because we are human. We are imperfect creatures, Absidy. It's in our nature to
create and to destroy. And you assume that human beings are the only creatures
that God cares about. He's too busy to watch us all of the time and we keep
screwing it up while he is busy somewhere else. Look at what we've done to this
planet over the years. Some species of plants and animals die out naturally
because newer species are more successful at competing for food and living
space. Others have become extinct because of changes in the planet or because
of natural disasters. Dinosaurs, for example, may have died out because the
climate became cooler, maybe because an asteroid collided with the earth and
caused a big cloud of dust that blocked out the sun. In today's world, however,
species mostly become extinct or are threatened with extinction because of
humans. Humans hunt animals, destroy their habitats, and introduce other
animals that prey upon the endangered animals or compete for their resources.
Let's face it: We're just not perfect, and if we're not perfect, neither is
"So you've concluded that an imperfect God
created the Earth and that we are his children, Ella? That's not very
"I don't see it quite that way, Absidy. Take
the idea of genius, for example. Like Mozart. How did a five year old child
come to compose music? I'm an evolutionist. I don't believe that God created
the Earth or human beings. I think that there is a kind of wave-like life
force. Some of us are touched by that force more than others."
Star Wars." Absidy laughed.
"Are you making
fun of me, Mr. Blanks? Maybe that's what George Lucas believed when he wrote
the script, or perhaps something like that. I don't believe in "the force", but
I do believe that this gravity-like wave exists," Ella replied.
that's why cancer and other diseases like AIDS kill millions of people every
year, and why the Nazis killed eleven million Jews and Poles during the
holocaust, and why women in Africa have their limbs chopped off after being
raped. They happened to be at the bottom of your wave when it washed over the
silent, and as Absidy watched, her eyes began to glow. Her voice deepened:
"I am that I am.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the sum of all that ever
was and all that ever will be. I am part of each and every one of you, and you
are part of me."
"Ah, Ella? Are you in there? Who is speaking?
"Ella is here with me, Absidy. She's more convenient than the tablet at
"What should I call you? Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"
"My my. He isn't
as bright as I thought, Ella. No Absidy, I don't mind at all. That's why I'm
here speaking through Ella. I don't have a name, but for the sake of
convenience you can call me Al or Alfie while I'm here. What's on your mind,
"Okay. I assume
that you are who or what we here on Earth refer to as God. But if that's the
case it often seems like you don't care about us. Take diseases like the great
influenza pandemics that killed hundreds of millions of us? Or cancer or AIDS
for example. Where were you when all of those people suffered and died? Why do
you stand by and watch genocides like the Holocaust or Dafur or Rwanda? Why do
you let such things happen to us?"
forward, resting her chin in her hands. She shook her head slowly. "Absidy, what makes you think that I have
nothing else to do with my time but watch over you people? Do you know how many
stars there are out there? How many planets? How many civilizations? There are
thousands of millions of Earth-like planets in this galaxy alone. Think about
that for a moment. Imagine how many there are in the universe. And because I am
the sum of all that there is, I'm a very busy entity. And besides, you forget
that I am eternal, I may have reasons to do things that you can never
understand. Moreover, you forget that you are all part of me -- the good as
well as the bad. You get the God that you deserve. You have to take a little
responsibility here. I'm as much as an effect of what you do as I am the cause
"That's a pretty convenient out," said Absidy. How do we know that you
simply aren't paying attention?"
Alfie glared ominously. "Don't push it, Absidy."
"Okay, okay. How about religions? That seems like an appropriate line of
"Fine. Ask me anything you'd like to know."
"Why are there so many religions, Alfie? And which one is right?"
getting somewhere. It's the reason that I dropped the tablet on your beach and
why I'm talking to you now. I gave you religions to help you make sense of your
lives and to give you hope. Let's face it -- your miserable lives are short.
You need to have religions so that you won't be so obsessed with death. They
also serve practical ends, like the Jewish kosher laws."
answered. "Most of the kosher laws made sense. The first humans knew little
about food preparation. They were poisoning themselves. Undercooked pork can
kill us. But some of the kosher laws have no connection with health. Why aren't
Jews allowed to eat camels or rabbits or shellfish?"
undercooked pork, most improperly cooked shellfish can be dangerous," Alfie
replied, "and I didn't want the Jews to eat camels because they were more
valuable back then as transportation than as a food source. As to rabbits,
let's just say that I think they're adorable. I don't like it when you kill
them. Go on. What's your next question?"
"I gave you
Christianity because you needed an update. I gave the early Jews the Ten
Commandments and a few helpful hints about what to eat. But I didn't give them
the Torah. They wrote that themselves. It happens to be a great piece of fiction
-- a real page turner. But I wasn't the
author. And as the other Hebrew laws became more complex and restrictive over
the years you stopped paying attention to the only things that really matter,
so I dropped in at Bethlehem and found a cute kid to give you some relief.
Needless to say, you managed to screw that up too as time went by. I assume
that you've read and absorbed the Bible, which you people also wrote entirely
on your own, by the way. It has so many contradictions in it that I'm amazed anyone
reads it anymore. The Gospel of John disagrees with the other three Gospels on
the activities of Jesus and all four Gospels contradict each other on the
details of his last moments and resurrection. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke
contradict even each other on the genealogy of Jesus' father. It's a mess. The
notion that I resurrected Jesus is particularly silly. I gave him my advice,
which he was happy to pass on to others, but when he died that was that."
"So there was no
resurrection. I assume reincarnation is another myth?"
