Did Jesus really look like Woody Allen? Why does “God” have to be beautiful? What if Jesus was a slob like all of us, like a stranger on the bus? … OH wait … that last part is a song.
Could the simple basic human need for enlightenment answer the quandary here regarding whether there is a higher power or “God?” Our history books tell us that during the age of enlightenment, intellectual and philosophical developments and their impact in moral, social, and political reform were the catalyst of change.
Could this era in our history which aspired toward greater rights and liberties based on self-governance, natural rights, natural law, central emphasis on liberty, individual rights, reason, common sense, and the principles of deism have been the pinpoint in time when we as a race began to put into question whether or not a “higher power” existed?
The Enlightenment Era was the time in history where rational human discourse, freedom of religion, liberty, and scientific advancement were established in most forward thinking cultures. We began to question everything. Up to this point in history, questioning whether a higher power existed was a dangerous subject to discuss and in some cultures forbidden.
It is my assumption here that perhaps questioning this, confirms the base human need for man to feel or have such a deity in the first place.
When we look back at various cultures we see some form of a deity, higher power, or God evident. In every culture a deity or God takes many forms. There are animals, creatures, and god-like forms which took the form of those which worshipped it.
Why is it confusing to some that each culture would have the need for a “higher power” yet fight over what it should look like? In my mind they are all representing the same entity regardless of what it looked like. It seems obvious that “your God” would look like “your people” or be animals greatly feared or in awe of.
I asked myself what I thought Jesus would realistically look like and I am convinced he resembled Woody Allen. Those lovely Jesus paintings are just too perfect and the Bible states he was not a man that could easily be picked from a crowd. Take Woody’s glasses off and he would look like any Jewish man in a crowd. (Sorry Woody fans … don’t mean to be picking on the guy.)
Perhaps when the Era of Enlightenment occurred, man was beginning to feel or suspect that he may no longer need that deity or higher power. Questioning whether a higher power may even exist was a natural next step. We know that a form, be it fashioned of gold, wood, or stone, that it is still a form. When we think highly of a person and then that person fails to live up to our expectations we lose a certain level of “need” for that person.
Why would this not be the case of a deity or “higher power” form? Was the era of enlightenment the beginning of the decline in “need” for a higher power?
Early cultures lived in difficult times, fighting and living in poor conditions. It is not hard to imagine that early man would need to have hope and the basic need to believe in something larger than him-self. Does that mean early man created “God” out of his need or that by needing something he found it? Is the entire biblical story regarding the Garden of Eden simply a bedtime story handed down generation after generation?
Does believing in something make it real? I have a great example of how that really happens. My ex-husband is a hypochondriac and I did an experiment on him while we were married— hoping to help end his denial and then he and our family would be much happier. I kept a dairy for a week, each day "giving" him some new discomfort. How did I do that? Merely suggestion.
On Monday morning I announced that I felt I was getting a migraine and before noon he had one. Tuesday lunch just didn’t seem to be settling well and exactly an hour after I had told him that, he was in the restroom in distress. Wednesday my knees hurt and of course before the day was out he was incapacitated with leg pain. On Thursday I said that my sinuses were bothering me and before noon he had a full-blown sinus attack. By Friday I was exhausted, seriously, because of my husband and the experiment and of course upon hearing I was exhausted, he was beyond exhaustion.
Saturday we went to his doctor and I handed over the diary and told them both about my experiment. The doctor, a friend of mine, smiled. My husband wanted to kill me. “How dare you try to make my pain into a game?” He insisted I simply wrote his symptoms down every day and what I had said or not said had nothing to do with how he had suffered so much that week. He believed his suffering had nothing to do with suggestion.
So belief is a very strong thing. Denial is a powerful thing and can be every bit as strong as belief. There is a reason why I am no longer married to this man—I needed reality and he had no idea what that was nor was he interested. No amount of love and understanding could cure him. I gave it everything I had.
I am asking now … is questioning the presence of God simply denial? Does suggesting something does not exist make it so?
Could it be that as humans we have reached this question as part of our evolution and through examining our need for hope or belief we will closer to becoming what we have believed in—or this is a step in our development—seeing what before, we could only imagine?
I believe that we do have God and he is in the form we are most comfortable with. For me, he looks like Woody Allen. Why? Because I insist that God has a real sense of humor … obviously because he created me. The irony here is that I have never been a huge fan of Woody Allen, but I talk to God every day. Unfortunately my ex-husband never appreciated my humor and insight. It was his great loss and another man’s great prize.