I was speaking to someone in Second Life the other day about religion and such, and I was again struck by incredibly limited the average believer’s perspective on God really is. For God to exist even remotely like tradition holds that He is, well, let’s just say that schloffing off the rest of the universe in the single word, “heavens,” in Genesis does not really give it or Him justice.
I bring another excerpt from my book. This one will likely get rewritten somewhat in the new version. Still, it does give a bit more perspective.
The speaker is Dr. Alphonsus Luke (my name sake), who is the man/angel upon whom the legend of Satan is based. As might be guessed from the prologue I posted earlier, the book has it so that his supposed evilness is profoundly unfounded. He is speaking to Alexander Taber (the protagonist) and Charlene Alakston (Alex’s complex love interest).
Of Cabbages and Kings — Stars
Luke raised one eyebrow. “I think it comes from the limitations of His perspective, Alex.” He paused. “You have to understand that this is all conjecture. He hasn’t exactly told me what things He can’t do. Nevertheless, I’ve been watching Him do things and not do things for upwards of thirty-nine thousand years. I like to believe that one gets a sense for His style after all that time. Besides, I did get that one glimpse at things from His perspective. While it only lasted a moment, it did create, as I mentioned before, a lasting impression.
“And, in addition, because I was now in an angelic body that He understood better, He could now give me information that wasn’t previously possible for Him to give before. He told me things, or rather, He implanted things that He wanted me to know in my mind. I didn’t even have words at the time for almost anything that He told me. I still don’t have words for most of it. But I can say that He seems to think in terms of mathematics and numbers.”
“Let me give you some idea of His everyday vision.”
He sighed, preparing himself for his explanation.
“At the precise moment that He brought me into His domain, there were exactly 145 sextillion, 119 quintillion, 866 quadrillion, 431 trillion, 326 billion, 888 million, 36 thousand, 218 stars in the universe.”
He paused again.
“That’s an accurate number, Alex. It is something that He burned into my memory somehow. I was aware of the quantity. I didn’t even have a name for that quantity until very recently.
“And the thing is, He counts those stars continuously, again and again. All of them. Each and every blasted one of them.
“Each star had an average of 42.871 Significant Orbital Bodies around it, counting moons and larger asteroids. That’s a calculation on my part. He only thinks in terms of whole numbers. Anyway, He counts those as well, as they are the places where life is most likely to evolve.
“That’s what He’s interested in: life. He’s obsessed with it. He doesn’t count the planets as often; I think because things happen on them much more slowly. But still, He keeps track.
“Of the planets, only about 11 trillion of them had some kind of life, and that, it seems to me, is defining life very loosely. One of them is some kind of an ice planet that has a single molecule which makes a near copy of itself once a millennia, and the near copy itself can’t replicate.”
Dr. Luke closed his eyes.
“He’s not happy with those numbers, Alex. Even when He stretches as He does, He is disappointed. I think He knows that the numbers will improve as the universe ages, but still, I think He feels impatient about it.
“Of the planets, only 51 thousand or so had life more developed than single cell cyanobacteria. And trust me; it was a long, long time before I had a word for cyanobacteria.
“Only 7 had life that we would define as animal.
“And as for intelligent life, there was only one.
Dr. Luke had been staring off into space. Now he turned to focus on the two of us.
“He’s obsessed with us. I get the impressions that He created the universe just so that something like us would come out of it.”
Luke frowned and shook his head.
“First of all, think of the scale of it all. He not only has to cope with all of those stars in the universe, but He also has to cope with an equally large number of molecules in the human brain. I think He is capable of seeing where every molecule in the Universe is right now. But I think that trying to predict where every molecule in the Universe will be five minutes from now is just a bridge to far, even for Him.
“And also, just because you can understand the mechanics of how a human being works, just because you can study every single molecule that is contained in the human brain, that does not mean that you will have the slightest idea of how a human being thinks.
“God is not human. His powers, His perspective, His scale, makes Him so utterly un-human that He couldn’t even begin to see things from our perspective. He is, or at least was, utterly incapable of thinking like us–of truly understanding what it is to BE a human being.”
There was a moment of silence.
“What do you mean, ‘was’?” asked Charlene.
“Jesus, Charlene. Yweshua. Joshua. He realized that we humans would continuously not respond as He expected them to, and I think He realized that the only way He could ever understand us would be to become one of us.
“He must have spent centuries planning it. The biological complexity of it all must have been mind-boggling.
“I heard the stories, but I wasn’t involved with the thing until much later. Gabriel was though. Gabriel announced the birth. He was always so proud of that.”
“Finally, I went to Jerusalem to talk to Jesus. He was a little hard to track down–he’d gone off into the desert for a suntan or something, I still don’t really know why.”
“How did you know He was really God?”
