Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's holy?

It has been debated in philosophy whether something is holy by nature, or if it’s holy because people deem it so.

I guess that we need to start by defining holiness. (‘Sacred’ would be a better word, but I’m on “H”) “Set aside for a higher purpose” works as a definition. An obvious example would be a specific church, such as the one a Catholic has ad all their sacraments in. My wife had her heart set on getting married at the same church where she had her baptism, confirmation and first communion, and it was extremely meaningful for her to have another sacrament there. (I agreed, because really, it’s her day. Am I right?)

But the same could be said of a regular Sunday family dinner. Don’t you dare make other plans, ‘cause mom’s expecting us. Or perhaps, an item that was given to you by someone dear; it wouldn’t mean anything to the average person, but to you, it’s very dear.

But there are places that seem sacred in and of themselves. Take Jerusalem; is there anything about that city that makes it unique compared to dozens of other cities in the region? And yet, three of the world’s major religions feel the need to make it their own.

What do you think? Can items or places be holy or sacred by their nature, or is it all in our perceptions?



  1. I think the world Holy has different meanings to differnt people, we can all worship and pray without going to church, Although a church sevice can be quite uplifting.

    Good H Word.

  2. i think there are places that are supposed to be holy and ones to us that simply are holy---very interesting question, that i truly need to give more thought, so don't quote me on my comment :)

  3. I don't think anything can be sacred or holy naturally. I think it takes an act of dedication or blessing to make a space or thing sacred and holy.

  4. my 1st instinct is to say "perception,perception,perception." And it's true: many a thing has been made sacred by the meaning projected upon it by an individual or a group. but, then i think on it further,and I think "sacred" and "holy" are different in origin for me. for instance, my wedding band is sacred to me...not necessarily "holy" (as i perceive the definition of "holy"), but sacred. My marriage, to me, is both a sacred and holy union. What's the difference? well, to me, something is sacred by declaration...BUT, something is "holy" by nature. Marriage is a holy union by its true nature of honoring and celebrating love. and, i have declared my wedding ring a sacred symbol of it. My relationship with God is both sacred and holy: holy, to me, by design, by union. And I have declared it sacred to my life.

    I am not a member of a 'religion.' I don't believe that God requires me to do anything other than be the best person I know how to be and act accordingly. I also believe that science and spirituality should co-exist, and to me, they do. I also have been known to throw temper tantrums against my God when life beats on me. But, I don't live in fear of my god, and I certainly don't think that god wants us fighting over what is holy or sacred, or both (although I DO think god supports thought-provoking blogs on the matter ;). I think what is Holy is already defined -if not understood- and what is sacred is a personal choice that god neither supports nor begrudges (including jeruselum).