My Revelation

I was ensconced in my office, (which is really my den,) on this particular Sunday evening. My well-being was at a particularly high point. I had just partaken of a magnificent curry and was indulging myself with a wee dram (as is my wont) whilst listening to a glorious Mozart piano concerto.

Then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, (although my friends have pointed to the curry or perhaps the single malt scotch) I became aware of a foreboding presence. And then I heard a voice, and I knew at once it was the voice of God.

The first thing that struck me was the voice sounded to me like a male voice. Now I don’t believe in a conventional concept of God and I am sure if God exists, He ( and I only use the masculine pronoun as a matter of convenience  and eschewing political correctness I will continue to do so whilst telling my story) has no gender. But the voice was a sonorous male voice like a Paul Robeson or Teddy Tahu Rhodes. It occurred to me later that an omnipotent God would have the capacity to take on an authoritative voice to suit the occasion. No doubt He knew I probably wouldn’t pay much attention to the sound of an androgynous Michael Jackson!

“Hear me, Ted Scott. I would talk with you!”

When I replied, I didn’t talk at all but merely responded in my mind. I didn’t feel at all overwhelmed or threatened, which I suspect pays tribute to the whisky. (I’ll have to get another bottle of that!)

“It surprises me, God that you would want to talk with me.”

“Well, no doubt it does surprise you because you purport not to believe in me! You are a reasonably intelligent fellow and I would like to discuss with you your reasons for not believing.”

I was immediately taken aback. It was not that a so-called omniscient God wasn’t aware of my misgivings. I immediately doubted his omniscience when he called me “reasonably intelligent”! But bearing in mind that God is also supposed to be omnipotent it occurred to me that it would not be wise to provoke an all-powerful God.

“I cannot yet say that I don’t believe in you. I know nothing about you. It is true that I cannot believe in a traditional concept of God. So I am yet open to discussion. What is it that you might wish to know?”

I took a small sip from my glass. I had a warm inner glow that seemed to emanate from the anticipation of a good discussion as much from the soothing warmth of the alcohol.

God sighed.

“Tell me what are your reservations about believing in God. So many human beings do believe in me and take comfort from that. How is it that you are reluctant to join their ranks?”

“Well there are many reasons. Where should I begin?”

“Begin wherever you feel fit.”

“All right. To begin with it seems to me that many traditional concepts of God are quite parochial. It would seem to me that if God exists, (sorry I don’t mean to be offensive) God should be accessible to all people. A just God should ensure that every human being should have equal access to him. But traditional religions seem to want to confer benefits on particular peoples in particular geographies. In particular the Judeo-Christian-Muslim versions of religion would suggest that you conferred particular benefits on those that lived in historical times in the Middle-East. Surely you wouldn’t have been so mean spirited to confer the benefits of belief in you to such a narrowly circumscribed section of humanity.”

“Well, of course, you are right! I am indeed accessible to anyone who looks for me. There are no special peoples and no favoured geography. Whoever you are and wherever you live I offer the same access. You will note that those who purport to believe in the way that you described also populate their God myths with their own particular folk myths.”

“I am pleased that you confirm this fact. But I am also concerned that a God might have such trivial interests. In many conventional religions there are for example restrictions on what people should eat and what people should wear.”

“Have no concerns about that. Such restrictions come again from the particular parochial traditions of the more fundamentalist believers. They have nothing to do with me. I have no concern regarding what you should wear or what you should eat. I would hope you would maintain some degree of modesty and eat largely what might promote your health but these are not things I would give any great attention to.”

“Well then, we are off to a great start. You have dispelled some of my misgivings. But another thing that concerns me is that you seem fond of using intermediaries rather than confronting people directly. Christians believe that they can only come to you through belief in Jesus. Muslims rely on your revelations to Muhammad to gain access to you.”

“They are mistaken. To begin with let me say, contrary to the popular beliefs of these religions, Jesus was not the son of God and Muhammad certainly was not my messenger! I can give you a more detailed explanation why these myths came to be, but just be assured for the time being that they are indeed myths.”

“It also concerns me that many of the conventionally faithful want to display their devotion by conspicuous demonstration of prayer and obeisance.”

“Well, yes – it concerns me as well. They should know to begin with that they don’t have to petition me. I am aware of all their thoughts. And it makes me cringe when they lavish such praise on me seemingly to win my favours. Could they be foolish enough to believe God has an ego!”

“I guess God they have made you in their image, which as you imply is a flawed idea because they have also imbued you with their egos as well! But tell me what do you expect of people?”

“My only real expectation is that people should love one another. That is enough. It is not easy though, so it is in fact a high expectation. For me every act of love, every act of kindness is indeed a prayer.”

“Forgive me, but that sounds very Buddhist, which I suspect you might feel is a blasphemous thing to say!”

“You really are confused, aren’t you? There is no such thing as blasphemy. The notion of blasphemy, where an idea which is contrary to traditional belief might somehow be offensive to God again depends on the notion that God has an ego, which as I explained earlier is not the case. More so, even if it was the case those who blaspheme could only do so from ignorance. I am not about to punish anybody on the basis of their ignorance. What an abhorrent concept! And having no ego, if people acquire good ideas (for example that they should love one another), I am not going to quibble about the source of such an idea.”

I was impressed by this response – perhaps even overwhelmed. I shook my head in dismay.

“You are really starting to convince me that you are a God I could believe in!”

“Why does that surprise you?”

“Well, you seem so different from the traditional concepts of God that are promulgated by conventional religion. And you have been very forthright and non-defensive.”

