A Candid Conversation With God:  What Do We Talk About?

How does an atheist or agnostic talk to God?  What do I call him or her?  What about the irony or would it be hypocrisy of an atheist talking to God?  I guess if I can be an agnostic, you can understand or dismiss my conversation as the musings of a man sitting on the proverbial fence.  Someone who wants to hedge his bets “just in case.”  However, even an atheist might want to hedge his bets.  (Listen to the song “Word of God Speak”- Mercy Me with Lyrics (High Quality)

talking-to-god (1)So what do I talk to God about?  The meaning of life?  When will the world end?  How can we eliminate evil in the world?  The weather?  Sports?  TV?  Movies?  What could I talk about that would keep his interest?  What if God is a her?  Would the same things interest her as him?

John:  Dear God, I am not doing much today, so I thought maybe we could have a little talk.

God:  I’m kind of busy, will it take long?

John:  Uhn, I dunno.  Got fifteen minutes?

God:  I guess so.  Who do you want saved?

John:  No one I can think of.  I know a lot of people I would like to send to hell.

God:  I don’t do that.  Talk to Satan.

John:  Just kidding.  Thought you might have a sense of humor.

God:  If I didn’t, I would not have created humans.

John:  Good point.  So why did you create us?

God:  For the hell of it.  (Laughs)

John:  Good one God.  But really, what was your purpose in creating humans?

God-creationGod:  If you really want to know, it was kind of an experiment.  In the entire universe, I was the only sentient being.  I wondered what would happen if I created a whole bunch of sentient beings and put them in one place.  So I created stars, planets, the solar system, earth and all the things that you would need to satisfy your emotional and intellectual needs.  I then created humans and let you grow and develop.

John:  You mean you never interfered or interceded on our behalf?

God:  Well, sometimes. I like to speed things up a bit, so I send some prophets or a few demagogues.

John:  So you sent Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed and Abraham?

God:  Nope, just Jesus and Mohammed.

John:  What about Hitler?

God:  Nope

John:  So who created Hitler and where is he now?

God:  You created Hitler and he is now in Hell.

John:  Where is Hell?

God:  For Hitler, it is a land ruled by Jews.

John:  Is that your idea of justice or is it vengeance?

God:  Justice is where kindness and compassion and love flourish.  Hitler will someday come to appreciate the Jewish people.  I don’t do vengeance.  It throws the entire universe out of kilter.

John:  So you mean, we can all get to Heaven some day?

God:  Only if you want to.

John:  Since we don’t have much time, I would like to be very candid with you.

God:  So?

John:  Well, you really made a mess with the earth and humanity.  Have you bothered to look at the earth and see the wars, poverty, disease, crime, injustice, famine and misery that you have created?

God:  You people.  You always want to blame someone else.

creation-of-the-universeJohn:  Who more than you?  You are All Knowing and All Powerful.  Yet you sit up there and laugh at the human race or perhaps worse, you take pleasure in our misery.

God:  I never said I was all powerful or all knowing.  I told Moses I always was and always will be, but I never said anything about omniscience or omnipotence.   You created those myths with your stories and desires; always hoping that someone like Superman or some super-hero will get you out of the shit that you create for yourselves.

John:  People look up to you. They pray to you.  They sacrifice lambs and goats for you. They build altars for you.

God:  Yes, and they fight for me. They kill for me.  They wage war in my name.  They pray that I will protect them and destroy their enemies. They pray for their relatives and ask for death for their neighbors in the next state or next town or next country.

John:  Are you blaming people for praying for these things?

God:  Have you not heard that I gave people free will?

John:  Free will for what?  To kill and maim and scourge and rape and destroy?  Is that supposed to be some kind of a blessing?

adam and eveGod:  I meant to give humans a choice.  Maybe I made a mistake.  I never told anyone that I was infallible.  I have toyed with destroying the entire human race and trying something else, but nothing really comes to mind.  How could I create a race of sentient beings and not give them free will?  Should I have created a race of puppets or robots?  Say the word and I will destroy your entire planet and all the people on it!  It is really a very small thing to do in terms of creativity and imagination.

John:  Please, don’t put that on me!  I don’t want that decision on my shoulders.  I thought maybe you would have some better ideas.

God:  Well, if you think of any, let me know.  I have things to do now and I need to end this conversation.

John:  One last question.  Are you planning to send any more prophets?  I think we need some help down here.

God:  Each time I send one, you listen for a while and then you somehow change the message back to what you want to hear or what you want to do.  The Ten Commandments become the two “maybe” Commandments.  The Eight Beatitudes become the Christ_at_the_Cross_-_Cristo_en_la_Cruzeight “Would be nice to do” but they are kind of impractical.  The Eight Fold Path becomes “I don’t have time.” The Six Articles of Faith become a prescription for Jihad.   You have a propensity for converting the words of the prophets I have sent into formulas for bigotry and intolerance.  Nevertheless, when I can, I will continue to send more prophets and messengers.  Keep in mind; they will all say the same thing:  “Love One Another.”

