The Saccharine Jesus

Fahrenheit 451

I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It’s been a long time since I read it, if ever. The premise is a world of mostly self-imposed censorship, because people simply no longer desired to read and to think. it’s also a commentary on the passive nature of television and other audio media. This was before the day of “active listening” I guess. Anyway, one paragraph addresses religion. The scholar, Faber, asks Montag if he can see the Bible, which Montag saved from a fire of his own creation:

“It’s been a long time. I’m not a religious man. But it’s been a long time.” Faber turned the pages, stoping here and there to read. “It’s as good as I remember. Lord, how they’ve changed it in our ‘arlors’ these days. Christ is one of the ‘family’ now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshipper absolutely needs”((Fahrenheit 451, by Rad Bradbury, p. 81).

What is intriguing about this, of course, is Bradbury’s observation that left to our own devices, we create our own God to suit whatever the theo-political-sociological needs of the day might seem to be. Exodus 32 is alive and well! The golden calf is in all of us.

Contrast this with our Lord’s self disclosure. He reveals Himself to us, the Word made Flesh. He gives us not what we want or what we think we need. He gives us what we truly need, a Savior from sin, death and hell. God is our creator who knows what our deepest needs are. We cannot create our own God. He creates us in His holy waters. Words matter. They connect us to God Himself.

Thanks, Mr. Bradbury.

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