Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Imagine God -- Writer's Poke #370




Is imagination everything?


Human beings love to tell stories; perhaps the stories we tell aren’t as important as what the stories say about ourselves. Why do people love Harry Potter? Why do we love science fiction? Vampires? Or why do we love good old-fashioned love stories? Why do we love The Transformers?

Human beings tell lots of stories, but almost every story ever told has one thing in common – the participants in the story are human beings. Even stories that don’t feature human characters feature human problems. Characters like Wall-E or The Iron Giant, for example, resonate because they seem somehow human. Imagined characters with real humanity.

Did human beings also imagine God? For those that believe that God is real, to say that God is a product of human imagination is probably not a welcome assertion; however, even most believers in a God or gods would have to admit after even a cursory study of mythology that human beings have been imagining gods for thousands of years. Some might suggest that all gods but the one or ones they believe in are made up, imagined. Others might suggest that all imagined gods are simply characteristics (or anti-characteristics) of the one true god.

The point is, we don’t really know who or what God is (or what gods are). All we have are stories. Even those that categorize themselves as atheists have to admit that the stories told in the various world mythologies are fascinating. If for no other reason, it must be because these stories tell us something – not necessarily about the God or gods themselves, but something about the people that imagined them in the first place, as well as something about the people that continue to believe in the stories today.

If you believe in God (or gods), what does your belief in the stories of your deity say about you? If you don’t believe, what do you find interesting about the stories told about the gods, and what does your disbelief say about you?

“If there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent him.” – Voltaire



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