Conversations with God, #1
I dreamed I had a conversation with God last night. "God," I said, "I think you're being a tad unfair."
"How so?" said he.
"According to your bible, a lot depends on whether or not one believes in you. Eternal bliss if you do, endless torment if you don't. Yet you don't exactly make it easy. In the literature, you're constantly appearing before people or shouting at them from the Heavens. Those people had pretty clear evidence of your existence. I have none of these things... how is it fair to hold me to the same standards?"
"Have I not said that Faith is necessary?"
"Yes, but I don't see WHY it's necessary. Why can't you just offer some proof?"
"Hmm... and I suppose you don't consider that we're currently having this conversation to be sufficient proof? It is kinda rude to tell people that they don't exist to their face..."
"No... I'm pretty sure I'm dreaming right now. I have all sorts of conversations with non-existent people in my dreams. If you want my belief, you're going to have to offer something that will remain when daylight comes."
"Well, I only want your belief because it will keep you out of Hell, and being a kind God I don't want you to suffer, but I see your point. Yet let me ask you this... what sort of evidence would be sufficient for you?"
"Oh... you know... like I said... voices booming from the Heavens and that sort of thing."
God gave me a skeptical look, "Are you really going to tell me that hearing a voice from the
sky would be all it took to convince you in the existence of a divine entity?"
"Er... no, I suppose not. It would be more likely to convince me that someone had invested in a really good stereo system."
"What about if I spoke to you in your own head, so that you were the only one that could hear me?"
"No, I don't think that'd do it either. I saw 'Real Genius'; that sort of things can be faked too." Not to mention that I lived in a culture where listening to voices in your head was considered a sign of insanity, not divinity.
"Fine line, at times," the Lord said, " so you'll be wanting some stronger evidence? A burning bush, perhaps, or some stigmata? Would such remove your doubts?"
"Well, these could be faked as well..."
"What if I had someone make the Statue of Liberty disappear in my name?" I had the distinct impression God was laughing at me now.
"I think I saw a magician do that once, but not in anyone's name in particular..."
"Ok what if I sent an Angel to you, complete with flaming sword and halo. Or better yet, what if I appeared myself. Long flowing beard, holy chorus, the whole works"
"I'd probably just think you were some old guy who had bribed a local choir group."
"Then pretend, for the moment, that I did appear before you, and did something clearly beyond the ability of any mortal agency you're familiar with. Would that be enough to make you unreservedly belief I was your God?"
""I suppose I would be forced to admit there was something supernatural going on..."
"...but I wouldn't necessarily believe you were THE God, though I probably wouldn't argue if you wanted to call yourself A God, since I try not to argue with people who could smite me."
"Because I don't want to be... er... smitten?"
God sighed, "Why wouldn't you immediately accept a clearly supernatural entity claiming to be God, as God?"
"Because you, as a concept, embody more then just an extremely powerful creature in white robes. You're supposed to be omnipotent and all omniscient. You're supposed to be good and wise and just. These arn't the sorts of things that one can show in a five minute demonstration. You could be Shiva in disguise or Athena in drag. Seems like there might be a lot things out there which might be able to pretend to be God, that arn't. Or, you could be the real and true God, but I still wouldn't worship you automatically and unreservedly. Just because you're divine doesn't mean I'd agree with the way you're running things. Just because you're God dosn't mean I have to like you."
"So in short, no display of my powers would convince you of my existence, or at least that I was who I said I was, and there's no proof I could offer you of my good intent that you would accept without some degree of doubt?
"I suppose not."
"Acceptance of me would require a lengthy observation of my works anyway? In the end, you'd still have to make a decision without full knowledge?
"I suppose so."
That is why I require faith."