Fleming Lee has written a brilliant post on 'Flights of Pegasus' dissecting the many defects in the Bible. I always have wondered why this 'Book', actually consisting of many different works created at different times for diverse reasons should be categorised as a single work purporting to be the 'Word of God'. Some of these 'books' deal exclusively with the genealogy of an obscure tribe and others deal with wars of conquest and genocide. There are chapters and chapters of ranting and raving spewed forth by priests and leaders against their own people, their enemies and even against God. These books may be of interest to scholars, historians and sociologists but have very little to do with spirituality. Religion should be a spiritual matter, divorced of politics and history. The 'Word of God' could not be reduced to human language in any case.
It does not follow, however, that human beings cannot hear the 'Word of God' but it is something that is carried on the winds, on the wings of music and poetry, refelcted by the light of the moon on the water or the sun's warmth as it awakens plants and other living creatures.
The 'Word of God' is included in that book known as the 'Bible' as much as it is included in the Vedic Hymns, the Popul Vuh, the Edda and the Books of the Dead.
Some of the Psalms do provide glimpses of the Divine and the Song of Solomon and Book of Ecclesiastes contain gems as well. The Creation myth as retold in the book of Genesis, if stripped of its judgmental content contains some elements that hint at the nature of the Divine.
It is a mistake to take any myth literally. Myths, like parables, contain lessons for humanity but never were intended to be literal accounts of events. History often is included in myths but ancient people were able to distinguish between poetry and fact. Why has modern religion been unable to do the same?
In the context of Fleming's legal case for impeachment of Jehovah, one individual responded that this was an argument in favour of atheism, declaring that: 'There's a part of me that would absolutely love it if an invisible fairy were my special friend. I got over that.'
When I read that statement, I was saddened. There is a strange element in 'modern' and 'contemporary' society that insists on separating 'reality' from 'magic' or 'the supernatural'. A child is allowed to believe in magic, but adults are expected to 'get over it'.
I disagree vehemently with that philosophy. In fact, I could cite many philosophers, religious or otherwise who have stated the importance of keeping the child alive in every adult's heart.
Saint-Beuve declared that: 'Each man carries within him the soul of a poet who died young.'
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: 'To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.'
It appears to me that children are closest to the Divine, before their egos begin to obscure their vision. As adults we have a need to control and define our universe. A young child simply accepts his/her limitations and embraces the unknown, knowing there is an infinite expanse beyond the reach of his/her control.
It is ironic that one of my favourite quotes from the 'Bible' is preceded by one that has caused a great amount of damage to our civilisation.
From Corinthians I: 'When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.'
That is St. Paul, of course, a man pursued by his own personal demons to the point that he barely was able to retain his own humanity. He hated women and he had very little compassion in his own life. At moments, he did have some idea of the Nature of the Divine, although for the most part he surrounded those philosophical gems with hosts of petty rules and regulations, prohibitions and warnings.
I would agree with the writer who declared that: 'The reluctance to put away childish things may be a requirement of genius.'
Pablo Picasso believed that the state of being of childhood held the key to artistic greatness, stating: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.'
Many philosophers and artists believe in exploring 'other states of consciousness and being'. Aldous Huxley and Robert Graves, among others, were driven to explore the 'other realms'. Children naturally are able to enter and exit other realms effortlessly. The world of the imagination is so real to a child and the veil that separates this world from the other is easily penetrated. It is only when adults and society tell a child that events, individuals or objects aren't 'real' that the child begins to distinguish between one sort of reality and another. I don't think that is a positive step, frankly. It may be important to distinguish between different types of reality but there is no virtue in ridding our psyche of the potential to explore other realms or states of being.
There are people who have made 'invisible fairies' a part of their adult psyches and their lives are greatly enriched by that. Life is a lonely affair, even when we are surrounded by people. Furthermore, the 'invisible fairies' created by writers and artists are some of the most beloved characters in every civilisation.