We have all read it. We have all watched it. We have all been pissed off about it. The definition of deus ex machina from Merriam Webster Dictionary “is a person or thing (as in fiction or drama) that appears or is introduced suddenly and unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty”. It can be convenient for the writer but dissatisfying to the reader.
I believe the introduction of deus ex machina into the idea of religion or otherworldly beliefs has taken away the true meaning of life for many. This is not me trying to demean these beliefs, but more to challenge you in your thoughts of them. Is it easier to believe that something is controlling everything and will either save you or let you down? Or would you rather believe that we control our destinies? At first glance, you probably shout the latter, but after a few minutes, I think you will agree that the former is a lot easier to swallow. Why take responsibility if we do not have to?
(This idea I believe can be seen throughout most religions but most of my examples with come from Christian beliefs because it is what I am most familiar with.)
Jesus himself denied his father as a figure who would partake in deus ex machina. During the Temptations of Christ; the time after Jesus was baptized and spent 40 days fasting in the desert. He was tempted by Satan three times, one of which I find very important to this blog. Satan tests Jesus saying “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Luke 4:9-13) Jesus responded quoting scripture ” Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'”
I have not thoroughly read the bible nor any other religious scripture but this stuck with me. If God would not intervene to save his one son, why would he ever help me? Then it hit me, God has allowed us the chance to save ourselves. Our choice of free will is the greatest gift of all. If at any point God can just swoop in and save us from dying, what is the point of living?
This brings me to another very interesting thing I recently read in Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. In the 12th rule, Peterson presents a question from an old Jewish story, “Imagine a Being who is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. What does such a being lack? The answer? Limitation.
It is easy to look at limitations as flaws, setbacks, or unfair but these same limitations are the cause of all beauty and meaning in life. If everyone could throw a football like Aaron Rodgers, then no one would watch the NFL. If everyone could sing like Beyonce, then no one would listen to music.
To try and wrap up this coffee-induced babbling, I would like to leave you guys with a question to think about. Would you rather the entrance into after-life be granted through strict belief or true practice. If one strives to be a Christ-like figure but is not lucky enough to be presented with “the one true religion” are they less likely than the spiteful but avid churchgoer? What God would deny entrance to the former? Would you want to go to that after-life?
That is not for me to decide, but I do challenge each and every one of you to be a Christ-like figure, no matter your beliefs. Pick up those who reached their limitation and then find beauty in that limitation.
I love all of you guys, keep your head up, your heart higher and be thankful for the day.
Until next time,