|Tom Skilling. Best weatherman in the world, prophet, and all around nice guy.|
After living most of my life isolated from the effects of the weather, I always thought the idea that religion was created by people who were trying to make sense of the chaotic weather to be intuitively off. Part of the reason, sure, but not completely. I always leaned towards the idea that religion was started to help legitimize the leaders of society. Then again, that's what you'd probably expect a former political science major to think. This summer I did some roofing on the weekends and I have to say it may have changed my opinion some. Once you get to know people in the trade you come to find they are completely obsessed with the weather. For good reason, too. A week of rain means a week without pay.
I was talking to one of my roofing buddies yesterday about how much trouble this lingering rain is giving him. Basically, it's the end of the month, the rent is due in a few days, money problems lead to marital problems and for some reason these dark clouds just won't go away. He said he almost feels like he's being punished for something. It's irrational, but when times are tough, making that leap is understandable. The vast majority of us have done something that we believe we should be punished for. Guilt is an emotion we've all experienced. It eats at you, it is silent, and many times justice and/or forgiveness never come to bring us closure.
Combine our own need for punishment with seemingly random, punishing storms, throw in a god of thunder for good measure and you can see how religion might come about. It's just another way to make sense of an unpredictable world. If it wasn't for Tom Skilling on Channel 9, I wouldn't be able to figure any of this out either. Actually, I need to tune in tonight because I'm really curious as to why the hell the clouds have been going backwards all week. To hell with Zeus, I've got Tom. The closest thing you'll find to a deity in Chicago. Somehow, that kind of makes sense.