Isn’t it interesting that the only character in Celestial Method (Sora no Method) who’s not bitter or hurt (or both) is the one with the most tragic back story?
Episode four of Celestial Method takes us further into the backgrounds and relationships of our core group of former friends. It begins with yet another slapping of Nonoka and ends with virtually all the reasoning behind the broken friendships explained.
Ultimately, the characters are unhappy because they lost what they once had. Yuzuki is angry at having lost the specialness of Kiriya City’s culture and trust with Koharu and Sota. Koharu is sad that she’s lost her bond with Yuzuki. Sota is at a lost of what to do about his sister. And Shione, as shown in episode three, is bitter at Nonoka, a friend and a girl that she looked up to, leaving her.
All of this brokenness can be traced back to Nonoka and the calling of the saucer. Yuzuki is the only one of the group that’s vocally against the saucer, going to extreme lengths to try to build opposition to it. She’s angry at what it’s appearance has caused. Koharu is perhaps at the other end, with what appears to be her family shop thriving because of it’s saucer-related, touristy merchandise; her family uses the saucer. And Shione and Sota seem to largely ignore it, focusing their emotion and attention, rather, on relationships.
It’s interesting how each regards the saucer phenomenon. None of these postures can be maintained, however, when they come face to face with Noel, the personification of the saucer itself. They regard her as an individual. They listen to her, consider her, and even embrace her.
When you’re face to face with reality, with a real person, you often forget the ideas about the individual that have developed in your mind over time. Have you ever done that with a person? Maybe you have a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, and past bitterness or prejudices about him or her overtake your thoughts, and your brain develops a caricature of that person that’s immediately swept away when you’re reunited.
We certainly treat God a similar way. Without seeing Him in person ever, much less on a daily basis, it’s common for us to treat Him one dimensionally – both for Christians and for those that don’t believe in God (or outright oppose him). We can be like Yuzuki, blaming Him for troubles in our lives – and certainly many do that, especially when a tragedy has occurred. Others use God, as Koharu and her family does – seeing Him as a genie or treating Him even more selfishly for gain (I’m looking right at you, you politicians who use God in your speeches about your own agendas). And many of us simply ignore God – again, both for non-Christians (in a theoretical sense) and for believers (in the actual way we live our lives).
But God isn’t some giant on a throne in the sky – He’s no still saucer there to bitter against, used, or ignored. Instead, He is personal and real, just as a friend, sibling, or anyone else in our lives. But more than that, even when everyone us fails us, He always remains for us:
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
– Exodus 14:14
God invites all of us into a relationship. The question for many of us remains, though, do we treat God like Noel*, a real, dynamic individual, or do we treat Him like a saucer? In a relationship, the answer to that makes all the difference.
* I do believe there’ll be a post somewhere in the future focusing a bit more on Noel and the meaning of her name.
4 thoughts on “Celestial Method Episode 4: Reality of the Saucer”
Interesting as always, as it plays upon the layered nature of the relationships humanity has with religion. But I’m not so sure that I can blame us for a lot of it.
The problem with being followed around by a being that you cannot see is precisely that you cannot see them. The only proof-positive you have of their existence is the very sensation of them being around— The uncanny feeling that there is, in fact, a person standing right next to you. Which you can’t independently verify beyond the statements of others that they experience something relatively similar. The only other proof seems decidedly unverifiable: The sensation nudges you toward or seems to get stronger around direct references to Itself. Or uses its ability to manipulate events to verify the references to Itself. Given that I am not a Christian and that I am also human, I can only assume you used similar methods to determine that the Bible was the Word of God. (That, and the Book’s uncanny internal consistency).
So with this incredibly questionable but blatantly-obvious-to-the-individual verification method going on, the rational part of your mind is going to regularly dispute your sanity. And that same part of you will be inclined to use God as a genie, use God for your own ends, or otherwise do things that show that you do not believe He exists as a person. Because in a way, I think that’s what those actions suggest— They are the actions of a person who believes in an impersonal, unknowable God. Someone who is trying to appeal to an advantage they know they have without thinking about Who they’re actually asking. Interestingly, people view the Devil in exactly the same inaccurate way— But the indirect way in which he is referred to shows that this is intentional. (Which makes me wonder more generally why we tend to use titles instead of names to refer to God—- It’s not polite so much as a veiled indication that we’re missing the person in the equation…)
During the times in which you actually “meet” God (Feel Him strongly) all of those actions seem incredibly twisted and sick don’t they? For how could you dispute the existence of a person who is so “obviously there” and obviously not you? But really when it happens it’s a basic lack of faith.
