Today I hit my hand on a lamppost.
A banal and innocuous event and I’m glad to say that my finger quickly felt a lot better as soon as I stopped thinking about it.
As it happens I was talking with a classmate who believes passionately in God. As it happens, I was pulling his leg for something completely unrelated to religion and as it happens, as I hit my hand he retorted “Ah, that’s God punishing you for being such an idiot.”
I could not resist the temptation to strike back with chaos.
He looked puzzled.
“OK, fine, so it was a divine punishment, but by whom? Zeus?”
“Dude, you know I’m a Christian who -”
“No, it must have been Thor, the God of lightning who moved my hand into a post of electrical dark magic. Although it could have also been Shiva, the destructor, who wished to inflict pain unto my pinky.”
“God has a plan for you, Adrian, so it must have been God.”
“There are many Gods you could believe in. What makes you think it was yours who was looking at me, a heathen, at this particular moment and judged that the punishment for teasing you for your football club was to strike my pinky with a lamppost?”
“OK, fine, it was all of them.”
“Hm, no, rather, the punishment was to strike the lamppost with my pinky. Has the lamppost been immoral?”
“Lampposts are inanimate objects.”
“Apparently not immune to divine punishment. You know what? OK, fine, God, your God, the Christian God, the father of Jesus of Nazareth, looked at me teasing you for your football club and decided that he would punish me, and assuming he thinks like you do that atheists are fools, then for my heathenness as well. He looked at the opportunities around him. He could have steered my path into a traffic collision. He could have dropped a 10-pound flower pot onto my head. He could have even interfered with meteorology to strike me with lightning, hail, blizzards or fish. But no, he sees a lamppost and my pinky and says ‘Hupa, Hupa, Hupa PinkyLamppost’. It didn’t even hurt. He didn’t even leave a couple of wires to electrocute me to death – that would have been admirably subtle”
“God exists whether you don’t believe in him or not.”
“If God’s plan to punish me for a banal terrestrial matter really was to strike a lamppost with my pinky ever so lightly then I contend to you that God is an incoherent, disorganised slacker and a complete idiot.”
We spent the rest of the walk home arguing about football.