Sunday, October 12, 2003
- Interviewing Godand the search for truthIssue # 1583 - NDH - Sunday, October 12, 2003 - Editor: michaelIn this issue we daringly went in search of a Supreme Being in order to ask a few simple questions. Like, what is truth, why are we here, and what exactly is Red Dye Number 3?However, before we begin: http://www.reata.org/interview2.html
ApeSheet Interview: God By Steve Justice
APESHEET: Wow. Is this really God? I know a lot of people have said they talk to you all the time, but I don't know of anybody who has gotten a phone call before. So what's up God?
GOD: Not much really. I was watching the Die Hard trilogy with my buddy Gene Siskel, and he suggested I give you a call. I guess there's a bunch of crazy stuff going on in the world right now. I thought maybe I could help.
APESHEET: That's great. I guess you're talking about the latest so-called Holy War between the U.S. and the Taliban. So who is right? Is it the Christians, the Muslim extremists or one of those more peaceful religions like Buddhism?
GOD: To be honest, I'm kinda fuzzy on the details. I'm not really much for organized religion and all that jazz. I gave Moses the Ten Commandments and that's pretty much my whole philosophy. And I've been wavering on a few of those. After all, what does it really hurt to covet your neighbor's wife?
APESHEET: But as long as civilizations have existed people have been going around fighting wars and slaughtering each other in your name. Isn't anyone on the right track?
GOD: Like I said, think Ten Commandments baby. That's what it's all about. Thou shalt not kill. Duh.
APESHEET: OK. What about stealing? You know there's that old thing where people want to know if it's OK to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family. Would that be an exception?
GOD: Gee that's a tough one. I never thought about it that way. Stealing is bad. But I guess everybody has to eat. I'm gonna pass on this one.
APESHEET: But you're God. You're omnipotent and all that. C'mon. You know the answer to all these questions.
GOD: Well, maybe I do. But you people have got to figure some of this stuff out on your own. I created everything, man. Now the ball's in your court. Do something with it.God, Science, and Delusion
A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke
by Matt CherryArthur C. Clarke is known across the world for his books, television programs, and movies. Free Inquiry Deputy Editor Matt Cherry visited the science fiction author, who is a member of the International Academy of Humanism, in Sri Lanka, the beautiful tropical island that has been Clarke's home for nearly four decades. His house, in the capitol of Columbo, is filled with spectacular wall-sized NASA photos, reminiscent of some of the shots in his film2001: A Space Odyssey. In the personal study where he was interviewed, Clarke was surrounded by books and signed photos-ranging from actress Elizabeth Taylor to astronaut Buzz Aldrin-that reflect Clarke's prominent roles in the very different worlds of science and entertainment. He talked toFree Inquiry about mankind, morality, and religion.
FI: Our readers have some familiarity with your views and in particular your very strong emphasis on the use of science in understanding the natural world. But could you say something about your views on moral issues?
Clarke: One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion. So now people assume that religion and morality have a necessary connection. But the basis of morality is really very simple and doesn't require religion at all. It's this: "Don't do unto anybody else what you wouldn't like to be done to you." It seems to me that that's all there is to it.
The other issue is, why can't humans live up to this principle? Why is it that people can't act as human beings should? I'm appalled by what we all see on the news every day-massacres, atrocities, injustices, outrages of all kinds. When I see what's happening, I sometimes wonder if the human race deserves to survive.
FI: What are your thoughts regarding the future development of something else you've often written about - religion?
Clarke: Well, I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development. I think that religion may be some random by-product of mammalian reproduction. If that's true, would non-mammalian aliens have a religion? Anyway, that's one of the nice things about the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project; if it is successful, we could perhaps answer such questions one day. I've just seen Contact, by my late friend Carl Sagan. It's quite an impressive film that offers hints on this subject.
FI: If religion does indeed represent an immature stage of humanity, do you see any prospects for humanity growing up?
Clarke: Yes, there is the possibility that humankind can outgrown its infantile tendencies, as I suggested inChildhood's End. But it is amazing how childishly gullible humans are. There are, for example, so many different religions - each of them claiming to have the truth, each saying that their truths are clearly superior to the truths of others - how can someone possibly take any of them seriously? I mean, that's insane. And such insanity concerns me, especially now that waves of lunacy are washing over the United States and the world in the form of millennial cults. Time magazine recently reported on them. The crazy thing is, according to traditional Christian dogma, the real millennium was four years ago, for Jesus was supposedly born circa 5 B.C.E. - so it's already 2004! Apparently some millennial nuts are blithely ignoring their own dogma.
FI: Do you see any value at all in the various religions?
Clarke: Though I sometimes call myself a crypto-Buddhist, Buddhism is not a religion. Of those around at the moment, Islam is the only one that has any appeal to me. But, of course, Islam has been tainted by other influences. The Muslims are behaving like Christians, I'm afraid.
FI: What appeals to you in Islam?
Clarke: Historically, Islam had a great deal of tolerance for other views and offered the world its priceless wisdom in the form of astronomy and algebra. And, as you know, Islam helped rescue Western civilization from the Dark Ages by preserving classical texts and transmitting them to the West. We, on the other hand, burned the library at Alexandria. If Islam hadn't fallen into internecine warfare and had gone on to conquer the rest of Europe, we'd have avoided a thousand years of Christian barbarism.
