Archive for July, 2008

Heroes, gods & politicians

July 29, 2008

by David Farside

When I retired years ago, I thought there would be time in my life to read the 11 volume “Story of Civilization.” it was researched and co-authored by Will Durant and his wife Ariel. They started writing it in 1935 and were completed   in 1975.

The volumes are a complete history of   ancient, modern, occidental and oriental times.   For their academic commitment to their long and arduous research they both received the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1967. They also received the presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 for their activism in the civil rights movements across the country.

The Durant’s were philosophers as well as human rights advocates and historians. I never did read all of the 20,000-page documentation of our human history. But during the process I learned a great vocabulary and gained a deeper understanding of modern philosophy.

Will Durant thought the human mind created the god’s. He said man first created their heroes, then he worshiped them as gods. And that is probably true.

If you are an atheist you could probably go back to the time of Christ and see how man worshiped a hero and created a god.   Christ and the early Christian martyrs were heroes in the eyes of many Jews. Christ stood up to the Romans and challenged their rule over the Jews.  The men who understood his words worshiped him as a god.  The men who didn’t understand the true meaning of the Sermon on the Mount killed Christ and his followers.

In the early part of the third century the Church officially bestowed Christ with the crown of divinity.  Christ was declared the crucified hero of mankind, the Son of God and officially became the deity of the Church. Quite a title for a man who was a teacher, and the most influential political activist who ever walked on the edge of political water.

Another example of a worshiped hero joining the ranks in heaven is Joan of arc. The misunderstood Christian soldier maintained she had visions from God and was instructed by God to free France from English domination during the Hundred Years War.

Claiming divine guidance, she lifted the English siege in Orleans and became known as “The Maid of Orleans.”  Her victories led to the coronation of Charles VII, which settled a disputed succession to the French throne.

At the age of nineteen, she was captured by the English.  The Church’s ecclesiastical court tried her as a heretic and burned her at the stake. Twenty-four years later the same court found her innocent.  She was beatified in 1909 and canonized as a saint in 920. I wonder if martyrdom is the prerequisite for ordaining gods?

Both Christ and Joan of Arc were murdered for the same humane ideals held by King Arthur and his disciples in Camelot: faith, trust, justice, bravery, truth and conviction. Too bad these same ideals and virtues are not held by politicians.

Two modern day heroes worshiped as gods were Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.   King was murdered for his principles and belief in human rights for everyone.  John F. Kennedy was assassinated for turning the White House into Camelot.

Today, we are witness to another rising activist challenging the political system. He claims he wants to make a change. He says he can represent the people and not special interest. He has traveled half way around the world visiting our allies and adversaries. He has solicited the support of all religious backgrounds to help him rescue the American people from the Republican stranglehold on their economic neck.

As the election draws closer the crowds of people following Obama are swelling to unprecedented proportions. Whether it’s in Europe or the United States people seem to be worshiping him as a political hero. I can only hope that when the white house becomes a black man’s Camelot our new political hero will not become another martyred god.