Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mormons Offer Cautionary Lesson on Sunny Outlook vs. Literary Greatness -

Mormons Offer Cautionary Lesson on Sunny Outlook vs. Literary Greatness -

I  have met and still know a number of superb poets and prose writers who are former Mormons. Catholicism and Protestantism are very much older than Mormonism, and one should note the massive influence Christianity had on European culture, and the longevity and resilience of its imprint. A writer or poet, whether believer or some form of alienated and rambunctious free thinker, couldn't but have their moral, philosophical and aesthetic precepts formed somehow by the daily pervasiveness of theological thinking; in any event, poets and writers and playwrights and artists of all sorts were able to find nuance, exceptions, ironies, tension within the Church's thinking.

It was generations of artists attempting to resolve the conflict between what they were socialized to accept and a suppressed desire to believe and do otherwise. One can cite their own examples here, but suffice it to say that some sought reconciliation between the desire to rebel and a need to believe in more mystical infrastructure, while others wandered off toward spiritual beliefs more accommodating of a free spirit, and still others rejected an afterlife and its laws altogether.

This conflict follows us to the New World, where it morphed into something else all together, hence another discussion. Mormonism, a young religion founded only in the 1820s, is not in an historical position to have its writers struggle with their belief system with the result being a species of arguably great art; Mormonism, in fact, seems more a parody of basic Christian catechism than anything else. 
The same may be said of Scientology, a legitimate religion, I suppose, but one whose tenets of faith seem more the subject of bad science fiction writing. Christianity, of course, was a mirroring of Greek and Roman mythology, with a vast reduction of gods and demigods, of course. I suppose it's only the natural progression of things that so much contemporary spiritual thinking seems inspired by dog eared paperbacks one finds in damp boxes on garage shelves or in bookstores where dust mites and mildew rule the roost.

Friday, July 23, 2010

God is an argument waiting to happen

In a poem that dealt , somewhat, with God and theology, I made reference to God's best ideas being "cloud bound"; a conservative on the board where I posted the verse took exception and proceeded to say all sorts of nasty things. This is a little bit of that  exchange.

Wherever did you read about God being "cloud-bound"? Name one book stating this.

One cannot believe that you’re this much of a pop-culture illiterate. The popularized conception of in mass-culture is that God is in Heaven, and Heaven is in the sky, i.e., the clouds. It’s an image and an idea that is inseparable from the way we think, in the short form, of He who we call Lord. It’s in our literature, our poems, paintings, cartoons, and our movies. Ever see “The Horn Blows at Midnight” starring Jack Benny as an earth-locked angel? Rent it, since it is an amusing comedy utilizing the popular notion that Heaven, with God in it, is in the clouds. Really, Cal, are you actually this obtuse?

God commands us to "love one another" and obey the Golden Rule," and you adduce to Him bulliness?

. The God of the Old Testament was a bitter, cranky, vengeful deity, a bully in other words, and the message of the God we discover in the New Testament essentially demands that we serve his purpose and plans for Humankind lest we be judged and condemned to horrible, eternal punishment. He makes threats , in other words, and this is bullying behavior however you dress it up with transparent words like “love” and “sacrifice”.

Are you a Christian, and are these YOUR PERSONAL points of view?

Christian by birth and culture, but not a doctrinaire worshipper. God gave us minds to use, and it’s my guess that He , being God, isn’t in need of his self-esteem reinforced with coerced praise, and isn’t the sort of deity to threaten us with eternal damnation unless we play His grubby game of Theological Monopoly. My guess would further to say that this God of my understanding is likely bored with that whole business and thinks there more useful, creative ways to fill eternity . These are my views, but the ideas aren’t new. Inspiration comes by way of Soren Kierkegaard , Paul Tillich, Thomas Merton, Bill Wilson and Norman Mailer. The way the ideas are expressed are my words, though, based on my experience.