Mysteries of Faith: Bellybuttons and Angels’ Wings

I have been on a bit of a roll lately exploring the various inconsistencies of religion, known as the “mysteries of faith” in the vernacular. While I always defer to a person’s right to embrace any faith of their choosing, and would defend their right to do so, when such faith protrudes, intentionally or not, into areas that need remain secular for the sake of equality, I feel the need to analyze their effect and the basis upon which they are derived.

Part of that analysis is the religion, the supporting texts, and the mystery of faith doctrines themselves.

While some bellybuttons are downright cute, others are frightening (outsies always look like a worm trying to escape.) More to the point, they are artifacts of a normal gestation and birth. Adam and Eve’s “genesis” was anything but normal.
(This will make sense soon)

Joe Broadmeadow

One of those mysteries is about Angels. In researching this piece, I examined something that always confused me as a child, the difference between Angels and Arch Angles. Turns out that Angels are more of a classification, like an entry level spiritual being, and Arch Angels are a higher form.

Several articles described Arch Angles as a sort of higher rank. Who knew? I wonder if there are promotion boards in Heaven?

But the real question is this. Near where I used to live, there was a statute of an “angel”—it was unclear if this was a run-of-the-mill angel or Arch Angel—male in physical appearance, wearing a dress or skirt (I am unsure of the difference), carrying a sword, and equipped with wings.

This always sparked a question in my mind: why, in every depiction of angels, do they have wings? Why do some carry swords? (As to the manner of dress, to each their own. Who am I to question celestial fashion trends?) But back to the question, why the wings and sword?

By their very nature, Angels are immortal, invisible at will, able to fly, and have a God on their side. So why the need for a weapon and wings? If one cannot die, can be invisible to one’s enemy, and defy the laws of physics, swords and wings seem unnecessary.

If we had one battalion of Marines or an Air Force Special Operations unit so equipped we could do away with all the other stuff.

Since we often depict Angels sitting on clouds, this would imply at a minimum they are lighter than air and negate the need for wings. The very nature of such beings mitigates the necessity of thrust, lift, and acceleration in order to fly. Either that or we’ve been very lucky in not flying into solid clouds all these years.

As to the sword, if one wanted to smite the enemies of God—Satan and crew who are equally powerful but seem to have evolved without wings—and impress the faithful, wouldn’t an arrival of an Angel materializing out of thin air with say an M4 automatic rifle be more memorable to a pre-enlightenment society?

Or, if one wanted to impress with a flying demonstration, perhaps a Cobra Gunship or F22 flyby on a full throttle strafing run around Sodom and Gomorrah. (Or, now that I think of it, a balloon slowly drifting overhead…I wonder?)

The entire wing thing seems a bit, well, made up.

While we are on the contradictions in depictions of Biblical stories, why, in every image I could find about the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, do they have bellybuttons?

While some bellybuttons are downright cute, others are frightening (outsies always look like a worm trying to escape.) More to the point, they are artifacts of a normal gestation and birth. Adam and Eve’s “genesis” was anything but normal.

If Adam was made from mud (depending on which version you read, see and Eve from a spare rib, why the bellybutton?

Two people in the Garden. One male, one female. Shit happens involving a snake and an apple. Two people—still one male, one female—leave garden and at some point, the timeline is unclear but let’s assume at least nine months, there is at least one child.

Then two children, yet the same number of breeding capable entities. I know, I know, the argument is the stories are allegories. Mere simple representations of concepts, but that’s not how they teach it. Adam and Eve are real people (with real bellybuttons) and you better just accept that, Mister.

I shall leave it there, although the gyrations to explain such contradictions are eminently amusing to peruse.

It would seem Genesis was the first proof that when making real estate choices, it is always location, location, location. Should have kept the garden house in Eden, the property outside—and the fortunes of future generations—just kept declining.

If the apple was our downfall from Paradise, why the admonition of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” as a health practice? Shouldn’t we shun apples? And more importantly, if this apple was from the tree of knowledge where did the knowledge go? It took a long time for humans to realize and attempt to mitigate our violent nature. Some might argue we never have, we just perhaps used the knowledge to create weapons that take the “up close and personal” out of combat. A separation from the reality of our nature.

Leaves one to wonder the true potential of humanity if we descended from two people who took advice from a talking snake. Which, of course, begs the question, when did snakes lose their ability to talk?

But that’s a mystery of faith for another day.


What prompted this piece was this gem of a story about a “Christian” school in my new hometown of Queen Creek, AZ. (Click here for the story link)

It would seem the school is perfectly willing to accept tax dollars from the state, some of which it is reasonable to assume are paid by, oh the horrors, gay people. Money the couple in question (who happen to be gay) paid to the school as part of the School Choice initiative in Arizona. But the school does not want them on the campus picking up their child.

It just sparked an idea of analyzing the hypocrisy and questionable faith practices as well as the origin of such behavior. But I tried to keep it lighthearted.

Meanwhile, I think the State of Arizona should be looking for a return of money actively used to discriminate against American citizens simply by their sexual orientation. Nobody ever said a word about the dress wearing Angel, but apparently “they” would be welcome on this most Christian of campuses.


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5 thoughts on “Mysteries of Faith: Bellybuttons and Angels’ Wings

  1. Joe, as always a thoughtful article. As a pastor of 40 years in the Christian tradition, I’m well aware of the hypocrisy that can manifest itself within my tradition and in other religious traditions as well. Annie Lamott, the author (and convert from humanist to Christian) said it best: ‘If God hates the same people you do, then rest assured, you’ve created God in your own image’. Hypocrisy comes when we use religion to support our own bias’. Religion can also be dangerous when we take a passage literally rather than metaphorically. There’s wisdom in the saying: ‘the Bible is true and some of it even happened.’ For me as a lifelong student of the Bible, the question is ‘where is the truth or truths to be found in the stories? What truths are relevant for my life and time?’ I’d also add, apart from the hypocrisy and Bible cherry picking to support human prejudices…..there are also countless examples of religion, including my own Christian tradition, that reflect grace, generosity, forgiveness, tolerance and social justice. For me, Biblical truth and the way of God is found wherever there is love and kindness and inclusion. Everything else is a diversion. ~ Kent Harrop

  2. Some might say that religion is mankind’s futile attempt to answer unanswerable questions. Many cynical and crafty fraudsters use it to exploit the weaknesses of those for whom “the answers” assume great importance.

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