a short story about religious fanatics, physics, and the future of the Universe
Throughout the history of time there has been the God Problem. There are several of Them, all with followers, fanatics, myths and traditions. The problem rests in the fact that most of them claim to be, The One, The Creator, All Powerful, Immortal, and Indivisible.
Now this presents a problem for the Universe. There can not be more than one One or else there would be no One. They can not all be The One, it just does not work well that way.
The Universe has always known better but Men have had a problem with this. They believe. It helps to make sense of their lives. They have often gone to war to prove that their One was better than someone else’s One. Actually the history of Mankind is largely made up of a series of these theological disagreements. As a result quite a few people have been shot, hung, burned at the stake or nailed to crosses.
If only these Gods could get together and work it out for themselves, a summit of sorts. It would be tough to pull off. Especially considering that they are not prone to making public appearances. Still, for the good of mankind, for the prevention of a nuclear-tipped response to a theological slight, they considered it.
The Universe made the arrangements.
They came together in a large hall, grandly appointed and sufficiently Holy. The vast room was swirling with activity. There were angels, demi-gods, lesser gods, and holy spirits of all persuasions, in every corner. Television anchors and talk show hosts were on hand for the occasion looking for the scoop to end all scoops. Most Men stayed in the background, jockeying for position, hoping to be on the right side in the end. The bookmakers in Vegas made God a 3 to 1 favorite. Odin, the Norse All Father, was the long shot at 50 to 1.
In the center of the madness was an immense redwood table, polished to a perfect shine. It reflected the auras of the gods and that light filled the deep reaches of the hall. Seated at the table were the gods: God, Allah, Zeus, and Odin.
Also seated at the table were the wise men: Socrates, Confucius, and Buddha. These teachers had been appointed to represent Mankind at this summit and to moderate the proceedings.
A hush fell over the room.
Socrates rose to his feet at quietly tapped a gavel on the table. “We are here to seek the truth,” he began. “To aid mankind in discovering whom among you great and all powerful gods is the One. We seek to end the confusion of the Human spirit and soul.” He gestured to his comrades as they too rose, “We are but mere mortals, and we are too ignorant to judge. We humbly call upon you great and ultimate personages to show us the way.
As the wise men sat down, the gods, shimmering in their brilliance, waited.
They glared at each other.
They silently dared each other to make the first move.
A silence fell over the hall unlike any silence ever heard on the earth or in the heavens. The oceans grew still. The winds fell silent.
The Universe was tense.
God rose from his chair. He stood with the patience that only Immortals can have. The others grew more alert, ready to pounce on his first mistake. “I must not allow the others to get the upper hand,” he thought. “Conciliation and compromise are not the ways of the One.”
He waited for what he deemed to be the proper length of silence. Then he spoke.
“I am the one true God,” he said in a deep thundering voice. “I created the Universe, the heavens, and the earth. I created the sun, the moon and the stars. I created all the living things to populate the galaxies. I created Man in my own image. And furthermore,” he paused to make sure he had the attention of all in the room.
“And furthermore, it only took me six days to do it all.”
There was a great commotion.
“Blasphemy!” Allah cried.
“Liar!” bellowed Odin, as he drew his sword.
“I am the All Powerful One!” roared Zeus, as he shattered the great table with his thunderbolt.
A great battle ensued. Lightning bolts flew. Heaven and earth shook. The wise men fearing the loss of truth, wisdom, and beauty, fled the room.
Minor gods swarmed into the melee from their seats around the edges of the hall. A terrible noise was heard as Thor’s hammer crashed down on Poseidon’s trident. Satan and Michael, allied for the moment, flew into the fray, trumpets blaring.
The Ayatollah Khomeini, believing himself to be immortal, rushed into the hall. Firing his machine gun wildly, he yelled, “Death to the great Satans!” He was immediately reduced to vapor by one of God’s lightning bolts but not before his first bullet struck down Allah.
Chaos reigned. The Universe shook.
Einstein looked up from his desk as the immortals were ripping the hall to shreds. He shook his head as if to clear it. He saw the molecules dancing in front of his tired old eyes. He noticed the charm and strangeness of the quarks, the beauty of their dance. He remembered that e=mc². Then, in an instant, the gods, like drops of water falling into a fire, vanished from his mind.
Order was restored.
Peace and beauty returned to the world.
The Universe smiled.