Three things that fascinate me: off-beat, eccentric characters; weird and wacky beliefs; and stories. I love stories. In fact, I'm a story junky. And I guess that together those are the main reason why I can't stay away from egroups and forums and websites devoted to areas like biblical studies and belief systems.
Now and again I will come out of my normal lurking mode and post a comment or two, and then retreat into my hidey-hole and watch. The other day I was told I was opinionated and closed-minded and I thought, hey no, I'm not. It's those others who are the ops and the clo-mins, not me cause I'm a way-over-to-the-left liberal who thinks Bishop Jack Spong is rather too conservative. Me, closed-minded? Hell, no.
There had been a discussion going on about a story in the Old Testament (Joshua 10, for those who want to read it) about how God made the sun stand still so that the good guys would have enough daylight left to complete their defeat and slaughter of the bad guys. Good for Him, always there when you need Him. Some folk were going to enormous lengths to show that it was entirely reasonable to suppose that God caused a Very Big meteorite to hit the earth and stop it spinning for a bit - and no, it wouldn't have any harmful effects and here's the maths to prove it. (But I'll spare you that bit, folks.)
So I chipped in to say that I found this approach entirely lacking in credibility. And I suggested that whatever we might believe about that particular story, one thing was certain - the earth did not stop spinning. And that was me being opinionated and closed-minded. Well, ok then. I really don't want to develop that open-mindedness that obliges me to study in detail all the wacky theories of nut-cases who have devoted their lives to the study of ingenious ways of by-passing rational thought.
It's all very well, though, to smile at the sheer craziness of some beliefs but all too often people govern their lives and their children's lives by them - and the consequences are often thoroughly unamusing and far from benign. That is a major thrust of my current novel. And it's a novel rather than any other literary form because at heart I'm a story-teller.