Who would have thought a show about demons, vampires and the such would give me so much insomnia unrelated to nightmares? And it’s a good thing these things don’t give me nightmares, because then I’d become a real zombie!
I have successfully prevented my brain from imploding by stopping the first part of this post when I did; let’s see if I can finish it off today without imploding anything, be it my head or yours.
The topic at hand: investigating the truth versus blindly obeying.
First off, it needs to be said: it’s hard, investigating the truth! We have to read texts that sometimes make absolutely no sense, then we have to think quite deeply about their meaning, then we have to act, often in ways that go against many of our baser instincts as well as against so many of society’s accepted norms, then we have to reflect on our actions… And then we have to go through the entire cycle over and over again.
Seriously, it’s no wonder people flee the responsibility of being religious! After all, it’s only normal that in a world continuously becoming more and more complex, some people shun such a heavy responsibility and some delegate it to others, happy to follow orders, however insane they might seem.
The great thing about Episode 7 of Season 4 of Supernatural, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, is that it questions what it means to be a follower. Does it mean you should blindly follow orders? To what extent are you allowed to doubt? What’s the line behind intelligent devotion, i.e. questioning for the sake of understanding, and outright rejection, i.e. sacrilege?
It’s a question worth asking be it for the mere fact that many clergymen from different religions have taken advantage of followers by establishing patterns of community life in which following the (imperfect) clergy’s orders equated with following God’s (perfect) Revelation. While in the past, high levels of illiteracy made it essential for the clergy to disseminate Holy Teachings, since they were part of a select few who knew how to read, modern society has achieved levels of literacy that probably were unimaginable a mere couple of decades ago. This is exciting in that it makes independent investigation of the truth attainable to almost everyone.
Another reason why this question is worth asking is because such questions aren’t asked enough. It seems that society has developed an aversion to religion, actively rejecting it rather than seeking to understand it. People aren’t questioning to find the truth; they are questioning only to reject the lies. But what is the point of rejecting the lies if you’re not going to go looking for the truth?
Such an attitude isn’t conducive to the investigation of the truth; as both ends of the spectrum, i.e. die hard religious people and die hard atheists, dig their heels in, most people prefer to kick the entire mess out of their lives.
So the brothers’ reaction was refreshing, in that they didn’t choose either to embrace or reject Castiel & Uriel, but rather to question the entire experience.
Sam: Nothing. (After a little hesitation) I thought they’d be different.
Dean: What, the angels?
Dean: I tried to tell you
Sam: Well… I thought they would be righteous.
Dean: Yeah, they are righteous. That’s kind of the problem. Of course there is nothing more dangerous than some (enter curse word of your choice) who thinks he’s on a holy mission.
Sam (after pulling a grimace of reluctant agreement): But… I mean this is God and Heaven, this is what I have been praying to?
Dean: Look, man, I know you’re into the God thing, you know, Jesus and the tortilla and the whole thing. Just because there is a bunch of rotten apples doesn’t mean that the whole batch is rotten. I mean for all we know, God hates these jerks. Don’t give up on this stuff is all I’m saying. I mean Babe Ruth was a **** but baseball is still a beautiful game.
Questionning for the sake of furthering one’s understanding is healthy; for people with faith who don’t continuously question for the sake of understanding become, for lack of a better word, faitho-bots.