Interviews with God
by: Donald B Ardell
The following is from the AWR newsletter and republished by permission of the author. Those who find this article of interest find other articles written by Don and may sign up for his newsletter at seekwellness.com/wellness.
The DISCUSSION contains a couple of responses to the initial publication of the article in the AWR newsletter.
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Not Likely, But If It Came To Pass,
Here's What I'd Say
Last week I received a request from a good friend and subscriber to
the AWR to respond to a hypothetical question. She noted that Robert
Green Ingersoll was asked what he would do if, after death, he
discovered there was a god after all. What would you do then?
I would walk up like a man, and say, I was mistaken, he replied.
But, that was Ingersoll. My friend wanted to know what I would say.
Well, here it is, followed by a few other replies from freethinker friends
and AWR readers. I'll go first.
Well, God (shall I call you God, or what? Holy Ghost, Your Lordship, Jesus, Mr. Christ?), thanks for this opportunity. I have no idea what lies ahead, for better or worse, but I'm going to be straight with you (since I presume you'd know it if I were trying to butter you up, as they say where I came from).
So, thanks for this audience. I have three things to say.
First, I don't believe you provided sufficient evidence for your existence. You gave us brains, so reason should trump faith, and evidence should prevail over unsupported claims. So many great people, the mental titans of courage and wisdom were, like me, not persuaded that you exist, including Robert Green Ingersoll (can I say hello after this, pretty please), Voltaire, Paine, Foote, Holyoake and in my time, O'Hare, Gaylor, Barker, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, Dawkins and others too numerous to list were not persuaded, either. How could a simple fellow like me from the mean streets of Philadelphia have reasoned his way to realize you're for real (assuming this isn't some kind of weird nightmare), when so many gallant luminaries didn't think so?
Second, almost everyone, every organization, every so-called preacher, priest, imman or holy person of every guise, seems to have been less than paragons of good sense. So many, quite frankly, have been simply ghastly, horrible horrible. Just consider a few - Billy Sunday, Father Coughlan, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham (and his son and daughter), Jimmy and Tammy Faye Baker, Oral Roberts - the list is so long - you get the point.
I'm almost done having my say, or defense, as the case may be.
Third, that hell idea you allowed your champions to spew - a
grotesque concept wherein it was said you gave away the pardon
power - how could you permit such notion? I'm sorry, but come to
think of it, there's a lot of other things I don't think you should have tolerated, even if you do know all, are all good, all powerful, all knowing, all American - all everything. Hell is an indecent idea -
even standing here, I can't forgive you for that.
So, that's it. If things end bad for me after this, well, I've somewhat upheld my dignity and integrity, for what that might be worth at this stage (not much, I expect). To paraphrase my hero Colonel Ingersoll, 'I would rather live and love where suffering is king and those who were decent, good and kind now dwell, even if the environment leaves much to be desired, than dwell at all, let along for eternity, in a world where love and good sense are not.'
If the folks I just mentioned are not in my next stop, well, send me where I might find them, please.
Always up for an assignment from the Tsar of Wellness but the question is lacking all resonance.
Having no religious background and a narcissistic certainty that I exist and that God, the divide and all things Jesus are fabrications, my interest in what you, I or anyone would say, is less than zero. I love meaninglessness but draw the line at extreme meaningless nonsense.
A more interesting question would be, What would you say to Carol if she caught you in bed with a 19 year old nubile?
I know age is against such an event but it is infinitely more likely
than you or anyone else ever meeting Christ or a deity of any kind.
I'm not sure how you will mark my assignment but I pretty much aced it. Warm regards.
I think I would be less likely to ask questions and more likely to try to help God be more effective in supporting peace, environmental care, social justice and overall wellbeing. If there is a god, he or she needs to use his or her powers to make a better world than currently exists.
Hi. REALLY sorry that I didn't believe in you or rather, I should say, accept the reality of your existence. However, please consider: A) You never, not even once, offered verifiable proof of your existence, and B) you allowed, encouraged and/or fostered so many horrible things to happen to our species and almost all others.
