Basset Hound Christianity (Part 3): The Old Man, The Cabin, and The Bear

Basset Hound Christianity is a series of sometimes random, sometimes coherent personal views of mine on Christianity.

“No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word. It is every individual’s individual code of behavior by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol – cross or crescent or whatever – that symbol is man’s reminder of his duty inside the human race.”  -William Faulkner, Paris Review (1956).

Years ago, one of my relatives gave me a quiz he learned from his college religion class.  I can’t recall the entire quiz, though the parts on religion stuck out for me.  I’m sure that someone out there has taken this quiz before.  I may be missing exact details, so feel free to correct me if I err.  I err often.

You come to a cabin in the woods.  A person is sitting on the porch.  Describe the person and your encounter.

The person is a very old man sitting in a rocking chair.  I stare at him.  He stares at me, but makes no movement.  I speak and he says nothing.  He is indifferent to me.

Step into the cabin.  Describe the cabin.

It is a very simple, warm, and cozy log cabin.  It has all the necessary comforts for one or two people to live in.

You leave the cabin and come down a path.  [I’m fairly certain I was asked to describe the path, but I can’t recall anything about it.]  A bear appears.  Describe the bear and its actions.

The grizzly bear stands up menacingly on its hind legs.  He makes one roar, but then looks at me silently.  He gets back on all fours, shrugs his shoulders, and returns to the woods.  The whole time I just stare calmly at the bear.


Now, according to my relative, I actually just described my relationship with Christianity.  The Old Man is God, the cabin is Heaven, and the bear is Jesus Christ.  I suppose I visualize God as a Condescending Wonka  (Not really “condescending,” just indifferent.)  The cabin as Heaven sounds acceptable.  I took this quiz in eighth grade, and I am impressed how I thought of a simple cabin as akin to Heaven.  The bear as Jesus Christ seems like the Condescending Wonka Dog (again, not really “condescending,” just indifferent.).  It wasn’t meant to be a completely accurate test, but, looking back years later, I’m amazed how it would eventually reflect my view on Christianity.  God as Old Man I can understand as Christian Deists might view God and the cozy cabin as Heaven is something many could relate.  But the 7-ft tall grizzly bear with sharp claws pretending to be mighty, but quickly deciding to just go back into woods to rethink his life is Jesus Christ, the Christian Messiah?  I got nothing.  I’m not a Catholic nor do I know much of its imagery, but apparently the bear could either be Persia or St. Euphemia… which makes things far more complicated.

I can’t do anything about the Old Man or the bear, but I think I can build that cabin.


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