What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on a bus?…
— Joan Osborne, “One of Us.”
emme get this straight: if you discovered God was a knock-kneed, sunken-chested, bus-traveling sex-pervert, you people – you forgiving christians – would still worship him? Your first indignant objection is, “Why a sunken-chested sex-pervert – couldn’t he just be normal?” (I could be pedantic and solicit a definition of “normal,” but there are better rejoinders awaiting…)
You yourselves perpetrate the greatest ignominy against your god by suggesting he resemble humankind – physically or mentally. Making him a perve comes nowhere close to the fall you yourselves make him undergo from a planet-creator to a human.
So you’d love to discover god as a “stranger on a bus” – but will you like what you find? To realistically be one of us, God would have to be prone to all our environmental and psychosomatic hazards. In plunging him into the Earth system, he deals with the same biological climate as we do; the same advertising and sitcoms; the sexually-charged atmosphere, indigestible fast foods, propaganda guised as “news”; influential fantasy worlds of art and movies; he would need income, need a job; the fact he rides the bus tells a low-class misery story; health problems would smash up against lack of income for health care; seeking relief from the problems of society, vices would explode in the pleasure centers of his brain…
You’re lucky he’s only a sex-pervert…and not a heroin junkie as well, or a lung-cancer victim… or a child-killer… or a congressman…
We could continue along conjectural lines forever, offering stunted hypotheses on who or what god may be, and whether or not he is here now utilizing public transport, but allow me to propose a sensible solution to this speculation; why wonder any more who god is?…
Call ME God.
Yes, just profess that I am the god of your King James bible (and you’ve just discovered me checking out rollerblading bitches on Venice Beach, a tumescent erection pushing against my Levis Relaxed Fit 555s).
THERE ARE UNIVERSES BEGGING FOR GODS
yet He hangs around this one looking for work.
— Philip José Farmer, “Riders Of The Purple Wage.”
A figurehead is all you seek, since that is all your god is. You base all your religious euphoria on FAITH – blind, unquestioning faith. You simply BELIEVE. Because “…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) You don’t need to actually witness miracles; you have been told that miracles occurred long ago; you have been told that seeking proof makes you a sniveling Doubting Thomas; and you have been warned that if you don’t believe, there will be Trouble. Why need you proof? Self-reinforcing delusion is your rescue!
Proclaim me GOD and I will do EVERYTHING – I guarantee it! – that your outmoded, unseen god does for you now.
BUT… Instead of imagining someone you cannot see or feel – someone you’ve never heard from – is watching over you and guiding your earthly path, why not simply BELIEVE that I – a tangible, real entity – am that being? There will be NO CHANGE in the earth’s verisimilitude. All things will remain as they are. Only your BELIEF has been laterally channeled. And my status has vertically risen.
Exodus 20:3 warns, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Think you can handle that? Okay, we’re over the first hurdle…
As your god – nee‚ THE GOD (start using the capital ‘G’ on my name, because you are invoking a tangible person now, not just a metaphor) – these are my proposals:
I will provide someone for you to look up to; you may lavish upon me your undying respect, by burning candles, praying (or more correctly, “reciting” honorific words that someone earthbound composed in honor of me and duped the masses into believing they were “inspired” by me), kneeling for hours in an edifice with my name on the door, eating something with no nutritional value that symbolizes my love for you (any McDonalds burger will suffice), and gathering in one place on a stipulated day (say, Thursdays) to collectively offer your obeisance.
Performing these tasks is not beneficial to me in the least – your parents were right when they told you “You cannot do God any favors” – it is for yourselves that you perform these non-sequitur rites. You may THANK ME for allowing you to do yourselves these favors. When I am not in your presence, you may set up a Boris Vallejo portrait of me for all to see, and light some incense and – what the hell! – slaughter a fatted calf! – and I promise I will acknowledge your oblations. You won’t be provided ANY PROOF AT ALL that I am acknowledging them, but believe me, I’m acknowledging the shit out of them.
You may ask me, in the form of earnest prayers (earnest = any physical or mental suffering, up to and including stigmata) – recited out loud or mentally shoved through the atmospheric molecules via mind-signals – to provide beneficial services to you and your loved ones. Whether I grant your wishes or not is at my discretion, so don’t complain if I don’t come through for you. Who art thou to judge the will of God?
