Abstract God

Years ago I watched the audio commentary on the Blade DVD and the filmmakers were talking about the end fight scene in the movie. They said that originally they turned the character Deacon Frost into a big computer generated blob which Blade proceeded to fight. But test audiences didn’t like it. They became detached from it.


Well for one, through the entire film Deacon Frost is played by a real human being (Stephen Dorff) and quite frankly we’re used to seeing real human beings. We accept them as being real. On the other hand, when is the last time you ran across a big computer generated blob when walking down the street? Me neither. As such we have no connection to it. It carries little weight with us. So the filmmakers opted to reshoot the scene with Stephen Dorff, just as he was.

As a filmmaker I take this kind of stuff seriously. It’s always in the back of my mind when writing screenplays. What will people accept and what won’t they. There is a certain level of abstract we will and will not accept based on how realistic we believe a certain scenario, object or character can be. If we feel there is a good possibility of something we see actually happening either now or sometime in the future, we are willing to lend it more credibility. Even if it seems abstract to our daily life. On the other hand if we feel too detached from it, it usually just becomes eye candy without a lot of weight behind it.

I have this theory that most people view the idea of God as this abstract completely detached concept. I think one of the reasons why Christianity is the most popular religion in the world has a lot to do with Jesus Christ being on earth in human form. The core teachings of Christ about loving each other and not judging each other is something people can also relate to. It’s something they can see in their daily life. It’s easy to understand. In fact it’s so easy, it’s universal and breaks the boundaries of any given religion to the point that even secularists can generally agree with it. Where it begins to fall apart for a lot of people is when you start talking about the more abstract concepts of Christ. Walking on water, rising into heaven and so on. Even so these tend to be more acceptable and less abstract than the idea of God altogether.

I think to a lot of people the idea of God really doesn’t seem any more real and tangible then a computer generated blob on the cinema screen. As such, they may say “I believe in God,” but it doesn’t usually carry any more weight then saying “I believe what I see on that screen is really on that screen.” It has never become more tangible and less abstract then the wisp of a thought in the mind.

Have you ever met a movie star or a local news anchor or a major musician in real life? There is a certain quick sense of shock that comes with it. Suddenly what you’ve seen on the screen for so long, is real, right there in front of you. Even though you always knew they were real because it only made sense; you’ve now just confirmed it.

For me, one of my goals has been to find the real God. The one that exists in the less abstract. Where it actually makes sense that it’s real. The one that breaks down the boundaries of all major religions and makes sense to everyone because it’s truth is universally undeniable. Where even though it may not be as tangible as the leaves blowing on the trees, its idea alone seems as likely as the idea of leaves blowing on trees.

0 thoughts on “Abstract God

  1. @colorless_clarity – I corrected it now, but I had to laugh at it when I reread it.
    “When is the last time you ran across a big computer generated blog when walking down the street?”
    I just pictured in my head this eight foot tall floating blog page looking all depressed and following me around. Lol.

  2. I like what you say about the abstract nature of human cognition. Abstract thought is manifested in language. Everything we perceive is corrupted by our process of abstraction. There is a type of knowledge in some wisdom schools considered “secret” or “unspoken.”

    Direct knowledge of the divine is a concept that informs the name of the Gnostic traditions. Gnosis = knowledge. Your final, stirring paragraph reminds me of an inspirational and pivotal monolog in the movie Altered States (a brilliant script by Paddy Chayefsky, btw) delivered by protagonist Dr. Jessup (played by William Hurt) wherein he vows to quantify God.

    How far are you willing to go to “find the real God?” Are you prepared to have your expectations and preconceptions scattered into oblivion? Are you sure you will even recognize God?

  3. I really liked this.

    I think we all are searching for the “real God” “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
    Jeremiah 29:1

  4. This is deep…..I second what Kontzicles says. I believe there is one true God. It’s more than a wisp of a thought, it’s a knowledge that informs all I do, think, and say. Keep searching…

  5. @musterion99 – Or vice versa. I don’t, I’m not disqualifying anything. But the general concept I’m talking about it that it would be undeniable to anyone.

