Stranger in a Strange Land
How we cite our quotes:
"I grok this: we don't actually need Mike. You could have been the Man from Mars. Or me. Mike is like the first man to discover fire. Fire was there all along—after he showed them how, anybody could use it… anybody with sense enough not to get burned with it." (35.104)
Ben shares his realization with Jubal. If something is a truth, even a religious truth, then it can be open to everyone. According to this line of thinking, prophets, pastors, priests, and messiahs may help you grasp the truth or be there for support, but they're not necessary to actually learn the truth.
"I was forced to smuggle it in as a religion—which it is not—and con the marks into tasting it by appealing to their curiosity" (36.139)
Mike notes that his own religion is not a religion at all but a way of viewing the world, humanity, and one's place in each. Do you think Heinlein is suggesting this role about all religions?
Mike grinned with unashamed cheerfulness. "I am God. Thou art God… and any jerk I remove is God too." (36.153-54)
First, this is hilarious. Second, we hear all the time about scientists "playing God," but here Mike suggests that such acts aren't so much "playing" as they are "being" God. And since, according to Mike, we are all God, there is no issue; it's only natural. Cue Joan Osborne.