God is not a man with a beard on a throne in the clouds

Symbols are often used to help people get an idea of higher, often ineffable, truths.

  • A good story has the ability to transform its readers — it speaks to our psyche, and, in doing so, has the ability to change how we perceive the world.
  • When trying to understand the adherents of the world's major religions, Joseph Campbell advises to try to look at mystical experiences through the lens of the founders. In doing so, we can better understand the context of their messaging.
  • When we talk about God as an old man on a throne in the clouds, when seen as a metaphor, the imagery helps us understand the divine — the beard expresses great age, the throne symbolizes its supremacy, and the clouds signify that it presides over all of us.