Cakes for the Queen of Heaven: 2,500 Years of Religious Ecstasy

by Peter Berger

For several decades sociologist Peter Berger has been one of the most interesting writers on religion and modern society. Perhaps best known for his text on the sociology of religion,The Sacred Canopy, Berger has also shown a keen interest in issues of development and public policy and in the nature of religious belief in the modern world, as evident in A Far Glory: The Question of Faith in an Age of Credulity (1992) and in his most recent book, Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience. For the past 12 years he has been on the faculty of Boston University and director of B U’s Institute for the Study of Economic Culture.

This article appeared in the Christian Century, December 25, 1974, pp. 1217-1223. Copyright by The Christian Century Foundation; used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at www.christiancentury.org. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


SUMMARY

A religion of pleasure, no matter what the intentions of its advocates, can only inhibit the efforts required by God’s demand that we engage in the moral struggles of this world.


"As for you, do not pray for this people, . . for I do not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. Is it I whom they provoke? says the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own confusion? . . . Behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched" [Jer. 7: 1-20].