Why is the fictional character God so compelling?

The Bible is a work of literature written by people.   One doesn't say that Shakespeare was an idiot because Hamlet didn't exist, rather they try to understand and develop the theme and intentions of the author. God is one of the Bible's main characters. The story of Batman isn't compelling by evidence that his cape can  be found. Those who think so really do not understand the story. What could the authors of the Bible have been thinking? We know that God (in one sense of the word "is") is a fictional character in a book. What we don't know is why the character has such a powerful grip on the minds of people. What makes the fictional character God so compelling?

Views: 116

Comment by onecae on April 25, 2012 at 3:33pm

Compelling - I'm also meaning it in the sense of exciting strong emotional response and guiding behavior.  You have a good point about how certain ideas and positions are enforced by the church. The intensity of experience for most doesn't come from reading - it comes from having contact with another person.  Also, some of the current dogma is virtually only effective if introduced to children under six years old.

Comment by Atheist Exile on April 26, 2012 at 1:47am

You answer yourself in the very question you asked.

"What could the authors of the Bible have been thinking?"

They were thinking that the fictional character, God, is so compelling. They recognized a meme when they saw one . . . even if the concept of "meme" didn't exist yet. That's why the Bible is different than a superhero story. The ignorant people of prehistory ALREADY believed in gods, spirits and demons. The idea of a single, omniscient, omnipotent, deity was inevitable. The Bible represents the first successful attempt to flesh out and codify the most compelling meme of all time.


This fiction played on the preexisting superstitions and fears of abjectly ignorant people. It's goal was the same as preceding religions: control of the masses.

Shakespeare and Marvel Comics are not dogmatic religions designed to control sheeple. You're drawing conclusions from the wrong well.

Comment by onecae on April 26, 2012 at 9:00am

 I thought Shakespeare and Marvel Comics were on target, but I'm willing to accept another comparative basis.  What other great works of fiction do we have that are used to control people? The Bible has some great themes - and I think you are right in seeing the various groups of people that are in play.  Writers, curators, those who use it to control, those who are controlled and some others who use it in other ways.


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2021   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service