is God dead?
We are so often intent on asking God why he allows evil, why he doesn’t intervene — well, according to us, of course. We are ever so ready to reach up to Him, climb the stairway to heaven if we could, grab Him by the neck, shake Him until we get the answers we so much want. The answers we so much feel are our right to have.
This might sound scandalous to you; these scenes of grabbing and shaking of God. But it is not far from what we really feel, deep down, internally. Do not be surprised, neither scandalized. If we had the chance, that single opportunity to be a god, we would grasp it.
“But no”, you might be telling yourself. “Surely not me!”
How many times in life, have you encountered situations where you had really no choice! Where acceptance was your only choice. Passive acceptance maybe, but still. But in such situations, have you ever stopped and imagined — yes, imagined! — what you would do (or have done) had you the power to change things?
A simple example. Might sound childish, but think twice about it:
When I failed to pass my driving licence for the second time, I was so frustrated. Not particularly to the fact that it was the second go, but more because I honestly felt I had done very well. I felt angry towards the exam instructor too, because logically it was his decision. And the thought came to me, later when I was at home, that if I had the power to control minds, I would definitely have made the instructor pass me through the driving exam. It sounds funny to say it, maybe even weirder to read it as the third person yourself.
Another case was approximately in the same year. I was kind of into this colleague, a girl with whom I was getting quite acquainted. I can say the feeling was reciprocal. One night when at a club together, I noticed she was starting to act weird. She felt uncomfortable maybe, stressed? I don’t know exactly — you know, women! — but I definitely felt I was losing my grip on this girl. Then all of a sudden, to make things even worse, we met an acquaintance to both of us, another colleague, basically. All was okay until I noticed he was trying to flirt with this girl, and I felt she was responding quite effectively to him. They talked and talked. Well mostly for about five minutes, but you know how these things go; for me it seemed like fifty! And then I had this thought, that if I had the power of persuasion, I would’ve definitely be tempted to use it on both the guy — to get him out of my sight — and the girl: to attract her without having to play so many games.
Why have I presented these two situations. They’re quite similar. Both completely real, by the way. So they are experiences. Both are situations which I couldn’t quite just change, couldn’t wholly control. But on both occasions, if I had the power to change things I’m pretty sure I would’ve done so, one way or another. Whether by “super-powers” or by “high intellect” or by getting into a fight I was convinced I could win (which in reality is rarely the case!). One way or another, I would’ve strived to change the situation there and then.
So having said all this, I invite you to look back and recall any similar occasions you might’ve had in your life, which you would’ve changed there and then if you had the power to do so. The inability to do so, in fact, is what keeps us human, reminds us our limitations. Yes, we might have no other choice but acceptance. Sometimes we accept with an honest and peaceful heart. Other times, however, we accept passively, still dreaming of one day seeking revenge maybe, or getting payback. So now that you thought well about this, do you still doubt that if you had the chance to be a god, you would take it?
Now if you had such power, in whichever manner you want to imagine it, wouldn’t you also change the world? Stop poverty, keep justice, punish the corrupt… you name it.
“If you were god, what would you do?” you might’ve sometime been asked, maybe more in a form of a joke between colleagues in the office.
But this is what’s it’s all about, that I’ve discussed above.
And this is why a lot of us are deep down frustrated at God, because He is God but He doesn’t act. He stays there, put, staring at the world and doing nothing.
“Have a look around you, the world is in the toilet!” you might be telling God. “And you do nothing about it?!”
How can he stay there and do nothing when so much people are suffering? How could He be a good God and do nothing when people hurt me, when people hurt others? Where was God when I lost my mother, got bullied by school-mates, my father lost his job, failed my exams… you name it.
These are questions we make, whether consciously or not. And as human beings, we won’t take “no answer” for an answer. We’d rather provide an answer ourselves, if need be. That’s only normal. And here’s where our answers are formed/formulated. They vary per person, per circumstance. But the root is all the same. So some decide — again, all this is sometimes consciously, sometimes not — that there is no god. Others settle to the opinion that if there is a god, he’s either dead, or doesn’t care (Friedrich Nietzsche). Some dare believe that God has his own “mysterious” ways.
