A Lonely God

Posted on 2012 June 13


Why can’t people get along? You’d think that, with a bit of effort, everyone could be on good terms with everyone else, even people who disagree or have conflicts. You simply use your reason, avoid name-calling, be respectful, understand the other person’s wants and needs, and search for common ground on which to build. If you’re deadlocked and a battle looms, at least you can salute your opponent before entering combat.

Yeah, right.

Still, I’ve always thought that the mark of a civilized person is the ability to interact smoothly with anyone, no matter who they are. Naturally, I’ve assumed my social snafus indicated I just wasn’t civilized enough.

And then it hit me: even GOD doesn’t get along with everybody. (Okay, I’m agnostic. But let’s say, for the moment, that there’s a God who rules the universe.) Think about it: most people either don’t believe in, or are mad at, or are rebelling against God. Or they’re busy worshipping at the wrong altar. (God gestures, “Over here!” and people look past their shoulders and snap, “Quiet! I’m busy praying to God,” and turn away.)

As a human, God couldn’t get a date in some parts of town. “I can’t even get arrested,” muses God.

(I have this notion that God is an eight-tentacled student in a physics class in some far-off universe, who left the lab table early to go on a hot date and forgot to turn off the gravity machine, which cranked away all night until it created a quantum instability that popped open and became our universe. Next school day, Octopus Nerd returns to the lab, sees the machine still running, and switches it off, failing to notice the output spike on the data recorder. So we were created by accident by an unknowing, many-armed alien geek who was too busy hoping to get to eighth base.)

Is God lonely and sad, then? Well, in most religions, God has oodles of angels and other demi-gods who attend and worship at the throne, so probably there isn’t an estrangement problem there. But with humans, God seems to suffer from a certain lack of appreciation.

(I have another notion: God knows everything, including uncertainty and doubt, so God is aware of every detail and simultaneously confused and foggy about much of it. The perfection of God’s viewpoint includes the imperfections; in that sense, it’s understandable if God has enemies as well as friends.)

But you don’t have to be God to be wonderful yet unappreciated. Let’s say you’re an accomplished classical musician: most people won’t even like what you play. Or you write achingly beautiful historical romances: some people love ’em, others hate ’em on principle. Or you’re a big-league baseball slugger who bats .300 but finds himself in a bar talking to someone who can’t stand sports. Or you’re a super-nice, super-kind, thoughtful and helpful pastor who encounters a person who loathes all religions and their practitioners.

Or you write blogs full of quirky opinions that annoy lots of readers.

So maybe it’s completely appropriate to be an okay person and good at what you do without having the appreciation, or even the respect, of most of the world. After all, God Herself has that problem.

(Did I say “God Herself“? Sorry. I can’t please everyone.)