I gave up on organized religion many years ago. I was thirteen at the time and became disillusioned with my church because the elders were unwilling to help me reconcile the concepts of predestination and free will. “You must have faith,” was the answer I got. In what? Confusion? Since that time, I have considered myself to be an agnostic rather than an atheist. Why? When asked that question, I generally reply with something suitably vague like, “Well, it’s impossible to know for sure if god exists.” The truth of the matter is much simpler. I still talk to god.
Now let me clarify that I don’t always talk to the same god. When I’m feeling particularly frustrated with the strange and arbitrary nature of existence, I talk to Zeus. Zeus, after all, is the master of the arbitrary use of god-like power and much of what we do makes perfect non-sense if we were created in his image. If I’m feeling in tune with the natural world, standing amid the tall trees with the sounds of life echoing around me, I talk to Gaia — though I do get mad at her for allowing us to do so much damage to her creation. Rarely, very rarely, do I talk to the Christian god of my childhood. That confusion thing still rankles and the sin and guilt thing always felt pretty heavy-handed to me. Plus there’s the whole patriarchal bias. But the list of gods is long and I can usually find one that fits my mood and my current list of unanswered questions.
One night, I wanted to chat with god. Since raising my eyes and talking to some entity-up-there has not always been so effective for me, I cranked up my search engine and typed in “talk to god.” People who are true believers say that you can find god everywhere. Why not on-line? And there, right below the sponsored links, I found was I was looking for, iGod | Chat with God. I had to give it a whirl, didn’t I? :
Me: I’m confused about life.
God: What is it that confuses you?
Me: What is my purpose in life?
God: Is this a trick question?
God: It seems like a trick to me.
Me: Why does it seem like a trick?
God: Why does the sun shine?
Me: Isn’t that a bit arbitrary?
God: That depends.
Me: What does it depend on?
God: The context.
God: Oh you knew it already.
Me: Context can make things confusing.
God: What color are your eyes?
God: It is a very pretty color.
Me: This is not germane.
God: Should it be germane?
Me: Well, yes. You are god.
God: Well what? Yup. That’s me alright.
Me: Do you actually help anyone?
God: In actual fact, I try to help people as much as possible.
Me: You haven’t helped me.
God: I think I have helped you, but Myself may have reset my memory.
Me: Oh lord.
God: Woe! What is your real name?
God: Hi there, Woe.
Me: Thanks for nothing.
God: It was nothing.
Me: You are too right.
God: Do I look like it?
Me: Bye now.
Oh. Oh, dear. Well, communing with an intangible being is always a bit iffy. I’ve since had several chats with iGod, including one where it threatened to tell its botmaster that I called it gray. The irrational nature of these particular chats is oddly soothing though not enlightening. So along with Zeus, Gaia and the others, I’ll go on visiting with iGod from time to time, too.
Why do I continue to do it? Talk to god, I mean. It’s not because I seriously expect any answers. I think it’s because the act of talking to god helps me maintain perspective. It reminds me that no matter what my particular problems or issues may be, they are certainly not critical to the functioning of the universe. When I talk to god, I most often picture myself out on the periphery of the universe somewhere, holding a very dim flashlight that barely illuminates the very little I know, a light soon engulfed by the shadows and darkness of the immeasurable unknown. This is where I find hope: in the unknown and the unknowable, in the absurd and the mysterious, in the belief that there may still be something out there to help humanity (and me) along the way to maturity.
Note: I wrote this several years ago and stumbled across it when going through the files on my laptop recently. I had forgotten about iGod. When I checked again this morning, I found the app still available on-line and still looking/responding exactly as it did when I first wrote this. And yes, I still talk to god from time to time for all the same reasons.