Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Conversation with God

I woke up after my accident and suddenly I realized that I was dead. I was in a beautiful place, full of light and the most wonderful sense of well being I’ve ever felt. I thought to myself, “This could work.”

Then I saw a figure that introduced himself to me as God. He told me to look around and enjoy, because this brief moment is all I am going to see of Heaven.

“What?” I asked him. “Why. I mean my life wasn’t perfect but I didn’t do anything really bad. I never murdered, molested, or raped anyone. I didn’t steal stuff. I paid (most) of my taxes.”

“Atheists, like yourself, and other humanist types are not welcome in Heaven because you did not believe in me or my son, Jesus,” God explained.

“But God,” I pleaded. “I didn’t believe in you because you did not provide me with sufficient evidence that you exist. On Earth people have to learn to be skeptical, else they will be taken advantage of by those who really deserve Hell.”

“I gave you my Word. My word is in the bible, which you dismissed as fairy tales. I gave you the witnesses of my faithful who believe in me with all their hearts. That was not enough for you?”

“No God,” I replied. “Why should that be enough? People are not perfect; they have flaws, and some cannot be trusted.”

“That’s unfortunately true,” God ceded.

“And some people are gullible; they’ll believe anything, especially things they really want to believe.”

“Your point?” God demanded.

“My point is, if humans are unreliable, imperfect beings how can you rely on them to spread your word to other humans and then hold those other humans accountable for making the reasonable choice not to believe the seemingly unfathomable stories found in the bible? I mean, really, have you read them? There’s this one story about a man who lived for three days inside a fish, and another story where a talking snake convinces a naked woman to eat an apple that you, yourself, placed in plain site….”

“Yes, yes, I know the stories. They are highly embellished. The only one you really needed to believe is the one where I sent myself, er, I mean my son to die on the cross and then return a couple of days later so that all could be saved.”

“But,” I protested, “How was I to know that? I mean if the other stories are embellished, why not that one, too?”

“I didn’t say the other stories were false, just embellished. You know, to make them more interesting.”

“So, bottom line, Lord: You are going to send me to Hell to writhe in agony for all eternity because I decided not to take the tall tales of other humans seriously?”

“No,” God replied. “I’m not SENDING you to Hell. You CHOSE Hell because you chose not to believe in me.”

“Semantics!”

“Ok, you got me there. Still, off you go.”

“But you are supposed to be infinitely just. How can you say that justice has been done when you, yourself, did not provide me with evidence that you exist, but instead relied exclusively on fallible humans to convince me of your existence? On top of that, you allowed the devil to tempt me with false notions, as you did with Eve and the apple, and then you hold me responsible for making the wrong decision. If I am going to be held to that level then you should have created me and other humans to be perfect, like you.”

“I wanted to give you free will,” God replied. “Otherwise, you would have been like little god-like robots. And it was your free will that did you in. You chose to turn away from me.”

“So only those who are the most gullible, the ones who allowed others to convince them of those freaky bible stories, those are the ones you let into Heaven?” I asked.

“Well, yes. Those are the believers, despite how they came by that belief. They still get in, and they will live forever in eternal bliss,” God answered.

“So is there no free will in Heaven, then?” I asked.

“Yes, of course there is free will in Heaven. If I allowed humans to make a shambles of my creation because I wanted them to have free will then why would I not allow free will in the perfect eternal city?”

“Because with free will, people tend to screw things up, as you said. So they will probably screw things up in Heaven, too.”

“No, no,” God answered with frustration. “In Heaven things are perfect. No one rebels against perfection.”

“And you couldn’t have created that sort of perfection in the first place? You know, when you first created us and gave us free will? What’s the difference?” I demanded.

“Just go stand in that line over there, the one going down. I grow tired of this conversation. Suffice it to say, I work in mysterious ways.”

