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Author Topic: "I met God the other day"  (Read 1323 times)

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Offline SabbyTopic starter

"I met God the other day"
« on: October 08, 2010, 12:04:46 PM »
I wanted to post this in "The 'If God's so good' Paradox" thread, but it's such a deep read, it deserves it's own discussion. I'm certain it's a work of fiction (last I checked, it had never been presented as truth or fiction) but it is a very thought provoking story of an average, intelligent man who meets God on a train, and is given the chance to interview him.

I am an Athiest, borderline Agnostic, but the way God is presented here is the kind of Diety I could actually believe in, and it's somewhat science-fiction in tone. Definitely worth a read.

I met god the other day.

I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god?

Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to accept that he was god than otherwise.

Which is odd, because I’m still an atheist and we even agree on that!

Offline Caeli

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 01:54:30 PM »
I read this a few years ago and quite enjoyed myself - it's definitely an interesting study into god and religion, and it was very entertaining as well.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2010, 05:10:44 AM »
It's added to my life and my outlook of the world a lot more then I thought it could :) I showed it to a friend who is Christian, and she found it 'interesting' but this version of God didn't mesh well with her :/ I can understand why.

Offline Schism

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2010, 07:18:28 AM »
I'm always curious when I hear people say something like "this is the kind of god I could believe in".  Certainly, some descriptions of god seem far less internally contradictory than the common judeo-christian god, but the fact that something is internally consistent and doesn't appear to be incomprehensible doesn't actually provide a reason to believe in it.
One of my cats seems to have me very well trained.  I could chalk this up to her being cute, and making a pleasing noise, and making me feel good about being useful.  Alternately, I could decide that she is an alien sent here to observe me and is using subtle mind control powers to get me to do what she wants.
While that might make sense in many ways, that doesn't mean I would have actual reason to believe it, given that we don't have a whole lot of evidence, for example, to support the existence of alien life, or such aliens visiting earth. 

Just my morning-coffee-two-cents-worth

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2010, 07:45:42 AM »
Uhm... did you actually read the article at all? I really am confused as to the point of your post :/ could you clarify?

Offline Schism

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 07:49:12 AM »
Uhm... did you actually read the article at all? I really am confused as to the point of your post :/ could you clarify?

Yeah, I'm sorry, ignore me (I really have to learn to not go online sleep deprived and under caffinated).
My apologies.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2010, 07:56:24 AM »
No no, no need to apologize :) I just didn't quite understand what you were trying to say.

Offline Schism

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2010, 08:02:28 AM »
No no, no need to apologize :) I just didn't quite understand what you were trying to say.

Oh, I just hear the line "thats the kind of god I could believe in" a lot and it never makes much sense to me, is all.
It always sounds to me like "Well, this god meets and aesthetic level I appreciate, and so I can believe in it", and, to me, the fact that something doesn't displease me doesn't imply it exists.  I'm not saying that this is what you were saying, just that its how I hear it.

So, it wasn't so much a comment on the article as it was the post itself.

It sort of reminds me of how my mom went shopping for religion a few years ago.  She really wants to believe in something, and thats fine and all, but it just sounded odd to me.  I understand when people feel like there is something more out there, a god of some kind, or force in the universe, and looking to find a religion that describes it for you in a way that works.  But it didn't seem to me like she believed in such a force or being, but wanted to.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2010, 08:22:23 AM »
Yep, that I can level with. What I meant by my statement though was God in that story made flippin' sense. No 'faith' required whatsoever to understand. He just came right out and said he's a totally natural product of evolution, organized religion is cute but hopefully short lived, and at the same time, he still displayed exactly the kind of skills God should have.

Actually, I love when he would throw little reminders out that he can do amazing things... like, some of the hyper-advanced alien societies out there he can have a meaningful conversation with, and then has to add at the end "In fact, I am right now". Yes, he feels he must inform the main character that as of this conversation his all knowing mind is also a trillion lightyears away deep in conversation with a being several thousand (or several hundred thousand) years more evolved then humans.

Offline Schism

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2010, 08:29:17 AM »
Oh I'm with you

And I can very much see how your christian friend would find this portrayal irreconcilable with their vision of god.  But they must have felt that some of the questions and answers were at least thought provoking

Online Silk

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2010, 03:48:49 PM »
I don't think its so much a they will believe in it, rather that the way he is portrayed is not such a big pill to swallow for them.

