Sketches on Atheism

Let’s bake a God!

SwedishchefLet’s cook up a god, a capital “G” God.

Seriously. Let’s bake one right here, right now, and let’s make our God one that’ll be disconcertingly hard not to believe in. It can’t be that challenging. Tens of thousands of gods have been glued together by people far stupider than me and the ingredients to build another one – a better one – are already in place. So, let’s bake this puppy.

First, this God, our God, has to be believable. It has to be conceivable, rational, and credible in this age of cosmology. It has to sail through any logical argument which would otherwise seek to poke its eyes out. The present day market leader, the nosey Middle Eastern Abrahamic god, failed this simple test in the very first act of his Theory of Everything play. Let there be light on the first day but forgot to snap the sun into existence until day four? Oh please! There can be no amateurism or bungling script continuity problems with our God. We can’t leave a single human fingerprint for the detectives who’re sure to come. This bad boy has to stand on its own and flip the bird to even the most forceful of cross examinations. By the time we’re done this fucker will have Richard Dawkins on his knees.

So as a template the Abrahamic god is out, and dealing with a Sumerian-style pantheon is just too insanely complicated. A vast bureaucracy of supernal CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s, multilevel managerial teams and an army of busy little underlings is tempting but it presents too many cracks for water to leak in and rot the dollhouse. Monotheism on the other hand is clean and certainly appealing from a marketing perspective. It’s got real punch, but a personal, watchful, mindful, hands-on deity sympathetic to earthly bouts of explosive diarrhoea just won’t cut it. Explaining how shitting yourself uncontrollably on a crowded bus is all somehow part of Gods beautiful plan is fraught with all sorts of hazardous pitfalls. So, fuck it! Our capital “G” God isn’t going to explain a single thing. Our capital “G” God is going to be an aloof hippy, and thankfully there’s a matching template already on the shelves ready for us to steal. Sorry Zoroaster but your Ahura Mazda is getting a 21st Century makeover!

This Proto-Indo-Iranian monotheistic god – fashioned 30 generations before the Abrahamic god even rolled out of bed – was seriously going places and we’d be fools not to lift some of the scripts finer parts. He might have been the Uncreated Creator, the Author of Authors, but he was also a slaphappy vagabond unmoved by all that which he created. It’s a great jumping off point for our capital “G” God. “I love you, you all look really swank, the trees all seem to be the right height, the fjords are a nice touch I think, water’s the right temperature, the axial tilt appears to be working fine, Jupiter’s got your back, but I’m afraid to say you chimps are now pretty much on your own.” Ahura Mazda was omnipotent but not omnipresent. Nice! That’s a template that’ll work. That’ll explain away every unanswered prayer ever launched into the stratosphere. It’ll explain our sometimes blisteringly violent planet. It’ll explain explosive diarrhoea by not explaining it at all!

Now we’re cooking with fire!

Next: location. Now I suspect this’ll be a tad trickier. Not being omnipresent raises some god awful problems which it’s safe to say the possibly very lazy Zoroastrians quite clearly didn’t want to address. No such luxury for us, but I’m sure with a little careful thought we can navigate these potentially treacherous waters. Not being omnipresent means our God needs a physical locus. It needs a home, a theatre, a beat, a burb, a block to hang out on. It has to be physical, but for obvious reasons it also has to be unseen. We can’t just have any Mrs Johnson of 72 Hillsborough Road knocking on our Gods door. We can’t have some fiendish five year old pulling on Santa’s beard. We can’t have whiny do-gooder Dorothy looking behind the curtain. No, our capital “G” God has to be outside the visible light spectrum, say, way out in the ultra, ultra long wavelength broadband arena. Cracking! What better place could there be for an indifferent monotheistic hippy creator than out there surfing ultra-long, ultra-mellow waves? Perfect. Perfect until some smart-alecky six year old asks “why doesn’t God inhabit all wavelengths so we can see him?”

