Possible idea? Heres_John_E's idea. So, would you make it? Or anyone else? Evil Penguins are taking over the world, on a side note. They made a sneak attack while we were preoccupied with Brazil and took South Africa.
I met god the other day.
I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god?
Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to accept that he was god than otherwise.
Which is odd, because I’m still an atheist and we even agree on that!
It all started on the 8.20 back from Paddington. Got myself a nice window seat, no screaming brats or drunken hooligans within earshot. Not even a mobile phone in sight. Sat down, reading the paper and in he walks.
What did he look like?
Well not what you might have expected that’s for sure. He was about 30, wearing a pair of jeans and a "hobgoblin" tee shirt. Definitely casual. Looked like he could have been a social worker or perhaps a programmer like myself.
‘Anyone sitting here?’ he said.
‘Help yourself’ I replied.
Sits down, relaxes, I ignore and back to the correspondence on genetic foods entering the food chain…
Train pulls out and a few minutes later he speaks.
‘Can I ask you a question?’
Fighting to restrain my left eyebrow I replied ‘Yes’ in a tone which was intended to convey that I might not mind one question, and possibly a supplementary, but I really wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. ..
‘Why don’t you believe in god?’
I love this kind of conversation and can rabbit on for hours about the nonsense of theist beliefs. But I have to be in the mood! It's like when a jehova’s witness knocks on your door 20 minutes before you’re due to have a wisdom tooth pulled. Much as you'd really love to stay… You can’t even begin the fun. And I knew, if I gave my standard reply we’d still be arguing when we got to Cardiff. I just wasn’t in the mood. I needed to fend him off.
But then I thought ‘Odd! How is this perfect stranger so obviously confident – and correct – about my atheism?’ If I’d been driving my car, it wouldn’t have been such a mystery. I’ve got the Darwin fish on the back of mine – the antidote to that twee christian fish you see all over. So anyone spotting that and understanding it would have been in a position to guess my beliefs. But I was on a train and not even wearing my Darwin "Evolve" tshirt that day. And ‘The Independent’ isn’t a registered flag for card carrying atheists, so what, I wondered, had given the game away.
‘What makes you so certain that I don’t?’
‘Because’, he said, ‘ I am god – and you are not afraid of me’
You’ll have to take my word for it of course, but there are ways you can deliver a line like that – most of which would render the speaker a candidate for an institution, or at least prozac. Some of which could be construed as mildly amusing.
Conveying it as "indifferent fact" is a difficult task but that’s exactly how it came across. Nothing in his tone or attitude struck me as even mildly out of place with that statement. He said it because he believed it and his rationality did not appear to be drug induced or the result of a mental breakdown.
‘And why should I believe that?’
‘Well’ he said, ‘why don’t you ask me a few questions. Anything you like, and see if the answers satisfy your sceptical mind?’
This is going to be a short conversation after all, I thought.
‘Who am I?’
‘Stottle. Harry Stottle, born August 10 1947, Bristol, England. Father Paul, Mother Mary. Educated Duke of Yorks Royal Military School 1960 67, Sandhurst and Oxford, PhD in Exobiology, failed rock singer, full time trade union activist for 10 years, latterly self employed computer programmer, web author and aspiring philosopher. Married to Michelle, American citizen, two children by a previous marriage. You’re returning home after what seems to have been a successful meeting with an investor interested in your proposed product tracking anti-forgery software and protocol and you ate a full english breakfast at the hotel this morning except that, as usual, you asked them to hold the revolting english sausages and give you some extra bacon. ‘
‘You’re not convinced. Hmmm… what would it take to convince you?’
'oh right! Your most secret password and its association'
A serious hacker might be able to obtain the password, but no one else and I mean
knows its association.
So how would you have played it?
I threw a few more questions about relatively insignificant but unpublicised details of my life (like what my mother claims was the first word I ever spoke – apparently "armadillo"! (Don't ask…)) but I was already pretty convinced. I knew there were only three possible explanations at this point.
Possibility One was that I was dreaming or hallucinating. Nobody’s figured out a test for that so, at the time I think that was my dominant feeling. It did not feel real at the time. More like I was in a play. Acting my lines. Since the event, however, continuing detailed memories of it, together with my contemporaneous notes, remain available, so unless the hallucination has continued to this day, I am now inclined to reject the hallucination hypothesis. Which leaves two others.
