A letter to God
I know, I know… Post anything about religion or politics and I’m likely to lose half of my 50 or so readers. Oh, well. Life’s tough, it’s getting tougher for everybody, and I’m heading into surgery again (more tomorrow), so what the hell? I need a diversion. Read or not, your choice. There’ll likely be something political here sooner or later, then I’ll lose the other half of you. Que sera sera, as Doris used to sing.
Dear God, Can We Talk?
Actually, can I talk and you just listen? I know it’s not your usual M.O. – truth is, that’s what I want to chat about, all this talking you’re doing – so maybe you could just channel your Good-Cop side and grant an indulgence?
… … ??? …
I’ll take that as a yes. Thanks, God. I’ll be quick.
Last winter here in San Francisco there was this woman who threw her three boys into the bay after she had a private conversation with you. Seems you told her you needed a sacrifice and she could help by tossing her kids off the end of Pier 7. The good news, deity-wise anyway, is she was very conscientious about doing your bidding, even stripping the little guys naked to make sure they’d get hypothermia and expire in the chilly water before anybody spotted them bobbing about. Unfortunately, when later asked to explain your point in all this, she wasn’t so conscientious, in fact she barely remembered anything at all. Did she maybe misunderstand you, God? Most of us down here can’t help wondering if she did.
I think us misunderstanding you is happening a lot these days. You’ve been doing a lot of talking to people down here, God, and your confidants are getting confused. It would be nice to say this only happens to the, uh, fringe among us. They’re regularly incomprehensible, even when all they want is spare change. Unfortunately that’s not the case. As sad as Pier Mommy’s take on your instructions was, the carnage she wrought was nothing compared to the consequences of your habit of chatting up people in positions of authority. You know, the ones with the troops and the bombs.
The obvious example at least for us here in God’s Own CountryTM is Our Own Dear Leader, George Bush. Apparently OODL took it upon himself to invade Iraq after a whole string of conversations with you. (He sure wasn’t listening to anyone else.) Now no doubt you gave him instructions on why we were going and what to do when we got there so the job would get done right. Unfortunately memory wasn’t one of your special gifts to OODL so he forgot most of what you said and didn’t have anybody take notes and now we’re in a hell of a mess. (Could you maybe send down a copy of “The Deity’s Pocket Guide to Quagmires” so we can straighten it all out?)
As OODL tells it, you two yak it up right regular. He even says you told him to run for president, which makes me wonder why you couldn’t have given that task to one of your brighter bulbs, but hey, I’m no deity. I’m sure you had your reasons. Anyway, OODL’s not the only leader you’re chatting up regularly, nor even the worst.
Reports from Iran say you have daily conversations with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Or do you talk to him hourly? Maybe you have a T1 broadband connection right into Ahmadinejad’s head, it’s hard to tell. We here in God’s Own CountryTM and the Iranians there in God’s Other Own CountryTM have a hell of a time understanding each other. Anyway President Ahmadinejad – lets call him APrez because if I have to keep wrestling with that name we’ll never get done – APrez says you told him his country just has to have a boatload of highly radioactive fissionable material. For domestic use only of course.
Now that’s strange. Almost as strange as why you needed a six year old, a two year old, and a toddler tossed of a pier. Here on Planet Earth we’ve managed to find only two uses for fissionable material: 1) badly designed and hideously complicated power plants, and 2) making really really big explosions. Since Iran is sitting on more oil and gas than, well, apparently even you have, God, it’s kind of hard to see their need for the power. As to the bombs, most countries (not all: ref North Korea) are reluctant to set off really really big explosions inside their own borders; they prefer to do it inside somebody else’s. This leads some to think what APrez is really after is to take care of the other task he says you want done, namely wiping Israel off the map. But that doesn’t make much sense either. Aren’t the Jews your Chosen People? (Here’s a question that’s always bugged me, God: What exactly did you choose the Jews for, anyway?)
While we’re in the Middle East, apparently you’re talking to every single person over there simultaneously. 24/7. Now, that’s a cute deity-trick, and we are impressed. But is it wise? Each and every Israeli insists you’re saying something different and they argue constantly about it. In the Moslem world your messages are a bit more focused. Besides advising presidents about nukes and granting oil princes dispensation from rules because they’re filthy rich, you’re chatting up the Arab Street, telling them to throw their women into sacks, forbid themselves sex or useful work or education or anything remotely interesting, ordering them to spend hours every day dwelling on the Injustice Of It All, and then have them strap on bulky and no doubt hideously itchy bomb vests and blow themselves up at a pizza parlor or drive an auto bomb into a hotel so when they’re dead they can finally get laid. Huh?
