I’ve been reading a lot of posts and comments on blogs that wax (or seek to) profound on the devastation wrought by last week’s tsunami and what it says about the nature of the Supreme Being. The verdict so far seems to resemble the consternation of women who, after marrying their sweethearts, discover that those “neat” and “orderly” habits (such as arranging canned goods in the cabinets in mathematically-exact rows by size and brand) that were so admirable in a boyfriend are the methods of an obsessive-compulsive tyrant in a husband. I hear, not so faintly, “God’s not fun anymore!” along with much posturing about the superiority of unbelief in treacherous and capricious fantasies, ostentatious displays of spiritual (since the only salt water involved here seems to be the product of the writers’ lachrymal glands) wounds, and best of all, self-righteous slams against survivors who dare thank their deity or deities for their current state of non-death.
I must say, this all bores me. The above-mentioned Job-wannabes are mostly sitting pretty in the Anglosphere, are well-fed, within ready access to medical care, not just sheltered but living in the sort of comfort medieval kings couldn’t even imagine existed, and in general more protected against most of nature’s slings and arrows than any other population in the entire history of the earth, and it’s not enough. Everything that happens everywhere has to be pretty for us. The victims aren’t even to be allowed the comfort of their religious beliefs. Well I tell you all what: you get on planes, and go to the some site of the disaster, and tell the survivors your conclusions. Tell them they shouldn’t believe in heaven or reincarnation or whatever; that their dead kids and parents and other relatives are just cold, rotting meat; that there is no god or else the god that exists hates them or is indifferent to mankind; and make sure you tell them how you wept real tears for their plight and wrote a bunch of stuff on a computer that cost more than the per capita income of everyone in their vanished village. I’m sure they’ll be ever so grateful.
Bores, all of you.
Update, now that I have had some wine: ah yes, the calming effects of alcohol. I am now in a somewhat mellower mood (which has about another ten minutes of shelf life before the sulfite-induced sinus headache kicks in) and am feeling a bit kinder towards the God-moaners. Or whatever they are. Let me just say – it is barely possible that the afore-linked bloggers (who I did not mean to single out particularly, but I had no inclination to seek out all the random blogs I had been wandering through because, well, I am a lazy sod and so these poor fellows must suffer in part for the sins of others not just their own) – anyway, as I was starting to say, it is barely possible in the best of all possible worlds that they didn’t mean to be quite so ungracious and mean-spirited, but were simply experiencing a low ebb in their confidence in the niceness of the world. Of course, that doesn’t mean I still don’t think they are being buttheads – just a tad – in the posts I linked to, nor that I am letting other well-meaning but pointless spiritual musers off the hook. Because I Care. Actually no I don’t. Eh – put it all down to “I’m so fecking tired of hearing this same old thing.” You know, every time something bad happens someone drags out the old Mean Deity/Nice Deity back-and-forth, and I just couldn’t care less.
It’s like this: I was never really into that whole “the Suffering! of the World! Is Too! Too! Horrible to ever allow for a Benevolent™ Deity!” thing. I’m not sure why – maybe because I was an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer fan. The thing is: everything that is organic dies and rots. Everything that is not organic crumbles into ever-smaller bits. Eventually suns expand, swallow up their planetary bodies, and become nebular clouds of dust that eventually coalesce into new systems. I am not so worried about dying, since that’s the one thing everyone does eventually. Since I am not a psychopath I don’t like suffering, personal or not, any more than anyone else does, but I figure that if even the greatest brains of humanity haven’t been able to alleviate this problem without positing a transformation of the human race into soulless robots then maybe there really is a place for it in the Great Scheme of Things. Maybe God, if He does exist, doesn’t want a race of happy little dolls who adore him because they’ve never known anything but happiness, but friends who can complain and yell at him and point out to him flaws in his creation, or at least entertain him. Think of it as the Ultimate Movie and you are the star. There’s only one shot, though. So don’t flub it.