“Well,” I say, somewhat hesitantly. “This is awkward.”
God raises an enquiring eyebrow: “How so?”
“Well, what with me being an atheist and all…”
God throws up a self-deprecatory hand.
“Oh that!” He says. “Think nothing of it. Water off a duck’s back.”
“Really? Only I got the impression it was rather important to You.”
“If you don’t mind Me saying so, it seems more important to you.”
I ponder this for a while. “Well, it’s just that I did, once, believe in You. Went to church. Sang in the choir. Every Sunday and Holy Day. Religiously, You might say.”
God chuckles. He clearly sees what I did there.
“And did you enjoy it?” He asks.
“For a while. Especially at Christmas. Then I started having doubts. Those turned into big doubts. And, well, there You go.”
God nods understandingly. “I see your difficulty. Might I ask a question?”
“Are you going to capitalize My pronouns throughout this entire piece?”
“I wasn’t sure whether I should, but I thought it best.”
“I didn’t want to offend anyone. You know. Anyone who reads this in my blog.”
“You think people read your blog?”
“Just messing with you. About three at the last count, right? Ha, ha! So, if I’ve understood you correctly, you feel a failure to capitalize My pronouns would possibly give offence to some people?”
“People can be touchy.”
“They can indeed.”
“And — I’m going to say it — it’s all Your fault!”
“Well yes. If You didn’t exist — and I’m not saying You do — people wouldn’t be so damned touchy about this and that.”
“This and that?”
“Like pork. And prawns. And drawing pictures of The Prophet.”
“And how exactly is this My fault?”
“People do Your bidding. Only last week some people doing Your bidding killed a few people who were mocking them for doing Your bidding. Plus a few others who happened to be in the way.”
God subjects me to a long, contemplative stare. “I can’t help thinking you’ve got this all the wrong way round,” He says. “But first things first. You doubt My existence?”
“Well let Me set you straight about that. I do exist.”
“I beg to differ.”
“Well let Me put it another way. Does Justice exist? And Honour? Dignity?”
“You never doubted it?”
“Not for a moment.”
“Well there you go.”
“There I go what?”
“If Justice, Honour and Dignity exist, how can I not?”
“But those are just abstract nouns. Labels we give to something intangible so we can talk about it among ourselves and make sense of things.”
“So You’re saying You are an abstract noun?”
“But people think You are real! That You made us! That we should do Your bidding!”
“I can’t be held responsible for what people think. They don’t do My bidding. On the contrary: I do theirs. They created Me in their image.”
He sees the look on my face. “I know,” He says. “Ironic, isn’t it? Basically I’m a WYSIWYWTS.”
“What You See Is What You Want To See: You want a Smitey God, I’m Smitey; you want a Loving God, I’m Loving; you want an Intolerant Sourpuss Who Insists Women Shouldn’t Get Educated Above Their Lowly Station, hey, I’m your guy! As a matter of fact, that’s exactly why I’m a guy. I play the part you give Me. I am your mouthpiece. I am the justification you seek for whatever it is you want to do in My Name. Am I making Myself clear?”
“You are. Very clear. I think I get it now.”
“You’re welcome. Anything else I can do for you?”
“Any chance You could pass that message on to the people who keep killing each other?”
“Don’t you mean ‘Any chance that the people who keep killing each other could work that out for themselves?’ ?”
I nod glumly.
“Not a snowflake’s chance in Hell. For them I don’t do that kind of message.”
“Well. Nice talking to You.”
Right. Of course.
I’m talking to myself.