Offline BraveEarth

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2010, 06:38:37 PM »
Interesting Article Sabby by the looks of it... unfortunately.... not the most casual glance friendly... I'll need to bookmark this for a later date and show some people I know >.>

Offline Serephino

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2010, 10:09:54 PM »
It was definitely an interesting read.  It more closely describes how I see God than the Bible does.  I can see why a Christian wouldn't like it much though. 

Offline Brandon

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2010, 02:45:02 AM »
It was an interesting read but the pot shots at Christianity and catholocism in particular made me wonder about it. I kept thinking it would turn into a religious bashing article but Im glad to see I was wrong. Still, the article made it a point to say that religion is needed as an evolutionary tool but when we get to about our technological level its no longer needed. That I have a bit more of a problem with just because it fails to realize that not all religions are about god and the belief in the supernatural. I would think that this god would be sure to correct the interviewer to say that theism is the issue and not religious belief

Beyond that, I think religious culture in its morale, ethical, and philosophical forms will always be needed by mankind. In fact its pretty much acknowledged as god points out that the mind as well as the body must continue to evolve while still holding in restraint, one can only evolve the mind through morale, ethical, and philosophical aspects. To loose those aspects is to loose our humanity...or maybe Im just reading to much into it.

If the pot shots hadnt been totally after christianity I probably could have taken this more seriously but it was an interesting read

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2010, 04:25:43 AM »
I saw no pot shots at all man, the parts regarding religion were as sensible as the rest of it. The only reason he spoke about Christianity was because he was answering questions from an Athiest living in a time and place dominated by Christianity.

He was givng a Q and A session, not standing on a soap box. The man asked questions regarding modern religion, and was either voicing, or thinking about Christianity. Simple as that. Not everything that criticises the Christian church is a poorly hidden attack man.

Offline Brandon

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2010, 05:19:56 AM »
Let me try to point out what I was talking about

‘OK, so what about our more famous "prophets"; Jesus of Nazareth, Moses, Mohammed…’

‘hmmm… sadly misguided I’m afraid.  I am not here to act as a safety net or ethical dictator for evolving species. It is true that anyone capable of communicating with their own cells will dimly perceive a connection to me – and all other objects in this universe - through the quantum foam, but interpreting that vision as representing something supernatural and requiring obeisance is somewhat wide of the mark.  And their followers are all a bit too obsessive and religious for my liking. It's no fun being worshipped once you stop being an adolescent teenager. Having said that, it's not at all unusual for developing species to go through that phase. Until they begin to grasp how much they too can shape their small corner of the universe, they are in understandable awe of an individual dimly but correctly perceived to be responsible for the creation of the whole of that universe. Eventually, if they are to have any hope of attaining level two, they must grow out of it and begin to accept their own power and potential. It's very akin to a child’s relationship with its parents. The awe and worship must disappear before the child can become an adult. Respect is not so bad as long as it's not overdone. And I certainly respect all those species who make it that far. It’s a hard slog. I know. I've been there.’

Here we see god, refer to the prophets and religious as misguided individuals. Going with the story, in a sense they are. They created beliefs and then people continued to worship those beliefs as time moved on but they were never a creation of god. He goes on to reffer to the religions made by Christian "prophets" (I use that term extremely loosely) as far to obsessive and religious for his personal tastes. This goes into an unfair sterotype. While there certainly are obsessive people involved in the different religions by and far most are just normal people who believe what they believe and live their lives by the morales, ethics, and philosophies that their religion has taught them.

Its even more damning when I see the word all put in there. Specifically here: "And their followers are all a bit too obsessive and religious for my liking."

The word all is a word made to say that everyone in that group applies to the adjectives describing them. I can say all humans are bipedal and be correct but no one can give a blanket statement to a cultural group like that. Its just a pot shot IMO and god would know better, especially if he wants the dialouge posted for future generations

‘so we’re not obliged to "please" you or follow your alleged guidelines or anything like that?’

‘absolutely not. Never issued a single guideline in the lifetime of this Universe. Have to find your own way out of the maze. And one early improvement is to stop expecting me - or anyone else - to come and help you out.'

