Divine Scripture, Divine Comedy
“The god of the desert”
I may not have mentioned or implied it, but I’m an atheist.
Or, perhaps more accurately, as YouTube veteran Pat Condell declared, a “fundamental agnostic”.
I honestly don’t know, and I don’t really care to know. But I’m not arrogant enough to presume to tell you with utmost certainty that there isn’t. I have better things to do than to emphasize time and again that the burden of proof is on the believer, not vice versa.
This is where atheists get a bad rap; they proclaim with unfettered confidence that there is no God. They don’t typically waste their breath detailing the lunacy of worshiping Zeus or Apollo or Ra; rather, it is the “god of the desert”; the Abrahamic god that spawned the three dominant and only monotheistic religions that we know today: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This is the god that atheists outright deny, for it seems almost redundant and anachronistic to debate the existence of Zeus, Isis, Thor, or Apollo.
- Try not to breathe, god my disapprove
The thing is, I don’t feel it’s productive to argue with creationists, orthodox Jews, or fundamentalist Muslims about the existence of god, or what typically reverts to a debate of cosmology/evolution versus creation. If someone holds a conviction so strong and dear that they look forward to the next life more than their next day, you’re not going to dissuade them through intellectual and logical debate.
And don’t bother mentioning that the first Christian gospels detailing the life of Jesus weren’t written until decades after Christ’s supposed jaunt across the pond, alcoholic alchemy, or resurrection and ascension. In fact, the only complete forms of the gospels can be dated back, at most, to the 4th century C.E.
And you’d be wasting your breath reminding them that if a man was in fact setting off magnificent fireworks displays of miracles, bringing people back from the dead and curing cancer, someone would have noticed.
But that’s the thing. No one did.
Not one solitary contemporary scholar in the entire region, from Athens to Rome to Jerusalem and back, ever even heard of the guy.
Well, that’s not entirely true. They may not have heard about Jesus the man, but they’d heard the story before.
Numerous pagan religions had told a virtually identical tall tale: a miraculous virgin birth. It is worth noting that the following pagan gods arrived via virgin stork: Mithras, Isis, Romulus, Perseus, Danae, Melanippe, and Auge, to name a few. But it didn’t stop there. Some of the aforementioned characters also performed miracles. And walked on water. And turned water into wine. And died. And were resurrected. And ascended into heaven.
But I digress from my main point.
Genesis states that man was created in god’s image. The absolute miracle of the human body, in all its perfection, magnificently and intelligently designed by an omnipotent creator.
This is what fundamentalists ram down my throat. How grateful I should be for being granted the grande honour of occupying this corporeal creation. But this is where scriptural dogma turns into shameless apologism.
“What about all the evil in the world?” you may ponder.
“What about all the death, destruction, and mayhem?”
“What about the earthquakes, the floods, and the typhoons?”
“What about the murder, the carnage, the genocide?”
Well, they just happen to have an all-encompassing non-answer for you: “It’s all part of God’s plan,” or my personal favourite, “God works in mysterious ways.”
It’s funny, but for such a perfect manifestation of himself, god has done a pretty shitty job getting the damn gears to stop jamming. But it’s all a mystery, right?
I don’t think it was too mysterious for my father as the cancer slowly ate him up from the inside, over the course of four torturous years. I think it was pretty obvious.
I don’t think it was a mystery to him as multitudes of malignant masterpieces were excised from his body, whether through the blessed scalpel or miraculous chemical stew pumped through his veins.
I don’t think it was a mystery to him as he hugged his three year-old daughter for the last time. There was nothing enigmatic or magnificent or divinely beautiful about that.
“But you can’t have good without evil, light without dark, pleasure without suffering,” they emptily repeat ad nauseam, ad infinitum, ad self-flagellatum.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Don’t go on to tell me how perfect and wonderful we are as god’s creations, yet run for the hills when someone calls bullshit.
I don’t need to suspend disbelief to realize that the god you claim to be your creator, your lord, your saviour, simply does not exist in the conniving, convoluted and contradictory sense that you simultaneously accept and reject, quote-mining the bible for convenient truths yet ignoring the xenophobia, racism, matricide, patricide, fratricide, homicide, genocide and miscelaneous crimes against humanity – all, mind you, in the name of your almighty.
In conclusion, if you wish to subject yourself to a magazine which has no opt-out period and an automatic subscription renewal upon your mortal expiration, by all means, that is your prerogative. But please keep your ideas to yourself, out of our schools, out of our politics, and out of our secular society.
I don’t need a vengeful, jealous, arrogant, spiteful, murderous god to tell me where to get my morals from.
Because the “god of the desert” has no place in modern times. He’s too busy lamenting having not finished off all the Philistine women and children in cities that doubted his legitimacy, thousands of years ago.