F*ck God.

May 31, 2010 at 8:02 pm (By Amba)

It’s okay for me to say that because I’m Jewish.  We’re His chosen people and that means we have a privileged, intimate, familiarity-breeds-contempt relationship with the big guy.  We’re always giving Him a hard time.  And boy is it ever mutual.

What a load of crap.  The very C-4 plastique crap that’s getting ready to blow up the world.  The Abrahamic religions with their tripartite tribal god, the three-headed spawn of schism, brought at least as much insanity and evil as good onto this planet.  We can’t see how insane it is because we’re inside it.  It is some crazy, destructive holy shit.

Really, the crap going down in the Middle East, the inexplicable insanity that never ever stops swirling around the Jews, makes me feel uncharacteristically like a Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens religion-hater.  If the real God is this God, invoked by the brawling Abrahamic triplets, then He evidently intends to destroy the world and has created, with His Revelation, the perfect nuclear time bomb.  But the Biblical, Koranic God is a human projection, or misconception, if you ask me.  (I know.  You didn’t.)  The apocalyptic mindset is a raging mental illness.  At bottom it is a human tantrum over death, nothing more.  It’s all about how we can’t accept that we die.  Paradoxically, we’re likely to destroy this beautiful world simply because the price of entering it is having to leave it.  Dog in the manger.  If I can’t have her forever, nobody can have her ever.  So there.

I want to invite you to seriously consider the following conception of God, written by someone who I think was, is — he’s still alive — a real prophet.  (Jewish?  How’d you guess?)  Without honor, of course:  his “eccentric” vision was almost unnoticed and almost instantly forgotten.  A longer excerpt at the link, which I strongly commend to you; better yet, get a copy of the book for as little as 99 cents.  But here.  God, who has taken the form of a black man (for reasons explained in the longer excerpt), and Seth, the only white man (a Jew) working in a Southern Illinois coal mine, are talking in a chamber deep in the mine.  They discuss the recent death of a man in the community stabbed by the husband of his lover.

“It was terrible about Sam, wasn’t it?”

“Quite so.”

“Lord, did he have to die like that?”

“No, awful waste,” replies God.

“But Lord, why didn’t you do something about it?”

“To breed, Seth, is not the simplicity that humankind believes it to be. Men and women had to be rewarded with storms of delight if they are to create destiny. I must have sand hurricanes of men to fulfill my universe . . . Seth, let’s play a hand, cut the cards.”

“I don’t play pinochle.”

“But you play gin rummy.”

“Sure. Grandpa and I did all the time . . .”

[after the game]

“I miss grandpa, is he happy in heaven?”

“There is no heaven, Seth.”

The engineer stills in his chair, the deck of unshuffled cards inert in his hands. He ventures a numb reply, “But Lord, if you are real there has to be a heaven, doesn’t there?””

“No logic to that, Seth. No heaven, no hell, no purgatory, just Earth for men until they learn to sail off into the vacuum seas of my stars. Fellow like your grandpa dies and he sweetens the earth with his decay. Those were contented grubs that ingested grandpa’s flesh.”

Seth weeps, “Please, Lord, don’t.”

“The sensibiities of humankind,” muses God. “They kill one another without remorse yet deny the gift of the corpses to redeem new life as do my mute worms beneath the leaf mold. If you slay your brother should you not eat him? The cannibals understood.”

“Lord, the grubs, the worms, they don’t love one another. People love people,” the man states.

“That’s right, Seth, how silly of me to forget.”

“You forget nothing, Father.”

A God with a sly sense of humor, who wants us to accept death, stop killing one another, and sail out into the stars?

This Jew won’t settle for less.

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20 Comments

  1. amba12 said,

    I should probably say “post-Jew,” but it would spoil the effect. And maybe once a Jew, always a Jew? Damned if I know.

  2. William O. B'Livion said,

    “Damned if I know.”

    And damned if you don’t.

  3. amba12 said,

    If there is damnation, then surely it awaits me.

  4. Icepick said,

    Wow, sorry to set of this chain reaction! The good news is I will be paying too much attention to poop & diapers in the near future to keep up the ‘inspiration’.

  5. reader_iam said,

    The Abrahamic religions with their tripartite tribal god, the three-headed spawn of schism, brought at least as much insanity and evil as good onto this planet.

    Well, OK, then. That’s that.

    We can’t see how insane it is because we’re inside it.

    What’s with that “we”? Because clearly *you* can.

  6. reader_iam said,

    At heart, you (and Icepick, too, in his own way) are optimists. If I didn’t know that, I would despair, cynic that I am.

