Monday, December 04, 2006

Sodding Off God

Twisty has, as I'm sure you know, been doing a series called Sod Off, God over on her site --

due to which, along with various events that have been rearing up in my life, I've been forced to revisit this annoying God question.

And shit, is it annoying. Like black flies, you know. Zzzzz, zzzz, zzzzz. They won't shut up and they won't die? And they're useless on top of it? That's how I feel about the theists.

Mind you, I am willing to admit that some perfectly nice theists exist.

Fred on Slacktivist.

Anne Lamott. But that's -- um -- two? And for those two I give you the thousand like these folk over at Jimmy Akin

and Fred Phelps and Dawn Eden and my student who told me with all sincerity that the lake of fire was waiting for my feminist self if I did not repent at once.


Here's what's been happening in the delagar household lately.

The kid asks me about baptism. Her grandparents, who are Christians, take her to their church from time to time, and apparently she has seen them take communion there. I explain what that is, as clearly as I can. It's bizarre, though, when you try to explain that ritual from the outside -- "See, the little cracker is meant to be God's flesh and the grape juice is blood, and -- well, why they're eating it, it's to remember that Jesus died -- no, Jesus and God are the same -- and Jesus died as a sacrifice and if they eat his -- no, it's not really his real blood, well, in some churches it is, but not Grandma's --, you don't have to eat it, because you're not baptized. What's baptized? Well."

And this led into baptism.

And this led into whether I had ever been baptized.

And this led into whether I believed in God. Again.

Because the kid knows other people are theists. She goes to this school full of hard-rock Baptists and Islamists and Buddhists, whatever, they're all theists except her. Even her father is a sort-of Jew. She knows he sort of believes in a kind of a God.

She knows I don't.

"Why do people believe in God?" she demanded of me. "Why?"

"Well," I said, "I can't speak for them. But I think it's mostly because they're afraid of death."

She considered this. We were lying in bed, having just awakened on a Sunday morning, which is when we have our deep philosophical discussions. "Who wouldn't be?" she demanded.

"I'm not," I said. "Not really." I'm afraid of dying, though I didn't tell her this. Death itself doesn't bother me -- but the process of getting there, the inconvenience, the destruction it will wreak upon those I love, that's what worries me. But death? Shit. Frankly, I can use the sleep.
"I used to be," I added, "but I'm not anymore."

"I am," she admitted.

"Well, you're meant to be," I said. "It's evolution's way of keeping you alive."

She considered this.

"Once you grow up," I said, "I think that's meant to wear off. But some people don't grow up, I guess. I don't know. Anyway, I think that's what God is. A way people have invented of trying to pretend they will never die. Like your imaginary friends. And then they get everyone else to believe in it too. Well, all right. That's fine. But what if you started shooting other people because they wouldn't believe in your dragons? That would not be so pleasant."

Which is the main problem I have with theists. If they would just huddle in their churches and believe in their gods, fine. If they would have their delusional moments, whatever. But they want to force everyone to believe what they believe -- and I know why, of course, because unless they can get everyone to agree that the big green bunny is there, then they can't really be certain it is, and then they might have to die after all -- and they need this to such an extent that they start wars, and commit oppressions, and torture the infidel, and create the patriarchy, and all that rest, just to support their central delusion.

Get over it, I say.

You're going to die. Caeser was mortal. So are you. Stop putting your energy into lies, start putting it into the truth, and see what you might be able to do, just one fucking time.

How about that plan?


Anonymous said...

Good plan. Too bad so many people prefer the imaginary friend plan. But I don't think it's just about death. That requires a long view that many people don't possess. The Christian imaginary friend's real power comes in HIS ability to forgive instantly. No "deeds" required. You can go to church, say a little prayer, and then feel free to go back to the real world and be the same asshole you were last week, and with God on your side. Even fear of death can't compare with that.

Diane said...

The problem with most religion is that it is so unpalatable it closes the door to seeking by people who are truly seeking and trying to integrate some kind of transcendent reality into their lives. These religious people (not all of them, but many) have made a mess of government and morality, but most of all, they have made a mess of religion. As Anon says, with no requirement of "works," it's pretty easy to be a world-class asshole and still be on the "good side."