Thursday, September 23, 2010

Modern Crucifixion

Here is another excerpt from my book, Journeys Through Darkness, one that deals with modern crucifixion in our contemporary life. 

As always, thanks for reading.

The crucifix signifies the suffering and pain of the Christ. In modern society, it may signify the suffering and pain of people living with life threatening diseases, like cancer or HIV/AIDS.
    One cannot talk about crucifixion without getting into the whole issue of stigmata—the holes through which the nails permeated Christ’s hands and feet. Modern stigmata marks can be of a physical, cultural or lifestyle matter. In a contemporary society, with a deep foundation in computer-generated “beauty” and man-made “perfection,” living with a physical disability is many times considered below the acceptable “norm,” and, in turn, can attract unwanted attention, which can further lead to stigma. Those who fit in this particular category can become victims of modern stigmatization. 
Handicaps—that is losing the ability to use part of one’s body—and also disease can lead to such stigma. Cancer, for example, may require severe chemo-therapies or surgeries, may cause one’s hair loss or changes in physical appearance; therefore flagging the individual as having—or having had—cancer and, sometimes bringing unwanted attention or behaviors towards a cancer patient. But, while people may also react to a cancer diagnosis with a feeling of pity, sorrow or even fear, many times their reaction is completely different when it comes to so-called “shameful” diseases, as HIV/AIDS is sometimes still considered.  
Maybe the most society-stigmatized disease ever is AIDS. The reason for the HIV/AIDS prejudice has changed over the last quarter century or more, as it did the face of AIDS itself, which refers, really, to the whole physical appearance associated with HIV/AIDS patients and which, today, mimics the side effects to the newest medications and treatments.

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