  7. Donna B. said,

    Because I’ve had one (OK… two!) glasses of wine too many tonight I somehow destroyed a long comment on death, love, and the fear of both.

    To summarize, my caring for my stepmother (who I did not love at the beginning) and my fear of having surgery for my little brain tumor came together to make me realize that I do not fear death rather I fear not knowing how things are going to turn out.

    Life is like a soap opera and what I fear most is not knowing what is going to happen next and how my offspring are going to handle it. I fear the lack of control and knowledge that my death will bring about.

    And I wish for the supernatural ability to tap my offspring on the shoulder and say… “um… that’s not going to work, try this instead.”. And I wish they would listen now as well as when I might be simply a ghost in their mind.

    Fear of death is the fear that those who come after us might not have learned what we’ve seemingly paid so much to learn… at least that is my current view.

    That… and sheer selfishness that we want to witness what they have learned, how they handle that, and what they might learn that we missed.

    Maybe… what we missed is the real impetus for fearing death.

  8. amba12 said,

    clearly *you* can.

    Not really. I’m too used to (brainwashed into?) thinking of it as a noble, light-bringing tradition that midwifed true morality out of primitive ethics, for all its imperfections. But when I see the apocalyptic turn it’s taking in the Middle East, in my Pentecostal friend who’s waiting for the Rapture, and in some nutty Jewish circles now too . . . I don’t know, the “end times” meme, the linear view of history, the victim/martyr scam, and the belief in Heaven or Paradise — someplace better that you can cop out and default to when the going gets too rough here — all seems to me like a time bomb that’s about to detonate.

    I’m really angry at my tradition right now, to put it mildly. As I’ve said before, I’m attracted to Taoism because it seems to me the less conceptual content in a religion, the better. The more we try to pin it down to a particular story or explanation, the wronger we get it. In my not very humble, but nonetheless very insignificant, opinion.

    I don’t think the material world is all there is — I don’t think the material world itself is even material — but I do think we don’t know exactly what else there is. The world is a beautiful place. I’m tired of being lectured about the virtues of world-despising and how it’s either the world or God. It’s supposedly God’s world, for Christ’s sake. (Except for the Christ part, here I’m being quite properly Jewish.) The world isn’t evil, our brains are evil. (Partly.) We’re the ones who pervert natural urges into addiction and exploitation.

  9. amba12 said,

    cynic_iam? :)

    At heart, you (and Icepick, too, in his own way) are optimists. If I didn’t know that, I would despair, cynic that I am. That is correct, about both me and Icepick. I call myself an agnoptimist. I don’t know, but I trust. In spite of everything. And what is more of an act of helpless, fundamental trust than having a child.

  10. amba12 said,

    If one doesn’t have offspring one fears, with good cause, being forgotten altogether. (Of course, everyone is forgotten anyway within a few generations.) One fears one’s time here having been for naught.

    I don’t mean to imply by this post that I accept death and don’t fear, resent, protest it. Of course I do. But it’s the price of life. If there is any afterlife I’m attracted to, it’s the idea of coming back in some way to continue to learn. The idea that what you learned isn’t just lost. But maybe nothing is ever lost, and surely if “you” do come back, it’s not as “you.” I’m more inclined to guess there are links between different lives, because time is an illusion, than that there is a packaged, bounded soul that goes in and out of time. A wave, not a particle.

  11. amba12 said,

    To better explain “victim/martyr scam” — I don’t mean to suggest that there haven’t been real victims. But there gets to be a competition over who is the bigger victim, and there gets to be using victimhood as an “innocent” form of power that no one can question, blame, protest. Being very real victims got the Jews a state. Refusing to be victims again is getting them called Nazis. Meanwhile the victim baton passed to evicted Palestinians. Now if the Palestinians accepted a two-state solution, they would cease to be victims and thus give up the “innocent” power and international stardom they have, to become just ordinary citizens figuring out how to dispose of their garbage and get their streets paved. Would you accept that bargain? Give up all your pathos and glamour for a little real estate?

  12. Icepick said,

    A God … who wants us to ,,, sail out into the stars?

    This Jew won’t settle for less.

    Um, isn’t that a Mel Brooks skit? Why, yes, yes it is!

  13. Icepick said,

    At heart, you (and Icepick, too, in his own way) are optimists.

    I loudly protest this scurrilous accusation!

    Or perhaps that should read

    I LOUDLY PROTEST THIS SCURRILOUS ACCUSATION!

    Yes, much better that way.

    Trust me, I am not an optimist.