“So you are surprised that you and I should have such shared opinions on the nature of God.”

“Yes, I am. It surprises me that firstly I could have the privilege of talking directly to God and then that you are able to confirm my beliefs about God.”

“Well, it doesn’t surprise me. Let me ask you when Moses ascended Mt Sinai to have discourse with God what sort of God did he find?”

“A little knowledge of the Old Testament would suggest he found a God that seems to be vastly different to you.”

“It seems that way doesn’t it, but in fact he encountered me.”

“I find that hard to believe. The God of the Old Testament seems vengeful, angry and often violent. Perhaps I have misunderstood you but that doesn’t seem like you at all.””

“One of your philosophers once said, ‘We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.’ Because of his conditioning Moses couldn’t imagine a God that was much different from an all-powerful tribal chieftain with the usual human foibles.”

“So, did Moses actually exist?”

“Of course not! He was just a figure in one of the Hebrew folk myths that were wrapped up into the Old Testament. I was speaking metaphorically. But it is a truism that those who seek God generally find the God they expect to find. And as there is no God but me they all see me differently. So your dilemma, like so many others, is that you find it difficult to believe in someone else’s God but of course you are quite comfortable with your concept of God.”

“I see. Nevertheless, it has been comforting to talk with you and to confirm that you are indeed a God I can believe in. But why do you make yourself so inaccessible to believers?”

“It is not possible for it to be otherwise. Because you see I am a subject and not an object. Consequently I can’t be directly perceived. I can perceive but not be perceived.”

“Well, I might not be able to perceive you visually, but it seems I can perceive you audibly. We have just had an interesting, and to me, an important conversation.”

“In some ways your assertion is true, but in other ways it is not.”

“You have confused me now. Can you please explain?”

“Say tomorrow you wish to share this experience with someone. How would you describe it?”

“Well, I would say I was relaxing in my den and of a sudden God spoke to me and we had an enlightening discussion.”

“And how might you think a friend might react to that statement? Perhaps he might ask, ‘You heard voices in your head!’ And you might perceive that not only was he questioning your assertion but perhaps questioning your sanity.”

I paused to take all this in. It didn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion that it was a fair statement.

I sighed. “You are right, I suppose. They will think that I was merely talking to myself and didn’t have the awareness to understand that I was not talking to myself but talking to you.”

“But therein of course lies the dilemma.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, how can anyone maintain that when you were talking to yourself, you were not talking to me?”

I laughed at this seemingly absurd statement. “You are surely jesting! If I am talking to myself, how can I be talking to you?”

“It is a question that has been asked before. The American philosopher, Raymond Smullyan summarised the answer nicely. Here are his suggested options:

  • You and I are identical;
  • Alternatively it may be that you are part of me, in which case you may be talking to that part of me which is you;
  • Or I might be part of you, in which case you may be talking to that part of you which is me;
  • Or again, you and I might partially overlap, in which case you may be talking to the intersection and hence talking both to you and to me.

In fact the only way you could be talking to yourself and not to me would be if you and I were totally separate. But even then you could possibly be talking to the both of us! To put it more bluntly, the only way you can talk to yourself and not to me at the same time is if, in fact, I don’t exist.”

It was a deep and intriguing quandary. Was I a part of God? Was God a part of me? I sipped slowly and greatly savoured the last few drops in my glass. I was contemplating this quandary and what question I might ask to clarify it more for me.

The next thing I knew my wife was shaking my shoulder. She placed a steaming hot cup of coffee on the side table by my reclining chair.

“I brought you some coffee. Sorry to wake you. I hadn’t realised that you must have dozed off.”

I squeezed her hand. “Thank you,” I said. I was about to say something else and then thought better of it.

4 Replies to “My Revelation”

  1. Boy oh boy has really given me food for thought.
    My version. We are all complex creatures with the capacity to love one another in a Godlike way. The fear of offending “God” I think is really a fear of offending ourselves because humans are mostly quite egotistical. We find it easier to blame a God than to take take responsibility for our own lack of kindness and understanding. I am sure with positive thinking and love we can all find our way. Probably a good idea not to let your Doctor know about the “voice” if you no what I mean.

  2. Wow Ted!!! What an experience….. what sort of whisky was it? I’ve gotta get some. Curry, Mozart and whisky, definitely seems to be important here. Do you think Sunday night was important as well? I think for the benefit of everyone we should not consume anything on Sunday evenings except curry, Mozart and whisky … while we doze. Was there any particular dozing position, for example was your head touched to the desk top when your wife woke you? I doubt even all this might be enough though. Clearly you are one of God’s chosen few Ted. To be truly deserved of God’s attention we now must model our lives around yours. We should jog each morning, meditate daily and never ever drink cask wine. Even with all this I doubt many of us will ever obtain the same level of favour with God. For this reason I think it wise that we don’t attempt to talk directly with God but talk to Ted who clearly has God’s ear. Over the centuries we Tedists, God’s chosen people, will surely create the world that God wants.

  3. Thanks for a great article Ted about your “revelation”. Very much my kind of God! Reminds me a bit of the concept of God in process theology.

  4. My thanks to you all for your responses.

    Thanks for your advice, Cheryl. No I don’t think I will talk to my doctor about the “voices” in my head.

    And Greg, as usual you have grasped the essence of the message. But let me tell you if you promote a sect of “Tedists” I will never share another glass with you!

    How wonderful to hear from you Martin! Your observation is very perceptive. Raymond Smullyan, who I referenced, is a Taoist. Taoism is the ultimate process theology.It is my fervent hope that all my readers might be reconciled with Tao!

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