- Religion and Philosophy»
- Exploring Religious Options
The man who couldn't afford a God
Once upon a time there was a man who was so poor he couldn’t even afford a God. That bothered him, because he was very rich, and everybody else apparently had one. He went to churches, synagogues, mosques and even a few cults to find this God, which apparently wasn’t available in the supermarkets, even the upmarket type.
The problem, he eventually realized, was that he couldn’t afford to believe in something bigger than himself, or beyond his understanding. That was mentally too expensive. It altered his own status, which was his form of self recognition, and he couldn’t afford to part with that.
He decided he was an atheist, until he discovered he couldn’t understand atheism, which was too complex and too simple. How could he base a belief on not believing in something? He’d studied business, not philosophy. So, not being qualified, obviously he couldn’t understand either atheism or religion.
Eventually his business sense came to his rescue. He’d make his own God, and start his own ideology. He started with a God which was well disposed to fat, graying rich people who didn’t do a lot of thinking. This God just expected people to live in a nice house and go to work and make money. Not, perhaps, the most ambitious God, but certainly a reliable one.
This idea was going well until he remembered there was that thing called the soul. He wasn’t sure what it was, but since he was supposed to have one, he decided that his God would reward a soul which lived in a house and went to work and made money. This, he thought, was real consistency, unlike those other Gods with their rather wordy, vague approach to things.
He set up an altar in his office and in his home, where he burnt money, the only thing he knew for sure to be of value. Then, being quite converted to his own religion, he built one in a private alcove in his office. The amount of money, he realized, equated to the value of his beliefs according to his God.
One day, feeling particularly religious, he brought in a very large amount of cash, some firelighters, ten whole boxes, and piously burned the money. He also burned down the building, himself, and died.
In the after life, he heard a voice calling to him. He headed toward the voice, and saw a man walking towards him. As the man got closer, he saw it was himself.
“Great!” thought the man. “If I’m God, I’ve got the whole thing solved!”
The man, himself, came closer. He stood in front of him, and said,