The inefficient God

You know, of all the bible stories, I like Noah’s Flood the best. I like it not only for its outrageous improbabilities but also because it demonstrates something, God’s utter lack of efficiency. Of course this is something that can be pointed out in nature as well (I, like all males, have nipples), but Noah’s story is a particularly good demonstration. In the story, God decides he’s had it with humanity so what does he do? He decides to flood the entire earth (basically using the sledgehammer approach). However, he then decides that remaking everything would be too much work and so he decides to save a copy of everything on Noah’s party boat – along with a boatload of miracles to make everything work. However, all this work was ultimately for naught since mankind continued to sin (including the holy Noah, who got blind stinking drunk and cursed his son for seeing him that way). So what did God achieve by flooding the entire earth? Nadda, zippo, zilch.

Now, I don’t mean to be critical of the people who wrote the story, since they didn’t really know much about the world (it’s only with our recent scientific knowledge that we’ve come to realize just how proposterous it is, requiring miracle after miracle on virtually every level). However, if God really does exist and really did want to wipe out humanity you’d think he’d be a little bit more efficient in achieving his ends. For example, God could have created a lethal virus or bacteria that would have killed every person on earth (like the bubonic plague, but a lot more lethal). As for Noah and his family, God could have given them a special mutation that would allow them to resist it (at the same time, he could have also introduced a gene that made mankind more compliant). This would spare all the animals and plants and would require very little effort on God’s part. Alternatively, God could have just wiped out everything and started over again, getting it right this time. Instead, God commits world-wide genocide with nothing to show for it at the end.

Of course that’s not the only instance of God’s failures. Even as a Christian, I found it interesting that the death of Jesus didn’t really change anything. Even under the most optimistic interpretations, Jesus’ death only allowed a way for human beings to reach God, it did not remove sin from the world nor made it so that mankind no longer sinned. According to Christian eschatology, the second coming of Jesus is when God will finally set things right but his previous track record leaves much to be desired (frankly, I’m not holding my breath).

I once joked that God is like Microsoft; no matter how many times they tried they could never fix the Windows 9x series* (FYI, they ultimately had to ditch the whole thing and go with Windows NT instead, which is now the basis for Windows XP, Vista, and 7). No matter how many times God tries he can never quite manage to fix the problem, requiring yet more intervention later. And yet this is the god that Christians (as well as Jews and Muslims) pray to to fix their problems!

Evangelical schools are all about promoting the omnipotence of God, but this means they have to constantly make excuses for God’s shortcomings. The thing is, if they were honest about themselves then they wouldn’t believe in the biblical god since it’s very obvious that this god is not only not all-powerful but that he is inefficient as hell. No one in their right mind would think such a god worthy or worship.

As I said many times before on many different occasion, even if such a god existed, I would not worship him.

* For those of you who are not computer geeks, “Windows 9x” is an umbrella term for the Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME operating systems. These systems were notorious for their “blue screen of death” (BSOD), a problem that Microsoft was never able to fix (BSODs finally went away when Microsoft switched to the Windows NT core, an entirely different system from 9x, and which first saw its debut with Windows XP).

Living in denial

I heard some interesting gossip the other day. It was from my sister, who told me about a certain acquaintance we both knew who had gone to work in Japan a few years ago and who recently came back (due to the earthquake). However, it seems that while in Japan this person had engaged in some out-of-wedlock frolicking and when she came back she came back with a baby. The most interesting part, at least to me, is that this person is a devout Christian.

While hearing about this I was suddenly reminded of Bristol Palin, who also had a child out of wedlock and was also from a highly conservative Christian household, and I remember commenting about how these kinds of things always seem to happen to the most devout Christians. It just seemed odd to me that those people who are the most vocal about abstinence and having no sex before marriage frequently end up breaking their own rules. Of course secular teens also engage in pre-marital sex but at least they’re honest about it.

This then reminded me to those studies of homosexual arousal, which showed that those people who are most homophobic also tended to be the most homosexual. It seems clear to me that those Christians who rant and rave about social issues day in and day out are actually just living in denial. They’re fighting against their own inner urges, denying who they really are, yet unable to suppress it. I guess it’s sort of understandable from a psychological point of view (we all have our little insecurities and try to deal with them in various ways), but those single Christian moms should know that denial never works. Being a spokesperson for abstinence might make one feel better about their own personal failures, but it would be a lot better if they put their efforts into programs that actually worked.

The thing is, if I was still a committed Christian I would most likely have condemned that acquaintance for not keeping her marriage vows. However, as a secularist, passing judgment is the last thing on my mind. Instead, I want to congratulate her on entering motherhood and try to help her raise her baby in the best possible way (and I will do so when/if her family decides to make this knowledge public). I find it’s far easier to understand your fellow human being when there’s no god in the way.

Pitying God

Well, it’s another Saturday, and tomorrow millions of people will go to their church to worship the Christian deity.

You know, in many ways, God is a rather pitiful figure, requiring millions of his own creation to sing his praises and worship him. Many Christians try to justify this by comparing God’s relationship to mankind as a parent’s relationship to their offspring (just as a parent expects respect and obedience from their children, God also expects respect and obedience from us). However, this is a fake analogy – a far more accurate one is the relationship between a computer programmer and their computer program (I use this one quite often since I am a programmer myself). Frankly, it would be quite pitiful if a programmer was to create a program that was designed to tell him how great he was. I mean, your self-esteem would have to be pretty darn low if you needed your ego lifted by your own creation. And yet, this is exactly what God requires of us! Even if God existed, this is not a being worth looking up to. Instead, it is a being that is to be pitied since even we lowly human beings do not need our ego lifted by having our own creations worship us.

I find one of the greatest ironies is that if God truly is what Christians say he is (all-powerful, needing nothing, fully secure in his own sense of worth) then we wouldn’t need to worship God at all (or even recognize his existence). In short, a belief in a powerful God results in an atheistic lifestyle. Only an inferior, insecure being requires worship and recognition (especially from his own creation), something Christians do not seem to realize.

And so, tomorrow millions of Christians will file into churches in stuffy Sunday clothes to pity their god. I pity him as well.