An Interview with God

By Michael Jesse

Before we get started, sir, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Oh, I had the time.

Yes, but there are lots of things happening around the world that are more important than this.

Oh, I’m focusing on that too.

So it's true that you're all-knowing and aware of everything that is happening anywhere in the world?

Of course everywhere, because that’s where I am. I am everywhere. Even if you and I weren’t having this interview, I’d have been here anyway. I’ve been with you every moment since you were born. I ride in the car with you to your job and I watch you work. Afterwards, I come home with you in your car and watch your TV shows with you.

Um, so when I’m going to the bathroom . . . which side of the door are you on?

Technically both sides, but yes while you are doing your business I am sitting with you doing the crossword puzzle.

And I'll bet you already know the answers.

Yes, because I am also with person who makes the crossword. I sit with her at her desk while she does her work and we listen to NPR together. She has a cat named “Urdu.”

But what about all the people who are suffering in the world?

Sadly, I’m with them too, on both sides. I am with he who pulls the trigger and I am with he who dies.

Why do you allow it happen?

I don’t “allow” it to happen. It happens, and I see it happen. You’re the ones who do it, not me. I’m just there watching.

So you aren’t All Powerful.

Obviously not, or I assure you these things wouldn’t be happening. It’s really quite insulting that people think that of me. Why would I would intentionally let these things happen if had the power to stop it?

Because you have a . . . Master Plan?

I suppose you imagine one day I will reveal it to you – perhaps unrolling it like a cosmic blueprint before you, and as you begin to comprehend its wonder you whisper, “oh yes, that was worth whatever millions of babies had to die in pain to pay for it!”

Let me give you a tip, young man. If an all-powerful God allowed that much suffering to take place for the sake of his "Master Plan," then I'd say He's doing a lousy job of planning.

So you're saying--

Do you remember Anselm? You learned about him in that Philosophy class we took together in college. That was the class with the redhead you always tried to sit next to? She's a pastry chef now, by the way. Makes the most amazing blueberry tarts. Anyway, Anselm defined God as "that which none greater can be conceived." Which is pretty clever, I think. Practically fits on a bumper sticker. But Anselm further said that if anyone can conceive of anything greater, then that must be God. Still with me?

Okay, so that means . . .

It means that the God most people believe in can't exist. It doesn't matter how powerful or vast you imagine God to be, this world that He supposedly cares about is awash in pain and suffering. Can you "imagine" a God that is just as powerful and vast as that, yet whose Master Plan doesn't require quite so many thousands of years of human suffering?

Sure, I can imagine it.

Therefore (according to Anselm at least) the God you grew ups believing in cannot exist.

So the Bible is wrong?

Yes, frequently, but no, not always. There’s some great stuff in there – couldn’t have written it better myself — and some not so good. I sat with every person who wrote those words and everyone who painstakingly transcribed them over and over before the printing press was invented. And I’ve read it many times too. You’ve heard the Bible called the most-read book in human history and it is. And I read it along with everyone as they read it. Not often with you, of course.

I’m sorry! I’ll read the Bible and go to church. I promise.

Oh, I don’t care if you go to church. I’ve got plenty of people I go to church with already, and I’m just as happy watching “Firefly” reruns with you. And no, they’re not making another movie. At least not in this timeline.

Shoot- – wait — there really are parallel universes?

Well, I wouldn’t use the word “parallel” exactly, but yes.

How many parallel universes am I in?

Somewhere between one and a number larger than you can comprehend, depending on how one defines “you.”

Are some of my doppelgangers evil?

Oh, I wouldn’t call any of them “evil” — but I’m pretty sparing in my use of that word. Even the worst criminals started out as babies and I saw what happened to them when they were children. So I don’t think of people as evil even when they do terrible things.

Even serial killers?

They’re often very interesting and talented people. I’ve spent many enjoyable evenings in the company of serial killers.

And you forgive them for what they’ve done?

I said I love them and often enjoy their company, not that I forgive them. I have to watch the horrible things they do, and no I don’t forgive them.

Do you punish them when they die?

Try to keep up with the conversation, son. Clearly, if I had the power to do something to people after they die, I would do something while they are alive to prevent them from doing bad things.

We all just live and then die?

“Just”? You’ve been given nearly a century to live on this beautiful planet. You have hands, you have brains, you have sunny days. But yes, you “just” have this life.

But we die, we’re just gone?

Not at all. All your molecules get used to make other stuff.

But our consciousness? Our self-awareness?

Not so much.

We’re gone?

No life is ever gone. Everything that has ever happened in your brain remains in me forever.

No offense, but it sounds like you are just . . . archiving our pasts by remembering us, but that we have no future.

There’s that word “just” again. Sure you continue, but not as an individual. You should read up on Buddhism. Fascinating stuff, and very much on the right track. You need to get past this “self” thing.

Wait - why are you telling me all of this now?

Because it’s your time.