Sacred Places

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  • Topic: World Trade Center, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Temple
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  • Published : July 8, 2010
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The World Trade Center: A Sacred Site
R. Clark, J. Frazier
July 4, 2010
Greg Underwood
University of Phoenix

The World Trade Center: Sacred Site
Myths, while imagined, have their own explanations of the divine, that to the faithful and those who take the myth on 'faith', see as true, sacred and unquestioned. For those who do not see myths as religion and the lore and stories in it mere 'stories', events and elements in it are curiously close to the beliefs and persuasive elements of the philosophies or religion the person follows. Take for example current world religions - elements of god, evil, goodness, light, dark, motherhood, piety, divine appointment, determinism - they are all part of the Pantheon. Remember, that back in the period when the stories and tales we now know as myths were the standard, they were seen and treated by the civilization or culture that followed them as the 'truth', the established knowledge and explanation of their world, their reality and their role and place in it. Each myth, each pantheon of gods had their own 'sacred places'. Like dwellings to humans, these sacred places were either their abodes or locations that held great significance to them due to events and roles that played out in it.

There are different types of sacred sights. Despite their differences they are united by common elements. Sacred sites allow the people of a specific culture transcend time space, moving them to a distant, sacred space. Sometimes this is through historic retellings of actual events and sometimes it is through the imagination of things that cannot be proven to have happened. They are the sites where important things happened, either through divine or human agency (Leonard & McClure, 2004). Some sacred places are sites for mourning. Let us, for the purpose of discussion, consider religion as an evolution or an expression of established myths. The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and the Golgotha, the hill and site where Jesus Christ was crucified, is a place of mourning but at the same time a place of divine sanctity as events of the divine that are important in the Pantheon, performed on, for or by important figures in the pantheon happened there (wcg.org, 2008). Jesus Christ's crucifixion is central to Christian theology. It is by his 'death' that 'Man is saved', an offering to God and to humanity. Without the death of Christ, in such a cruel and gruesome manner, the Christianity we know today won't exist as it is where Jesus Christ transcends from mortal to divine. Hence, the place he was cruelly put to death, the cross he was nailed to, his shroud, the nails, the crown of thorns, the city where it happened and all the characters evil and good that placed a part in it, they are all important in the telling and the sanctity of the event with the place, the city of Jerusalem and the hill of Golgotha determined in the larger Christian pantheon as absolutely and unquestionably sacred (wikipedia.org, 2010).

Now, let's take a look at other sacred places - the temples of the Roman Gods, the temples and pyramids of Egyptian pharaohs, the ancient Celtic locations known as Stonehenge, that used to host worship and celebratory ceremonies, the ancient temples of the Olmecs, the Aztecs and the Incas and important places of worship of the American Indians are only among the many. Many of these places are not places of mourning but also of celebration. However, when worship and celebration happens, it only means remembrance, prayers and giving importance to a set of beliefs. Now, by mourning, those who come to mourn remember all the good things about a person, an event or a relationship hence the loss is difficult and sad. They mourn to pray for, give thanks to as well as celebrate and give importance to the object of their mourning. Hence, in Christian churches, a mass is held to celebrate and mourn a departed before his/her body is entered into the tomb. Now in modern America, can it be said that...
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