Sunday, January 2, 2011

In Which I Call Out God

Smite me, O mighty smiter! (Cartoon: Gary Larson)

It started with a letter to the Bangor Daily News:

The evolution lie
The announcement by scientists that the first human remains were found in Israel should not be a surprise. That is where creation started, and where humans began, in the Garden of Eden.
How can anyone believe any science that belittles the Bible story of life? If they do, they have put themselves in jeopardy to receive God’s salvation at death.
Why must atheists get their way and remove God from our lives? The majority of people in the world believe God created life and not that humans evolved. Somewhere, sometime those that will not stop teaching the lie of evolution will pay for their error in judgment.
Charles Sykes
 What followed in the comments thread can only be described as a good old-fashioned forum style flamewar.  The sad news: there are more creationists reading the BDN than I'd previously thought.  The good news: there are also more rational thinkers reading the BDN (who don't take such things lying down) than I'd previously thought as well.

Now I could go on about all the logical fallacies of the letter itself, which I was originally going to do.  But you and I both know that the comment thread is the interesting part.

And when one "EJParsons" asks the ridiculous question, "If athiests don't believe in God, then why are they so afraid of Him?" I find myself compelled to reply.  And reply I do, as my alter-ego Mistletoe:

Afraid? Who's the one doling out threats of hellfire and damnation if we don't believe in the same thing?

In fact I'm so unafraid of God that I'll call the sadistic SOB out right here and right now. Come and get me. Hit me with that lightning bolt. Or that heart attack. It's not like you don't know where I am.
Well, approximately 13 hours and a fine night's sleep later, and no smiting.  No sudden heart attack, no lightning bolt, no swallowed up by a whale, no pillar of salt.  Not even a nightmare.  I do have a popcorn seed stuck in my teeth but I'm pretty sure that happened before my calling out.  And even if that is the smiting: really?  A popcorn seed?  That's the Almighty Vengeance I get for blasphemy?

And I'll deflect a few of the apologist arguments I'm likely to get right now, to save some typing later.

God is busy.  He has more important things to do.
Like what?  Not curing cancer?  Not stopping wars, particularly ones in his name? Not delivering the 1,000,000 boys and girls per year worldwide who get bought and sold as sex slaves? [source: US State Department, 2005] Surely a smiting would take no time at all, in the Grand Scheme of Things.

The wrath of God is not like the wrath of man. The wrath of man is based on revenge and often petty anger.
So... the thing with the she-bears wasn't revenge or petty anger?  Howzabout the whole Flood thing?  Or Sodom and Gomorrah?

Pfft.  God wouldn't waste His lightning bolts on an arrogant atheist like you.
But stoking the fires in Hell with gazillions of arrogant atheists like me isn't wasteful.  Especially since if we're talking eternity here, we're talking about every arrogant atheist who ever existed.

No no no.  You've got it all wrong.  God is love.  There's no hell; only fluffy bunnies.  Those stories in the Bible are just parables, not meant to be taken literally.
If you say so.  However the things I mentioned in my first point (cancer, war, child sex trafficking, etc.) are all very much real, and not parables.  If your all-loving relaxed and groovy God is too merciful to smite me, why isn't he merciful enough to fix these other things?  I'd take that smiting if it saves one kid from the horror of being a sex slave.  It seems a perfectly reasonable trade in my book.

So, in closing, I'd like to say that the challenge still continues.  I'm ready for that one big smiting to come.  Now I was going to expand the challenge to include those close to me, but really I can't bring myself to be an asshole enough to bet someone else's life who isn't willing *coughJobcough*.

So, it's between God and me.  I'm stating for the public record that I'm so unafraid of the wrath of God that I'm daring him to smite me.  And I mean a good smiting, not a popcorn seed in the teeth.  Bring it.  Bring it oldschool.  I'm ready for you.

Or maybe my response will get the exact same response that the prayers of billions and billions of people before me has gotten.

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