“Because He KNEW, Alex. He knew everything about me. Who I was–how I was created…”
“I give Him a lot of credit for the idea. He was trying. He was really trying.”
“Well, what was the problem, then?”
Alphonsus suddenly got angry.
“Because He was being such a dumb-ass about it! I mean, here He is, some dude who comes in from the ethersphere, and He spends most of His life as a poor carpenter in an ignorant village. He comes in knowing that He can’t really be killed and knowing that He knows more about the true nature of reality than anyone else on the fucking planet does. Do you think He got a true picture of what it’s really like to be human? Because I sure don’t!
“What do you think all that temptation bullshit was? I told Him to try to live a normal life for a while. I told Him to try to be a leader. Yes, I told Him to try to live life for a while as a rich man, because how the hell else was He going to be able to see what humans really aspire to. He had a chance to see how bad life could be. He got the viewpoint of the rich man only as seen from the perspective of the poor man.
“You know what? I’ve been poor. Do you know how I spent my time while I was poor? Trying to find a way not to be poor anymore. Being poor, basically, sucks.
“But He never got the chance to see that. And not only that, He never even felt true poverty. He never had to see a loved one die because of hunger or illness. He never had to experience sickness because your only water supply was filthy and the village used your front yard as a septic tank. He felt hungry only because He chose to.
“I wasn’t offering Him temptations. I was just trying to help Him accomplish the one thing that He came down here to accomplish–the one thing that would prevent the whole exercise from being a massive waste of time. What’s the point of coming here trying to learn what it is to be human, if you spend the whole time that you’re here being a God?”
We all sat in silence for a long time.
“What year was he really born, anyway?” Charlene asked.
“Well how the hell should I know–I didn’t exactly receive an invitation to the baby shower now did I?”
He shook is head, took a deep breath, and laughed.
“I would have loved to have been there for the birth, though” he smiled. “Have you ever wondered about that Star of Bethlehem shit? Think about it. What kind of a beam of light can be seen for hundreds of miles? Was it some kind of comet with the tail pointing like an arrow? Was it a supernova? That would be bright enough, but it’s non-directional. I remember some kind of a bright star sometime in one of the decades around then, but if I had tried to follow it, it would have taken me straight into the Atlantic Ocean.
“Or was it more like some kind of high-intensity spot light? Maybe the sheep were glowing and casting out beams. That stable may have looked like some kind of a holy used car lot.”
“He created me so that He could better understand humanity, and then doesn’t listen to a single suggestion I make about how to do things.”
“And now you ask if I am evil. Look at history, Charlene. Count the numbers. How many people have killed in His name? How many have died for Him? How many murders? How many young Muslim women were raped and then had their throats sliced open in the name of the gentle Jesus during the crusades?
“Think of the conquest of the Americas. The books of the Mayans thrown on the flames by the religiously superior Spaniards, with more rapes and murders, of course. Basically religiously sanctioned genocide.
“And yet here I am, Azazel the goat. How very appropriate. Catholic priests sodomize the young members of their flock, and then turn and point their fingers at me. Abdicate the responsibility. The devil made me do it. Jesus may be the Lamb of God, but I’m His cosmic scapegoat.
“Religious fanatics fly planes into a building, and whose image do they look for in the smoke? Does anyone bother to notice that both sides of the conflict worship the same God? Does anyone point out that these killings are done in His name, not mine?
“So, do the numbers. Add them up. How many atrocities committed in each of our names? Take a tally. My side, well, I guess I’ve had my share of over the border lunatics. Thousands? Hundreds of thousands?
“What about the side of goodness and righteousness? One million in the crusades alone. A billion? Can the suffering even be counted?
“And that’s just the killings that occurred by people who know that they are killing in His name? Should we count the deaths that occurred just because of pure ignorance and stupidity? Deaths like Galileo and Socrates? What about the children who died just because they think God is against blood transfusions?
“And yet it’s my name that is cursed!
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that He is responsible for the folly of His idiotic followers. Nor am I saying that I have any degree of moral superiority over Him. By His very nature, He attracts a more, shall we say, enthusiastic audience than I do. His tally of stupidity is so much greater than mine simply because He has always been more popular than I have been.
“Additionally, I don’t want to be worshiped. If you must call me Satan, than be assured that I am not a Satanist. The average Satan worshiper is an idiotic teenager, and many others that are adults have teenage mentalities.
“And then there’s the so-called ‘intellectual’ Satanist. They look wisely at all the stupidities of the Bible worshiper, and the look stupidly at the wisdom of worshiping some stinky red mythological creature with horns and a pitchfork. If they want to criticize the Bible, more power to them. They certainly don’t need to do it for me. In fact, I wish that they’d leave their greasy ideas off my name. All they are doing is perpetuating the folly.”