September 13, 2011
I have a few things to post about tonight and I’ll begin with my response to this open letter to atheists written by Paul Wallace. First, a disclaimer: I honestly didn’t get through the whole thing, it was taking the guy so long to get to his point. No worries though, I’m pretty sure that I got the gist. You see, it’s all about sophistimacated theology.
God is in the metaphor/story/whateverthefuck. Humans are good at making things sacred (or taboo–two sides of the same coin): places, objects, activities, people. And of course, stories. We say this isn’t just a good story that reveals something about the human condition, oh no. It is more than that. It’s [fanfare style=”trumps and chorus of angels”]divinely inspired[/fanfare].
When I practised religion, this is exactly the type of religion I practised–I never said “believed” because I didn’t have faith in any myth as factual, I just looked at myth as Real, if you follow me. Unlike Wallace though, I always had a distaste for the Abrahamic mythos, it being as sexist, cruel, immoral, racist, and anti-animal/anti-environment as it was.
Moby Dick? Far superior a story. The myths of Greece and Rome? Far superior. Arthurian romances? Far superior. Shakespeare? Far superior. The Mahabharata? Far superior. Jane Austen? Far superior. Hell, Star Trek or Doctor Who or Star Wars? Far superior.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to pray to Ahab, sing hymns to Othello, or worship Captain Kirk. Why? Because in honesty, there’s no value added by the sacralisation. It obfuscates the meaning, and allows for little discrimination. I can’t toss out a bad episode (yes, George Lucas I’m looking at you) or decide that I’d get more from an entirely new genre.
A person doesn’t need to sanctify myth (or “story”) to make it worthwhile. If Wallace wants to play pretend, to make believe that Jesus or Santa or a boy named Sue is real so he can feel fulfilled, that’s fine. But he oughtn’t to be insulting those who don’t bother.