A strange thing happened to me on the streets of Harare a couple of years ago – a random lady condemned me to eternal damnation. The conversation went as follows;
Her: “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal lord and saviour?”
Me: “Yeah, no … I don’t believe in God”.
Her: “You’re going to hell, then. Eternal torment”.
Me: “I hope your insides rot as you die scared and alone and your body gets eaten by hyenas”
Her: “That’s horrible! Why would you say something like that to me?”
Me: “Really? You’ve just condemned me to an eternity of fire and torture.”
Her: ” … … …”
So your god has judged me, and condemned me to an eternity of damnation. Good for you, I hope that makes you feel really wonderful.
Little old me, burning for eternity. Is this the torment of all non-believers?
The possibility is so terrible, so awful, that I’d recoil at the thought if I wasn’t so fucking sensible. How can mortal souls deserve such eternal penitence? What vast crime did I commit through the mere act of living my life by my rules? Have we all been personally consigned to this fate? By some so-called god, cruel in judgement, devoid of mercy?
That idea consumes me with rage and indignation. What god (or goddess, because gender equality in our lifetime) dares to presume the right to judge me? That is arrogance too vast to have been earned in any way.
I shall burn in hell, shall I? Try it, and whoever you are, I will find you. I swear it. I will find you and I will cut you down. Humble you. Down to your knees. How dare you!
How dare you judge anyone, when you completely hide your face? When you strip away all possible truth of your existence? Your willful presence?
Hiding from me, whoever – whatever — you are, is a childish game. An unworthy game for a god, I think.
You claim the right to judge me, as your child? Okay. Face your child. Face all your children. Show me the veracity of your right to cast judgement upon me. Prove your claim to my soul, and I will give it to you wholeheartedly.
Do this, and I will accept you. Remain hidden, even as you consign my soul to suffering, and I’ll hunt you down and slice off your godly balls and stuff them in your godly nostrils.
The only authority I recognise is authority I have given. The only rule I recognise is by consent. Hence, the only judgement I would ever accept is from an authority that I recognise as having the right to judge me.
Now, for some of you, it might be difficult to understand what I am talking about here. It is a difficult concept, rule by consent. Profound, even.
The ordinary mind isn’t built for profundity, and each time it touches upon the wondrous, it slides away, unable to find a sure footing. We do fine with wood-chips flying from the axe’s bite, the nails we drive home, the seeds we scatter, the taste of beer in our mouths, the touch of love and desire at our fingertips.
Once we touch on the more difficult subjects like religion and gods and the nature of the universe, the ordinary mind flees into its comfort zone. Comfort doesn’t lie in the mystery of the unknown and the unknowable. It lies in the home we live in, the faces we recognize, the past in our wake and the future we want for ourselves and ours.
I have no interest in your comfort or, indeed, my own. Comfort is complacency, stagnation and control – I abhor it.
So you think this is blasphemy? I bet you secretly wish your god strikes me down for the audacity to demand accountability from him. If not to death, at least a humbling personal catastrophe, just to remind me who has the huge, un-sliceable balls?
Here is the truth, kiddies. Some random shit just might happen to me, but that will not be an act of god. Gods do not act … that is one of the things which makes them gods, is it not? Let me explain.
Have you passed a beggar on the street, or at the traffic lights, and done nothing? Doing nothing is a choice swollen with omnipotence. It is, in fact, godly.
And this, you should realise, is the reason your gods do nothing. Proof of their omniscience.
After all, to act is to announce awful limitations, for it reveals that chance acted first, that accidents are just that — events beyond the will of the gods — and all they can do in answer is to attempt to remedy the consequences, to alter natural ends … to react!
To act, then, is an admission of fallibility. And nobody, not even a god, likes to admit that things are out of their control!
So yeah, I don’t believe in your god. Do not presume to judge me. I accept that your beliefs, as silly as I think they are, are yours to hold.
Show me the same goddamn respect.