[quote author=“SeanK”]Thomas Paine stated, “God exists… and there it lies.” Nobody in this world has any greater knowlege of God than any other. It is time for people to stop pretending that they do.
Ah, an infusion of sanity. Would that all the faithful of the world could be this honest with themselves. I feel somewhat assured that secular ideals will be maintained in this country, in no small part due to the words of the founding Deists. I am calmed when I see them repeated. May they never be lost to us.
Might religion have something to do with a cliffhanger mentality? The masses crave a sense of order in their stories, and resist a teaser, unless it seems likely that the conflicts set up in the earliest chapters will eventually lead them to a satisfying conclusion. If they don’t get that, they’re left uncomfortable, even resentful of the author.
More reliably, people gravitate to stories that offer a clear beginning, a meaty middle with a fair amount of titillation, a solid ending, a summary of the lessons learned. . . and, of course, the promise of a dramatic sequel. They adore reoccurring characters—even reoccurring villains—and they absolutely seem to crave some heartbreak, injustice and outright tragedy, since misery loves company. They want all characters to state clearly their motives and intentions at some point during the plot, lest they feel foolish for being tricked. The author might provide great detail that all adds up consistently, or he might—whether intentionally or inadvertently—include inconsistencies that lead to gaping plotholes and confusion. . . . et voilà! we get the runaway besteseller, The Holy Bible.
However erratically and chillingly, the Bible offers people a story that satisfies their need for a personally involving drama. Even with all the plotholes (non-discerning readers rarely pick up on those, anyway), it seems to ease a kind of anxiety and yearning in them, to imagine that they are an important part of this story—the center of it, in fact!—and that the conclusion is within their control, including the almost unfathomably happy ‘perfect eternity’ option, with attendant soundtrack and sparkly flourishes, just like in the fairytales . . . even if it’s in fact a horror story, in this particular case, with requisite tortures thrown in.
But then there’s the Deist. . . content to let it all dangle, lacking in any hard data to do otherwise. I respect that very much. I respect that you can handle a cliffhanger, without succumbing to the temptation to make stuff up, just so you can say you have plotline all figured out.