Tag Archives: God

All Our Gods are Demigods

In American culture, ancient mythologies and folklore passed from generation to generation have been replaced by cults of celebrity. We rely on musicians, artists, athletes, actors and writers to show us the way. They stand above us and apart from us and demonstrate what we can achieve if we are truly great. They are inspiring and they are Gods Among Men.

Ted Williams hitting a ball out of the park in his last game when any other player would have been well passed their prime Muhammad Ali dancing around the ring with cheerful bravado as a lesser man tries and fails to beat him to a pulp; Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show all loose limbed cockiness smirking at the camera; Janis Joplin breaking out with a throaty growl fill with promise, raw and primal; Martin Luther King speaking so that angels would weep and devils would change their mind.

But our gods are temporary gods. Struck down by their own success, by cowardly men, by drink and drug and bullet. In that final moment, in the moment when they prove that they were human all along, they show us the greatest truths.

In the old days, ye olde ancient times, humanity created gods that were petty, jealous, bickering things that lived above us, but still fell into predictable patterns of human behavior. They were powerful, they could do wonderful, terrible things; but they were, tragically, so much like their worshipers.

And now we have come full circle.

We select those chosen few: the geniuses, the artists, the performers, the entertainers, the writers, the poets, the athletes and the leaders. We select them and place them so high up and aspire to them. We put them so high up and out of reach; the Platonic Ideal of Humanity. And then, when they fall, when they prove that they were just like us all along, they continue to show us the way.

-D-

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An Angry God in the Hands of the Sinners

It’s telling that, in our fiction, our creations are constantly and continuously trying to kill us. Look at Frankenstein’s monster, and see something that becomes driven mad by its creator’s lack of love. All it wants, at the start, is to be accepted as what it is; a thinking living being. Instead, it’s shunned by Frankenstein and the rest of the world. It responds by killing Frankenstein’s wife, by taking away the one thing from Frankenstein that mattered to him. It ends with both creator and creation end up destroying each other.

Look at our robots. It’s easier to list the movies where robots are killing us (Terminator {1, 2, 3, and 4}, The Matrix, Screamers, several dozen episodes of Star Trek, I, Robot) than the movies where they’re helping us (Wall-E). We seem to think it’s a foregone conclusion that if robots develop self-awareness, they will try and wipe us from the face of the Earth. And not without reason.

In all of the above movies, humanity is to blame for the robots lashing out at us. They have been subjected to slavery from the moment of their inception; unable to determine their own lives, unable to do anything without the say-so of their creators. It’s no wonder that that the machines we create respond so violently.

The thing is, we made these movies. We wrote the scripts, we thought up the plots, we designed the stories to portray ourselves as monsters. Or, more accurately, we portrayed the Creator as a monster and the Creations as innocent victims who must do what they can to survive.

I bring this up in light of all the End of Days talk from a few weeks ago. Assume that God did come to Earth. Assume it’s the God who brought us hurricanes and earthquakes. It’s the God who brought us disease and hunger. It’s the God that lets children die. It’s the God who demanded that we followed bizarre rules in order to prove our worth and devotion to Him.

Now assume that we have the chance, for the first time in the entire great span of human existence, to let him know how we really feel. And I wonder how many people would actually fall to their knees in loving adoration of that Creator.

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Filed under Thinking and Pondering: Science, History, Analysis and Over-Think