A World without God

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. During the first day He created light. During the second He created the firmament which divides the water above and the water below. During the third He created dry land and plants. During the fourth He created the heavenly bodies. During the fifth day he created creatures of the sea and the sky. During the sixth day He created land animals and Man. In the seventh, He spent his time admiring His own creation. And so the world came to be. Centuries came and went. Empires rose and fell. God watched all and judged all. Then finally, He arrived at a conclusion:

“Ah, I’ve made a mistake,” God thought to himself. And then, He forsook the world.

And so the world started to descend into chaos. Although to be honest, the world had always been in chaos, just a little less chaotic. It wasn’t that hard to achieve, really. Just look at the kind of people inhabiting the world. But that’s for another time. Now some may protest that God couldn’t not have left the world. Does it not follow that if God forsook the world, then surely the world would be immediately ruined? Isn’t he the only one capable of sustaining the world? Not necessarily. Of course, right now we are working on the assumption that God is real and omnipotent. If God is omnipotent, it shouldn’t be beyond His power to make something capable of sustaining itself. Of course, these are mere speculations.

“Then, assuming what you said is true, why did God forsake the world? Didn’t He love us all?” Perhaps. But then, we might not be able to know for sure. We’re not even sure if He’s there to begin with. Truly, there’s no mean of justifying atheism, nor there is any mean of justifying theism. We have to be free of any prejudice or illusion about this matter. The proof searched will never be enough, and the proof acquired will never be satisfactory. Even the theists sometimes claim that proof isn’t necessary to believe in God. And indeed that might be true. It is in our nature to choose first before justifying our choice afterwards. There’s no necessity for humans to be sensible. Our choice is always based on our personal whims, or at least something prior to personal rational thought. If not, life would have a lot simpler.

“You’re contradicting yourself,” someone might protest, “you started with ‘god forsook the world’ and now you’re doubting whether God is there are not. Proposing that God forsook the world also indirectly affirms that God is real, does it not? And now you’re talking about something entirely different. People are not that senseless. If they were, then we wouldn’t need to trouble ourselves with the noble task of finding the truth.” But you see, dear reader, the end result is the same. It almost doesn’t matter if God is there or not. There’s an analogy which perfectly illustrates this:

There was once a small village near the border of a certain kingdom ruled by a powerful king. Even though none of the villagers had ever seen the king, nor do they know the king, they still believed that the king was there. The king was obviously busy with some other more important affairs (so the villagers thought), that’s why he had never set foot in the village. The king was a noble, he couldn’t possibly be expected to dirty his shoes with the mud on the village road. However, a messenger claimed to be from the castle once came to the village. It was a long time ago. When exactly was it, no one knew. It was said that the messenger brought a decree from the castle, and — since no-one was literate enough to understand the decree from above — read the royal decree himself with a loud voice from a pedestal at the center of the town square. All was well. And then, his job finished, the messenger left. The decree, once thought to be simple enough, soon showed its true nature. It was ambiguous; there were dozens of ways to interpret the decree. Either this is because of the decree itself, or the villagers themselves, no one can say for sure. One said that the decree was about a certain thing, while the other said that the decree was about some other thing. The villagers came into different ways of interpreting the king’s decree. And of course, it might be easier to understand the decree if they were able to understand what the king was like. After all, if they understood the king’s dispositions, they might be able to understand the thoughts of the king, and probably what he meant when he wrote the decree as well. Not long after the people started to argue about this as well. The idea they had regarding what the king should be like and what the king might be like derived both from the decree and from common knowledge became absurdly intermixed that it’s impossible to tell which one is from which nor which one is which. Conflicting ideas found their justifications from different parts of the decree. The decree couldn’t be wrong. The king was highly intelligent. For an uneducated peasant to accuse a decree made by an educated noble (a king, moreover) to contain errors were nothing more than an act of impudence, to say the least. Obviously, with this out of the way, all that’s left was to find the real meaning behind the decree. However, no person wanted to be accused as being mistaken. All ideas found their justification from the decree, and everyone claimed to be the faithful servant of the king. Soon factions started to appear. It wasn’t that hard to start a fight. The villagers were faithful and simple-minded. They only wanted to please the king in their limited way. Obviously, the simplest way to get rid of those who were perceived to interpret the decree wrongly was to simply make them disappear. Soon after, the day was over and night spread its cover under the faint light of the moon.

You see, dear reader, there really isn’t any contradiction in this simple proposal which I’m trying to give to you. It doesn’t really matter if the king was there or not. It’s impossible for the villagers to know. The king was far away, and the villagers had no way of reaching the king. And so, they’re left with this decree. We can’t even know for certain if that decree was valid. For all we know someone might have faked the decree. Why, no one knows. Out of malice or out of grace, we can’t tell. Even assuming the decree was indeed from the king, we cannot know if the decree still stood or not. Probably a new decree had been announced just before the messenger arrived in the village, nullifying the decree altogether. Or perhaps, even worse, the king might have died, and this decree held no more validity than any other written piece of paper. Well, we can save the speculations for some other time. One thing for sure, the villagers acted as if they knew the king was there, even though they had no way of knowing for certain. They just took the presumed existence of the king for granted regardless of the real situation beyond the village. Neither of us, you nor me, could blame them. They wanted to be loyal, they wanted to be good citizens of the kingdom. Why? Perhaps out of personal virtue, or perhaps out of personal vice. Perhaps they’re so afraid of possible retribution (who would punish them, no one knows) that their apparent loyalty is no different than simple selfishness. So given this limited information, the easiest and surest way without doubt was to follow the decree. If the decree turned out to be, like what we guessed earlier, no longer valid, either because of deceit or because of a new decree, then the castle might send another messenger to tell them a new decree, if there was any. But they couldn’t know this for sure. So what better way to spend the time other than studying this decree? But they couldn’t understand the decree, and even after spending countless hours studying it they still weren’t closer to actually knowing the king. Of course, we knew not whether a new decree soon came. Perhaps it did, but not before the fighting broke out. The story even implied killings. Then, dear reader, does it really matter if the king was there or not? Even if we couldn’t know if the king was real or not, I don’t think it mattered. The villagers didn’t know for sure as well (even if they claimed to know for certain that the king was still alive, their claim was no different than me claiming that there’s a dragon in my garage; there is still no dragon there), and it was enough for them to act. And there’s no word from the castle whatsoever. In the end, whatever the status of the king may be, they’re still left to their own device, forsaken by the king.




A wanna-be philosopher and Roman historian. These are my little essays I’ve written over the years.

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A wanna-be philosopher and Roman historian. These are my little essays I’ve written over the years.

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