When it rains, attribute it to me, and when the sun shines, you can believe I caused that too (and yes, it IS shining out of my arse); when a volcano erupts and kills thousands, you can blame me – but don’t JUDGE me. It is My Will and I work in MYSTERIOUS WAYS.
If you are in pain, cry out to me for help and I will, over time, heal you. When you are emotionally distressed, pray to me and again, over time, I will cause your tribulations to cease. You may occasionally be inclined to doubt my EXTRAORDINARY POWERS, and oft-times may dismiss your divine convalescence, saying Time healed your wounds. How small-minded you are! Do you not recall that you have attributed the creation of ALL THINGS to me, therefore I – and I alone – created the Time that healed your wounds?
No problem shall prove insurmountable if you but BELIEVE IN ME, although if you falter on your path, it is due to unsound decisions brought about by your own Free Will. If you do falter though, all you need do is continue your prayers to me and maybe – just maybe – I can get you back on track, but I’ll only help you if you help yourself! And if I don’t help you, it is because I CHOOSE not to help you. Maybe I’m “testing” you? Remember – MYSTERIOUS WAYS…
If you band together with enough like-minded Followers, be welcome to embark on indiscriminate killing sprees in my name, citing me as the force that goes before you, smiting your enemies. (Don’t forget to Love Your Enemies – even as you smite them.) In this way, establish churches in my name and force the Unenlightened to Worship Or Die. Of course, YOU will be doing the actual physical killing of these stubborn pagans, not I – but have no fear, if you do it In My Name you will be BLESSED for it, as I blessed David and Joshua, Moses and Cain, and even that puppet fuckhead, General David Petraeus.
If you stray along the alluring path of Sin, I will punish you – so in order to stay on the pure side of crazy, continue to CONFESS your filthiest, execrable sins to masturbating strangers on the other side of mesh screens in darkened booths.
All I ask of you is to be nice to each other – love one another as you would love yourself (electrical appliances included). Too much to ask? (Not that this is an original request; Socrates, Plato, Buddha, Confucius, and others trod this territory long before me, with the exact same words, no less). For I realize that keeping you alive to worship me is what keeps ME alive and well and awesome, for “when belief in a god dies, the god dies.” (Harlan Ellison said that in Deathbird Stories – but I created him to say that.) Don’t kill anyone (unless they blaspheme against me, worship someone else or ridicule you for worshipping me – am I contradicting my big self again? Oh, for fun!); don’t get caught humping the neighbor’s wife, put out the cat, change the fish-tank water, don’t wear pastels next to primary colors…
…And pay me tribute in the grandest way, by offering unto me your GRANDEST RICHES and your WETTEST BITCHES (preferably blond and tit-witted) and CHOLESTEROL-RICH FOODSTUFFS upon my altar. And no: neither you nor your high priests may partake of these offerings. Remember, “if a King forbids his subjects from wearing a crown, that doesn’t mean he can’t wear one himself.” (Paul Williams said that, in BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES – but I created the Planet of the Apes, but it was really Earth so “two birds with one stone” there…)
And when you die, your soul (believe me, you have an intangible, unseen, unfelt other self in there amongst your meat and tendon, which has higher aspirations than you) can come live in my Big House with many rooms – well, actually, my father’s house has many rooms… your dead loved ones are there… BELIEVE that I have them. For if you don’t believe… there might not be a Comfy Chair reserved for you…
And in fearing for your soul’s future well-being (you selfish, selfish sods), you will learn to fear ME. Or I will “damn you all to hell!” (Charlton Heston said that, but I created Chuck, so he could play Michelangelo, so I could be glorified in paint on the Sistine’s roof… See how it all fits?) For if you do NOT fear me, I may sentence your soul to eternity in Sheol – and that’s a mighty long time to be on slow bake…
Some of my tenets you may find hard to swallow, but trust me – you just have to BELIEVE… and it will be so.
These things I have GUARANTEED. These things I have DELIVERED.
GOD AM I. (That’s Jim Carrey’s Riddler in BATMAN FOREVER – but… well, you know the rest…)