The latter includes the almost sure likelihood of the demise of homo sapiens! We'll soon enough joining the vast majority of other species already knocked off. So, why should I, or anyone for that matter, have ever accepted your existence?
However, now that I'm here (and where am I, exactly?) I'll try to make the best of it.
One, I could just apologize to Jesus for my dismissal of his seat on the right hand of God and ask to see his dad because I see Jesus as being a fairly standup guy, excepting his delusions. Oops, there I go again. Another apology for that. But the whole thing about the insemination of Mary without her knowledge and then forcing her to have the kid - I think God has to stand for the abuse of an innocent like that poor girl. And then having the child in a manger? Don't get me started. Anyway, take me to your old man. I have some questions.
Two, I could assume I've been catapulted into some alternate consciousness and am faced with an old hippie pal, Terry Carson, who spent most of his time on acid trips and carefully groomed himself to look like Jesus. After becoming an insurance agent, Terry died before his time and before I could see him sans beard and long, straggly hair and converse with him in the bright light of day instead of the swirling colors and phantasms of his latest journey into wherever. So I'd ask God if he'd seen Artie or Dax lately and how they were.
Other than that, I guess I'd most likely be struck dumb. Probably
just stand there and bask in the sunlight of the spirit and hope things were going to turn out alright. It would, after all, be a bit of a surprise.
The first question I would ask Jesus is why he felt the need to appear on Earth as a representative of God in the first place, if all of the latter's wonders speak for themselves? Could it possibly be a good cop-bad cop thing? Was God getting such a bad reputation as a vengeful tyrant that he needed to send his son to smooth things out with platitudes, such as love thy neighbor and turn the other cheek? If so, why did it not make people more neighbor-loving and cheek- turning? And why would he feel that a Second Coming would bring better results? I have a theory about that: As soon as he showed up and identified as Jesus Christ, returned to save souls, he would have been sent to a psychiatrist, diagnosed as a schizophrenic and put on appropriate medication.
However, there is one thing that Jesus managed to do during his short time on Earth that I would like to emulate. Therefore, my final question to him would be, What's the secret for turning water into wine.
Iris Vander Pluym
All right, Jeezus. What do you have to say for yourself?
Wait, never mind. If in 2,000 years neither you nor your followers could make one single coherent case for your existence - to say nothing of your much-touted benevolence - I have zero interest in anything you have to say.
See, it is not lost on me that you have a long-running scam whereby you save people from yourself. It's quite the racket: apparently you so despise your own handiwork (humans) that you would unleash upon us the most heinous punishments imaginable for doing exactly what you knew in advance with 100% certainty we would do. Then, when even that wasn't enough to satisfy your insatiable bloodlust, you came up with the most sadistic punishment ever devised: hell. Our only alternative to that cruel fate is spending eternity with you, along with the ghostly remains of a lot of shitty people who, inexplicably, think you're the bee's
What's wrong with you? No wonder we atheists generally took such great comfort in believing that death was merely oblivion. Christ!
None of this is worthy of respect, much less worship. It is the behavior of a spoiled toddler who throws a tantrum when he doesn't get his way and smashes all his own toys.
Now to be fair to you Jeezus, I despise humans too. I really, really do.
But I don't go around murdering and torturing them with wild abandon, insisting they obey my commands no matter how morally abhorrent, and demanding they never, ever eat shrimp. WTF, Jeezus? Shrimp are delicious.
Oh, and one more thing (though I could go on all day).
You forced a woman, a virgin at that, to birth yourself into quasi-mortal existence. Who even does that? I'll tell you who does that: forced-birthers, rapists and enslavers of women, that's who.
Nice company you keep there.
I must insist that you immediately remand my non-corporeal remains to hell, where at least I will find myself in the excellent company of fellow infidels, heathens, freethinkers, anti-theists and other assorted non-Christians. An eternal existence there cannot possibly be worse than enduring one single day with you, your most despicable clergy and their insufferable followers.
