In an earlier post I used stars and constellations to make the distinction between what’s real and what’s imaginary. (BTW, There are only 88 official constellations—and the Big & Little Dippers aren’t among them. Look it up.):
Stars are real, constellations aren’t. They’re just the patterns we assign to distant luminaries based on symmetry. Constellations have “implied” reality, not “intrinsic” reality. They are not native to the universe but exist only in the human mind. But when enough people see the same shapes in the night sky, the images enter the collective consciousness and become as established as the stars themselves.
Religions are more about constellations than stars. They extrapolate patterns from points of truth and decree certain things to believe (orthodoxy) and specific ways to live (orthopraxy).
I’m more into stars than constellations these days. It’s too easy—and harmful—to confer divine status on human paradigms based on a few proof texts. Better to steer a course by the most brilliant lights and agree to disagree about the lesser luminaries.
The four brightest stars in my firmament are:
- An intelligent Creator
- The uniqueness of Jesus
- Life after death
- The supremacy of love
What are your stars?