The scene is either hell or Texas (pick either or both!).  Saint Alexander Hergensheimer and the devil are discussing god's will and Alex's misadventures in Robert Heinlein’s novel, Job: A Comedy of Justice.  Alex is reflecting on his deity’s rules for getting into heaven and being relentlessly challenged by his adversary.  The “I” in the following narrative is Alex.  The devil, in the form of one Jerry Farnsworth, speaks first:
“A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven.  An equally long life of decent living and good works followed by one outburst of taking the name of the Lord in vain – then have a heart attack at that moment and be damned for eternity.  Is that the system?”
I answered stiffly, “If you read the words of the Bible literally, that is the system.  But the Lord moves in mysterious –”
“Not mysterious to Me, bud: I’ve known Him too long.  It’s His world, His rules, His doing.  His rules are exact and anyone can follow them and reap the reward.  But ‘just’ they are not.  What do you think of what He has done to you and your Marga?  Is that justice?”
I took a deep breath.  “I’ve been trying to figure that out ever since Judgment Day … and Jack Daniel’s isn’t helping.  No, I don’t think it’s what I signed up for.”
“Ah, but you did!”
“My Brother Yahweh, wearing His Jesus face, said: “After this manner therefore pray ye:’ Go ahead, say it.”
“‘Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done –’”
“Stop!  Stop right there.  ‘Thy will be done –’ No Muslim claiming to be a ‘slave of God’ ever gave a more sweeping consent than that.  In that prayer you invite Him to do His worst.  The perfect masochist.  That’s the test of Job, boy.  Job was treated unjustly in every way day after day for years – I know, I know, I was there; I did it – and My dear Brother stood by and let Me do it.  Let Me?  He urged Me, He connived in it, accessory ahead of the fact.
“Now it’s your turn.  Your God did it to you.  Will you curse Him?  Or will you come wiggling back on your belly like a whipped dog?”

Predictably, the conversation is interrupted at that juncture, but the point has been made.  To be a True Christian is to be a masochist to the whim of a deity whose will you may not be privy to knowing, yet you are bound to it for good or ill because said deity wants it that way.  It amounts to surrender of the first order, of one’s life and rights to self-determination as a matter of course.  To any atheist, to any person who desires to be the author of their own actions and responsible for the same, such a declaration is a slap in the face, if not worse.
From the atheist's point of view, of course, there is neither devil nor god, nor heaven nor hell.  We have ONE SHOT to get it right, perhaps leave some mark on the world, preferably positive, because all that will be left behind are the consequences of our actions and the memories of us in those who continue.  The idea of a simplistic "Get Out of Jail Free" card is anathema to us, as surely as the idea of eternal condemnation for a trivial act is.
It occurs to me that atheists work without a net … and I find that I don’t mind that at all.

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I guess I'll pick Texas -- since I'm already here.  : )


Yes, I agree with you Loren, we have one shot to get it right -- one life to live.

The best and worst of us might be remembered for a little while, but when the sun consumes the earth in 5 billion years or so (and 5 billion years is but a blink of the eye in infinity), we'll not be remembered. We're important to each other (in small groups), but we're no more important to the universe than cockroaches and Pakistanis.  (If you had a cockroach in your kitchen, you'd likely be more concerned with killing it than you are about our air force killing pakistanis in our name.)

Jeez, I missed this posting Loren. It is good! To the point! As I experienced submission. Thanks, dear friend. I'm reposting on Facebook, OK? 

Please do so, Joan, with my hearty endorsement. 

It seems to me that anyone who is a former believer and now wishes to be self-possessed needs to know this lesson, regardless from what source it comes, and recognize the pernicious lessons like this which come from the bible and are aimed at no other purpose than to keep people DOWN.

As for myself and for you as well, Joan, we're not having any.

Job or a beaten dog. Either one comes crawling back to their master. And, the master is a psychopath. Allow me to differentiate. A sociopath is someone like Dick Cheney. If morality works to get what he wants, he'll be moral. If immorality works to get what he wants, he'll be immoral. A psychopath, on the other hand, actually enjoys and finds pleasure in being immoral and inflicting pain on others. A god, a cruel animal owner, a brutal control freak in what is supposed to be a loving relation, are all psychopaths. They all enjoy the pain they inflict.

I recall, as a former prosecutor, one of these wife beating bastards being arrested and on my case load - and he was a professor at a university. I recall walking into court as the chief prosecutor, with him in custody and listening to him whine and snivel about 1) how he was going to lose his job, 2) the public humiliation of being arrested, 3) he really didn't do anything wrong, etc., etc., etc. I recall telling him, in front of his attorney and the judge, that I was recommending holding him without bail (you can actually do that in certain cases), and turning to the Sheriff and requesting that he be put in cell with a man of a different ethnic background, who was about 6'6" being held on murder, and whom I believed was incredibly horny.

Like a true psychopath who is cornered, caught, and has no way out, he broke down in tears and cried like a 3 year old who was just disciplined. Maybe there is a streak of psychopathy in me, but watching him quiver, cower, snivel and cry, I enjoyed it more than than a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting (my favorite) on my birthday. Served you right, you SOB.

So god is a psychopath.  Like THAT's a reach!

it's true - if there was a god

He was a little "god" in his own kingdom. That is, until he walked into my kingdom. Ahh, maybe I'm revealing too much of a dark side to me. I thoroughly detest bullies, child abusers, and women beaters. The proponents of YHWH, Jesus, Allah, and the rest fall into this category. They are my enemies - pure and simple.

And the very best punishment you can give to ANY of them ... is to IGNORE them ... to treat them as though they don't exist ... mostly because THEY DON'T.

I would blame the sick, greedy Levite priests who invented the dominant Middle Eastern "god." 


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