Accommodating Different Levels of Sophistication

The Creation of Adam

“The whole thing about Judaism and Christianity,” Clair said, ” and just about every monotheistic religion, is that they’re all patriarchal. Men made these religions up. So guess who God is? A man.”
“Watch out, Clair,” Larry said. “Mitchell was a religious studies major.”
Clair grimaced and said, “Oh, my God.”
“I’ll tell you what I learned in religious studies,” Mitchell said with a slight smile. “If you read any of the mystics, or any decent theology – Catholic, Protestant, kabbalistic – the one thing they all agree on is that God is beyond any human concept or category. That’s why Moses can’t look at Yahweh. That’s why, in Judaism, you can’t spell out God’s name. The human mind can’t conceive what God is. God doesn’t have a sex or anything else.”
“Then why is he a man with a long white beard on the Sistine Chapel?”
“Because that’s what the masses like.”
“The masses?”
“Some people need a picture. Any great religion has to be inclusive. And to be inclusive you have to accommodate different levels of sophistication.”

– Excerpt from  “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides

* De Leporibus et Ranis


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