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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 

God, Explained

And you don't even need to rake through Milton's hubris.

To keep up with our coverage of all things disallowed from polite discussion--We'll get to sex, I swear-- We move on to the tricky subject of God. We've certainly heard a lot about him lately. Apparently they voted him out of Dover, Pennsylvania, and he's not going to reply to their pleas for help anymore. But who is this guy, anyways? Much like Shakespeare, we really only know him through his works, and there is some doubt even there. There are some who say that he created the Universe, and (of more recent signifigance) Man. Of course, anyone with any sort of legal oversight can see this for the brazen act of slander that it is; especially the bit about Man having been created in God's image. In fact, this entire Intelligent Design issue could be put to rest by a simple lawsuit filed on behalf of God.

Therein lies the rub. You can't file suit on behalf of the dead.

And let's get this straight right up front. Nietzsche was right. The dude is fucking toast, and Man holds the smoking gun. This is a post-mortem

The interesting thing though is trying to figure out when exactly he kicked it. Let's work from the beginning.

We're going to take the history of time up to the beginning of human life as read, because it's been discussed, and if you're not happy with Einstein and Hawking and Darwin you'll hardly find any satisfaction in me explaining. Let's just say that they're right, avoiding the whole slander issue.

Let's now look to some of the wisdom of the late, great, Douglas Adams. His arguement, at length, can be found here, and it is absolutely reccommended that you read it as it is a stunningly brilliant piece of work. However, it is long. Therefore, for the sake of arriving at a conclusion at some point within our natural lives, I shall condense it, and yes, take it in a bit of a different direction.

So early Man is out in the wild, hunting. Clutching his trusty spear, he pauses and thinks for a moment about just how lucky he is to have something so exceedingly useful. He can use it to hunt any number of beasts. He can use it to prod the fire he's made to cook them... "It's a good thing I made it," he thinks. Then he looks back to his work. He scans the woods for his prey, sees nothing, and once again loses himself in thought. "Now That I think of it, this entire world is pretty fucking well catered to my needs. Animals whose meat I can eat and skin I can wear; trees whose branches I can use to make spears like this one... Huh. I wonder who made it."

He figures that since the only sort of thing he knows that can make other things (e.g. the spear) is himself, the Earth would have to be the work of a larger, more powerful sort of being such as himself. By now the sun has begun to set and its time to get back to the cave, and naturally, he has nothing to show for his foray. But that doesn't stop him from sharing his revelation with the rest of the hunters as they swap stories around the fire. And his conclusion makes sense to his friends. While discussing this, one of the hunters raises a point: "This guy is totally responsible for us. I have a kid, and I provide for him. Where the fuck is this guy?"

Soon an entire species is feeling entitled. And of course because they are used to dealing with other humans, and have concieved their image of God as thus, they assume that getting favors granted can be a quid-pro-quo sort of thing. So, sacrifices, etc.

Meanwhile, God is hanging about in the cosmos, doing whatever it is a divine being does for kicks, when he takes notice of these pathetic pleas for help. Now, God is a total chump, and he gets the sort of feeling you might get if you see a child in the middle of a mall all alone and crying for his mommy. He feels he needs to help them. Problem is, he can't do it himself. They're just not ready for someone like him, all without definable form or limitation. So he delegates. Shitloads of gods of lesser power and influence are created in images that Man can comprehend, and sent to Earth to help Man out. They station themselves in places like Olympus and Azgard, and run shit according to their own whims as God goes back to enjoying his existence. A few thousand years go by and he realizes that this was a pretty fucking bad move.

These lesser gods were heck of undisciplined. Causing the Trojan War by telling Paris that he he's destined to marry Helen of Troy, and then helping the Greeks sack Troy, tossing Odysseus around at sea for all of seventeen years... to produce a complete list of any one pantheon would be an enormous undertaking well beyond the scope of this writitng. Suffice to say, they were fucking shit up. Eventually God comes to realize this and starts to go about phasing out the other gods, who sure as fuck wouldn't give up all their power on their own. The time had come to reveal his true form to humankind. So he starts to spread the news across various cultures and timelines (he exists parallel to our time, so he can do that) . He tries to convert Egypt to monotheism based on the Sun God, but that turns out to be a fiasco. He also tries a similar conversion with Julius Caeser, but when Caesar presents the idea to others he tried to become the one god because he thinks its his only chance at Heaven.

