezu Fache. They talk about how the body was positioned in a snow angel format with a pentagram drawn in the floor. Fache is quick to claim the symbol represents satanism, Robert is has a small dialogue in his mind about how pagan symbols have gained new meaning through the help of the church.
Nowadays, the term pagan had become almost synonymous with devil worship—a gross misconception. The word’s roots actually reached back to the Latin paganus, meaning countrydwellers. “Pagans” were literally unindoctrinated country-folk who clung to the old, rural religions of Nature worship. In fact, so strong was the Church’s fear of those who lived in the rural villes that the once innocuous word for “villager”—villain—came to mean a wicked soul. (p. 30)
This quote affected me greatly during my reading. For me it symbolized how much cultural damage the church has caused to many cultures around the world and I started to wonder how many symbols with such rich meaning came to be associated with evil. The Swastika than came to mind. A symbol that once symbolized fortune and prosperity came to become a symbol of anti-Semitism and dictatorship. I also came to wondered about the Residential Schools in Canada. I don’t know too much about the residential schools but I do know they were taught to abandon their culture. Maybe in this process, the church might have tried to “Satanize” the first nations symbols in order to maybe gain public support. This line of thought was truly terrible, but it gave me a feeling of clarity. It rather embrace a terrible truth than to live with ignorance.