Going back to my experiences explained previously, I am now going to explain what secret lies in each and every one of us. But we are mostly blind to it. In the practical and real questions outlined in the last two paragraphs, we are continuously pointing a finger. Sometimes pointing it at the corrupt politicians who torture the weak, other times pointing our finger at those who made us suffer by their actions — or their inactions. But to point my finger at any given person, is in reality accusing the other, other than myself. In this, I am stating that the fault is always of the other — whether it’s God, or a person. Yes sometimes it is truly not my fault that I suffered… sometimes! But whenever I’m pointing my finger — and I’ve made it clear that we’re continuously doing this all the time, whether we’re justified or not — I am clearly stating one thing, and this is the core of it all: I am stating that I am a better person than the other.
At this point we are at a crossroads, you (the reader) and me (the writer). You will either “agree” on something that is written in the coming lines, or you will “disagree”. There’s no middle road. If you agree, you can proceed with reading. If you disagree, you can still continue reading of course, but it might prove quite pointless. It continues with how the previous paragraph ended, here it goes: There are no better people. The world isn’t made of good and bad people. Neither is it made of great, less great, good, less good, bad, worse, very bad, worst… nor any other “hierarchy” of the sort. The world is made of people; some more enlightened than others. Enlightened? What is this word? Nothing to do with The Enlightenment , rest assured. Let’s use a simpler and more common word instead. The world is made of people who are self-aware, and others who are less self-aware. Self-aware about what? Conscious about themselves, their limits, their weaknesses, their abilities to perform good and bad deeds. Their pride, their ability to envy, their inability to love unless being loved in return (the inability to ever turn the other cheek). As stated in the paragraphs above, we are human beings; The only reason some of us haven’t committed murder isn’t because we’re a better person, or have more self-control — crap! — but because we were cowards or didn’t have enough power to do so. If we were vampires, or superman, or mind-controllers, we would use this to our advantage, even if it hurt others. We would justify our actions, whatever they are, in order not to admit that we might be hurting others to some extent or another. We already do this at times, let alone if we had “super powers”. What would stop you then? Your morals? Your good will? Yeah right!
Here’s the cross-road where you either agree and continue reading, or disagree –and, well, if you want to continue reading, it’s a free world! So think now, if God had to intervene in the way we ideally want Him to, by punishing the corrupt, the murderous, the abusers, drug dealers, the bad people. Where would He start, really? Because who is really good? You? Me? Who is really better than the other? If God had to truly intervene and be Just according to our sense of justice, who would be spared from His wrath? I assume you agree with me then, that we’re “lucky” that God doesn’t intervene in this form/manner. That for some unknown reason save to Himself, He has other methods and ways; patience to say the least! We would be thankful God isn’t like myself, who would’ve mind-controlled the guy whom I saw flirting with a girl who wasn’t even yet mine exactly! We should all be thankful, actually, that I am not god, or the Great Flood would be the least of your worries! We are all Vigilantes if we had the chance and power to be one.
“All this negativism!” you might say. “Where’s goodness, then? Where’s to making a difference?” Because our sense/meaning of goodness, of greatness, is often ‘corrupt’ in itself, or twisted, shall I say. Christ, the perfect man, the God, shows us what greatness is, how it is achieved. Dying on the cross, as if He were a failure. Dying on the cross for your and my sins. That was greatness! He loved us before we even dared or cared to know. And how did He do this? By being the super-hero or vigilante who brought justice to the Jews upon the Romans? By being their/our very own superman, spiderman or batman, who in the end of the novel always triumphs victorious? To the contrary, he ended up crucified on a cross; a failure to the eyes of man, a fool to pagans and scandal to his own people (as says St. Paul).
To conclude on a lighter note. In no way am I saying that people should not be encouraged and inspired by good deeds and dreams of helping the poor, aiding the sick: making a difference! Hell yeah that’s good. But if in a good act you end up seeing yourself a better person than another, then it might be better for you not to do that good act.
“Then” , you tell me, “We shouldn’t do any good acts”.
Of course we must. The “trick”, so to speak, is hence going back to the paragraphs further up where we discussed how blessed is the man who is self-aware; he who knows himself most. Because he knows he has the ability to murder, to steal, to be corrupt, to abuse; so he won’t raise himself up on a pedestal by his good deeds.
Because whoever deep down believes that he is a good man, is hence also stating that Christ didn’t need to get crucified for his cause. On the contrary, he who knows he is capable of evil by nature, welcomes the great undying unconditional love of God with arms wide open and tears in his eyes.
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