When it's over it's over. Ashes to ashes and all that. But don't tell Shirley
Maclaine. She has a thing with reincarnation and it would kill her if she knew
"Cute. What about heaven and hell? Do they exist?"
"No, Absidy, but you might want to keep that to yourself for now. You
aren't quite ready for that."
"So if there is no heaven or hell I gather that neither is there a
God shook her
head. "Nope. No Lucifer, no Satan, no
Devil. At least none that I know of. Humans have spawned some pretty nasty
characters over the years but they were independent contractors."
"The L.A. Angels? Of course.
They're my favorite baseball team." God paused, as if waiting for Absidy or
Ella to laugh at the lame joke. "Sorry kid, but there are no Angels. At least
not in the sense that you mean it."
"Right. And after
Christianity you gave us Mohammed and Islam," Absidy replied.
Ella chimed in.
"Islam is some gift, Al. It's the most sexist and repressive religion on Earth.
You can't be a Muslim unless you revere the Qur'an, and the Qur'an, taken
literally, includes passages that encourage violence against non-believers.
What were you thinking?"
Ella," said Alfie, "I'm not through using your body just yet."
this amusing. He was now engaged in a discussion with God while he or she was
in co-possession of Ella, and God was rapidly discovering that Ella had a few
ideas of her own to add to the conversation.
"Absidy, you and
Ella need to put this all in historic perspective. I gave you what I believed
was necessary at each time in your history, but whenever I give you kids a few
pointers you manage to fuck it up one way or the other. You become so obsessed
with your religions that you replace compassion and reason with interpretive
rules that I never intended you to have. The Qur'an contains some lovely
verses, but yes, Islam is repressive and sexist, as Ella puts it. And like the
Bible, it speaks of a life after death, which there isn't -- again in the sense
that you mean it. I realize that I'm
digressing here, but think of death as a biologic state. Even I have difficulty
describing it in terms that you would understand. Your consciousness is a kind
of energy. The laws of conservation dictate that the total quantity of matter
and energy in this universe remain constant. Therefore, your consciousness
"remains" after your bodies die, but not in the human sense. If it helps, what
was your consciousness when you were alive is out there with me, albeit in
another form," said God, pointing up at the sky. "You are all part of me."
Ella. But what about all those verses in the Qur'an about Jihad, and Martyrdom?
And all that business about seventy two virgins waiting in paradise for the
fighters and the martyrs?"
"There you go
again," said Alfie. "Like I was saying, I gave you Islam through Mohammed, but
I didn't write the whole Qur'an, Ella. It was you kids who threw that stuff, as
you call it, in there along with the better verses in the Qur'an. You did that
with the verses about women too. There were your doing, not mine. The Muslims
are motivated to terrorism because the Qur'an tells them that fighting
non-believers is a duty of every Muslim. It tells them that if they die fighting
they can go to heaven -- which you now know doesn't exist -- where the virgins
will be waiting to service their needs. It sounds pretty dumb, doesn't it? But
you guys wrote all that, not me."
about Scientology?" asked Absidy. "Does it qualify as a religion?"
exclaimed the Lord, "Don't even go there. What a bunch of fruitcakes! And as
far as I can tell it's also a major ripoff. The only people who manage to
attain a so-called higher state are either celebrities or they have so much money
that they can afford it."
"So I gather
that you don't care what religions we choose to observe?" said Ella.
"Listen carefully. I couldn't care
less what formal religions you observe," said the Lord, "or for that matter,
whether you observe any at all. What matters to me is how you live your lives,
not if or how you worship me. If you want to observe Judaism, go to a
synagogue. If you want to be a Catholic or a Protestant, go to a church. If
Islam is your thing then pray to me five times each day. It's all the same to
me, Ella. Human beings seem to thrive on having cultural and religious
traditions that you can identify with. It's like sports teams. You like to have
a side that you can root for. But you get carried away and it becomes
destructive. Don't take ANY of the
interpretive rules and passages so seriously. See them for what they are --
your own opinions and interpretations written by your ancestors that do nothing
but interpret the opinions of their ancestors. None of it is required reading in
my school, dude, and none of it should be taken literally. You all need to stop
bickering about who is right and who is wrong. Your religions are nothing but
cultural traditions. That's my command. Live your lives with fairness,
integrity and respect for the truth. It won't extend your individual
existences, but it's how you should live. You should also stop overpopulating
the Earth. There are already too many of you. You kids are on the brink of
disaster as it is. And if you don't kick the fossil fuel habit you'll soon find
that you're cooking the planet. Interstellar travel isn't happening, guys. This
is the only home that mankind will ever have. No worm holes, no warp drives,
nada. Sorry, but it is what it is."
"Okay, but I have
one more question: Why?"
"Why are we here?
What is the purpose of life?"
"I really hate
that question, Absidy. I don't know so many of you keep asking it. It's
"Why is it
pointless? Shouldn't we know the purpose of existence?"
life is just the inevitable consequence of chemistry, of the stuff that
comprises this universe, and since the universe itself has no purpose unless
it's some part of a cosmic computer simulation, then neither does life. So
there. Are you happy now? That's my final answer." With those words ringing in
Absidy's mortal ears, God left Ella's body.
exclaimed. "That was a really interesting experience! No offense, Absidy, but
it was even better than sex. And I'm really hungry. What have you got in the
From Seven Till Dawn sends
Absidy and some decidedly unusual friends on a take-no-prisoners romp across
three continents. It is NOT
recommended for young readers. The print
(softcover) and Kindle editions are now available at Amazon.com.. The
ipad version is on sale at the
itunes store, and in nook, and other ebook formats at Barnes&Noble and elsewhere, (Please send me a note if you can't find it online.)