Archive for May, 2007

Blink Once for Yes

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

One of the memes that clergy like to propagate is that God sends us her message, puts it out there in signs and portents, and it is up to us to correctly interpret it. I asked God why she did that.

There’s another old saying, “if looks could kill…” God gave me the sort of look that you’d describe that way, but thankfully, it came up somewhat short of actually doing so, though clearly if she had wanted to…

Anyway, what she told me when she calmed down a little bit is that if she wants to give us a message she’s perfectly capable of doing it directly and she wishes people would stop trying to interpret random crap as if she were in some kind of coma and blinking at us in badly formed Morse code.

Memorialize This

Monday, May 28th, 2007

So in the U.S. today is Memorial Day. A day to remember and honor those soldiers who have died fighting in war, serving their country whether it was right or wrong. Bearing this in mind I couldn’t help but think of the song “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.” To a certain extent, this song comes out of the expectation that God takes sides in wars. Here in the U.S. it’s widely touted that God is on our side every time we go to war. Now last October (in Choosing Sides), God told me that he never takes sides in war.
Today I asked him how that applied to the fallen soldiers. If he doesn’t take sides, where does that leave them?

He said that you can look at it like a parent. You’re driving down the highway of life and you’ve got three kids in the back seat. The smallest of the three is sitting in the middle happily reading a book when the two older kids start poking at each other and goading each other, eventually escalating into a full on fight. The poor kid stuck in the middle has to get into the fight too, whether he wants to or not, but even though he’s punching and elbowing as much as the other two it’s not his fault. Eventually, you can get them settled back down, without having to turn the car right around, but it takes a while for you to get your sanity back and really relax again.

So when you stop to get something to eat, you give the kids a stern lecture about how to behave in restaurants. And then the kid in the middle, he’s the only one that gets to have dessert.

A Better Approach

Friday, May 25th, 2007

Talking with God today, I started asking questions about the differences in his attitude from the Old Testament to the New. The Old Testament God is a God of anger and wrath. He visits plagues upon the Egyptians. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. And he engaged in many other outbursts of a less than gentle nature. The New Testament is, of course, about the life of Jesus Christ, who is both the son of God and an aspect of God, and is famous for saying such things as “whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Was it just that Jesus was the part of God that is gentle and kind, or did God change, or at least change his approach?

He told me it was simply he had learned that many people respond better to the carrot than to the stick. They react quicker to the stick but more sincerely to the carrot. He pointed out to me that torture will get a confession out of a prisoner in fairly short order as they seek to make the pain stop, but that the confession is more likely to be false than true.

So what it came down to was that he decided it was more important to have people be good for the right reason than to have more people be good.

Or, to quote a famous song, “Be good for goodness’ sake.”

Two Timing

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

There were two deaths in the last week or so that mattered to those of us here at unscriptured. The first was Reverend Jerry Falwell. The second was the mother of our tech guy, Fang. They were both pompous blowhards that used religion to guide their lives but beyond that they didn’t have a whole lot in common.

I talked there deaths over with God and we spent some time comparing and contrasting them. The main point I remember is that when it came to religion, Fang’s mother was a steadfast Catholic but she kept her religion largely to herself and her children. Reverend Falwell, on the other hand, carried his faith like a sword into battle. He used his beliefs and a gift for rhetoric to get rich and to push intolerance and his narrow interpretations of the Bible.

When I asked Fang what he’d like to say in remembrance of his mother he said simply that the harm she inflicted on the world was considerably smaller than the good she inflicted.

I wish the same could be said about Reverend Falwell.


Monday, May 21st, 2007

I was looking at an art book when God stopped by today, so our conversation pretty quickly got around to the subject of beauty. Beauty is one of those words, like love, that everyone uses but whose definition is rather amorphous. It’s one of those subjective things. Sure we can (mostly) all agree that a rose is beautiful but there’s a lot of edge cases that some people find beautiful and others ugly. Just get together a group of random people and start discussing abstract art and you should see what I mean.

