“What are you gonna do, Mr. Important, Mr. Almighty in the Sky, Mr. Created Everything in Six Days and Then Apparently Fell Into a Drunken Mai Tai Coma on the Beach for Give/Take 10 Billion Years?
What are you gonna do, cause a famine? Melt the ice caps? Induce global pandemics, war and rape and disease, sadness and poverty and earthquakes? What you got, oak blight? Bedbugs? Jersey Shore?
I mean, whatevs. You don’t scare us. Been there, done that, you know?
Gotta say, it’s getting a little tiresome, really, all this death and destruction, fire and brimstone, kowtowing and dread. Exhausting, really. It’s time for a change.…”
Truth is, billions of flawed bipeds have been languishing under a million-year worry that if we jump out of line, blaspheme to your holy face or even draw a cute n’ bearded cartoon of one version of you that you’ll … well, who the hell knows what? Flood the oceans with blood? Snap Italy like a twig? Make all women wear giant potato sacks and never have sex? Explain what “brimstone” is? As if.
Let’s just say it outright: Big deal. Enough of you. Enough of this. Something’s gotta give, you know? It’s high time we as a generally rashly, hugely confused but still relatively high-functioning mammal spoke some hard truth to divine Christian/Muslim/Jewish power. Because the fact is, you ain’t all that. Not anymore, anyway. What, you got some lightning for me right now? Locusts? Sure you do.
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Look, I don’t mean no wild disrespect, but why shouldn’t we call you out on this rigged game you call life? Nothing is really improving down here. Nothing has really changed after all these millennia of worship and fawning and perfectly good virgins hurled into the volcano except, dammit, fewer perfectly good virgins.
How long are we supposed to keep up this charade? How long can you go on without taking a little responsibility for the teeming pile o’ havoc thou hast wrought?
Because here’s what we’re realizing: It’s pretty much all your fault, God. Allah. Jesus. Yahweh. Ba’al. Whatever. Here we are, been praising you for what, thousands of years? A million? Dressing in ridiculous outfits, observing silly rituals, offering alms and farm animals and money, falling to our collective knees before whatever wanton form we’ve assigned to you throughout the ages: the sun, moon, crops, the ocean, flaming tigers, sullen cows, multi-armed blood-spewing demon-goddesses, bearded grandpas in a toga, the perfect martini, you name it. And for what?
This is the thanks we get? This is how you treat us? Slums proliferating, cholera outbreaks, water shortages, iffy iPhone reception, innocent children suffering by the millions? We won’t forget this insult, that’s for sure. Well, not before the end of this sentence, anyway.
Let me just put it out there, semi-rhetorically: Are we really any better off today than when it all began, when we hobbled out of the roiling oceans on our shaky little fins, aiming for the banana trees? Are we really happy with how it’s all turned out so far? As the wise man said, millions of us praise you 24/7, and this how you do us?
I figure it’s high time someone calls you on your crap. This epic script you wrote? Riddled with flaws, the story arc falls apart in the middle, and the hero is actually a confused masturbatory nose-picking megalomaniac with a thing for war and money and porn. And this is our fault?
What would you say if we all revolted? Went on a human-wide strike and turned our attention elsewhere — to, say, plants and moonlight and sex? That’s what I thought.
Fact is, it’s not like you have much choice. Have you been checking the polls? The musty old church is failing. Millions are abandoning organized religion for the more verdant pastures of self-determination and spirituality and that thing about the moonlight and the porn. You might never recover your past glories, they say. Not in your old format, anyway. What have you to say for yourself?
Get those fingers out of your divine ears. Don’t pretend you’re not listening. Don’t pretend you’re not reading this column right now. I know you are. That is, when you’re not reading brainless tweets from NFL receivers or soaking up praise from the winners at the Country Music Awards or cringing as almost everyone violently misquotes you, over and over again, from the Vatican to Saddleback, GOP rallies to Taliban cave meetings. That must be fun.
It’s not like we haven’t tried. We did what we could with the weird, cryptic set of tools you supposedly gave us. Free will, love, insatiable curiosity, mandibles, orgasm, chocolate, music, legs up to there? Fantastic. And we’ve busted our butts to get it right, trained for millennia to be ready for the moment when the game-winning pass is zinging through the sunshine-drenched air into our perfectly outstretched arms. A sure thing! Game over! All praise!
And then, boom. Dropped the ball. Outta nowhere. For no reason on your green earth. Really? This is how it’s supposed to be? This how you do us? We will never learn from this, not ever.
Oh, I know the risks of speaking up. They say you are not to be mocked. They say the sinners and the blasphemers, the perverts and the kinkmonkeys will get theirs in the end, a big day of atonement in the sky full of hacksaws, screaming and the new KeSha CD piped in like the devil’s Muzak.
Of course, those who believe in that also believe in pregnant virgins, crimson demons and fat babies with wings. These lost souls tend to take it all embarrassingly literally, like a five-year-old hearing Peter Pan for the first time. Hey, mythology is fun, right up until it’s dangerous and bloody and rapes your livestock during the Crusades.
But you know what? It doesn’t seem to matter. Mock or no mock, praise or no praise, we get nailed, over and over again, no matter what. Sickened, crushed, bloodied, heartbroken, ruined, revived and rejuvenated, only to be ruined once again. We drop that damn ball, over and over again, every single day. So much for praise.
Unless … wait, unless we’ve been going about this God thing all wrong? Unless you’re actually not some sort of scowling robe-clad deity hanging out right there in the end zone, the political rally, the mosque or temple or shrine, but are rather this sort of indefinable hum and thrust and pulse, constant and forever, emanating from and penetrating into everything at all times everywhere? Because that would be weird.
That would mean everything, all the noise and death and joy, all the bliss and sickness and grief throughout time and eternity, they are all just myriad expressions, facets, faces of the divine pulse. How could that possibly be right? How can we possibly get our angry, needful, aching minds and hearts around that? And what are we gonna do with all this goddamn brimstone?