A Letter to Yahweh

Dear God,

It’s me, Seán. I’m sure you’re crazy busy with all the planets and maybe even some parallel universes you’ve created and must look after. Remember me? I was born in Cork, Ireland but now I’m living in northern California where the wildfires are currently raging.

I just finished reading the book you wrote, you know the one called, “The Bible”. It’s a great book, lots of miracles an’ stuff, but kinda scary at the same time. Luckily, I’m one of the fortunate ones, ‘cos I was born a Roman Catholic and I know that you told the pope to warn everybody that, “extra ecclesiam nulla est salus.” I’m kinda sad that the Jews blew it. I know that you originally chose them but they continually tested your patience and when, finally, they rejected your only-begotten son, Jesus, you’d had it with them. Lucky for us Christians!

Is it OK if I ask you a few questions? You seem kinda moody – do you sometimes go off your ‘happy pills’? Instead of throwing Adam and Eve outta the garden, couldn’t you have done some family therapy, or put them on Ritalin?

When I read about the flood and the ark and the animals an’ all, I’m like, “Wow! Way to go!” But did you have to save mosquitoes and snakes? Wasn’t that asking for trouble?

The stories about Abraham were totally cool, too. He must have been a camel-whisperer ‘cos nobody else was able to ride them for nearly 1,000 years after him. Do you remember if he rode bareback?

And then there was Moses’ mother floating him off down the Nile. Was she crazy, putting a baby in a straw basket in that crocodile-infested river? Probably she was imitating Sargon the Great’s mum, but, far as I know, there weren’t any alligators in the Tigris or Euphrates. How d’ya do the ‘burning bush’ thing? Was it an optical illusion or were you growing the branches back as quickly as you were burning them off? Left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing kinda thing?

I felt kinda sad when I read about the angel of death killing all the Egyptian first-born’s – being as how I’m a first-born myself. But then I remembered that you even killed your own  first-born. I know it’s hard to watch your own child die. I remember what my parents went through when my sister, Eithne, died of a brain aneurysm.

And the 40 years in the desert were amazing; you gave two million people manna and quail and water and 613 laws while, at the same time, keeping 200 billion galaxies spinning and orbiting! Did you practice juggling as a child? Wait a minute! Were you ever a child? No?! What does it feel like to have no beginning? For one thing, you never got to celebrate a birthday. Bummer dude! (Sorry, is OK to say ‘bummer dude’ to God?)

I sometimes feel sorry for the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites who got in the way of the Israelites but then, from what I read in your book, it seemed like they were an immoral lot and needed to go. Did you know they were going to turn out badly when you created them? Or were you surprised and disappointed? I suppose it must have been their mothers’ fault.

It’s cool how you stopped the sun and the moon for almost a full day so that Joshua could finish slaughtering the Amorites before it got too dark; and you must have been grinning from ear to ear when you reminded him that you  had killed more Amorites with hailstones, as they were trying to escape, than he’d killed with the sword! I bet that put him  in his place. Didn’t you do the same thing in Egypt, a few years before, to the people and cattle, and call it a ‘plague’? Must be one of your favorite party tricks, huh?

I love the story you told about David and Goliath. I remember once throwing a stone at another kid – a nemesis of mine – but I was only five years old and missed my target. Instead, I broke the front window of his house. Then, I ran home in terror and hid in the ‘coal hole’ under the stairs of my grandparents’ house, waiting for the knock on the front door. It was the longest 45 seconds of my life. I’m lucky I don’t have PTSD from that one!

And then there was Solomon – the wisest man who ever lived; with his 300 wives and 700 concubines; or was it 700 wives and 300 concubines? What’s a concubine? It’s sad that the Israelites got murdered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians for not following your laws but it was masterful the way you used other gods to punish your own people and then persuaded still other gods to kill the other gods that you’d used to punish your own people for ignoring what you told them about not following other gods.

I didn’t find the New Testament as interesting. Apart from some good stories that Jesus told, and his miracles, not a lot happened. And it’s a pity that he had to die in the end. I wish you’d said more about the resurrection – that piece was really cool. But, honestly, I found the letters – Paul and Peter and Jude etc. – a bit boring. I wish you’d had a better editor.

Are you planning on writing another book? Will it be available on Kindle? Or just on stone tablets like the one you wrote the ten commandments on? Could you include a few pictures this time?

I love you; please don’t forget to take your meds!

Yours Truly,

Seán ÓLaoire

There is a euphemism often used in the Judeo-Christian world to refer to certain parts of the bible. The phrase is, “the difficult passages.” If the chief protagonist were anybody else except God, he’d be immediately branded as a genocidal psychopath. But God-fearing Bible believers can’t go there. Instead, they attempt to dodge the issues by claims such as, “He is God, who are we to judge his behavior?” or “God has his reasons, we just don’t understand them” or we succumb to the Stockholm Syndrome whereby prisoners who are being held captive and brutalized by a captor begin to psychologically agree with his rants and viewpoints in order to survive the ordeal.

In any case, God is given a pass by those who believe in him while, for atheists, these passages are the final proof God is simply the ‘opium of the masses.’

As a Catholic of 75 years and an ordained priest of 49 years, I’ve taken a very different tack. And that was my purpose in writing this book which I’ve titled, Setting God Free: Moving Beyond the Caricature We’ve Created in Our Own Image.