And maybe that is cruel of us. The ways in which we relate to spirit beings, ways that we would never treat a person we thought was real, indicate we think as much to those who spent more trouble and time on us than most of our own relatives.
Thank you for always incisive comments!
“Feeling God” around us in an amazing sensation. In those rare (or for some, frequent) moments, we do indeed feel emotions such as strength (in our faith) or shame (in how we treat God). But it’s certainly hard to rely on these moments, and for Christians, we have to realize that those of others faiths have similar moments. In fact, other faiths focus on these much more than most Christian denominations and sects. Ultimately, our “proof-positive” must come from the Bible (the “uncanny internal consistency” of which you mention), and from there, so much else flows that strengthens our faith. And we must also remember that really, ultimately, it is faith, which the Bible helps us remember is based on what we cannot see – something without 100% tangible proof.
I also agree that it’s natural to treat God as a genie – in fact, I would say it’s part of our nature. We look at the relationships in our own lives, which reflect ours with the Creator, and see how we mistreat and use those we love most. It’s common.
It also points to our immaturity in faith. I’m no different in that, without even realizing it, I once treated God this way. Honestly, I still do, frequently. But as I grow in my faith, there’s a change in my nature that’s happening, sanctification, and as I understand God’s tremendous grace more and more, the work that’s happening in me leads me to treat the Father as I should, with love and respect and awe, like He’s both REAL and EVERYTHING HE SAYS HE IS. And thus, treating God as something other than that reveals in us not just our nature, but a need to grow and understand God better – and maybe the fact that we’re not in a relationship with God at all. I could put it this way – if you were married, but you never enjoyed your spouse, only going to her to use her for your needs and maybe not even speaking to her for days or weeks on end, that’s in fact no real relationship at all.
Anyway, thanks again for sharing – it helped me think further about this topic and get some more of my thoughts on paper (or computer)!
“Ultimately, our “proof-positive” must come from the Bible (the “uncanny internal consistency” of which you mention), and from there, so much else flows that strengthens our faith. And we must also remember that really, ultimately, it is faith, which the Bible helps us remember is based on what we cannot see – something without 100% tangible proof.”
The Bible is perhaps the one thing I have no basis of comparison for. I have felt many of the same things Christians have about faith and worship, and have a certain proximity to many of the religion’s tenets. Yet try as I might to experiment, it remains a book to me and not the thing of Glory that you see. Yet when I hear my sister read it, the gravity in her voice tells me that what she hears is Almighty God. She is there in that place where Eternity dwells.
“But as I grow in my faith, there’s a change in my nature that’s happening, sanctification, and as I understand God’s tremendous grace more and more, the work that’s happening in me leads me to treat the Father as I should, with love and respect and awe, like He’s both REAL and EVERYTHING HE SAYS HE IS.”
These are actually the lyrics from that so-bad-it’s-good spectacle of an anime, Guilty Crown’s opening:
Even if someone calls you a liar,
and tries to hurt you with heartless words,
even if the world tries to make you wear a crown of thorns
without even trying to believe in you
I can take your side, and yours alone.
I know that solitude, that pain
So, everything that makes me whole,
I’ll now give to you
They remind me of the wonderful changes happening in you (:} <3 ) and hit me like a ton of bricks emotionally when I first heard them. Because that's what it feels like to love that much— Although "everything that makes me whole" could actually be interpreted as being the same person you're giving it to. Actually, if you guys look into it….bits of the full lyrics are bizarrely Christian. o__o;
Hold fast always to the things that really Matter.
Thanks for the always compassionate words. Also for pointing me back toward Guilty Grown, a show that disappointed me so so much. The music, though, was killer, though I can’t believe I never caught those lyrics. I’ll have to take your recommendation and look back into them. If you include “crown of thorns” in your lyrics, much less many of those others words and phrases, you’ve hooked me.