An atheist speaks out.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

from The God Whispers of Han Qing-jao

excerpt from Orson Scott Card's "Children of the Mind" :

"Do the gods of different nations
talk to each other?
Do the gods of Chinese cities
speak to the ancestors of the Japanese?
To the lords of Xibalba?
To Allah? Yahweh? Vishnu?
Is there some annual get-together
where they compare each other's worshippers?
Mine will bow their faces to the floor
and trace woodgrain lines for me, says one.
Mine will sacrifice animals, says another.
Mine will kill anyone who insults me, says a third.
Here is the question I think of most often:
Are there any who can honestly boast,
My worshippers obey my good laws,
and treat each other kindly,
and live simple generous lives?"

I think this passage is extremely insightful. First of all, I think it is interesting to think of a bunch of gods existing at the same time. It seems that in real life everyone believes that the only god that exists is the one they believe in. It would make me much happier if everyone believed that no matter which god they worshipped, there were many other gods in the world. That there were other gods that could perform miracles, that could be turned to in times of great desperation. This would make the relations between the religions much more interesting, if not peaceful.

Besides this, I like it because it is basically saying of every religion that there is no one who follow the teachings faithfully and are genuinely good people, who are king and generous to others. Of course their are good people, but probably none that meet the standards of organized religions. Some people consider that being religious = being good. That is certainly not always the case, perhaps never.