Several polls have shown that about 50 percent of Americans would not vote for a qualified atheist for president. A 2006 study found that 40% of respondents characterized atheists as a group that did “not at all agree with my vision of American society”, and that 48% would not want their child to marry an atheist. In both studies, percentages of disapproval of atheists were above those for Muslims, African-Americans and homosexuals.
When people turn to fictional characters, it’s often because they want an escape. The stories of these people shelter us from the storm of our daily lives; they save us, if only for a little while. But when we really give in, become invested, let ourselves be vulnerable, something changes. We begin to feel that we know them. It’s no longer just an escape, but part of us, something that makes us who we are.
These characters teach us that incredible adversity can be overcome. That people can love each other forever. That life can be an adventure. That magic can be real. And even if these miracles have never happened to us, we begin to go through life believing that, someday, they could.
If anybody ever tells me that storytelling isn’t important anymore, I’ll show them this post.