You’ve seen those scenes in movies, usually about early Christianity or Judaism, where clouds part and a bolt of sunlight radiates through to Earth.
This is how God is sometimes depicted, as though — as my own Catholic father from time to time suggested to us kids — The Supreme Being Who Made All Things resided just behind the clouds.
Nonsense, of course, but it makes for good visuals in feature films that deeply appeal to human beings’ ever-fanciful imaginations. It also regularly reminds us — in a kind of rolling religious indoctrination throughout life, especially in America — of our seemingly inherent godly yearnings.
Nonetheless, the purported existence of “God” remains a fiction, as far as can be substantively demonstrated, and to live life honestly in an almost certainly godless reality requires an act of reason and will to ignore the siren calls of faith.
That’s what the illustration embedded in this post means to me. It depicts a man, who has tethered himself to one of the beams of light (see it wrapped around his wrist) while purposefully severing the others.
To me, the picture suggests we are always tethered in some inextricable way to our vivid imaginings, but we can still cut ourselves free from most of them when reason tells us they are probably just inventions of mind, chimera.
In the end, we are left with the essential gifts that the capacity for imagination bestowed by our DNA provides: creativity, useful invention and awe — and an appreciation for and fascination with fictionalized epic religious films like Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” (1956), starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, respectively, as the Judaic prophet Moses and the Egyptian pharaoh.But we need to keep in mind that when sunlight pops through sudden openings in clouds, it’s just relentless but random weather and physics in action, not a blast of divinity. It means nothing figuratively.
And each of us embodies the power of reason to stop fictionalizing it that way.
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