Almost ready to give up, God turns to Abraham

He tells him that he was the one all-powerful God, and that all other gods are lesser beings of his creation. As a result, that is one thing in all of history that only the Jews have gotten right. To this day, the Ten Commandments don't say that there is only one God, or that one is forbidden from recognizing other gods, merely that there be no gods "before me."

Of course, he has to jazz his story up a bit to make it more believeable. He holds for the time being to the popular belief that he created Man, and the Earth, and he add some myths and rituals. Because he's got a sick sense of humor he throws circumcision in there. And thus he acheives his first success in revealing himself to Man. He even eventually tells Moses his name; Yaweh.

Of course, by informing an entire people of a truth that no one else is prepared to accept, he's putting a huge target on them. Basically everyone gives them a hard time, which sucks, and because he's responsible, he's got to look after them. And he's getting pretty exhausted by it. By now he's delegating again, this time with angels who have no free will of their own (fuck you Milton, I'm not using your mythos). But he decides that he's going to get himself some help again.

He therefore appears to the prophet Isaiah and fortells the coming of his son (nepotism, go figure), only words it to make him think that its going to be someone who will set the Jewish people free, as opposed to just another guy to help him with administration. So on comes Jesus. But because God doesn't want to lie to his people, he invokes the doctrine of equivocation(scroll to the very bottom of the entry)and uses the birth and death of Jesus as a means of allowing human souls to share in his divinity after death, thus, "freeing" them in a sense of the word. So he's got a right hand man, and just for good measure he throws in a sort of hard-to-define essence that Trinitarians call the Holy Spirit and once again he's found a way to reduce his workload.

As Christianity takes its hold, God decides that it's time to let humanity in on a bit more of the truth. First of all, he wants to shuffle off this rumor that he was responsible for creating the Earth and Mankind, so he first inspires Copurnicus and Gallileo. He drops the apple on Newton. And the three of them describe the Universe in a more accurate way, one that would shed doubt onto the belief that he was responsible for it. Then, he nudges Darwin in the direction of the Galapagos Islands and lets him figure the rest out for himself.

Now, it's important to remember that God perceives time in a different way than you or I, as he exists parallel to our understanding of it (as I mentioned above). He is at all times capable of interacting with all times at once, but that's rather more confusing than he would like it so in general he keeps with natural time, and on occasion a sort of thematic chronology just to organize things. And setting up those scientific discoveries was hard work, consuming a lot of his attention. So it comes as a shock to him when his attention is drawn to the Crusades as he's finishing up with Darwin, and in an instant he sees in front of him all of the heinous acts done in his name. From the Spanish Inquisition (he never expected it) to the zealous hatred of Falwell, Robertson, Jack Chick, and the Christian Coalition. He never intended any of them, and yet, by patronizing humanity with his divinity he was absolutely resposible for each and every instance.

He responded to this wave of guilt by killing himself, taking with him all of the angels, the lesser gods that somehow survived the worldwide paradigm shift, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, all of which were derived from his power.

And that, my friends, is the story.

Way too deep for one who took only the mandatory "philosophy of religion" class in college.
I am a big believer in the self and not the god - if that helps.

Really? I wasn't going for deep.

Brilliant... just Brilliant, I tell ya! Now I am off to read Douglas Adams arguement...

It is better to be amused than be confused.

I read it and I was amused.

Ignorance is bliss.

God is a mystery to the ignorant.

O so selfish deity you have left us in quite a mess. you have left us in quite a mess.

This argument I can totally follow and agree with. Glad to see a blog that integrates religion and evolution into a positive co-existing union actually in part planned by God. That makes tons of sense to me. I also love all the parts about the lesser gods being created at first and all the mistakes before Christianity. You kinda lost me in the end with God killing himself and all the angels though. I love the Prophecy movie series with Christopher Walken (1st three) and like to believe that angels hate mankind and are jealous of us because God loves us more. I also love Hellraiser and all the ideas of Hell being different for every person and very specific for them rather than a pit of fire or a frozen tomb. You did however make me think a lot and that is the point-thanks

the principle behind it is this. A house divided upon itself cannot stand. following that line of thinking, one who disenfrachised his fellow man in the name of Jesus he would be wounding God.

brilliant indeed!
have you read D Adams' The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul? I'd like to know what you think
ha! your head/typing-fingers connection works, huh?

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