Christopher Hitchens famously called God a “celestial dictator”. I’m sure I’ve done it myself, too.
But actually, when you look around at the world, it’s quite clear that God is not a dictator. At least, not anymore. The Bible has a lot of dictatorial stuff in it, but that era seems to have passed.
These days God seems to be, well, on vacation.
Nowhere is God asserting his authority today. Nowhere is he stepping in to enforce his plans. In fact, we’ve been living through the longest, most arduous version of Home Alone ever. God has gone on vacation and we are left fending off not only burglars, but rapists, murderers, diseases, and natural disasters.
And we’re actually getting quite good at it. Health is improving around the world. Crime rates are at historical lows in many countries. We’re actually getting on quite well without God.
Of course, some people claim to be in touch with God, but this communication seems full of static and distortion, like a really bad quality phone call. No one can seem to agree what it is, exactly, that God is shouting down the line from his heavenly beach-side villa.
Instead, it seems we have to resort to the to-do list he left on the fridge some two thousand years or so ago, and try to figure out how it applies to today’s world.
Perhaps – and this is a long shot – perhaps we can recognize God for the terrible parent he is, and cut ties with him?
Even better, perhaps we could realize that he never existed to begin with, and that we need to take full responsibility for ourselves.