'I suppose that is a guideline of sorts, so there goes the habit of a lifetime! '

'Seriously though, species who hold on to religion past its sell-by date tend to be most likely to self destruct. They spend so much energy arguing about my true nature, and invest so much emotion in their wildly erroneous imagery that they end up killing each other over differences in definitions of something they clearly haven’t got a clue about. Ludicrous behaviour, but it does weed out the weaklings.’

‘Why me? Why pick on an atheist of all people? Why are you telling me all this? And why Now?’

‘Why You? Because you can accept my existence without your ego caving in and grovelling like a naughty child. '

'Can you seriously imagine how the Pope would react to the reality of my existence?! If he really understood how badly wrong he and his church have been, how much of the pain and suffering you mentioned earlier has been caused by his religion, I suspect he'd have an instant coronary! Or can you picture what it would be like if I appeared "live" simultaneously on half a dozen tele-evangelist propaganda shows. Pat Robertson would wet himself if he actually understood who he was talking to.

Conversely, your interest is purely academic. You've never swallowed the fairy tale but you've remained open to the possibility of a more advanced life form which could acquire godlike powers. You’ve correctly guessed that godhood is the destiny of life. You have shown you can and do cope with the concept. It seemed reasonable to confirm your suspicions and let you do what you will with that information.

I can see you're already thinking about publishing this conversation on the web where it could sow an important seed. Might take a couple of hundred years to germinate, but, eventually, it will germinate.

Why now? Well partly because both you and the web are ready now. But chiefly because the human race is reaching a critical phase. It goes back to what we were saying about the dangers of knowledge. Essentially your species is becoming aware of that danger. When that happens to any sapient species, the future can take three courses.

Many are tempted to avoid the danger by avoiding the knowledge. Like the adaptors, they are doomed to extinction. Often pleasantly enough in the confines of their own planet until either their will to live expires or their primary turns red giant and snuffs them out.

A large number go on blindly acquiring the knowledge and don't learn to restrain their abuse. Their fate is sealed somewhat more quickly of course, when Pandora’s box blows up in their faces.

The only ones who reach level two are those who learn to accept and to live with their most dangerous knowledge. Each and every individual in such a species must eventually become capable of destroying their entire species at any time. Yet they must learn to control themselves to the degree that they can survive even such deadly insight. And frankly, they’re the only ones we really want to see leaving their solar systems. Species that haven’t achieved that maturity could not be allowed to infect the rest of the universe, but fortunately that has never required my intervention. The knowledge always does the trick’

In this area we see god take a very negative view of religion itself, neglecting the fact that not all religions share a belief in god. Again a creature as powerful as him would know to use correct launguage. He points out earlier that religion is a common and needed evolutionary tool but after a certain point in the species evolution its just bad as they argue over him and what he wants people to do (again neglects the fact that there are non-theist religions which causes a major hole in the argument).

Going in further he makes a specific bashing attempt at the pope (I assume thats supposed to be Pope Benedict but I dont know the original date the article was written or even if it was meant to bash a specific Pope). Here he says plainly that he and the catholic church could not handle his existance which is compeltely false. As evidence I point to an event that happened in...I want to say 2008 where the catholic church made an announcement stating that the existance of extraterrestrial life would not interfere with the existance of god (or maybe it was the scriptures, Im not 100% sure). This is an evolving point of view for the church. The fact that this and other evolving points of view are not being acknowledged, and the assumption that said group couldnt handle being confronted with the truth, is the same kind of christian bashing tactic often used by anti-theists I have met and spoken to at length. Granted, some wouldnt be able to handle it but again not all of them would.

I found it interesting, yet a bit hypocritical, that the entire article talks about humankind evolving. It even makes it a point to say how we evolve is up to us. However, if one evolves religiously, any kind of religion then thats bad. Thus pot shots at mainly christianity but at religion overall

See where Im coming from?
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 05:28:26 AM by Brandon »

Offline Primarch

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2010, 07:50:33 AM »
If I ever met "God" and he was anything like what appears in this interview, I'd be glad I never believed in him. How very underwhelming.

Offline Will

Re: "I met God the other day"
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2010, 02:57:12 PM »
I do remember seeing this once before.  Definitely an entertaining read. :D