“Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, yet he will be making gods by the dozens.” – Michel De Montaigne, (1533-1592), The Complete Essays.
Too bad Montaigne wasn’t around to witness the cloning of tadpoles, frogs, mice, rats, pigs, a cat, bovine, sheep, a dog, etc.
Ironically, as we project backwards and forwards there will have been far more clones made than gods.
I have been intimately involved in how one of these gods was “made”. Personally, I have lost interest in knowing whether or not an independent god exists. I am far more interested in how the god of my religion was made.
This is how I think it happened.
An exceptionally gifted young boy honed his gift at story telling. (I believe you get good at something when you start doing it at a young age: chess players play lots of chess starting at a young age, mathematicians, athletes, artists, Dalai Lamas, too).
This boy had success at telling stories of hidden treasure, sunken treasure, angels, demons, golden plates, etc.
He was good at telling these stories. He was even paid for some of these stories. He was so convincing that there were complaints issued about his clever story telling. One time he was hauled before a judge and charged with committing fraud because he told stories.
By the time the young boy became a young man, he was comfortable exercising his gift. He was good at it. He knew the stories people liked to hear. He knew what moved people to action. He even knew how the penal system worked for those who told certain kinds of stories. He came to know the genre of storytelling better than anyone else. The young man was not intimidated in the least as he told his stories to anyone who would listen.
When you feel comfortable with your craft, you perform without effort.
The young man started telling a particular story of hidden plates that were translated by heavenly powers.
The interest in the young man’s story grew rapidly. A religion was created out of that story. More stories were asked for by serious converts. They wanted stories about what god wanted them to do.
The young man not only had created a religion, but a movement full of members who wanted more. The young man’s stories grew ever more powerful. Before long a very rich religious movement had started.
Members uprooted their families to move to places designated by the young man as Zion. Towns were built, investments made, leadership position created.
Members didn’t care about anything else but the stories the young man told. The stories were eventually called revelations. The story of translated records became scripture.
A government was formed, a militia was created, a bank was established, and a center of commerce was built. All because a young man told stories that people adopted as a spiritual guide.
The young man, now turned mature man, no longer marveled at his gift of storytelling, but accepted the truth of what had been created: a new religious movement that was turning into a new civilization.
The most dedicated of the members wanted more. The mature man obliged. He broke thousand year old traditions, and existing civil law in order to create new heavenly law. There were now heavens beyond heaven. Gods beyond god. The religion challenged the ability of the mind to digest it in one lifetime.
No other religion could compete with its audacious departure from the mundane existence of everyday living. Every garment that was washed, every floor that was sweep, every sadness that was born had meaning and purpose. The stories shot through and interrupted the dreariness of life.
It was decided to move west beyond the Rockies with their thousands of followers and create a new kingdom on earth.
Before this was accomplished, the now very mature man was shot to death because of the stories he told.
His stories were so powerful that the religion was able to carry on without him, and became the most powerful movement in settling the west. It became a Great Basin Kingdom. Its new leader followed the stories of the fallen man to a tee.
The religion stands tall and strong today, almost two hundred years after the boy started telling his stories. The stories are now considered sacred and literal.
Montaigne may not have stretched his imagination far enough to know that man would make a worm and more, but he was right that men have made dozens of gods. I doubt however he would have perceived how bold the gods of this man’s stories would be.
We spend our time either proving the facts of this man’s stories or disproving the purported facts of his stories, when the truth resides in the power a story well told. Nothing exists until a story comes forth.
You want god, you can’t handle the story of the god this boy made. It’s a high octane god through and through.