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Alpinism and Religion


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Chris Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 25 days ago · Points: 0

Interested in everyone's opinion on the connection (or nonconnection) of climbing mountains and and how it relates to their religious beliefs.

SThal · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 130

For me it is avocational - draws me away from my main daily vocations to be renewed and reconnect with myself, other people (in different and more playful ways than daily life), and the earth, from which I am made and to which I'll return. At my more serious moments I sometimes have thought of it as kenotic, but that doesn't seem right to me now.

Mostly it's just fun and God wants us to have fun, despite what some may say. 

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 7,604

A connection between alpinism and religion...I do not think so, maybe spiritualism.

Chris Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 25 days ago · Points: 0

I probably should have stated my basis for asking the question.  I had just been reading an article about mountains and religion and how the subject had been covered in an international religeous conference.  I found it very interesting how many of the world's religions made the connection between the two subjects.

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,350
Chris Wright wrote: I probably should have stated my basis for asking the question.  I had just been reading an article about mountains and religion and how the subject had been covered in an international religeous conference.  I found it very interesting how many of the world's religions made the connection between the two subjects.

In the Pentateuch, revered by Muslims, Jews, and Christians, the mountains are frequently symbols of literal communion with deity. 

Before the advent of a temple built by human hands, believers sought and found counsel on high mountains.

One case, that of Moses, is bookended by twin visits to the mountaintop. The first visit, wherein Moses sees the burning bush and hears the voice of God, marks the beginning of Moses’ calling as God’s chosen prophet prior to freeing the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. The second visit results in the bestowal of the Ten Commandments, tenets accepted as divinely proffered by more than half the world’s population.

In other words, alpinism, as such, has a long and storied co-mingling with religion.
SThal · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 130

Oh, I see! Yes, many people and religions have thought of gods as residing in or on mountains. Pyramids are an intriguing expression of this. This is still very much the case in places today!

In the some of cultures that the Pentateuch was written, gods did reside in mountains. Psalm 121 for example is a statement of monotheism over and against these other gods: "I lift my eyes up to the hills, from where does my help come?" Which god will save me?

Sounds like an interesting conference! Could deepen the meaning of climbing for sure!

SThal · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 130
https://www.aptonline.org/offer/MYSTERY-OF-THE-MOUNTAIN-HIDDEN-IN-PLAIN-VIEW

This was pretty interesting. I'd be curious if anyone knows anything about prohibitions on climbing holy mountains. 
mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0
SThal wrote: https://www.aptonline.org/offer/MYSTERY-OF-THE-MOUNTAIN-HIDDEN-IN-PLAIN-VIEW

This was pretty interesting. I'd be curious if anyone knows anything about prohibitions on climbing holy mountains. 

Look at the Navajo Nation. 

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 110

The mountains inspire awe. Awe is a spiritual experience. The last time I prayed was several years ago, in the mountains during a moment of pure awe, despite being an atheist. I just felt I needed to give thanks to something for such an amazing experience. Makes sense that there would be a connection between religion and the mountains, even if believing in a higher power doesn't make any sense. 

Chris Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 25 days ago · Points: 0

STahl, yes there are mountains forbidden to climb.  One such is that in Tibet Mt. Kailash. It is sacred to 5 different religions.  The article I was referring to and that is very interesting reading is Mountains and Mysticism by Connor Wood on Patheos.com.

Thanks for the responses.  Just the kinds of input I was looking for.

Serge Smirnov · · Seattle, WA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 262

Approaching safety practices in a religious way might be better for safety than approaching them analytically (because analysis can overlook things).  The price for this is false positives - a religious approach would likely impose some "safety" requirements that don't actually matter.

Peter Stangl · · Minnesota · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 345

God made the mountains and I'm blessed enough to have the opportunity to climb them if I choose! Also makes me remember how small I am compared to Jesus. The mountains bowed down to Him and I barely can scramble up the easy stuff haha. Also, Moses was the first Mountaineer, making his way up Mt. Sanai like a boss and coming down with more weight than he went up with!

rob.calm · · Loveland, CO · Joined May 2002 · Points: 630
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,800
Serge Smirnov wrote: Approaching safety practices in a religious way might be better for safety than approaching them analytically (because analysis can overlook things).  

So... "god is my belay anchor"?

Gilman Coryell · · Mount Vernon, ME · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 65

Jesus built my ice tools. It's a love affair, mainly Jesus and my ice tools.

s.price · · Pagosa Springs · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 1,346
Gunkiemike wrote:

So... "god is my belay anchor"?

God was my co pilot but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him.

Gilman Coryell · · Mount Vernon, ME · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 65

So there was only one thing I could do. Was ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long.

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,350
Gilman Coryell wrote: Jesus built my ice tools. It's a love affair, mainly Jesus and my ice tools.

This isn’t the place to minister to your fellow climbers. Yea, I say unto thee, take thy ministry elsewhere.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,631
mediocre wrote:

Look at the Navajo Nation. 

Yes - the Navajo and their monuments ... although more of a religious reverence than an inclination to ascend?  Much of this I say is based on their official position that their monuments must not be climbed.

For the long-ago european ancestors, I suspect mountains evoked more fear than any attraction like “alpinism” evokes.   But I am no historian on the subject ... just a little bit of reading.
Gilman Coryell · · Mount Vernon, ME · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 65
Jaren Watson wrote:

This isn’t the place to minister to your fellow climbers. Yea, I say unto thee, take thy ministry elsewhere.

I fear the Ministry is lost on thee.

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,350
Gilman Coryell wrote:

I fear the Ministry is lost on thee.

It’s not. I got the reference.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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