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Transcript Of My Conversations With God - 2
(Goodies and Baddies)
It had been a busy day and I was walking one late evening, to relax and wind down for the evening. I was near the Goulburn river as it flowed under a bridge. There was no one else around and I had walked a fair distance. I decided to sit down at the edge of the river, my seat dry and my feet wet - sandals off and toes dipped in the cool waters. It felt good after the hot day in a long spell of hot, scorching days. I leaned back against the sloped bank, closed my eyes, only listening to the sound of a slow moving river, traffic, near and distant birds.
I was going over the day, just past, in my mind. It was an average day - some good and some bad. I gave thanks to God for the good, but the thought of an injustice and unspeakable cruelty that I had heard on the news came to mind and I felt upset. I decided to give some credit for that as well to God.
"God, I wish I could speak to you right now and ask you a few straight and pointed questions," I said, probably aloud.
"Go ahead, son. Ask away," I heard the calm deep voice of a man.
I opened my eyes and there stood before me, an old man, who looked a lot like my father.
I was a bit surprised to see and hear this man when I had not noticed or heard anyone moving around. It also occurred to me, this old man was standing in the water, right in front of me. Instinctively, I looked at his feet and there they were comfortably resting on the top of the water and yet he seemed steady and still. I realised who it was. It must have seemed a strange sight to any passerby, if they chose to look carefully. Those that did drive by on the highway did not seem to look that intently.
"OK, God, would you like to sit down? It might be a few minutes and you might be tired too, like me at the end of the day," I said, motioning to my side.
"It's OK, Thanks for the thought, but I will remain standing. For me the day never ends - it is always day somewhere in the world, you see. I will be fine," he said with a smile. I could see the humour in that - he has had one long, long busy day that lasts billions of years and he is still not tired. I did realise the contrast between us.
"I want to tell you about this thing I heard today.."I started,"But I suppose you already know what I am thinking about, don't you?" I felt a bit disconcerted with this omniscient person standing in front of me.
"Yes, I do know what you are talking about. But go ahead and ask your questions."
If he were not God, I reckoned I would have felt a bit annoyed at such a know-it-all! And as if to make a point, he smiled at my thought. He could read that thought as well.
"I know, the last time we spoke, you mentioned how powerless you are to do anything. But don't you want to help correct such gross injustice? Don't you want to do anything about it? They say in so many scriptures that you are on the side of the good and against evil. Tell me upfront, straight, are you on the side of good or not?"
"Yes, I am."
"Does it not upset you? or grieve you to see innocents suffer and the bad ones thrive?"
"Sure, it does."
"Then why don't you prevent or do something about evil?" I really wanted to know.
"That is because I cannot, not without disturbing the stability of the universe. So I choose not to intervene directly to correct anything an evil human does."
"What?!!! The stability of the Universe ?!!! What does that have to do with it? I am not asking you to change and fix everything, Can you not atleast perform one simple, single act to correct an injustice, directly, just ONCE and leave everything else unchanged?" I asked, surprised. Suddenly, it occurred to me that perhaps this person was just great at making excuses and there was no way to check it out! My tone was definitely incredulous.
"Yes, absolutely. If I choose to make an exception to the laws of the universe to favour the 'good' as you see it, it will really not be good at all for the entire universe. Nothing will remain untouched. It will all be crazy and illogical and I am pretty sure you would not want it to be so. I definitely do not want it to be so."
I became quiet. I could believe what I heard. I did not want to say anything more. There seemed no point to argue this or anyone further to appeal to. My expression was certainly of one not satisfied or convinced.
A smile came upon God's face. He asked me quietly, "You want a logical explanation?"
"Yes, sure, why not? Atleast an explanation would help accept the situation," I muttered.
"OK. You remember your mathematics from high school?"
"Well, Do you think the rules of arithmetic are logical, sensible and should be valid?"
"Yes, of course!"
"Do you think that even I can make just exactly one single exception to the rules and leave all else unchanged? Suppose, for argument's sake, I just add one exception, violation or falsehood to the existing rules (truth) - say 1=2, and want nothing else to change, what do you think will happen?"
I pondered the questions. This was simple maths, but I was in front of God, and apparently this had some relevance to the whole state of affairs of the universe, including the human condition. I wanted to be careful. This seemed like the ultimate application of high school math. It started to get late, the sun set and the sky darkened. I had long walk back home. I tried to put those thoughts away and work things out.
"I know you need to get back home soon. You need to cook dinner and prepare to get your kids down for the night. You are hungry and tired too. I can explain quickly if you like," offered God.
"Sure." I could not resist a math lesson from the ultimate teacher, specially on this seemingly simple topic.
"Listen, if indeed 1= 2, then by adding one to each side, 2 = 3. You know that by the rules of arithmetic, right?"
"And again by the existing rules of arithmetic, if 1=2 and 2=3, then 1=3. Would that not be so?"
"So, we now have not just one violation in math, we have many: 1=2, 2=3 and 1=3. And so on, ad infinitum. I can prove that there will be an infinite number of untruths in the system. This holds for any universal law or truth of this universe. And even if I could make it so, I would not want to. Hence, I do not want to introduce even one exception to the universal laws of the universe and the way it works. Nothing is above truth, I would not want anything to be above truth in the universe. I am not above it. You humans infact even portray me as the ultimate truth. You surely would not want me to be any less, would you? Now do you understand?"
"Got it, God! Good one." I replied. I was thrilled, not with the math, but with an understanding of how the universe worked and how God worked.
I got up and said, "I need to head back now. But would you walk along with me for a little while? I have one more question for you today."
"Sure, go ahead." He fell into step alongside me.
"Why does it appear to me that Evil thrives better than Good in the world? Why do the Baddies seem to be doing well and better than the Goodies?"
"You have a point there. Your observation seems to be on the mark. I too have observed the same thing," said God. He paused for a moment and said rather humbly, "And I think I know why." He paused again, for effect, with a smile on his face.
I was really looking forward to the answer to this one. I had to stop and listen carefully.
God too stopped and looked me in the eye and said,"That is because somehow, the Baddies seem more motivated, better organised and put in more effort in their endeavours than the Goodies. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Goodies, maybe even in the majority. But even a small number of Baddies organise themselves and execute a lot better than the Goodies. Consider some political parties for example..."
"I got it!!" I exclaimed, interrupting God.
"OK, then, catch you later," He said and vanished.
I had a slow walk back home. It came to me in a flood, the realisation. Goodies just need to do better.