Crap. I guess it’s possible our capital “G” God could inhabit every frequency from extremely short cosmic rays to ultra-long broadband waves but for reasons that will forever remain a mystery simply skips the visible light spectrum. That might work. It could do that, it is God after all, but of course that smart-alecky six year olds even more annoying sister is going to ask “why?” and the truth is it’d be a cunningly hard thing to answer. Oh shit, this is much, much worse than it first appeared. Even if our capital “G” God were all wavelengths simultaneously (which it can’t be because it’s not omnipresent, and it can’t be omnipresent because of nagging little things like childhood leukaemia, abandoned puppies, and explosive diarrhoea) there wouldn’t be a way for it to have actually created the universe, and not creating the universe would be ignoring a pretty fucking big part of the whole Theory of Everything. The electromagnetic light spectrum didn’t roll out and paint the universe until 400 million years after the big bang. 400 million bloody years! We can’t have that. Our capital “G” God can’t just first pop up with the beginning of the age of the stars. It has to be there at the beginning, before the stars, before the hydrogen, before the first protons, before even gravity split off from its three sisters. Our God has to be the beginning!

Hmmm, Ok, let’s leave location alone for a second and move straight onto the next big domino to knock over: creation itself. Regardless of neighbourhood (we’ll deal with that later over a bottle of wine) clearly our capital “G” God has to be outside the moment of creation; a sort of conscious first mover who flicked Poe’s Primordial Particle. Anything else and it wouldn’t require the capital “G.” It has to be the lead actor, writer, and producer of this drama, at least in the very early phases. It has to be responsible for those opening quantum fluctuations which set the stage for everything else. Oh, bugger, crap, bugger! The math doesn’t work. Out there behind the near infinitely hot, near infinitely dense blob (the four forces compressed into one) there is neither the time nor the space in which our God could act. Out beyond the last Schwarzschild radius there is nothing, not even a concept of nothing. If our capital “G” God could inhabit such a nothingness for even a split second then it’d be entirely impotent in all matters of this universe. Sure, it shot a load at creation, a cosmic cross-dimensional ejaculation, but it’d be utterly useless after that orgasmic moment. We have to be able to locate our God as something in this universe or else we’d just be worshipping ourselves, or worse, worshipping the next brightest thing we found in the celestial woods, and god only knows what that might be. No, our God can’t just be the starting pistol; it has to be on the playing field for the duration of the game or it really wouldn’t be a capital “G” God.

Oh shit, bugger, crap, fuck! That doesn’t work. The game will not last forever meaning in this configuration our God cannot be omnipotent. We’ve seen the end of the universe. We’ve cast the imaginative fishing line out into the far distant future and already know there’ll come a day when all the hydrogen in the universe will be spent. The age of stars will cease to be, and without those cosmic parents life stands a carrots chance in a Brazilian barbeque of sustaining itself. Without life there’s no reason for our God. Ok. Reboot. The only way our God can be omnipotent – the starting pistol and most valuable player at once – is if we keep the universe open-ended. Orgasm, ejaculation, expansion, contraction, orgasm. Cyclical! No, wait up, circles don’t make any sense. Circles don’t work. A circle goes nowhere. No matter how large, a trillion-trillion light years large for arguments sake, it’ll still just return to its point of departure albeit it’ll know that point for the very first time. Shit, we’re in some serious trouble here. For this to work the universe our God cock-sneezed into existence has to be a spiral. Ah-ha! Spirals make a complete circle but never cancel out. There’s constant progress, always traversing new ground but never doubling back on itself. So the cycle will run its course and this universe will end. Fine, no problem! Being a spiral our capital “G” God has that covered mathematically, poetically, and philosophically.

Oh, bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, shit, bugger! There’s another problem. If everything ends, if everything recycles – which it will – then there can’t be any heaven. We have to have a heaven, don’t we? I mean, what’s the point in prostrating ourselves to our capital “G” God if there is no afterlife? Can heaven be recycled? Does the physics even allow for an ethereal rumpus room to have all its atoms ripped to shreds as its squeezed through a space-time singularity only to reform again on the other side? That certainly wouldn’t be pleasant. It certainly wouldn’t be an event one would naturally associate with the whole idea of eternal bliss. In all reality, turning yourself inside out by pulling your anus out through your left nostril would be far more appealing than having every atom in your body gravitationally molested in some fiery future shit storm.

Ok, we’re in an appalling mess here. This isn’t working. This isn’t working at all. Logically our capital “G” God can’t be omnipresent or it appears omnipotent, and the prewritten future of this universe just can’t accommodate a heaven.  Bugger me if this isn’t all unravelling disturbingly quickly. For crying out loud, we haven’t even named our God yet and it’s disappearing before our eyes! We’ve not even considered wardrobe, let alone the brain-bending monologues I was so looking forward to writing and this thing is already about as unstable as the Argentinian Peso!

