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Thor Got Me Thinking..

August 20, 2022

I watched “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the fourth Thor film, a few weeks ago.

If you have not seen it and are planning to, don’t read this post until you have seen the film. It’s rather good by the way, except for getting a bit too preachy about homosexuality.. wokeism is creeping its way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.. but that is not at all what I want to write about.

I want to write about gods, Christianity, and God’s will vs. .. just chance.. life being arbitrary.

And what is God or the gods.. really like?

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The villain in the film. played by an unrecognizable Christian Bale, starts out as a desperate man, carrying his dying daughter through a desert. When he needs to rest, he lays down his daughter and prays to his god.

His daughter dies. He buries her.

Then, he finds an oasis, where he also finds his god. The god is an arrogant, shallow jerk, who cares not at all about his adherents.

The man finds a black sword, which gives whoever wields it the power to kill gods. And that is what the man does, kill his god.

He then goes on a killing spree, wiping out many gods one by one, using his magic sword.

The many gods still alive, including Thor, have to figure out what to do about the god-killer.

In the Thor movies, the gods, besides being killable, are very powerful extra terrestrials worshipped as gods. So they might as well be gods, and are treated as such.

Later in the film, both Thors.. yes, there are two of them. The second Thor is Jane Foster, Thor’s human former girlfriend. I won’t get into how she became a Thor. Not important for this post.

The two Thors, the Valkyrie, and the rock man Korg travel to a huge hall where a sort of parliament of the gods is held.

In this hall are gods from many myths, including Zeus, from the Greek myths.

All these gods humans worship or did worship.

And I thought to myself..

All these gods..

It seems quite arbitrary that the Old Testament, ancient Jewish deity, and the man Jesus, worshipped as the son of this god, and also a part of this god.. most Christians believe in the Holy Trinity.. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit..

This god came out on top.

By that, I mean, that although there are more non-Christians than Christians in the world.. keep in mind the two most populous countries, China and India, are not Christian countries.. Christianity is practiced by more people than those who practice any single religion.

By that I mean there are more Christians than there are Muslims, Hindus, etc.

Why?

Some might say “God’s Will.”

Others point to history.. the conversion and influence of the Roman Emperor Constantine, and those that ruled after him.

Later, successful efforts of missionaries and entrepreneurs in Europe.. converting the pagans.

Much later, the imperialist expansion of France, Portugal, and especially Spain.. all Catholic nations, and the British, who, because of Queen Elizabeth I were more and more becoming a Protestant nation.

Arbitrary: “based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.”

Random chance these Christian powers succeeded in conquering so much of the world, or the will of God?

Tough to say.. it depends on your perspective.

Can’t help but seem arbitrary to me..

Same with my birth and upbringing in an American Protestant home.

I didn’t choose my religion any more than I chose my race or gender. Something I was born with.

Seems like random chance.

I have been struggling terribly with my Christian faith.. if faith is what I have, instead of a particularly nasty form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that is mostly a religious fixation. Which is what I definitely have.

For many years, I was on a pill, an anti-depressant called Paxil, which actually got rid of my horrible Christian fixation in 1994.

When the Paxil started working, I found myself to be no longer a Christian. My fixation on musical instruments never went away.. I am guessing maybe because I still loved listening to music, and also because I’m on the autism spectrum, and still stuck on something..

But Paxil worked from 1994 until 2007, and even years after it stopped working, I was not fixated on Christianity..

Probably not until maybe 2012 or later.

And this was the result of living with my mom, dad and aunt. All three of whom converted from Protestantism to Catholicism, though my dad eventually reverted.

My aunt and mom became radical.. going to mass almost every day, sometimes at church again for adoration .. sitting in from of a consecrated wafer, believed by Catholics to be the literal flesh of Christ.. or attending a conference or class.

My mom isn’t especially talkative, but my aunt is a chatterbox. She and mom would talk about almost nothing that wasn’t Catholic.

They talked about the mass, the priests, their Catholic friends, etc.

This irritated my OCD severely, and I became fixated miserably.. fixated again on Christianity, this time on Catholicism.

The conversion of my relatives..

This happened because my mom was flipping channels on TV sometime in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, and found a channel that amazed her. A Catholic channel called EWTN.. Eternal Word Television Network.. founded by a feisty and brilliant old nun named Mother Angelica.

It was Mother Angelica, who passed away some years ago, who mom was especially influenced by. This nun had her own show. She would deliver a lecture, then take calls from viewers. A very charismatic, no-nonsense, even funny woman.