John:  Well, thanks for your time God, and Merry Christmas.

God:  Merry Christmas to you John, but I don’t do Santa.

Time for Questions:

Do you ever speak to God? Does he answer? Is God a he or she? Does it matter? Do you get the answers you need from God?  Do you think God should wipe out the human race and start over? Why or why not?  Did God screw things up with “Free Will?”

Life is just beginning.

“In the beginning..
when ray and day hadn’t yet come into existence at all,
there was a kind of radiance that illuminates universe.
That radiance is the light of knowledge and goodness.
That radiance will persistently and consistently shine brightly
even after all the stars and moons in this vast universe die out.”
― Toba Beta,

 

 

 

Was it Fate? Or was it Luck?  Or why do I never get the breaks? 

Fate GoddessWhen I think of fate, I think of India and Hindus.  I think of the book “The Prince and the Pauper”.  I think of Rudyard Kipling’s comment “There but for the grace of God go I.”  Fate to me denotes an unalterable destiny.  Fate can be good for you or it can be bad.  It all depends on whether you are born a King or a frog.

When I think of luck, I think of New York and Americans.  I think of the book “Scarne on Cards”.  I think of the comment by Thomas Jefferson “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”  Luck comes to the lucky.  Some of us never seem to get any luck and others win the lottery two and even three times.  Luck can be good or it can be bad for you.  You can die in an accident if you are very unlucky or if you are very lucky the car will just miss you.

Many people would argue that there is a vast difference between fate and luck.  They would argue that the two concepts are very different.  Webster ’Online defines each as follows:

Play Song:  “With a Little Bit of Luck”.  From My Fair Lady by Lerner and Loewe

Luck: 

1a:  a force that brings good fortune or adversity

1b:  the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual

2:  favoring chance; also :  success <had great luck growing orchids

Fate:

1:  the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do :  destiny

2a :  an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end

2b :  disasterespecially :  death

3a:  final outcome

3b :  the expected result of normal development

3c:  the circumstances that befall someone or something <did not know the fate of her former classmates

If you look closely, you should notice that the concept of “Will” is in the definition of fate.  It is not in the definition of luck and most of us would not associate will with luck.  But what is will?  Is there someone pulling the strings of fate, but no one pulling the strings of luck?  Why would this be?  Are there different gods for fate than for luck?

Looking at the two definitions, you may also notice that fate is seen as predestination.  It is inevitable and unavoidable.  However, can anyone change their luck?  We all know people who are perpetually unlucky and who seem to be like the character in the old Li’l Abner cartoon that bad luck followed wherever he went.  His name was Joe Btfsplk and he was a perpetual jinx.   Could he have somehow changed his luck?

“We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.”   ― Amy Tan,

goddess of luckWhat gives us good luck or good fate?  The goddess of luck in Greek mythology was Eutykhia who could bring good fortune, success and prosperity.  She was also known as Tyche or the spirit of chance, providence and fate.  There were also the Moirai who were the goddesses of fate that personified the inevitable destiny of man.  In the “Thread of Life” each person was apportioned a lot or part by the Moirai whose job was to spin the threads.  Even the mighty Zeus did not have the power to change the destiny woven by the Moirai.

Thus, it appeared to the Greeks, that the concepts of fate and luck were closely related.  I have long held to a very contradictory opinion about luck.  I believe that “luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”  Luck is not given by the gods but we give luck to ourselves.  I do agree with the Greeks that the concepts of fate and luck are closely related.  Now this would seem to pose a problem for my conceptual consistency.  If fate is willed by the gods and is thus inescapable and luck is similarly prescribed for us than how can I believe that we can change either our luck or our fate?  Well, to be consistent, I have to believe that we can also change our fate.  And of course, you guessed it; this is where I stand on fate.  Fate is not destiny nor is it inevitable.  Let me give you a few examples of where paupers became princes.

Humphrey Bogart was born to a wealthy family in New York City.  He grew up with privilege and the finer things in life.  However, one thing no one would accuse Bogie of was being good looking.  Given the glamor and good looks associated with most leading men, it would seem that his changes to play a “leading man” were next to zero.  Nevertheless, his onscreen presence and charisma were so magnetic that he became one of the greatest leading men that Hollywood had ever seen.  I could provide examples of dozens of other unglamorous men and women who broke into Hollywood stardom after they had been told to get a “regular” job.

“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”   ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The history of US presidents has numerous examples of men who went from poverty to the presidency.