  14. realpc said,

    We are inside our human perspective on death and suffering and grief, so we get angry at God because he didn’t make the world more pleasant for us. If we try to imagine we did not have our human perspective, our anger would stop making any sense. Imagine if we could have our way, and people wouldn’t kill each other, all diseases would be cured, etc. We would still find many things to complain about.

    And we did have our way in a lot of things. Modern medicine has eradicated infant mortality, so that mothers don’t have to lose their babies. If our species were lucky enough to survive thousands more years (which doesn’t seem likely), it would be a very sick species. Infant mortality is a mechanism for keeping species healthy.

    But of course we hate it because we are mammals with maternal instincts and tribal compassion.

    We are essentially tribal and so we kill each other. It wouldn’t seem horrific if our geniuses had not invented ever more deadly weapons. So no we imagine the world as one gigantic tribe, all on the same wavelength and all feeling universal compassion and no hatred.

    I love it when an utra-liberal world-lover goes insane with hatred of conservatives.

    Anyway, I don’t see God as some kind of big supernatural dictator, running our lives. I think everything is god, because everything is infinite intelligence. God is not some guy whose job is to make every human being satisfied and content. It is NOT POSSIBLE to make human beings satisfied and content, for one thing.

    But if it were, than why woudln’t it also be God’s job to make every earthworm satisfied and content? And then how would the little birdies feel if they were not allowed to eat the earthworms?

    Life is NOT POSSIBLE without death and violence. Love is NOT possible without hatred and grief.

    So people should just stop complaining about how God falls short of our expectations. Our expectations are are sheer nonsense. We just don’t realize it because we can’t realize it, because we are inside our human perspective.

    I get frustrated with God also Amba and I tell him off sometimes. But that is my personal inner God, not a universal dictator, who is as much part of me as I am part of him. He is like Jesus, I feel, an intimate friend and (hopefully) savior. He makes my life as wonderful as he possibly can, given my human idiocy and insanity, and the unbending limits of reality.

  15. realpc said,

    “No heaven, no hell, no purgatory”

    I think it’s just a myth of modern materialism that there can’t be any kind of afterlife. If matter creates mind, then that would be true, but not if it’s the other way around. I think a lot of educated Jews disbelieve in any kind of afterlife because they have been influenced by modern materialism. We really don’t know much if anything about death or what comes after.

    The Old Testament doesn’t seem to say anything about what comes after death, but that does not necessarily mean they didn’t believe in some kind of afterlife. And they certainly were not materialists.

    I think, maybe, that the Old Testament only represents the world-focused aspect of the culture of ancient Israel. We have no reason to assume there weren’t also mystical aspects that either were not written down or didn’t survive. Or are just located somewhere other than the bible.

    And there is a Jewish mystical tradition of course, but I don’t know if it goes all the way back to ancient Israel. Every culture had its mystical traditions so I bet it did.

    Modern educated Jews distance themselves from supernatural ideas, in order to seem scientific. But we have absolutely no scientific reasons for believing that mind is created by matter.

  16. amba12 said,

    “Jews in Space”!! Ice (#12), what a fantastic find! Ridiculously apropos, too.

  17. reader_iam said,

    On second thought, fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. Life is a fucked up thing. Death, too. Some deaths are horrible (but not shocking: my mom’s, for example. Others you learn about out of the blue and they shock you speechless and hit you so hard on account of being out of the blue (and on account of more things) you can barely stand and simply don’t know what to do or say, with yourself or about anything.

    Life is like that, that sonuvabitch.

  18. reader_iam said,

    You know I really have a lot to answer for, the things I chose to pay attention to and the things I didn’t do.

  19. Peter Hoh said,

    Amba wrote: But the Biblical, Koranic God is a human projection

    Then you’re sure to enjoy this bit of anatomical speculation: Michelangelo’s secret message.

  20. wj said,

    Sorry to be so late to the party, but this occurred to me over the weekend. Perhaps were several of us are coming from is analogous to the aphorism (much honored in the breach) of “Hate the sin; love the sinner.” Or to put it another way “If you can’t love God, the next best thing is to hate organized religion.”

    As far as I can see, almost all of the problems that people have with “religion” are not really problems with the core tenets of most religions. Rather they are problems with the theology that have built up within organized religion — to the point that they frequently obscure the core message almost completely.

    Consider Christianity. Jesus capsule summary was “Love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.” And yet how many Christian sects focus on fire and brimstone, denunciations of the behavior of others, etc.? (And, from what I know of them, how much popular Jewish and Muslim theology ends up similarly focused on details of individual behavior, rather than the core tenets of their religion?)

    I suppose that one might argue that detailed behavioral strictures are the core tenets of some religions. But it sure doesn’t look that way to me.

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