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01 March 2010 @ 10:55 am

Every faith has its symbols. Communities and groups often have them, as well. Many people attach tremendous amounts of meaning to their symbols - items and pictures can be used to convey status, religious or societal affiliation, gender, orientation, etc.

The problem is that I believe people often attach too much meaning to their symbols, to the point where using the symbol in a situation outside of "the norm" is considered extremely taboo and unacceptable no matter the circumstances. (If I'm dying of thirst, is God going to smite me for consuming holy water?)

Some groups/organizations require that symbols be removed when attending their events, and while I, personally, don't need a collar in order to be owned, telling a submissive or slave to remove their collar at a BDSM function or event is like telling a christian not to wear a cross in church. It's bullshit.

Going to the thread that started this chain of thought: Is it "bad" or "wrong" to use a holy book as a device to beat someone? Personally, I say that it's a book, and it only has meaning if someone gives it meaning...otherwise it's just a collection of paper and ink with a pretty cover. Using it for an alternative purpose may seem disrespectful, but does that really make the words, ideas, and ideals contained within it any less poignant or powerful? Does that somehow diminish your faith? Isn't faith something that supercedes material things?

In mainstream society, using any religious item in a manner other than its intended purpose is generally considered wrong. The taboo aspect of it is what makes this sort of play fun and appealing to me...and it takes a rather creative sick fuck to command my attention. Tell me you're gonna tie me up with silk scarves and I'll probably respond with a yawn. (If that's what works for others, go for it! Your kink just isn't my kink...) But tell me that you want to do a scene that has a high potential of offending, scaring, or squicking people, and I'm all ears...not because I like offending people, but because I find it interesting to observe how and why people are offended.

While I can, at times, see the need for symbolism, I think that it is often necessary to step back and see the bigger picture, and realize that they are just things. Things people have created. Things people have imbued with power. We can just as easily (or maybe not) change their meaning and power.