What God told me gave me a new way of looking at it. He didn’t exactly clear things up, but he did give me a new frame of reference. He said that beauty is the language of the soul. Just as we use words to try and convey meaning from one brain to the next, beauty is how we connect from one soul to the next.

So some people speak eloquently and articulately and some people seem to just create beauty in everything they do, but just as some people say really stupid things, some people just seem to have a lot of ugly in them. I suppose it might be just the luck of the draw, but then, maybe like drawing, it’s something we could all get better at if we just practiced a little bit.

A Little Pinch of God

Friday, May 18th, 2007

I’ve been talking with God about what it means to be created in the image of God. She’s told me that it’s not our bodies but our minds that are created in her image and that our minds are a combination of our brains and our souls. I wanted to know a little more about what our souls contribute to who we are, so I kept the conversation going.

God gave me a metaphor to work with. She told me to imagine that she was a giant ball of modeling clay, with bits of it in every color imaginable and some that aren’t. If we reached out and pinched off a tiny, tiny bit of clay, and smushed it into our brains, that would be our soul. Everyone would have different bits and different combinations of colors. If you looked over a field strewn with souls, there’d be some colors that were pretty common and some that were pretty rare. The pinches would all be more alike than not, but they’d each be unique, each would, in some way, be its own thing.

So we each have a little pinch of God inside of us.

I just hope it isn’t inside the appendix or the tonsils.

In His Image

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Earlier this week I started talking to God about what it means that we were created in his image. He’s told me in the past that the human form came about through natural evolutionary processes with just the slightest directional nudges from him. He also told me that he doesn’t have anything like a natural form of his own, so that means that it isn’t our physical design that was created in his image.

So that leaves our brains, right? Well, according to what he told me, yes and no.

Our brains are where we connect our souls to our bodies. When we think, there’s a mix of emotions and logic that comes together in a swirl of flesh and soul. Before I could even get out my next question, God told me that neither emotion nor logic comes just from the brain or from the soul, that both have both, but they deal with them in different ways that he wasn’t going to explain to me now. What he did say was that “mind” was as good a word as any to describe the confluence of brain and soul.

And that’s it then, our minds are what was created in the image of God.

Of course, some images are better copies than others.


Monday, May 14th, 2007

So one of the things that I’ve gotten from my conversations with God is that he created evolution long before he created us and even used evolution to create us. God doesn’t like to go into too much detail when talking about such things, he says that he gave us science and our wonderful brains to use to get at the details. Still, he can’t avoid details entirely and still have anything to say. I use that to my advantage by occasionally bringing up things we’ve talked about before and coming at them from different directions. If I’m not too blatant about this, God lets me get away with it.

I’ve managed to piece together that when he decided to create mankind, God looked around for something suitable to use as a starting point. He settled on primates and by dint of his inhuman patience was able to give just the slightest nudges to evolutionary processes and wait a few million years for the results to pan out.

So given that evolution had created apes and that we’re unusual but not that unusual as apes go, I had to wonder what it means when God tells me that we’re created in his image. So I probed him for some more details about that. I mean he’s always appeared to me as a human, but he’s been young, he’s been old, he’s been male, he’s been female, and occasionally he’s been disturbingly indeterminate, but he’s always been human.

He told me that he can, of course, appear in any form he wants. Just as many people like to dress up in costumes, he has fun appearing in human form. He says it also makes it easier to communicate with us if he looks like one of us. So I asked him what he looks like when he’s not putting on a costume. He told me that he doesn’t actually have a natural form that can be perceived by human senses, so in that sense he’s really without form and void.

Lately though, he says he’s been having a lot of fun taking on the form of a flying spaghetti monster.

Cry in the Dark

Friday, May 11th, 2007

I asked God if there’s a reason humans like to sit around fires and stare into the flames. He told me that he always figured it had to do with remembering happier times. So I had to ask, “What happier times?”

He said that before we’re born our souls tend to spend a lot of time drifting through space. Until they’re plucked out and attached to a new born baby, our souls tend to stare into the sun, because there’s not a lot else that’s really interesting out there.

So what made those times happier, I asked him. He told me just not being attached to a body is pretty good.

