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God Is Not Dead (But He's Coughing Up Blood)
God Is Not Dead (But He's Coughing Up Blood)

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "God is dead." I, however, believe that he was wrong. God, that is, the Judeo-Christian God, is still very much alive and should not yet be relegated to the graveyard of dead deities to rest with the likes of Odin, Mithra, or Zeus. Those gods died out years ago when there was nobody left to worship them, or else they stopped being worshiped for whatever reason. But in American society at least, God is still alive and well, though perhaps not as strong as he was 150 years ago or so. But his days are getting shorter.

Yes, God remains an important part of conservative Republican America. Megachurches are all over the country. He still has his name on our currency and in the Pledge of Allegiance. Christian holidays are widely celebrated. And it's not hard to find one of his houses of worship, even on a short drive. God is particularly alive in the South and the rest of the Bible Belt. And overall, the United States is one of the most religious countries in the world.

Yet, the number of God's followers is falling. Most of Europe's population is atheist, and those who do cling to religion are numbering fewer and fewer every year. In the United States, the number of atheists has shown a steady increase over the past 10 years or so to roughly 15-20% of the population. And while the number of Christians remain a large part of the population, the actual number of fundamentalist Christians, that is, the hardcore Christians, is dropping. Catholicism, on the other hand, is on the rise, probably due to the many Hispanic immigrants in our country.

If you ask Christians, they will tell you that this country is becoming more and more Godless every day. Abortion is still legal, people are still having sex, evolutionary theory has pushed creationism out of the classroom, gay marriage is a reality in some states, pornography is everywhere, and (they claim) TV programming is totally immoral and getting worse every day, not to mention the filth you see in movies. And don't forget that it all started when they took forced prayer out of public schools.

So if God couldn't prevent his followers forcing school children to pray every day and is unable to stop all the other societal ills from which we suffer, does that mean he is no longer omnipotent? For a god that can do anything, he sure seems to be unable to turn the tide of immorality that Christians claim is sweeping the country. Perhaps God is sick, suffering from some cosmic illness which is affecting his omnipotence. That might explain why we have all these problems in our country. For a country that has a majority Christian population, it's hard to believe that so many bad things would be happening to a country of the righteous since they're such fine, upstanding, God-fearing people.

But for all the prayer time that the believers must be putting in, things don't seem to be getting better. I often see a sign along the highway that says "Pray To End Abortion," yet they don't seem to be any closer to their goal. I distinctly remember seeing a documentary a few years ago in which a smug Christian claimed that with the majority Christians have in this country, they can choose who the next president will be. And just in 2008, America elected a Muslim to the office of President rather than a Christian white guy with Fundamentalist Barbie, that is Sarah Palin, as his running mate. Even though this Muslim president is really a Christian and swore his oath on a bible, and had a Christian preacher by the name of Rick Warren give the invocation at his inaguration, he's still not as Christian as the guy who lost. He's pro-abortion rights and isn't as anti-gay marriage and other things God's Own Party doesn't like. So for some reason God couldn't even get the guy he wanted as president in office.

But has God always been powerful? If you read the Old Testament, God was pretty much the hairy thunderer a lot of his followers like to claim he still is today. He smote people left & right for whatever reason, and then had his own earthly armies totally destroy other civilizations because they were all wicked. And he even destroyed cities himself by making fire fall from the sky. Yet, he seems totally incapable of doing any of that today. In fact, as far back as the New Testament he seems to have lost his ability to smite people. In the Old Testament threats of God-smiting were enough to keep people in line, however today it seems like the same threats of "God will strike you down" seem pretty hollow. I've never seen anyone be struck by lightning for committing blasphemy. I'm pretty sure nobody else living today has, either. Maybe when God knocked up his virgin baby mama and had a kid he realized he had to mellow out a bit. But even then he was powerless to keep people from killing his own son.

Yes, I know, it was all part of God's plan to have his own son "sacrificed" (not much of a sacrifice when you just come back to life three days later) so that he could redeem mankind for their sins. But wait a minute, it was sins against himself that he was sacrificing himself to save mankind from himself. Was he too powerless to just say, "OK, you know what? I forgive each & every one of you. No need to kill my son over this." Yet that never happened, so he was either powerless to prevent it or he was going insane.

But let's back up a minute. Even in the Old Testament God did not seem to be all powerful. In Judges 1:19 God couldn't drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron. So while he and his followers were smiting other people, apparently iron chariots are kryptonite to God.

These days, we drive automobiles made largely of steel, which is a derivative of iron. Perhaps that's the problem God is having trying to clean up society? It sort of makes sense, since people drive cars to the abortion clinics, pornography (the old kind, magazines and videos, remember them?) is delivered on trucks, and people sometimes have sex in cars. It must be these iron chariots which are thwarting all of God's plans.

Or could God have been sick all the way back to the beginning of time? If we were created from his design, it would seem that we all suffer a lot of design flaws, such as an appendix that doesn't really do anything, an airway that uses the same passages that we use to ingest food and can be blocked by that food causing our death, and blind spots in our eye where the optic nerve attaches to the retina to name a few. And we're not the only animals that were designed poorly. God must have really been having a bad day when he created the platypus.

And don't forget the disordered order of the six days of creation. Daylight was invented prior to the sun, and the plants were invented before the sun was, so that photosynthesis couldn't take place. Well, I guess except for the daylight which already existed. And then God created all the animals and then Adam, no, he created Adam first and then all the animals to find him a "helpmeet," or I guess it depends on which creation story you want to believe. That's another problem: God couldn't even write down the order he created things the same way twice.

Even now, as I stated earlier that the number of real hardcore, fundamentalist Christians is falling. Since they are the real True Christians, they are God's life support system. But it would appear they are on the fringe and are not the mainstream of society. Mainstream Christianity seems to have an apathetic attitude toward what the Religious Right hold dear. It's a cancer that's spread all through the body of God, and the fractured ideas of his followers are not going to heal together any time soon. Issues like abortion and gay marriage seem to be keeping liberal and conservative Christians apart. And it's the vast majority of mainstream Christians who are more tolerant and accepting of those with different viewpoints, even atheism.

God is still fighting with other gods for superiority. Allah is gaining ground on him and with higher birth rates of Muslims compared to Christians, he might have an advantage in the future, though God still remains pretty strong in Central and South America. But while God still has the larger following, he still has problems trying to enforce his "no other gods before me" policy. 2/3 of the world's population keeps ignoring it.

So, even if God is still hanging on, it's hard to say what another 50 or 100 years will bring. I'm sure he'll still be around even if his followers have dwindled to a fraction of what they are today. I have noticed personally that fewer and fewer young adults attend church services these days, and this is reflected in polls which show that 18-20 year olds are the least religious of the American population. This will probably result in a major blow to God's health in a generation or two, as fewer religious people feel the need to instill Christianity in their children. As the older church members head to their eternal reward, the churches will get emptier and emptier, and God will get sicker and sicker.

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