Monthly Archives: March 2014

Beasts, Monsters, and the Religious Imagination

It’s eerie to read academic characterizations of that which you’ve discovered without guides, not knowing any guides to exist, more so when that discovery was so central and crucial to your entire existence.

This series promises to set up an interesting interplay of God as the ultimate, and perhaps gods as the “guides” of sorts, the characters in celebrated myths, through which God may be glimpsed.

I’m not entirely sure how that interplay might jive with my personal experiences of the ultimate and my gods. I look forward to obsessively reflecting upon that.

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Campbell talked often about the futility of what he characterized as opacity in mythology. To brutally paraphrase him, a functioning religion (or story) is a window to something invisible, something all around us that we fail to “see” before a crafted frame says “look here.” It’s one thing to stain a window’s glass, to help us experience light, but when we paint the glass solid, by standing too much on ceremony, or by interpreting myth too literally, our story or religion will separate us from the unknown and each other rather than connecting us.

—Dan Harmon

I know that Harmon and Campbell are both controversial figures, among different circles and for different reasons. It is not my intention to endorse either one beyond sharing this amazing quote.