The Wasatch Behind: a Conversation with God
"Hello God, are you there?" came a voice from the darkness.
"Yes, my son, I am here," came a voice from the light.
"I really didn't think you existed."
"I know. You didn't do your homework very well."
"Are you mad at me, God?"
"I'm very disappointed. You're the guy who killed the little girls in the schoolhouse in Pennsylvania, aren't you?"
"I'm always amazed by the targets you people pick. You go for the smallest, weakest, and most vulnerable of victims, even when you leave suicide notes saying you want the cops to kill you. Why not just kill yourself, or have the cops do it for you? Why hurt a bunch of innocent little kids?"
"I was angry and wanted some attention."
"You have my full attention now."
"But most of this is your fault, God. Life isn't fair and it isn't always fun. I was upset and I wanted to strike out. There is pain, sorrow, evil, and unfairness on the earth. You could fix all of that if you really cared. And then guys like me wouldn't do bad things."
"Life is a test, my son. I allow pain, suffering, evil, and unfairness on earth to test you and see how you will react to stress and adversity. You pass the test by overcoming those obstacles."
"And what do I get if I pass your test?"
"At the end of your life I welcome you into the warmth of the light where there is no pain, suffering, evil, or unfairness, for you have overcome those things."
"And if I don't pass your test?"
"Then you put yourself in cold darkness, for you are the cause of the pain, suffering, evil, and unfairness on the earth."
"Is the meaning of life really that simple?
"Great truth is always surprisingly simple, my son. There are really only two kinds of people on earth; those who cause pain and those who endure it. My job as God is to sort them all out and get rid of the bad apples like you."
"Get rid of people like me? How do you do that?"
"By allowing you to commit evil. Evil is a willful act. Some people sin in ignorance. Some transgress in weakness. But evil requires a conscious understanding and indifference to the pain inflicted. When you went into that classroom with a gun, you knew what you were going to do. That was evil."
"But you should take some of the blame, God, for allowing me to be evil. Surely you could have prevented all this had you tried. Why didn't you kill me with a heart attack before I shot someone? Why didn't you send those little girls home with the flu?
"To condemn yourself to hell, you must be allowed to commit the act. Lots of people daydream about committing violence. Only a few are evil enough to do it."
"Then what about the victims of evil? How do they fit into all of this?"
"Sometimes the innocent suffer so the wicked might condemn themselves before God. Remember the holocaust? And 9-11?
"It doesn't seem fair."
"Life is not fair. You said it yourself."
"So what happens to the victims?"
"I take care of them," said God, "and that's all you need to know for now."
"So what is hell really like?"
"Hell is different things to different people. You create your own hell, just as others create their own heaven. At the end of your life you face the consequences of your actions."
"I want to stay here in the dark, God. I'm too ashamed to come into the light."
"I know, my son. Tell Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer hello for me. They are standing behind you in the darkness."