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Decision to Believe. Abraham was called the "father of the faith".
But it wasn't that he never doubted, it wasn't that he always did the right thing, it wasn't that his motives were always pure.
He failed on all three counts. But listen- Abraham never gave up on his will to follow God.
He said, " I'm going to trust him- will not the king of all the earth do right?"
He wouldn't give up on God. And one definition of faith is that it's the will to believe.
It's the decision to follow the best light you have about God and not to quit.
The idea of choice runs all the way through Scripture. Look at Joshua. He says to choose this day whom you're going to serve, but as for him and his house, they will serve the Lord.
So faith, at it's taproot, is a decision of the will.
John 7:17 say's, "If a man chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."
John 12:37, the bible elaborates on this when it say's, " Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, THEY still would NOT believe in him."
Then two verses later, it say's, " For this reason they could not believe." God tells us in his word - without faith, we cannot please him. It's YOUR CHOICE.

Jerry Wilson said...

Abraham and the others already believed that God existed. It was just their choice to have faith that a) He was the right god (because there were others back then, and b) That God would do the right thing by them eventually. There was never much doubt that God actually existed. The same is true of the Greek gods and other gods of myth. The Greeks never for one minute doubted the existence of their gods. Their job was not to have faith that they existed but to do things to please them.

The point of my post is that the god of the bible as believed by Christians (and Muslims and Jews) does not and cannot exist. If you carry through on the bible's or the Christian's doctrinal beliefs you'll see that the logic of god breaks completely down. Perhaps a god does exist. I doubt it, but it's possible. What is not possible is the existence of the Christian god.

Beth said...

I'm just way too rational for blind faith. I can't do it. If there is a god, he/she/it made me that way. If he/she/it doesn't like it, then that is THEIR problem, not mine!

Great "conversation," Jerry. Nicely done!

Patty said...

I am going to send a link to your blog to my brother who is an Atheist. I know he will enjoy it as much as I have. He & I were raised in Christianity and we spent years studying together w/ several bibles of different translations along with various reference books.
I'm not sure if there is a god but if god does exist I am pretty sure he/she is not the hateful, vindictive god of the Christian/Jewish Bible nor the Quran.
-And- if there is a god I would find it impossible to worship any god who created creatures as vile and wicked as 'Man'.
Just my uneducated opinion.
(sorry for my ramble, I make a little more sense when I'm not so tired)

I'm glad I found your blog.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is .. wow . I never thought that way until some years ago when I started to really read the news and see the daily 'man's inhumanity to man' . I started asking myself and others 'why would God allow this to go on century after century without his intervention' . People will tell me that you may ask God for something but sometimes the answer is 'no' ... Well he apparently said 'no' aprox. 6000000 times via the Nazis . You can't tell me not one hallocaust victim didn't ask God to intervene .

+mf said...

Jerry,

With every post of yours that I read I am amazed at how you articulate many of the exact same thoughts that I have. I've said on numerous occasions that while I do not believe in God, I find no fault with those who say, "I feel that the world is too intricate and perfectly balanced to have been accidental." The fact is that the odds of some sort of God existing are just as good as the odds of the big bang, etc. However, the idea that anyone on the planet knows who this God is, what he wants, how to please him, and what happens to us after we die is absurd.

Really, it's funny because it seems that if God was real he wouldn't have that much interest in humans. The fact that people believe that these epic battles between good and evil take place over the fate of our souls seems extremely narcissistic to me.

And on a side note, if Hell is the Devil's domain, why would he make it so unpleasant? I mean, he wants to tempt us so we go to hell, wouldn't he get a lot more of us down there if he made it a little nicer?

Jerry Wilson said...

@mf: Although I don't really think there is a god simply because one is not needed to explain everything, I have no problem at all with those who believe that there must be a creative force of some kind, call it God or whatever. The idea of a personal, prayer-answering god is totally absurd. But if that's your belief, have at it. What really gets me, though, and what I have a big problem with is that too many believers are so sure of themselves on this point that they go to extreme lengths to make sure everyone else complies with their backward beliefs. They get elected and pass laws. They get on school boards and screw with the science curriculum or revise history. And they indoctrinate their own children so that they will never be able to think critically. It's sad.

I also think your last point is a valid one. What purpose is there for the devil? Does he exist only because God needs someone to handle the rejects?