I have recently been called a dirty atheist, a faithless heathen and a secular humanist. As for the first charge, I am quite cleanly. As for the third, I am guilty as charged. The second charge came with the challenge that if I just talk to God, I'd "see the light." So, challenge accepted. Here goes:
Me: So God, let's start off with an icebreaker, lately I've been hearing lots of hubbub about this whole Armageddon party you've got planned. Some people say it will be triggered by the conflict in the middle east, specifically, in Jerusalem, causing the third temple to be erected and bringing an end to the world as we know it. Others say that the second coming (or first coming of the messiah, for those of Jewish faith) will usher a man made apocalyptic disaster. Others, yet still, say that regardless of how it manifest, the end of the world will happen because the Bible says so . . . of course, this particular argument gets people like me all flustered, because all things end, so this seems like stating the obvious, regardless of what the Bible says. Could you speak to this issue?
God: . . .
Me: Okay, let's try an easier one. This whole concept of heaven seems really ambiguous to me. There are sects here on earth that swear to you that they are correct when they say: that there are a limited number of souls that you have predetermined will spend a blissful eternity in your domain, or everyone has a chance to lounge with the angels if they repent their sins, or only the followers of a certain faith will get in. I'm not sold on the concept, at all, but I would be grateful if you could clear up this controversy.
God: . . .
Me: Um, well, okay. Let's try one last question. Have you been offended lately that so many people have taken up worshiping material wealth, cosmetic surgery, fast food, sports teams and cults--like the Gaithers--rather that you directly. I have no doubt that many of these people believe they see you in these things, but does it seem to you that the sincerity just isn't there anymore. I don't personally worship anything, so I ask purely from an outsider's perspective. Is the aforementioned behavior acceptable to you?
God: . . .
Me: Well, thank you, God, for doing this interview. I will include my follow up notes below. Feel free to proof them for errors.
Notes: I have done my best to record all comments faithfully. After the interview, I took time to reflect. My original belief before coming into this encounter was that my job on this planet was to enjoy life, help others around me enjoy life and cause as little suffering as possible to anyone or anything in my time here. Those views haven't changed, I need no promise of reward to hold them. However, I did learn something, when asking "God" those really tough questions: whether you believe in the divine or not, all of the issues I sought to address were created by people. Therefore, my problem is not with the thought of people believing in a god, faith is like a powerful antidepressant, and on an individual basis, I'm sure it does a lot of good in the world, but like any other drug, people get together and abuse it. My trouble is with the faithful who o.d. and shoot up the neighborhood or slaughter "rival" gangs. Peace is peace. I'm all for it. If the faithful find peace in their faith, that is beautiful--if not, if they seek violence or to cause the suffering of others (mental or otherwise), that is where my problems begin and end. . . with the faithful, not their faiths.