I’m sorry. Excuse me, but I need to think about this for a minute or two. This might take a tad longer than I first thought…

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38 thoughts on “Let’s bake a God!

  1. It’s always been a source of amusement to me. Well, maybe not always.

    It doesn’t really matter whether you choose god or science, you’ll always end up in the same predicament. Each “ultimate” answer will always create the next unanswered question.

    So you think it was “god” that created everything? So where did god come from?

    So you know that everything was created from a “singularity” that preceded the big bang?

    So where did the singularity come from?

    And no matter what answer you come up with, the obvious response is something along the lines of “how did that happen?”. And “it was always there” is not an answer. It’s giving up. Surrendering to the void of “belief”.

    And therein lies the difference between science and religion. Science doesn’t give up.

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  2. Absolutely fantastic!

    It appears if you wish to move forward with this little creation, you will have to concede on a few points. If you’re content with creating a god fraught with logical fallacies, you should have no problem. But if you are intent on the opposite, I’m afraid your cooking is doomed to end with more questions than answers.

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  3. I think the FSM fits your requirements, at least better than Biblegod does.

    All the suffering in the world is simply because he’s not benevolent; he does not actually care all that much about our wellbeing. All of our efforts to detect his presence go awry because he likes to change experimental results with his Noodly Appendage. He’s usually drunk and has a juvenile sense of humor, all of which is totally consistent with the world as it actually is.

    He also made the world only a couple of hundred years ago, and just made it look like it started from a singularity 13.7 billion years ago. (Why? Because tricking us is funny, of course!)

    Of course, he doesn’t have the advantage of existing. For a god that undoubtedly exists, I’d refer you to the Church of Google.

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      • Then Pesto be upon you, and RAmen!

        Actually, I’ve thought about some of the same things that you wrote about. What would an actual god be like? Certainly nothing like any human-created gods. As far as I can tell, all the gods that people have come up with are just projections of their own egos. (Then they bow down to these projections and build pointy houses to their glory.) Whatever a real god might be like, it would not be that.

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      • Yeah, this post actually started out like that, looking to build a truly believable “god” but i just kept hitting walls. I did try, but it didn’t work. i couldn’t make it work… so this was the result. Ramen, we’ve touched the truth.

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      • Being created by a god in its own image makes us “godlike” too.

        As long as we worship our god unreservedly and “confess” our “sins”, we get a “get-out-of-hell-free-pass“. We can do whatever the fuck we want because god gave us Earth to do with as we please. We’re the creme de la creme of creation and this planet is our fucking private property.

        “Unlike many Pagan cults, which properly ranked humans amongst all the other Life of Earth, as a part of the fabric of Nature, the predominant monotheistic cults share the common characteristic of defining humanity as the special favourite of the god, superior to all other Life and free to exploit the vital resources of Nature without restraint. How convenient for us, how considerate of our special “god”.”
        http://chimaeraimaginarium.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/a-wrong-turn-on-a-one-way-street-a-cul-de-sac-of-slavery-and-extinction/

        One of the reasons we created our psychopathic “god” was to give the worst of us power over the rest of us and an excuse to commit unspeakable atrocities and crimes against Life.

        Religion = the earliest form of mass indoctrination.

        Just my opinion.

        Consummatum est

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  4. As the laughing philosopher Democritus once said, “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space…everything else is opinion.”

    As an agnostic though, I found the perspective wrestling interesting. Much like lenders of last resort, G is often the go-to entity of last resort. On that count, G seems to have done rather well, individually. Collectively, however, I think the G movement has engendered a silo mentality and has polarised people more than bringing them together.

    …and therein lies part of the reason behind my agnosticism, which swings ever so often towards atheism.

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  5. Democritus makes a grand entry in my post, Can we please have a logical, rational, cosmologically sound conversation about death without all the magical bugaboos? A great man.

    I have tried to find a way the g-man could fit into this universe but i haven’t found one. Of course we do not know everything so one can only be 99.9% certain just the facts of the day 🙂

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  6. I’ve got a candidate for god.

    Billions of years ago an alien scientific research team, their species being advanced beyond our wildest imaginings, created our universe while trying to understand how theirs had come into being.

    Witnessing the evolution of Homo sapiens and realising with horror what they had done, being morally incapable of destroying the Life they had inadvertently created, the entire species committed mass suicide rather than live with the shame of it.

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  7. Pingback: Let’s bake a species! Part 1: What not to do | the superstitious naked ape

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