What mom was amazed by was Mother Angelica’s constantly talking about Jesus.

Like most Protestants, mom had almost no clue about what Catholics believe, and had a negative view of Catholicism.

Growing up in a suburb of Chicago did not help.

Her mom and dad did not like Catholicism because the mafia, very strong in the Chicago area, was Catholic.

And, mom and my aunt were taught that Catholics worship idols. Which is not quite true. But anyway..

Mom found herself watching a lot of EWTN. She got our family friend Jean to watch, and my aunt to tune in as well.

Jean converted first, then mom and dad.. dad more on a whim, then my aunt.

So that’s how I became stuck on Catholicism. Living in the same house with two devout Catholics whose practically every conversation centered around their faith.

My aunt got married for the first time in her life, at age 72. She moved out.

It was better to have her here at home than not, despite her Catholicism and constant talking about it. I’m still fixated on Catholicism, though my aunt moved away last year.

And I no longer have had the positive blessing of having a lively, usually happy and positive person living in the same house.

Very quiet here now with just mom. Hard to stand it sometimes.. but I regress.

Seems to me the conversion of my relatives was arbitrary too.

Mom wanted something good to watch on TV, and found herself facing a nun peering through the screen into mom’s heart and soul.

But this won’t seem like random chance to a Catholic. No, this will definitely seem like God’s will.

But I can’t rid myself of this unnerving feeling that all this is just an accident of history.

Ages before Columbus set out, the Chinese had built fantastic boats capable of crossing the Atlantic.

But Confucian advisors told the emperor.. I have no idea which emperor it was.. that for whatever reason, it was better to keep the boats closer to the shores of wherever they were going.

Because of that decision, the Chinese Empire did not greatly expand, and we hear in the Americas are speaking English or Spanish or Portuguese, not Chinese.

And we are not Buddhists, nor are we followers of Confucius nor Lao Tsu, the mythical father of Taoism, and writer of the Tao Te Ching.

Again.. arbitrary choice.

I don’t know what is true.

I don’t know what God is true.

If there is one.

Maybe the gods are all like they are in the film. This part of the movie is really fantastic. I would like to know what cultures some of these other gods come from, and who worships them.

Would have been really interesting to have Jesus sitting there in the parliament of the gods, but I think the film makers would have caught way too much heat.

And Jesus, unlike the pagan gods, is worshiped by over a billion people.

The Holy Trinity came out on top.

Mom and later dad and my aunt and Jean became Catholic.

I did not have the money to live on my own, and I, by chance, inherited a miserable religious obsession illness from my maternal grandmother, who spent much of her days in her room, writing sermons and reading them into a tape recorder.. maybe over 100 tapes nobody heard, typing out notes, reading the bible, etc.

She was not happy, nor a kind wife.

I am not happy. I am not married.

And I am still stuck with an arbitrary fixation I can do nothing about.

And I wonder what the Christian Godhead is like, if it exists.

Some jerk living on a cloud?

We know how God the Father is in the Old Testament.. kind sometimes, but a crazily jealous and extraordinarily blood thirsty god.. the Flood, genocidal warfare of his people conquering Canaan.

I read a little of the Book of Judges, because I like some of the stories in that short book of the Bible.

These “judges” were not judges in the way that we think, but rather mighty heroes and leaders of the Jewish people, before they were given their first king, Saul.. that did not go well.. but anyway..

I did not get far into my reading, because the body count in the first few chapters was horrible. Some random war leader faithful to God.. his troops kill 30 thousand pagan soldiers. The next Hebrew warlord is not faithful, so he loses 25 thousand of his men as a punishment from god.. something like that.

That god… so often angry, jealous smiting.

Part of the same god as Jesus?

It’s hard to like Jesus. So many difficult teachings most Christians don’t much live up to.

I wonder if most Christians consider it random how they were born into their faith, and not into another.

I don’t know.

And I wonder what, if real, the Holy Trinity is like.

Sure would have been great to have them in the parliament of gods in the film.

Though I am wondering what the Holy Spirit, also called the Holy Ghost would look like.. just sort of a wispy blur? Or maybe a giant dove?

I don’t know.

But following this god sometimes seems just as silly and awful and arbitrary as following any of the others.

Even though I deal with the compulsion during at least part of each day to take the Catholic class for converts, starting up next month.

I really wonder about God… the gods.

And this movie really got me thinking.

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