Here’s a thought experiment. Try it on.
What if God came to you one day.
And God said, “I don’t like you.”
God goes on, “It’s just one of those things. It’s not personal, it’s not something you did, or didn’t do. There’s no reason for it. Sometimes these things just happen. I just don’t like you. I know the books say I’m ‘love’ and I’m supposed to love everyone, and that’s mostly true, maybe for everyone else. But not you. I draw the line. I don’t like you. I’m God, and I can do that. I don’t have to justify or explain. It is what it is.”
“So here’s the deal,” God continues, “your life will be meaningless and worthless. Nothing you ever do will matter. No one will ever care about you. Your existence will be pointless and meaningless. It will be that way every single day, every single moment. You can kill yourself tomorrow, or you can live a long time, I don’t care. You can rob liquor stores, or build cathedrals, or go to church every day, it won’t make a difference. You won’t make a difference to anyone or anything, you’ll have no accomplishments, no family, no legacy. Eventually, you’ll die, and I’ll be rid of you. But I really don’t care. That’s the way it is because I don’t like you.”
“This is not some kind of ‘Job’ deal. There’s no redemption or validation if you worship me no matter what. It’s not a test. Forget about that. I just don’t like you. It’s not anything more complicated than that.”
“But I feel a little bad about this, so here’s what I’m going to do. I am going to allow you the choice, or the opportunity, to make a positive difference in someone’s life. I’m not going to allow it to be a big difference, you don’t get to change anyone’s life. But something modest, like maybe if someone’s mildly hungry, you give them a ham sandwich, something like that. It doesn’t change them, doesn’t transform them, it won’t really matter very much to them, and they won’t even know it’s you, or if they do, I’ll guarantee that they don’t remember you. it’s just a small positive thing. That’s all.”
“Your whole life will be meaningless, and you’ll live it knowing that I really don’t like you, but I’ll allow you this small sliver, if you want it.”
“It’s not a test. I’m not fooling with you. If you do it, nothing happens. You don’t get forgiven, you don’t get a prize, the pearly gates don’t open up, no Hallelujah. You do it, someone’s life is a tiny bit better, nothing else happens. You absolutely will not be rewarded, will not benefit in any way. You don’t do it, no punishment, no judgment, person goes on with their life, nothing else happens. You absolutely will not suffer for it. There’s no consequence for you, either way. No matter what, your life remains meaningless.”
“Totally up to you. Your choice.”
And God leaves. You’re shaking like a leaf from the encounter. This was God after all. You know, deep down, this is Truth.
So what do you do?
Now, no dodging. You don’t get to say you’re an Atheist, so God doesn’t exist, and this couldn’t happen so the question is meaningless. Nope, you gotta deal with the question.
And you don’t get to say ‘God wouldn’t do that!’ You don’t get to say ‘god loves everyone!’ Technically, every holy book and faith demonstrates that God, or any God, plays favourites. But we’re not getting into that argument. We’re not doing that theology. This is a thought experiment, this is the premise. Deal with it. Don’t run from it. Face it head on. God comes to you, and screw whatever you believe, this is what God says to you, and no matter what you believe, you know those words are true.
So what do you do?
Do you kill yourself?
Do you run amok, robbing liquor stores, shooting people in the head, doing drugs, getting drunk, indulging rape, murder, arson, spitting on sidewalks. Because it’s all meaningless, and you can do anything to anyone, and it will neither hurt nor help you?
Do you live a good life, knowing its worthless and meaningless?
Do you just wait it out, in a gray void of existence?
What about that one little sliver? Do you make that choice, to make a small difference for someone who will never know and never care? Or do you say screw it – why bother?
What would you do?