There’s a strange, fragrant smoke wafting in on the wind from somewhere. It smells vaguely familiar, like something smelled long ago, or perhaps a blend of known scents made strange by their mixture. Sort of a sweet, herbal smell.
I keep thinking one of the neighbors is smoking cheap weed cut with sage or catnip or something.
The smell isn’t really unpleasant, but the smoke is just irritating enough to keep me awake, and that means my mind is wandering. So I’ll write this post that I had in mind a few days ago, a response to a facebook post I saw asking what you would say to God, if you had the chance. I think the person whose status I saw it on said something to the effect of “I’d just want a hug.”
Me, I’d want an explanation.
Something atheists are often asked is “why do you hate God?”, and of course the answer is that we don’t, because we don’t believe any such being exists. But considering that scenario, I realized that if a god like that did exist then I would hate him. Because thinking through the implications, this being would be, at best, negligent to the point of cruelty. Consider the vast number of religions, somewhere around 40,000 different flavors of Christianity alone. Every time members of different sects clash violently, God could have stopped it. Not even by force or magic, but simply by communicating clearly. Every time a Catholic monarch committed atrocities against Protestant subjects, or vice versa, that is because God never bothered to confirm or deny anything. The rivers of blood spilled between Muslims and Christians over the last thousand years could have been avoided if God had just weighed in on whether or not Muhammed was his prophet.
Silence implies approval. When some asshole preacher says that Jesus hates the gays and thinks they should be rounded up & killed, Jesus lends authority to this statement by doing nothing to contradict it. If someone is claiming to speak for you and you do nothing to correct this claim then people will assume that you approve of the words being put into your mouth.
That’s the bare minimum, when you consider that God is often presented as all-knowing and all-powerful, you have to accept that God knew about every horrible thing that anyone ever did to anyone else, could have stopped it, and chose to do nothing. Earlier tonight I saw a story about a woman who let her boyfriend rape her baby to death. She even encouraged him, police say. God was okay with that. God is apparently okay with anything and everything, despite the insistent claims that he won’t tolerate interracial marriage, or women voters, or shellfish. God tolerates all of it, so serenely that I’ve yet to be convinced he exists at all.
So to address the original question of what I would say if I found myself face to face with God, I suppose it depends on long it takes to get over the surprise that God exists and then the white-hot anger for hiding in silence so long, but if I speak with sincerity it will not be complimentary. Perhaps I would advise the errant deity to stay silent, giving no hints to mystic truths, after making it clear that there will be no divine guidance and we’re on our own, for the benefit of those who haven’t yet figured it out. Remove the illusion of authority from the priests & the preachers and then leave us to ourselves. Perhaps it would be better not even to say that much, but to feign nonexistence and let humanity’s faith fade away completely. Because one thing I’m sure of, we make better decisions when we make them by and for humans, without listening to those who would speak for God.
Posted on June 19, 2013, in Daily Post and tagged the standard you walk past is the standard you accept. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.