The popularity of angels still ranking high
The popularity of angels still ranks high in this day and age, we all know what they look like, they have wings and halos, wear white robes, are associated with heaven, clouds and pop up all around us such as stained glass windows, tattoos, nativity plays, adverts and films, they even sit on our Christmas trees. Even when church attendance has declined in some countries the angel still remains as popular as ever, angels are still depicted in modern life as symbols encouraging us to do the right thing while little devils tempt us to do the wrong thing.
The word angel (malach) is simply the ordinary Hebrew word for a messenger. The same is true in Arabic and in Greek. It is the Greek word angelos that is the source for the English word angel. Angels are acknowledged in each of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Post-Christian forms of spirituality, which are sometimes termed ‘New Age’ also lay claim to the guidance and healing of angels. In an age that prides itself on scientific rationality, belief in angels seems not quite respectable. Yet these ethereal beings are now the subject of innumerable references, depictions, and allusions in the electronic ether.
Although some people are uneasy talking about angels from a serious stance with a view that they are too colourful, too charming, too quixotic and that such discussions belong in a nursery or monastery, It is quite logical to state that even in the modern world, there is mystery in our universe, and philosophers talk very seriously about life after death and the existence of our soul, so why not angels. The popularity of angels has even taken over our internet, with a search for angels roughly five times more than Christianity and six times more than Astronomy.
I personally think that the popularity of Angels in modern times, is not as strongly linked to religion as it used to be (although those with strong religious believes also believe in angels) but more of a personal avatar of hope, light, strength, peace, joy, safety and a link to the soul. But the roots are still in bedded in history were even as far back as Plato, he proclaimed ;
“that human beings have a soul that is spiritual and immortal, and that, if people reflected on their experience and looked inward, each person would realize that he or she was not only a physical being”.
There was also the idea that God designating one particular angel to guard each person as a way of tying the unseen world close to the small concerns of ordinary life. Guardian angels are to be given the task of looking after one particular person.
Despite reluctance by some to take angels seriously, there are many people who have reported encountering an angel. Scholar Emma Heathcote-James produced an interesting study of people from the United Kingdom who report having seen an angel. She divided their experiences into sight, hearing, touch, and smell (relatively common) and looked at the context of the experience and what it had meant to the person.
Perhaps surprisingly there were a great range of people who said they had encountered an angel. The majority were Christian, reflecting the population of the United Kingdom, but those who came forward also included Muslims and Jews. Thirty per cent gave no religion and, perhaps most surprisingly, 10 per cent of those who said they had experienced the presence of an angel described themselves as atheist or agnostic.
It is said that, at the beginning of time, every soul was given a choice, and those who chose well became angels, and those who chose less well became human, and those who made bad choices became demons. Every angel helps us into this world, guards us throughout life with their spiritual personality and shows us with a helping hand the path to another dimension.
The popularity of angels, whether you are a believer or not remains real. I like to think if I had a guardian angel it would be on the lines of Clarence Oddbody, a cheeky second class angel as appointed to George Baily in the classic film (and my favourite film by the way) It’s a Wonderful Life. I wonder if he inspired me to write this! How would you envisage your guardian angel?