Senses but absolutely real and in this sense an

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senses but absolutely “real” (and in this sense an atheist and a believer rely on two dif- ferent ontologies). However, if Roman Catholics recognize a personal God as really ex- istent and assume that from Him and from His Son proceeds the Holy Ghost, then they must consider Allah, Shiva or the Great Spirit of the Prairies as mere fictions — de- signed by a sacred narration . Likewise, for a Buddhist the God of the Bible is a mere fictional individual and Gitchi Manitou is an equally fictional individual for a Muslim as well as for a Christian. This means that for a believer in whatever confession all the religious entities of the other religions (that is, an overwhelming majority of entities) are fictional individuals — so that we are entitled to consider more or less ninety per cent of religious entities as fiction. One could object that, at least for the believers in religion X, their divinity really exists, while for all the fans of Alice she is a non-Physically Existing Object. But if we were going to test the true beliefs of common people we would discover that many Christians are not sure that Jesus really resurrected; others go to the Mass but are very doubtful about the real existence of the Holy Ghost; others sincerely believe in God but think that Jesus was only a very virtuous human being; and finally many Catholics still consider certain saints as persons who really existed while the Roman Church has offi- cially declared that they were a legend. Conversely, we have seen that some Britons be- lieve that Holmes was a real person and many Christian poets started their works by in- voking the Muses or Apollo — and we do not exactly understand if they simply used a literary topos or were in some way taking the divinities of the Olympus seriously. Many mythological characters have become protagonists of narrations, and in a symmetrical way many protagonists of secular narrations have become very similar to the characters of mythological tales, so that mythical heroes and gods, literary characters and religious entities are frequently separated by imprecise borderlines. The ethical power of fictional characters We have said that unlike all the other semiotic objects, which are culturally subject to revisions, and perhaps only similar to mathematical entities, fictional characters will never change and will remain the actors of what they did once and forever — and it is because of the incorrigibility of their deeds that we can dare to say that it is true that they were or did this and that.
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That is why they are important for us, even from a moral point of view. Just think — we are watching Oedipus Rex and we feel sorry that this fellow did not take any other road instead of the one where he met and murdered his father, and wonder why he reached Tebes and not, let us say, Athens, where he could have married Phryne or Aspasia? We read Hamlet asking why such a nice boy could not marry Ophe- lia and live with her happily, having killed that scoundrel of his uncle and gently kicked his mother out of Danmark? Why Heathcliff did not tolerate his humiliations a little
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