An Open Letter to God
Having witnessed recently the horrible ramifications of causing offense, we’re hyper-aware of not offending anyone, You especially. So if “God” is an inappropriate form of address, we humbly ask forgiveness of You and Your agents here on Earth, the ones who steadfastly protect Your name and reputation.
We settled on “God,” because that seemed the most general name to call You. But if what You really prefer is “Allah,” “Yaweh,” “Elohenu,” “Jesus,” or something newer and more specific, we trust You’ll let us know. Give us some sort of sign – if You’re into that kind of thing these days.
So, assuming we’re cool with the name business, may we ask You in Your infinite wisdom to help us understand something?
No, not what happens after death! Or what we’ve got to do here in this life to join You in the next one. That stuff’s all been covered pretty comprehensively in a number of books that, we’re told, You wholeheartedly endorse. We’re wondering about something in the Here and Now.
God, are You OK?
Are You all right, God? We’re concerned.
Our conception of You is that You’re not like us human beings. (Apologies to our Mormon brothers and sisters, as well as the Indigo Girls; we can’t quite get our mind around the idea of Jesus of Nazereth living in America, just like one of us.) We think You’re different. We humans have our frailties and flaws. You’re perfect. And very strong. You’re – what’s the word? – ah, yes, omniscient. All seeing, all knowing. And also everywhere, which makes you not only omniscient but omnipresent. You’re the boss, the Head N.I.C. You da man!
At least that’s what we always thought. But folks who certainly know You a lot better than we do, folks who have read all of Your most popular books, even the ones some people claim You didn’t write – these folks seem to have a more direct line to Your divine wishes and aspirations.
Based on their behavior this past week, bombing Embassies, killing diplomats, and framing 14 year-old Pakistani girls for blasphemy, Your closest associates no longer believe in Your supreme ability to take care of Your own business. Throughout the Arab world, some of Your most devout fans are acting as though You’re not very omniscient at all, that you can’t stick up for Your Own Damn Self when one of Your naughty children calls You a bad name or has the audacity to ask inappropriately impertinent questions about Your existence.
God, sir, we too get angry when people are rude; probably less so when we’re being rude to someone else, but, yeah, we get it. Humans are rude. The South African artist who portrayed President Jacob Zuma as a womanizing philanderer: rude. The trailer for a film that portrays Muhammad, Your prophet, as a child-molesting sociopath: rude. The way Palestinians talk about Jews: rude. It happens. All the time. And through it all You remain Your bad-ass self, all omniscient and stuff. You float above the human insolence.
But when someone is rude to You, it seems to cripple You, to rob You of Your superpowers, like kryptonite or garlic.
It’s at these times that You seem to need someone – usually a slogan-shouting, weapon-toting group of someones – to uphold Your honor and dignity, as though You can’t handle the job Yourself.
That worries us, God. For someone so extraordinarily robust, You seem to go through intermittent periods of, well, frailty. Then You recover and get back to controlling the universe, and everything’s nice again for a while. But, You know what we’re talking about: the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Hunts – and about a thousand other murderous projects dedicated to preserving Your dignity. They’ve been going on throughout recorded history. This is not a new development, Your, shall we say, diluted omniscience. One might humbly suggest that You’re chronically afflicted, all I’m in Charge Here one day and the next day all I’m So Not Able to Deal With This Right Now! and never really the constant Almighty force we’ve been taught to fear.
Dear God, is there anything we can do for You? Besides proselytize on Your behalf?
We know we’re just mortal, only a human being. But that never stopped Your most God-loving acolytes from coming to Your aid. Now, even us non-believers want to pitch in, to do our part in restoring Your public image (Your brand?) to the pristine state of omniscience You rightfully deserve.
With Eternal Love and Light,