Their Eyes Were Watching God

The longer I live, the less I understand religion. I don’t understand why humans crave order and answers so much that we proclaim as truths what are, at best, idealized fables; why we hate our fellow man and why we kill him in god’s name. Yes, uncertainty is uncomfortable. Power in a form that doesn’t reflect our own is unsettling. Acknowledging that we do not know all, and cannot control all, may appear to diminish us. Actually, it balances us. It places among—not above—the rest of the natural world.

I recently read Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. The book includes this passage, the most succinct argument against traditional ‘god’ I have ever read:

“All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.”

About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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