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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The End of Deism


According to Raimon Panikkar, the Catalan-Indian philosopher (1918-2010), Deism is seldom mentioned nowadays, for the simple reason that it basically triumphed everywhere: even the Christian God is often described as the cool-minded origin of natural laws, that He then permits to work according to their own dynamics. See e.g. the Catholic Church leaders' comments on the recent earthquakes in Italy.

Jesse Jacobs' graphic novel By This Shall You Know Him provides an innovative, healthy rediscovery of a Biblical approach (the Canadian author's name suggests a Jewish root). Here the Supreme God is literally a maze, and what we can glimpse of the divine powers that shape the universe does not make things easy but puzzling. As in the Hebrew Bible -- though not in the New Testament, influenced by Greek culture -- life is shown as a bundle of needs, fear, eating, defecating, reproducing, helping one another, building and destroying, in a difficult balance between frailty and violence. Religion, either in a temple or in a comic strip, demands fighting with God; asking questions rather than expecting answers.

Significantly enough, the Italian version of Jacobs' book twists its title making it more New Age-ish, 'harmless' and 'acceptable': E così conoscerai l'universo e gli dèi, "By this you will know the universe and the gods."

Update. The author has been so kind as to reply: "Thanks for showing me that, Dario! I think it's a great take on my comic!"