Sunday, 7 July 2013

So what do you mean by “God”?

A neat way to shut up religious people is to demand that they define the God they believe in. Who is God? What is God? What the hell are you talking about?

It’s the perfect dilemma, known as the "ignostic dilemma": if they use Plan A, and define God in specific terms, i.e. the literalists who believe every word in the Bible, then you can whip out all the proof that the Bible is logically and scientifically wrong. All you have to do is whip out the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and the “specific” definition of God falls apart, because Genesis is loaded with provable lies.

Which is why the cleverer Jesus People go to Plan B, defining God in terms that are so vague and slippery that they essentially have no meaning, definitions that could easily apply to things that are entirely non-supernatural. Examples:

“God is, like, that feeling I get that makes me want to do good things.” In other words, conscience.

“God is, like, that feeling I get when I just feel really good”. Which, depending on circumstances, could be runner’s high. Intoxication, a really good toe-curling orgasm….

“God is, like, the thing which makes good things happen in the world.” In other words, dumb luck, which seems to hit evil people as much as the good.

“God is karma.” See “luck”.

“God is what created the universe.” In other words, a mass of unimaginable energy that exploded and turned itself into piles of dust and burning hydrogen and empty space. An unthinking pile of matter.

“God is the one who rules the universe.” The universe, the place that is 99.99999 percent dead, lethal to all life. In other words, God is the guy who rules with less competence than the warlords who “rule” Somalia.

 “God is who we worship.” In other words, Justin Bieber. Or money. Which is kinda the same thing.

“God is the one who rules our world.” In other words, a consortium of corporations and banks that includes Exxon, Bank of America, and the Koch brothers.

 “God is the one who dominates and takes over my life.” In other words, a new baby, an obsessive spouse, a cocaine addiction, or Facebook.

 “God is what gives us our moral rules.” In other words, the primitive tribesmen who existed long before Jehovah was even thought of, tribesmen who worshipped a hundred little pagan Gods. In other words, our morality came from people who worshipped every ancient God EXCEPT Jehovah.

“God is all-knowing, all-powerful, endlessly good.” This one was exploded by the philosopher Epicurus before Jesus was even born. “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

“God is the one who loves me and answers my prayers.” This takes us back to Epicurus. God never gives you any sign that he’s listening, and does nothing to improve your world or your life, that wouldn’t have happened anyway. In other words, he says nothing and does nothing. In other words, God is Uncle Bob who hasn’t worked since he got hit in the head with that ladder.

 “God is the one who hates fags!” Which is why “he” created millions of them. Which is why there are over a thousand species that not only indulge in gay sex but have gay relationships. Which is why in America – God’s country – the founding fathers won the revolution and signed the Constitution wearing wigs, lace and satin tights. In other words, God hates nature, hates America, and hates millions of his own creations.

“God is the one who thinks every new life is precious.” And kills millions of young children each year with disease and hunger. In other words, God is plague and famine and death. Death of the most innocent among us. Let us praise and worship him!

“God sent us the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.” In other words, Mommy!

“God sent us Santa.” In other words, Daddy!

“God makes the food grow.” In other words, rain and cow shit.

“God is perfection.” Which just proves he doesn’t exist. Because there is no such thing as absolute perfection. Some things come close – the weightless frictionless pulley in physics homework, Jimmy Page's guitar, kd lang’s voice, my daughter’s platinum eyelashes, Kate Upton’s body – but only close. There are things that are perfect in certain aspects – the GOP is perfectly evil, pizza is the perfect food – but not perfect in all things. In other words God doesn’t exist in the real world.

“God is the one who will live forever.” Which is impossible since the universe is going to collapse and destroy itself in a few billions years.

“God is infinite.” The only thing that’s infinite is the emptiness of space, and even that is temporary.

“God is the one whose eye is on the sparrow: he watches everything and cares for everything, no matter how small.” Well, just look at the state the world is in. Millions dying of famine and disease, thousands of species going extinct, all life on the planet vulnerable to global warming, mankind lost in a morass of hate and murder and greed and ignorance. If God is watching everything, he’s doing damn little about it. Just sitting up in his celestial man-cave, watching the world fall apart like it’s a reality show. So God is Uncle Bob again.

“God is the being who created man in his own image.” Look at man. An ugly smelly hairy creature prone to stupidity and violence, small-minded, short-sighted, mean-spirited. And up in heaven is a creature just as repulsive. Yay! And by the way, most of mankind consists of brown-skinned people who don’t believe in the Bible. Which I bet the Baptists never really looked into very carefully.

“God built heaven and hell for the saints and sinners.” Actually heaven and hell, as conceived by modern Christians, appear almost nowhere in the Bible. And a good thing too, since astronomers have looked into heaven and found no sign of God or his angels, and geologists have looked down below to find nothing but rock.

“God is beyond our comprehension, it’s a mystery!” In other words, the concept of God is meaningless, and defenders of the concept are just copping out.

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