Pictures of God—Faces and Places…

Michelangelo’s God…

God’s face is a concept best left in the textbooks, suggesting as it does Michelangelo’s Charlton Heston, mugging for the cameras and getting all wrathful, railing at the Ishmaelites and rooting for the Jews; it’s better to talk about Nature, and Love, and Heaven up above, than God-heads with silver hair and yellow teeth…

So I can understand why people are put off by the pictures of God, early on depicted by Renaissance painters as harsh and warlike, playing headlong into the notion of ‘God-fearingness’ as the proper basis of religion, AND…

…even later depictions of Jesus with the bedroom eyes and the doe-like gaze do little to mitigate the sneaking feeling that, in effect, we’re doing exactly what the Bible enjoins against, i.e. worshiping graven images, whether graven in stone, oil pigments, silver nitrate, or bits and bytes, BUT…

Hindu God

Hindu God

…that doesn’t mean you have to throw out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak, pardon the cliché. Religion must be accessible or it’s useless, even Chuy (Jesus, Isa, Yesu) of Bethlehem advising that to speak in parables was his only option; or to quote an old and popular movie line: “You can’t handle the truth!

Fast-forward to the present and we’ve seen some sh*t by now, not much left any more to startle the motor neurons or tickle the fickle fancies, and hopefully we’ve learned something along the way, but I wouldn’t count on it, almost seems like an inverse proportion between commercial development and general levels of intelligence, the more goods we people have, the less we strive…

So now that we’re all fat and happy, there’s nothing to fear any more, much less God, he of the fierce eyes and intense gaze, thunderbolt in hand and counting his days, no longer inspiring fear in the fearless and no longer leading the forces into battle…

But if the role of God is to make you feel better, no more than that, equal parts fact and fancy, picking up where sense experience leaves off and belief systems kick in, and never the twain shall meet, then that’s no reason to get all self-righteous and arrogant, since atheism is just another religion, all full of itself and sh*t, the best religion not no-religion but all-religion, mix and match with the changing of seasons, oh yes you can…

Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Or agnosticism works, but then you gotta’ be consistent, because science is just another belief system, too, and while I love it, that doesn’t mean I f*cking love it, because that’s a bit extreme (and it’s hard to multi-task while f*cking), but to claim some either/or relationship between science and religion is just plain foolish, science f*ckers committing the same mistake as Creationists, all or nothingness…

That’s the hardest part, seeing the Big Picture from above, the limits of both religious beliefs and scientific facts, temporary solutions to eternal questions, the arrogance of scientific claims to knowledge only surpassed by the hubris of religious claims to the same turf. If religions would stick to humble beliefs, then not only are they a step up but a step ahead, more reliable than science and more honest, too.  After all, in this day and age of ego and arrogance, is there anything else or anything better? Tell it…

(Of course, the best face of God is the God of no-face; give the Muslims credit for that, where Buddhism tried but failed)

Advertisements