“James Garfield was the youngest of five children born on a poor farm on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, Garfield is perhaps the poorest man ever to have become President. Supporting himself as a part-time teacher, a carpenter, and even a janitor through college, he was an idealistic young man who identified with the antislavery tenets of the new Republican Party.”   http://millercenter.org/president/garfield/essays/biography/1 .

We all know the story of Abraham Lincoln so that does not need repeating.  Several presidents like Thomas Jefferson went the other direction, from relative wealth to poverty.  Thus, proving that with some effort one can go from prince to pauper as well as from pauper to prince.

Corporations are a good source of examples for rages to riches stories.  Li Ka-shing is a Chinese billionaire whose net worth is estimated at 23 billion dollars.  Forbes provides the following background on Li’s rags to riches story:

“Li fled a turbulent China in 1940; settled in Hong Kong. At age 15, after the death of his father, he was forced to leave school to work at a plastics factory.  He later borrowed money to manufacture plastic flowers and eventually grew his Cheung Kong Industries into a conglomerate with stakes in supermarkets, property and cell phones.” 

According to Forbes, two of out every three billionaires in the world today are self-made.  They did not inherit either their money or “good” genes.  Destiny or fate gave them poor hands to start with but they made their own luck.

Presidents, movie stars, billionaires, some of them were born with more assets then others. Some of us are no doubt smarter, stronger and better looking than others, but for every one of those lucky folks given the assets that the rest of us would die for, there are four or five people who also received the same assets and they are now losers.  I use the word losers advisably because “yes” they lost their assets through neglect or complacency.

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Jesus said:  “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” –  Matthew 25:29 – HOW UNFAIR!  But Jesus was not being unfair; he was expressing a truth of life.  Perhaps it could be rephrased as “Use it or lose it.”  You are smart, then find a way to use your brains.  You are strong, then find a way to use your athletic abilities.  You have musical abilities, then work hard and learn an instrument.  Don’t spend years waiting for the Goddess of Luck or the Goddess of Fate to shine on you.  You will find that they shine brighter on those who make their own luck.  The luckier get luckier and the unlucky will have even less luck.

lucky sevensWhen I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, we used to have a phrase to describe the lucky few who we thought were somehow the chosen ones.  We said “they got the breaks.”  We threw this phrase around quite haphazardly as though it alone was enough to explain why they were up there and we were down here.  Why they got the millions and all we got were pennies.  Why they were rich, beautiful and successful and we were poor, struggling and losers.  It was quite simple:  “They got the breaks.”  Our destiny was cast.  We did not get the breaks.  That was easy to see and easy to understand.  What could we do?  Here is the reason that Robin Hood is so popular.

Thomas Hahn, professor of English at the University of Rochester, and author of numerous essays and books on Robin Hood, says the character’s popularity has long represented people’s frustrations with life in capitalist society.

“Robin Hood’s appeal arises from primal desires for justice and equity,” he says. “And though medieval in origins, this is a fantasy broad and deep enough to possess the imaginations of people in almost all times and places.”

We wanted justice.  We wanted equity.  We wanted their luck and their fate.  They got the breaks and we wanted them.  Actually, we wanted their money and status and to heck with justice and equity.  We wanted the things that money would bring and would have taken them if there were no laws against it.  Poor Robin Hood, hounded by the Sheriff of Nottingham and he was really just trying to distribute some of the breaks to the hoi polloi.

As the song goes in My Fair Lady, we wanted to have it all and not really work for it.  With a little bit of luck, or so the song says, you can have it all and never have to work. That was our true dream.  Riches, fame and fortune and never have to work a day, an hour or even a minute in our lives.  That is the ultimate break.   Alas and alack, we were brought up on a fantasy that still seems quite prevalent among a large group of people.

It took some of us many years of our lives to learn the real truth that as Thomas Jefferson so wisely said “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”  If we had only learned and heeded this truth many years earlier, we could have changed our fate and gone on to achieve a good deal more with our lives.  Some of us would still be alive and not dead on drug overdoses.  Some of us would not be in jail and living on the fringe of society.  Some of us would be upstanding respectable members of society and not living on handouts and pittances.  The bad fate and bad luck that many of my friends and I caught was not fixed in the stars but unfortunately fixed in our minds.   We did not get the breaks so what could we do?

Time for Questions:

How has your luck been lately?  Do the Fates tend to shy on or away from you?  Are you waiting for luck or making your own luck?  What if you were lucky, how would your life be different?  Have you had more good or bad luck in your life? Why?  What if you could change your luck, would you work harder for better luck?  What do you think controls your fate?

Life is just beginning.

Here are some resources for changing your luck and perhaps your destiny.  Let me know if any work for you.  J

 

 

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