After all, he told me, didn’t it ever occur to me that there’s a reason new born babies cry?


Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

If you’ve read Monday’s post, you know that God created us both as an audience for the show that is the universe and as entertainment for her to watch. After God left, I found myself wondering about a couple of things that I maybe should have asked about at the time. So I made a point of bringing them up first thing when she came by again.

The first question I asked was why she needed us to be an audience, didn’t she already have the Angels. She told me that Angels don’t really make a very good audience. Angels had been around since the start of things, so they don’t tend to get surprised, they don’t have much of a sense of wonder, so they just can’t appreciate her work like someone coming to it fresh. For that, mortality really helps. Also, it seems they don’t have much of a sense of humor.

That actually kept me from having to ask the other question I had in mind. I wanted to know something about how we were created, but before I could get to that she started to tell me. It seems she was watching some early primates at play and was inspired by them. She wanted something with the intelligence to appreciate what she had created but with the sense of humor to not take it all too seriously. So she gave evolution a couple of nudges, and then, a few million years later, here we are.


Monday, May 7th, 2007

A couple of times, in our conversations, God has mentioned to me that she didn’t actually have us in mind when she first created the universe. Today I decided to push for a little more information about that.

I asked God what prompted her to create us. If we had been planned from the start what made her change her plan later.

The first thing she told me was that suggesting that she changed her plan could give the wrong impression, it wasn’t that she had planned the universe to not include us, it’s that she just didn’t bother to plan everything out in advance. That’s part of why giving us free will doesn’t interfere with her plan, not everything is spelled out; she left room to improvise.

So in that spirit, in the sense that the universe is God playing out variations on a theme, she told me that she created us, as much as anything to bear witness, to be an audience to her show. That reminded me that she had once told me that the Earth is like a sitcom, so I asked her which was the truth, that we were part of the audience, or that we were part of the show? She just laughed and told me that both were true.

A Prayer for your Thoughts

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Out of curiousity, one day I went off to one of those Christian book stores to find a book of prayers. I spent many years in a Catholic school but I came away really only knowing two formal prayers, The Lord’s Prayer (the one that starts out “Our Father, who art in heaven”) and the Hail Mary (“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you…”). Those are the two that form the substance of the Rosary, so it makes sense that I’d remember them, having said them possibly hundreds of times.

So I picked up a book on prayers and discovered that there weren’t much in the way of formal prayers. There were guidelines and jumping off points and such, but not much in the way of set pieces.

I brought this up with God today. I was wondering if this was something that he had set up or if it had just happened. And if he had set it up, why?

Of course, he didn’t give me a straight answer, but he did ask me a question in return. He pointed out that I got bored with those two prayers just by going through a Rosary and asked if I could imagine what it was like hearing those same two prayers over and over again from millions of unimaginative worshipers.

He told me that if there were any more than two prayers, then fewer people would get bored with the standards and he would get to hear even fewer original works, fewer heart to heart talks.

It would be like getting a new album from your favorite artist and discovering that there was only one new song on it; that the rest of them were just tracks taken from their other albums.

Come to think of it, a lot of greatest hits collections are just like that, they have one new song to try and force the fans that already have the rest of their albums to buy their greatest hits, too.

Hmm, now there’s a thought, maybe The Lord’s Prayer is the original hit single.

Soul Survivor

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

It’s pretty traditional to pray for the dead. The general idea is that through these prayers the soul of the departed will have a better shot of getting into Heaven. The assumption is that most of the people that anyone would bother praying for are in Purgatory. Logic suggests that if they’re already in Heaven, well the prayers will neither hurt nor help. Likewise for someone that’s gone straight to Hell. So if someone’s serving out their time in Purgatory, maybe a well timed prayer can function like a plea to the governor and get them out a little early.

God tells me this is the height of arrogance. When you pray for the dead you’re essentially telling God that you think he might have made a mistake, that maybe he tossed some poor soul into Purgatory for longer than they deserved.

He says to cut it out. He says that if you’re the type of person that goes around accusing him of screwing up, maybe you’re not the best spokesman for that particular soul.