(Pardon an off-topic question God, but I’ve just got to ask: WHAT is with your Middle East fetish??? You can’t want their oil too? You’re the deity for Christ’s sake! Make some more! Just put it somewhere else, ok? Please? Under, oh, say, Greenland, or maybe Western Australia. Hell, be nice to the poor and put it under the Sahel. Uh, wait… better scratch that. We’ve learned the hard way the worst thing that can happen to poor people around here is to give them abundant resources, particularly of the petroleum kind. They immediately get Welcome Wagon visits from Global Benevolent Associations like Shell and ExxonMobil. Anyway, I shouldn’t be telling you what to do, but, God! Couldn’t you please obsess on some other part of the planet? End of segue.)
Uh… Sorry. You still listening, your divinity?
… … ??? …
OK. Back to Topic A: all this chatting up you’re doing. Look at the list of your correspondents. First, there’s your bureaucracy: Mullahs, Preachers, Popes, Monks, Rabbis. On TV, there’s no end to snake oil sellers begging and catcalling on your behalf. All these folks swear they – and only they – have your ear and your guidance. They tell us you want Christians to hate Muslims, Muslims to hate Hindus, all of them to make fun of Buddhists, and of course absolutely everybody has to hate the Jews.
Then there’s your publishing empire. I bet even you can’t count how many Sacred Texts you’ve got in print around the globe, and that doesn’t even count the “as translated by” and the “as told to” versions. You do know all these epistles contradict each other? Publishing all this required reading is no doubt a great money-maker, but given our simple minds, couldn’t you make them a bit more, you know, consistent?
And there are the politicians and preachers and businessmen you counsel on their sex and economic lives – but only after they’re caught with their pants down or their hands out – most usually, both. God, why do you wait to talk to rapists, murders, Lehman Brothers execs and molesters until they’re in jail and about to be sentenced? Couldn’t you have a word with these jerks before they wreak their own personal havoc on the world?
Are you swamped, God? Is that the problem? I don’t think you planned for six billion of us; we did that one to ourselves. And we haven’t a clue how many other planets you’re working around the universe. All that would put a strain on any deity. Personally, I suspect all those wires you’ve got going down to Earth are getting crossed and the signals are all jumbled up. One thing is for sure: whatever the reason, God, we’re just not understanding you.
Remember Pier Mommy, the one who threw her kids into the bay? Maybe when she heard, “I need a sacrifice,” you meant, “Girl! You’ve got three sons to raise! Get off crack! And get yourself a job!” but what Pier Mommy heard was, “Throw your boys into the bay then you won’t have baby sitter problems next Friday when you’re partying with your pimp.” And OODL. George Bush is famously geographically challenged; can’t even find the “Grecians” on a map. Maybe, since you told him to run for president, you meant “invade” as in campaign staffers, and Iowa was where they were supposed to go, only he got it confused with troops and Iraq. And maybe APrez there in Iran didn’t get your memo about the Jews being your chosen people, or notice that using nukes on Israel would take out most of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria too.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for your obscure, interpretative appearance as allegory in our lives – the mystery of the night heavens, your face in a tortilla, the impossible flight of a hummingbird, your son on a grilled cheese. (Someone sold that sandwich on eBay for thousands. Its telling how, in your concern for the poor and disdain for the rich, you never appear in the wax job of a Lexus. Nice touch, God). All these miracles are open to interpretation and can even make people think – well, some folks anyway. A few even get inspired to clean up their acts or at least channel a bit of their graft to folks who doesn’t have any. Guilt’s one of your best inventions.
But face it. This “speaking in six billion tongues” bit just isn’t working. We’re not evolved enough to handle it. So, my point here. Finally. Do you think maybe you could… how do I put this delicately? Oh, hell, I’ll just say it:
God, would you just Shut Up for a while?
Maybe if we get your voices out of our heads we might lose a bit of our edginess. You’ve left lots of constructive examples and hints of what we should really be doing over the millennia. Maybe if you give us a bit of peace and quiet we can get to them.
Anyway. Just a thought. Thanks for not interrupting.