Godawful Communication and Divine Boners

Steve Cuno

God, if you’re reading this, a word of advice: Hire an editor.

By now even you must be aware that most of the time your followers haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. I wish I had a full collection plate for every time I have heard the likes of “… and then I realized I’d misunderstood what God was trying to tell me. What he really meant was … .”

Not long ago, I spoke with a woman who returned to her abusive husband after you showed her a vision of the two of them walking hand-in-hand in heaven. You took some risk, sending a vision in the wee hours like that. A cynic might have dismissed it as a hypnagogic hallucination. Lucky for you—or maybe it wasn’t luck, since you’re omniscient and all—she took it at face value and returned to her husband. It didn’t end well. “I thought God was telling me we were meant to be together,” she explained, “but now I see he was only telling me that heaven is real.” I understand her confusion. Had I been in your sandals, I would have appeared to her in person and said, “Heaven is real. And for god’s sake don’t go back to that SOB husband of yours.” But then, my ways aren’t all that mysterious. That’s why you’re God and I’m not.

Why the devout continue putting up with a god who never flat-out says what he means is beyond me. Surely “ability to make yourself understood the first time” appears somewhere in the most recent edition of The Omnipotent Being’s Book of Powers. There’s little point to prophecies if no one can figure out what they mean in time to do anyone any good.

To be fair, sometimes a little lack of clarity is harmless. It’s no big deal when someone thinks you’re saying “the car keys are under the couch cushion” when what you’re really saying is “you’ll find the keys sooner or later, but right now I’m sending you to the cushion because the missing jigsaw puzzle piece you’ve been obsessing about is there.” But for something big, like, say, telling the world how to recognize the messiah, you might have told Isaiah to write down something just a tad less ambiguous. You have to admit, it takes some doing to wring Jesus out of “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” That sentence could as easily be an ode to a cow or pig that, prior to the development of synthetic insulin, gave its pancreas so that diabetics might live. Meanwhile, congratulations. Your nebulous prose accounts for a good deal of war and genocide.

Or take “This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” The poor naïfs standing around probably thought Jesus was talking about things that would happen in their lifetime. After the last of them croaked, apologists realized that what Jesus meant by “this generation” was “definitely not this generation.” It seems so obvious now. Still, with better attention to words on your part, more believers might give a damn about climate change and fewer innocents might flock to doomsday cults.

Speaking of divine boners, you really pulled one in the person of Donald Trump. I have it on good authority that it was none other than you who plopped him smack dab in the middle of the Oval Office. That’s a little surprising, because I also have it on good authority that it was none other than you who advocated severe punishment for liars and adulterers. Only in hindsight is it clear that when you said “thou shalt not commit adultery” and “thou shalt not lie” you assumed that “unless you want to be president” was implicit.

And let’s not overlook that whole Number of the Beast thing. It shows up everywhere, and not just when someone counts past 665. Some of your fans tell me that three sixes adorn the inside of the pope’s hat. Others tell me that 666 referred first to Social Security numbers, then to credit card account numbers, and then to bar codes, and now it refers to ID chips. I’m told you even put 666 in the Monster Energy drink logo. I was in a burger restaurant the other day when my order number came up 666. I feared I would burst into flame.

Far be it from me to tell God how to god, but it seems to me that you could spare the world a good deal of mayhem if you learned to be a more effective speaker and writer. Pardon the sales pitch, but if you’re interested in retaining me to help out, by all means send me a letter of intent. Let’s hope I won’t need millennia of hindsight and an army of apologists to decipher it.

Steve Cuno

A veteran marketing writer, Steve Cuno has authored three books and written articles for Skeptical Inquirer, BookBusiness, Deliver, and other periodicals. In his spare time, Steve enjoys playing his piano and forcing people to look at photos of his grandchildren.