God’s Discourse on the State of the World
In a prologue to his 1898 play, “Caesar and Cleopatra”, George Bernard Shaw put words in the mouth of Ra, “who was once in Egypt a mighty god”.
Ra begins by telling the audience “I do not ask you for adoration, but for silence.” He then continues:
“Don’t think you’re the first. More crazy before you’ve seen the sun rise and set. heaps of dust on which you are slaves, and which you call empires, scatter in the wind even as you pile on them the bodies of your dead sons to make more dust.”
After telling the audience colorfully, Ra concludes, “And now I leave you; for you are a boring people and instruction is wasted on you. … Farewell; and presume not to applaud me.”
One naturally wonders if a true God would be more generous if new technologies allowed us to hear him directly.
Lacking this technology, I took the liberty of imagining what he might say. (I am not the first to put words in God’s mouth, which people have done since time immemorial.)
Without further ado, voila!
And God spoke:
I have been asked to assess the state of the world.
Naturally, I am saddened every time I see you abusing and killing each other. But I’m especially distraught when you do this in the name of religious beliefs.
There is a game where people sit in a circle and one player whispers something to the person on the right. The listener repeats this message to the next person, etc. Once the message has come full circle, it is very scrambled.
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Religious doctrines based on the valid conclusions of visionaries suffered a similar decline.
Perhaps you should demolish all churches, synagogues, mosques and temples of all religions. Maybe you should retire the pope, other top religious and theological bureaucrats, and use the savings to help the poor
But much good has been done by many godly people. Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples are filled with honest people enjoying fellowship with one another and striving to live virtuously. Their conflicting views of me are no more surprising than the different perceptions the blind people have of the elephant in the famous poem.
So don’t destroy these places of worship, but don’t believe everything their leaders say. Like you, they are only mortals. Use your judgment to see if their words make sense!
And for heaven’s sake, don’t let them drag you into holy crusades or pogroms!
Creating a universe where I didn’t want to live myself would have been irresponsible. So I have walked among you in various personages and places over the millennia. But I haven’t always been well received, so I don’t do it openly anymore.
As Fyodor Dostoyevsky found out, I was once captured by the Inquisition and treated very badly, and that wasn’t the only time. His Grand Inquisitor scene in “The Brothers Karamazov” tells the sad story.
Do not treat others badly. I could always reincarnate you as someone you mistreat. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just a moral precept. You can literally Do it yourself! (Human economists would call this “the internalization of cosmic externalities.”)
By all means, keep your places of worship, but display a simple epigram by Thomas Hobbes (“Leviathan”, 1651) above their main entrances:
“If Livy says the gods made a cow talk, and we don’t believe it, we don’t believe God in that, but Livy does.”
End of God’s speech.
Crossposted from NewsMax