He could have been a true telepath. No documented evidence exists of anyone ever having such profound abilities to date but it was a possibility. It would have explained how he could know my best-kept secrets. The problem with that is that it doesn’t explain anything else! In particular it doesn’t account for the answers he proceeded to give to my later questions.
As Sherlock Holmes says, when you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Good empiricist, Sherlock.
I was forced to accept at least the possibility that this man was who he claimed to be.
So now what do you do?
Well, I’ve always known that if I met god I would have a million questions for him, so I thought, ‘why not?’ and proceeded with what follows. You’ll have to allow a bit of licence in the detail of the conversation. This was, shall we say, a somewhat unusual occurrence, not to mention just a BIT weird! And yes I was a leetle bit nervous! So if I don’t get it word perfect don’t whinge! You’ll get the gist I promise.
‘Forgive me if it takes me a little time to get up to speed here, but it's not everyday I get to question a deity’
‘The Deity’ he interrupted.
‘ooh. Touchy!’ I thought.
‘Not really – just correcting the image’
Now That takes some getting used to!
I tried to get a grip on my thoughts, with an internal command - ‘Discipline Harry. You’ve always wanted to be in a situation like this, now you’re actually in it, you mustn’t go to pieces and waste the opportunity of a lifetime’
‘You won’t’ he said.
Tell you! That’s the bit that made it feel unreal more than anything else - this guy sitting across the table and very obviously accurately reading my every thought. It's like finding someone else's hand inside your trouser pocket!
Nevertheless, something made me inclined to accept the invasion, I had obviously begun to have some confidence in his perception or abilities, so I distinctly remember the effect of his words was that I suddenly felt deeply reassured and completely relaxed. As he had no doubt intended. Man must have an amazing seduction technique!
So then we got down to business…
‘Are you human?’
‘Were you, ever?’
‘No, but similar, Yes’
‘Ah, so you are a product of evolution?’
‘Most certainly – mainly my own’
‘and you evolved from a species like ours, dna based organisms or something equally viable?’
‘so what, exactly, makes you god?’
‘Seemed like a good idea at the time’
‘and your present powers, are they in any way similar to what the superstitious believers in my species attribute to you?’
‘Close enough. ’
‘So you created all this, just for us?’
‘No. Of course not’
‘But you did create the Universe?’
‘This One. Yes’
‘But not your own?’
‘This is my own!’
‘You know what I mean!’
‘You can’t create your own parents, so No’
‘So let me get this straight. You are an entirely natural phenomenon.’
‘Arising from mechanisms which we ourselves will one day understand and possibly even master?’
‘subject to a quibble over who "we ourselves" may be, but yes’
‘meaning that if the human race doesn’t come up to the mark, other species eventually will?’
‘and how many other species are there already out there ahead of us?’
‘surprisingly few. Less than fourteen million’
‘And how many at or about our level?’
‘currently a little over 4 ½ billion’
‘so our significance in the universe at present is roughly equivalent to the significance of the average Joe here on planet Earth in his relation to the human race?’
‘a little less. Level One, the level your species has reached, begins with the invention of the flying machine. I define the next level in terms your Sci Fi Author Isaac Asimov has already grasped. It is reached when you achieve control of your own primary – the Sun. What Asimov calls a Type I technology. Humanity is only just into the flying machine phase, so as you can imagine, on that scale, the human race is somewhat near the bottom of the level one pack’
‘and all these species are your children?’
‘I like to think of them that way’
‘and the point?’
‘at its simplest, "Life Must Go On". My personal motivation is the desire for conversation. Once you’ve achieved my level, you cease to be billions of separate entities and become one ecstatic whole. A single entity that cannot die, however advanced, or perhaps, more accurately, because it is so advanced, will get lonely and even a trifle bored! I seem to be the first. I do not intend to be the last’
‘so you created a Universe which is potentially capable of producing another god like yourself?’
‘The full benefit will be temporary, but like most orgasms, worth it.’
‘this being the moment when our new god merges with you and we become one again?’