Juan The Blasphemer Garibaldi
OK, God, so you do exist. Who'd a thunk it? So where to begin...
First of all, why are you so mean and evil? I mean, read the Old Testament. Talk about a brutal, uncaring, heinous and meanspirited god. It's like you went out of your way to create an environment designed to encourage people to maim and kill each other in your name (and their offspring, and whole cities, and whole nations, etc.) Why create Man and then treat him like crap? I just don't get it.
Second, what's with the whole virgin birth thing? Really? I always thought Mary just got knocked up, and came up with the story to keep Joseph from beating her for being promiscuous (and that he was probably the most gullible person to ever walk this earth). Of all the ways to bring your son into the world to get your message out that we need to get back on track, this was probably the most ludicrous.
Third, how is anyone supposed to know which of your religions is the true religion? Just looking only at the Abrahamic religions (and ignoring the others), there are Christians, and Muslims, and Jews - all of whom claim that their version of you is the one and only true version. And that's not to mention all of the sects within each religion. This alone has caused thousands of years of strife, resulting in tens of millions of needless deaths, and hundreds of millions suffering and continuing to suffer. The entire planet remains on edge, all because you couldn't be bothered with a little clarification. All you had to do was appear to all of us, waive your magic wand, point out which of the religions was the right one, and voila! No more problems. Instead, you continue to remain silent, and let this fester, year after year, decade after decade, century after century - resulting in war after war, purges, intifadas, witch burnings, whole populations exterminated, and the list goes on and on. Really? This is how you run things? Hell, that idiot Trump could do a better job. (And while we're on the subject, Trump's hair. WTF?)
Fourth, if you're so omnipotent, and so concerned about human suffering, why allow all sorts of birth defects, genetic anomalies, mental and physical deformities, etc. to exist? Why allow entire populations to die of starvation? What god would think that allowing a child born with cerebral palsy, mentally handicapped and in constant pain is a compassionate thing to do? Every time I see a handicapped child (or adult), I wonder Why would any god allow this to happen? Where is his or her compassion? Where, indeed.
Fifth, if Earth is an Eden that you've created, you're allowing your chosen pets to pollute it to the point where it will soon be just one huge, toxic cesspool. Clearly you don't care very much about Earth, or the human race, if you're willing to allow it to slowly decay into oblivion. Are you busy with another planet, another galaxy, another toy that has your attention? If so, at least do something to let the folks on Earth know that you're still watching, and that you're not happy. Or, cut us loose (it's not like you're doing jack right now, anyway).
Sixth, and perhaps most importantly, why all the subterfuge? You're omnipotent, you dumb arse. You could have, and still can, immediately appear to everyone on earth to give us whatever message you think is the one to which we should be listening. Instead, you remain mute (except for the charlatans who claim they talk to you, like the Christian and Muslim leaders - or maybe you do actually talk to them, and not the rest of us? If so, I seriously question your judgment.) At some point, you come across as uncaring and useless, cold and cruel, and demanding and narcissistic - giving us virtually nothing of value, but demanding unquestioning obeisance for our entire lives - all for some sort of eternal afterlife.
Summing up, I'm unimpressed. I know you'll probably not take this as constructive criticism, but Jeezus Christ, get your celestial head out of your arse. Start acting like the omniscient deity you're supposed to be. Start earning all that love and faith steered your way. Start proving that you're a deity worthy of our respect and love and faith. Start using your powers and resources, and quit being some parsimonious prick who could fix things but does nothing. We have them already, they're called Republicans. Frankly, standing here now talking to you and reflecting on my experience to this point, I'm stunned that you exist at all. I'm very, very disappointed. So does hell exist? If so, let me make a visit there; from what I've read and heard, at least Satan has a plan.
Don Ardell is the author of 15 books on the subject of REAL wellness, producer of the weekly Ardell Wellness Report (816 editions since 1984) and a popular lecturer. His website contains an archive of his more than 1500 essays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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