Tuesday, June 8, 2010
God At Sunset
I find it noteworthy that God—at this stage in the game—has begun to move steadily away from any kind of proper noun and has simply come to be known by the category of being that he (surely male) is. No longer is he Zeus, or Thor, Or Yahweh, or Allah, or Amon-re or any of those other permutations of God that everyone is an atheist about that Richard Dawkins frequently enjoys rattling off in public forums before arriving gleefully at the punch line that he ‘just goes one god further’. God, graying at the temples and perhaps wearing a sweater vest is now just God. Noun.
Maybe it is liberating. It must have been tiring to be mistaken for so many separate beings across such a span of time, just because you’re a little moody. It would be as if everyone called you Christina when you were angry, or Samantha when you were horny. In reality, you’ve been Paul this whole time, good-old Paul, and people are always giving you new names, and ascribing different features to you based on the culture in which you were viewed. It’s better to be Paul.
But let’s go farther: God, who is still occasionally called Allah or Yahweh here and there (but only casually), is no longer really either of those names. God is God. It would be as if people stopped calling you Paul all together, and simply called you human. Could you imagine?
God, the executive being, is taking it easy these days. There is less and less for him (of course he’s a man!) to do. We’ve all realized how unfair it is to give him kudos for the good things that happen in our lives (because otherwise we’d have to also give him credit for all the bad things that happen to us, and what kind of god would allow bad things to happen to people?), so he doesn’t have to worry about that stuff anymore. Advances in the sciences have shown us that God really hasn’t had much of a hand in our design, or too much of the material stuff that goes on down here on Earth. Some will still say that he ‘guided’ evolution, but really, that’s just like a director that gives a producing credit on her movie to a friend or some detached but insecure financier. God appreciates the gesture, but he realizes that it’s mostly empty.
And since we know that god doesn’t intervene in our lives, prayer has become more of a self-help enterprise. A way for folks to visualize goals. A form of meditation. With all the silence, God has a lot of time to do the things he really cares about. Like watching sports.
That’s right. God may not do as much as we may have once thought he did, but he does watch sports, and he does intervene. He has a method for determining which team it is that he wants to win which competition. It has something to do with the number of hot dogs sold in the stadium multiplied by the thickness of black paint smeared under a randomly chosen player’s eyes, divided by the square root of Gatorade. I’ve never been very good at the maths, but watching God at his chalkboard is something to behold, even if his knees do pop sometimes when he stands up from a crouching position.