    @dirtbubble – I don’t think a real true God can be something that abstract. It has to be something believable. Right now God (in many religions) suffers from the sort of unending infinite spiral of power in which one can say “my super hero can fly” “well mine can fly through space” “mine is space” “mine is the space between space which space exists in.” It gets so far out there it completely detaches from all reality and possibility and just becomes someones greatest power based wet dream. That’s pretty much what you get when you start saying “God knows everything, God is everywhere, God is all powerful.” It’s almost a cop-out because we can’t stretch our mind that far, so we turn into kindergartners all over again “well my daddy can beat your daddy up.” Well how do we know that?

    @maniacsicko – I don’t know, but as I said in my post, it would have to be something undeniable to all people once they saw it. It would have to be that believable if it truly existed.

    @TheGreatBout – Technically all people suffer, so that could be everywhere.

  6. @dirtbubble – My Neighbor Totoro is one of our home favorites. I’m particularly fond of the scene where Totoro freaks out with excitement when the rain falls on the umbrella. The kids stand in anticipation and then shriek right along with him. I have too many loved movies…but I’ll go with The Fountain, Alex Gray: Cosm, My Life Without Me, Requiem for a Dream, and Eulogy.

  7. @Kontzicles – Yeah that’s exactly what I’m trying to do right now. I’m trying to qualify God as a reality. So for me, for example, I already believe God exists. I already have my own thoughts on his motivations as well as those the religions tell me. But now I have to find a way to make God real to me. I have to find the clues that prove to my heart that God is just as tangible and likely of actually being there as I believe you are even though I’ve never met you in real life. 

    By the way, how is the baby? Been a while for me, my son Gabe is five now. They get big so fast.

    @shatterFocus – I will indeed.

  8. @roxics – hmm, okay…   would something pointing at god be good enough?  like if you found a dog poo on the street, and i say to you, this means that a dog must have been here before, would you believe me?

  9. @maniacsicko – Yes I would believe you, even if I didn’t know what a dog was. I could tell you that I believe that something was there. But certainly my belief would carry more weight if I knew what a dog was or at least had seen a dogs actual bones. You could easily say it was a small dinosaur dropping. Or tell me to guess which of the two it was, dog or dinosaur. If neither were something I was familiar with I could guess either. Both would carry the same weight, which would be very little, even though I believe you. Yet knowing that I have seen dogs, even if I didn’t know which kind of dog this was, the idea that it was a dog would carry more weight with me than a dinosaur. The possibility and reality of it being a dog is greater. It would seem more realistic and undeniable to me.

    That’s what I need right now. I need is a way to qualify Gods existence in a way that is real and not just a belief.
    This is hard for me to explain. The best thing I can really say at this point (even though its definition I don’t think it truly fits this scenario) might be the word “epiphany.” A moment of clarity when suddenly you realize something. You don’t just believe it, you actually realize it completely, it goes from being an abstract belief into being an undeniable reality. It becomes more attached to the reality of the physically possible and less to the reality of the mind alone.  

  10. @immortalwithout – I think that’s probably true to some extent but not as a whole. As a whole it’s even more abstract. It’s almost mental masturbation, circular thinking. I pretty much vowed to myself to stop that kind of thinking years ago. It never came to any conclusions that felt real and concrete, it always just felt like the kind of thing someone smug would say to someone else to try and sound smarter.

  11. @roxics – yeah i get the picture…   the comparison i made might not seem as a valid direct comparison, as it is not..  just to lay the foundation whether that kind of logic are acceptable to you (not about the species of the animal, but the ‘effect’ or ‘sign’ left behind indicating that it was there)…

    another thing, the way we define what is ‘god’ is another problematic thing when this kind of discussion being done..  which usually makes the discussion leading to nowhere, really…   which is why i ask that question earlier…    can you accept something that is beyond our senses?   i don’t mean in the sense of “just belief”, because i don’t accept that either (I’m not christian)….   I mean, something like believing that there are things we cannot directly sense, but only confirming any of those things when it is proven so (while at the same time not concretely denying the existence of other things)…   I don’t really know how to word it really….  haha

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