Who dat up there who’s dat down there
Who dat up there who dat well down there Who’s dat up there, sayin’ who’s dat down there When I see you up there well who’s dat down there
Who dat inside who’s dat outside Who’s dat inside who dat well outside Who’s dat inside, singin’ who’s dat outside When I see up there well who’s dat out there
Button up your lip there big boy Stop answerin’ back Give you a tip there big boy Announce yourself jack
Who dat up there who’s dat down there Who dat up there who dat, well down there Who’s dat up there, singin’ who’s dat down there When I see you up there you bum Well who’s dat down there
The above lyrics are from a 1930’s Vaudeville number but the phrase “Who Dat?” actually dates back to a nineteenth century poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. IN the mid twentieth century it became a spirit yell used at African-American schools and later by fans of the New Orleans Saints professional football team.
When it comes to our beliefs, most of us have asked ourselves a similar set of questions as found in the above lyrics. Who’s that up there in my soul? Who’s that down there making life happen on earth? And we can take those questions and turn them around on ourselves. How do we live our faith inside our hearts? What do others see in our actions in the outside world?
This month we took some time to delve into the names for the one deity who is the subject of the mythologies of the three Abrahamic faiths. Remember, we define mythology as simply stories of a culture passed down to future generations. The word mythology does not mean falsehood nor does it imply simply imagined legends. It really just means stories that have survived and certainly, the mythologies of these three religions have done that, in spite of some attempting to warp and distort them.
This one monotheistic deity seems to have roots in the Greek and Roman mythologies and many celebrations of all three faiths can be traced to some of the Greek and Roman festivals to honor their pluralistic beliefs. There are those that claim the youngest of the three Abrahamic faiths has slanted back towards a plurality in the concept of the Holy Trinity. What???
Many Christians do indeed believe the definition of their one deity, God, as a Triune God, illustrated by the man known as Saint Patrick to be similar to a three-leaf clover. While many might call this hogwash, ancient names for this one deity reflect such a belief among the early believers. “Jehovah Malakh” was the angel of the Lord, a being of great power and, to some, possessing the ability to affect creation on earth. “Jehovah Tsemach” was the branch of the Lord, something rather akin to the son of God that Christians believe the man known as Jesus of Nazareth to be. Then there is our final name, a name of power that sanctifies but also can destroy – “Esh Okhah”, the god of consuming fire. Most often the Holy Spirit, the third arm of the Holy Trinity, is symbolized by fire. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit represent the one all-powerful deity that many Christians worship.
As I have said before, the purpose of this blog is not to convert but to inform and, hopefully, inspire you to think outside of the box just a bit in an effort to widen your circle of acceptance. The only way to do that is to start a conversation and the most beneficial conversation is one that respectfully includes ideas we might not have considered. It also includes honesty and so, first let me be honest in an error I made yesterday. I identified J.C. Park, the author of a great book recently published entitled “king David” as being Japanese-American. That was in error. Rev Park is Korean-American. Actually his nationality makes no difference. If you have the chance to read his blog or his books, please do so.
Back to our conversation about the many faces of this one God…. Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Some days I see a person full of vigor, ready to confront life upright and energetic; some days I see someone with a major sinus infection, not uncommon living where I do with a great deal of heat, humidity, and pollen. The fact is that we all more than just a one-dimensional entity. I am not surprised that mankind wanted more than a one-dimensional deity.
“Me, myself, and I” is a commonly used phrase and in psychology, has different meanings necessary in order to identify the complete self. Tomorrow we will go even further back in the mythologies of mankind to those of the Far East. The beginnings of mankind are found in the myths of this region and it is fascinating. I hope you will join me in exploring the more spiritual side of the myths of mankind.
Freud used a trinity in his illustrations of the three parts he developed in explaining the human psyche. The Ego, the Id, and the Super-Ego are not actual parts of the physical brain but terms used to explain how thoughts occur and then influence our actions. I am not going to jump feet first into a prolonged discussion of these concepts because, quite frankly, as a female, Freud felt they all three did not apply to me. Exactly why that is you can read for yourself. Clearly, I think if these three symbolic entities have value, they do apply to all.
I also believe religion applies to all. I do not think any one adored and worshipped deity singles out men for special treatment and feels women are sub-human. I have often heard that man is the brain and woman the heart. I hope we all both think and feel, use intelligence and caring in our daily living. Please feel free to comment if you feel differently.
In the final analysis of all these names, they served one purpose – identification and description of that which was to be believed. We have discussed eighty-six names, all for just one God, one Lord or, as some would prefer, one Allah, one G-d. Some become angry when others use the name of their one deity; others feel the name too powerful to be spoken aloud. I have discussed these names with the highest respect and interest. I think all are applicable because life is a variety of situations requiring a variety of responses and beliefs put into action. When it comes to your beliefs, what is your answer when someone asks who or what you believe: “Who Dat?”