Although perhaps technically an agnostic, I’m an agnostic of the atheistic sort—I long ago looked pretty hard for evidence of a god or gods, and found none.
Even so, I find the idea of gods appealing and possibly useful, in just the way that Dora is talking about here:
It would be helpful, I think, if we still had gods of various disciplines. It’s easier, in a sense, to serve Asklepios than to serve medicine, or even health, which seems so abstract. — Theodora Goss
It appeals to me to imagine that there are genii loci for every place—at least, every place that’s worth anything. It appeals to me to imagine a correspondence between allegorical figures—Liberty and Justice are the two most immediately recognizable, but there are many others like Industry or Science—and some deity.
Basically, I like the idea of these small gods—household gods, local gods, and (as Dora suggests) gods of crafts and trades.
I just don’t believe in them.
But maybe they’re of value anyway, without believing in them.
I didn’t have an imaginary friend as a child, because I figured it wouldn’t count unless you actually believed in your imaginary friend. Maybe I’m making the same error here with gods. For all I know maybe most people don’t actually believe in their gods. I’d much prefer that to the idea that half the population is delusional (although I fear the latter is closer to the truth).
I think maybe I’ll give that a bit of a try.
Who could look at this land and not feel the presence of a genius loci?