Thursday, July 15, 2010

Opposable Thumbs (a short story)

“Of course, God exists!”
“Prove it!”

“Prove that he does not.”
“Ok. Tell me. If god exists, is he perfect?”

“Of course He is.”
“If god is perfect, then why isn’t any of his creations perfect? Why is everything flawed? Every single creation?”

“What do you mean, flawed? Every creation of God is perfect in its own way, from the exquisite starfish to the rational man.”
“The starfish cannot survive without water. Man sins.”

“Ok. But, that’s exactly how it should be! Without death, there cannot be life. Without sin, there cannot be virtue.”
“So, you agree? None of god’s creations is perfect?”

“Yes, perhaps you are right. But, then again, maybe that’s on purpose.”
“On purpose! Why would your perfect god create imperfections?”

“If the creations were perfect, they would all be God, then, wouldn’t they? How preposterous would that be! Of course, the creations have to be imperfect.”
“Why? What possibly could prevent god from creating perfection? Why would god refrain from creating other gods?”

“Are you out of your mind? Do you even know what you’re saying?”
“Could it be that god cannot create other gods? Maybe, your god simply lacks the ability to!”

“God has limitless ability. That’s a given!”
“I see. In that case, your god must fear competition!”

“Preposterous!”
“Why so?”

“God has no reason to fear anything or anyone. He is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent.”
“Only because he has a monopoly, right? If there were other gods, he would be bound to share power, control, knowledge. Wouldn’t he?”

Silence.
“Or, perhaps, god is vain. His vanity does not allow him to create perfection.”

“God is not vain!”
“What makes you say so?”

“The fact that God does not create perfection, of course! If God were vain, He would have made everything perfect, the first time!”
Silence.

Smile. A touch. A slight caress. An embrace. “You should have quit when you were ahead.”
Smile. A kiss. “Guess, I was too vain!”

The coffee grows cold, exasperated.

* * *

“God exists. There is no question about it.”
“Prove it!”

“Are we really going to do this, again?”
“Yes. I gave up too easily the last time.”

“Ok. Prove that He does not.”
“Not falling into that trap again! It’s up to you to prove god’s existence.”

“Ok. You exist. Right?”
“Yes.”

“This coffee exists, right? This table, this earth, the sky? The sun? They all exist, right?”
“Don’t tell me you’re resorting to the ‘Origin of Life’ thing!”

“Why not?”
“Life’s an evolutionary process – a biochemical process made possible by circuitry.”

“You mean, we’re all engines?”
“Aren’t we?”

“Ok. So, who created the engines? Who designed us?”
“It doesn’t have to be a ‘Who’. It’s an accident. Like a spark that made the first fire when two stones rubbed against each other.”

“An accident! You, me, the human race, the flora and fauna, the earth, the solar system, the galaxies, the universe – all, an accident!”
“Why not? It’s all science. God did not create any of this. God didn’t create Man. Man created god.”

“Man created God!?”
“Yes. It’s obvious, isn’t it? Man couldn’t, and still can’t, rationally explain all he saw and sees around him, based on current knowledge at any given point of time thus far in human history, and so – driven by his inherent need for answers – sought and continues to seek refuge in the concept of a greater being, a supreme creator, a god!”

“Perhaps it is that need for answers that led to man’s understanding of God. The rationality of man is God’s gift to enable us to feel, understand, accept Him.”
“The rationality of Man? Isn’t that a bit counter-intuitive?”

“Not at all! Without our rationality, we wouldn’t have been curious about the origin of creation. Without that ability to question and rationalize, we would not have been led to the path of God.”
Silence.

Smile. A caress. Fingers through the hair. “It’s fine, darling!”
Smile. A sigh. “Yes, I guess it is.”

The sunset withers, unwatched, wan.

* * *

“I still can’t accept this ‘god’ concept!”

“Again? Really?”
“What do you mean, again? Of course, I will question till I am convinced.”

“Ok. What is your question now?”
“What, in the physical world, proves god’s existence? Forget the Origin of Creation! Frankly, there’s no way to prove or test anything evidentially to prove or disprove god on that aspect, so let’s forget that subject. What in the present, the known history and the conceivable future proves god’s existence?”

“Well, I could quote Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Moses!”
“They were good, thoughtful men with ideas of equality and brotherhood ahead of their times, that’s all. Early communists, I’d say!”

"They performed miracles! They healed the sick, brought back the dead!"
"They were good doctors. And, history has a way of distorting facts - ever heard of Chinese whisper?"

“What about the goodness and altruism around us?”
“What about the evil and the violence?”

“Ok, fair enough. You know what, we could go on all evening about this! Guess, it does come down to faith, after all! Can we finish our meal now?”
“Faith! Blind, irrational belief. Yes, you’re right. So, you finally agree with me!”

“Agree?”
“Yep! Think about it! If belief and faith are at the core of Man’s acceptance and understanding of your god, then what happens when Man becomes extinct? What happens to your god, then? Without Man to believe, how can god exist?”

Silence. A stare in the distance.
A laugh. The sound of cheerful cutlery. “Gotcha!”

The full moon hides behind the clouds. The lightning strikes the iron.

* * *

She could have sworn, even as her lover lay dying in her arms: the thunder sounded like “GOTCHA!”

He smiled, for the last time. "We should have heeded the storm warning."

* * * * *

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