Watching Over Us
There is an evangelical temple not far from my home called the New Wine Church. They are in a nondescript building in an older strip mall and share a parking lot with a martial arts school. They have a billboard in their parking lot on which they display witty inspirational messages, and I have attached a photo of one of my favourites. They change the messages every month or two.
At one point, I thought of knocking on their door to interview the person who writes the messages. My idea was to write a freelance article that I could submit to our local community newspaper. Then I found out what community newspapers pay for articles and I abandoned the idea. I don’t mind working for nothing but only when I work for myself.
I sent this photo along with some others to some former friends and colleagues this past weekend, which caused an exchange of emails about god. The correspondence started out a little lowbrow and went downhill from there.
Two weeks ago, Macleans magazine ran a cover story about all the troubles that god and the various different beliefs about god have caused humanity (and the animal kingdom for that matter) through the ages. There are some very vehement critics of religious belief that have recently published books that are attracting considerable attention. I have heard radio interviews with a couple of them and their arguments are compelling.
Naturally, I feel the need to stick my two cents into the discussion so I will describe how I imagine god. (By the way, I will use the masculine pronoun in references to the supreme being for convenience. I don’t presume to understand the functioning of such an entity but it would surprise the hell out of me if he cared much about gender or politically correct grammar.)
In my mind, I picture god in a bar with his buddies. They are sitting in front of a giant television, a state of the art high-definition plasma screen, I figure. They are watching us, we humans, our petty squabbles, our sadistic genocides, and the many cruel results of our childishly arrogant egos and short-term selfish concerns. On the screen is a never-ending line-up of pathetic slobs on daytime television telling spectacularly lurid tales of their repulsive behaviour, politicians stupidly asserting, with a straight face, that god is on their side, babies dieing of curable diseases while millions are spent building casinos where billions will be squandered because of empty-headed boredom. To add to the insult, some of us actually claim to be made in his image; man, that must rankle. It must test his infinite patience not to let loose with well-aimed lightning bolts now and then just to shut us up. What a pleasure it would be to inject a few megawatts into some of these twits. How does he resist? While watching this depressing parade, god’s buddies are laughing up a storm, poking fun at him saying things like, “You created this bunch of losers? Ha! Couldn’t you do better than that?” And God, well, he’s embarrassed of course, and he keeps begging the bartender to change the channel to the hockey game because he wants to watch this Crosby kid from Canada. But his buddies have hidden the remote.