Sin as Shadow; God as Sun
The failure of god as metaphor
I wrote in Meditation 123 about a couple of televangelists and their cookie-cutter stage shows. I actually spent a few minutes listening to what the first one had to say. His sermon was about sin.
He spoke about noticing his shadow when he was about five years old. He then discovered he could not get away from his shadow. He could not even run fast enough to lose his shadow. But, if he turned towards the sun, he could no longer see his shadow.
He went on to say that our sins are like our shadows. We cannot get away from them, but if we turn towards God, our sins disappear.
A nice analogy, perhaps, as long as you just let the words wash over you and give them absolutely no thought.
But if you consider the argument at all, you realize turning towards the sun does not eliminate your shadow, it only puts it behind your back. The shadow may be invisible to you, but everyone else can see it clearly. Is turning towards God just intended to hide your sins from yourself while making them visible to everyone else?
And you can run away from your shadow. Simply move into the shade of a tree, or into a darkened room. So, if we pursu e the analogy, the way to get rid of our sins is simply to get away from God.
Our shadows are not caused by us. They are created by the source of light. So if our shadows are sin, and God is the sun, then God is the cause of sin. This is probably not the conclusion the preacher wanted his listeners to come to, but it is the logical conclusion from the analogy he himself chose.
I've spent more words debunking this particular preacher's simplistic sermon than it merits. But it brings me to a more general point.
God is an intangible. We cannot experience a god through any of our senses. We have no direct verifiable experience of god. All we have is a mental concept. We can only talk about gods using metaphor and analogy.
And when we use analogy; when we use metaphor, we open ourselves up to differing interpretations including interpretations totally opposed to what is intended. This is why there are claims for so many varieties of a supreme being, and no evidence for any.
God is only a metaphor for that which we cannot understand. And that provides no grounding in reality. It provides no evidence of any god's existence.