FI: Your television series,The Mysterious World of Arthur C. Clarke, is still a classic. It appeals to the human yearning for mystery but also shows how to apply some scientific principles to get answers. Do you feel that the human yearning for unexplained mysteries will always be greater than the need for scientific explanation? That is, will people always reject scientific explanations if they can have an inspiring mystery or wonder?
Clarke: There does seem to be a tendency to do that. People get very exasperated when people like James Randi show how some trick is done or reveal the true, naturalistic explanation. They say, "No, the trick is really paranormal." How can you argue with people who want so badly to believe?
Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle had a friendly argument about that. Conan Doyle was convinced - and tried to convince Houdini - that Houdini did his tricks with supernatural powers. Somewhere I have my door key bent by Uri Geller. I don't rule out the possibility of all sorts of remarkable mental powers - there are even things like telekinesis and so forth. And I'm sure that there are many things we don't know about. But they've got to be examined skeptically before they're accepted.
An example is reincarnation, which everyone in Sri Lanka believes in. An American, Dr. Stevenson, has done a lot of papers on that, and has produced studies of about 50 cases that are hard to explain. But the problem with reincarnation is that it's hard to imagine what the storage medium for past lives would be. Not to mention the input-output device. I hesitate to rule it out completely, but I'd need pretty definite proof."Life as I see It" -
"The "God" Interview
Our Father interviewed by Randy Burns.
January 29, 2002. Somewhere near the beach."
"Hey, God!" I yelled, the moment I spotted him. I don't know what came over me, usually I'm cooler than that. "Over here!" I shouted again, waving, like he was obligated to notice me. God was bent over with his backside anchored to a big rock. He was trying to fix his broken sandal. He looked over once, after I yelled that second time. He did notice me, but his attention returned to the sandal. I assumed, as if I were him, that seeing one of his own creations would be nothing special. An artist gazing at a painting he'd finished years ago. A songwriter listening to one of his old songs. Most of the magic would be gone for him, I'm sure.
If he'd lost interest in this interview, pre-arranged somehow by Cardinal Blank, so be it. Maybe some time to himself was needed. Maybe when you're God, that luxury might be a pipe-dream. He'd promised me though, and I knew he'd keep his word. The Word Of God. (It doesn't get better than that).
So, here I am, a living writer, and he grants me an interview! Should've been a career breaker, right? Any questions were cool. However, he strictly banned pictures. I didn't find out about that until I tentatively sat down next to him. "And no written descriptions," he added. "If you try to take my picture I'll kill you."
Man, oh man, God talking tough, he meant it too. I didn't expect it. There was no way to prepare for such an unexpected statement. His general attitude and personality had a knowledge base unknown to mortals.
"You'd actually kill me if I tried to take your picture?"
"Like that," he shot back, snapping his fingers with the answer. This was an odd cat. Not an ordinary odd cat at all. This was God! A disgruntled, tired old man with an extremely bad attitude. His face was a cross between # *%WHACK **%, what the hell? God had given me a shot across the back of my head! That son of a bitch hurt me...
"I told you no descriptions!"
"Oh shit," I said, rubbing my head. "Sorry, I wasn't thinking."
"Well, you'd better start thinking soon."
Man, I just couldn't believe it. I wasn't afraid of him, not a bit. Disappointed and disgusted, yes, but the fear of him was gone.
Interview with Dr. Clifford A. Pickover
"A caveman might have been told by the tribal witch doctor that evil ancestral spirits will attack if the caveman leaves the cave at night. If the caveman is motivated by the search for truth, he may leave the cave at night, and get killed by a nocturnal carnivore. [...] Seeking truth does not always promote survival...."
What Brahma doesn't know
The moment Great Brahma's name was spoken, He appeared with all His glory. "I am the Great Brahma, the Creator, the Uncreated, the Knower of All, .....etc.....", Great Brhama spoke. Thrilled at the sight of Great Brahma, the monk asked his profound question, "Where does the four great elements cease without remainder?".
Great Brahma did not answer. Instead, he said, "I am the Great Brahma, the Creator, the Uncreated, the Knower of All, .....etc.....". The monk was a little frustrated, "Yes, Venerable One, I know you are the Great Brahma, but I came to ask you this quesn, Where does the four great elements cease without remainder?". Again, Great Brahma did not answer. Instead He said, "I am the Great Brahma, the Creator, the Uncreated, the Knower of All, .....etc....."
the complete piece is at: http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism/Stories/brahma.html
Interview: Jesus says, "I Quit!" - 04.12.2001
(TFC News) - Today at an emergency press conference held at 1:30 p.m. EST, Mr. Jesus Christ of Nazareth announced his intention to leave this planet and make a fresh start somewhere else. Citing burnout, fatigue and frustration, Jesus has decided that humans are pretty much a lost cause. It is believed by many that the continuing skirmishes between groups such as the Israelis and Palestinians brought an end to the Messiah's interests here on Earth. It was evident throughout the press conference that the Prince of Peace was at wits end. The divine being that has endured thousands of years of man's folly was bitter and churlish when responding to questions and eventually vanished without warning, signifying an end to the proceedings. Here are some excerpts from today's conference.
TFC - Lord, why hast thou forsaken us?
Jesus - Well smartass, go check the news on any given day and see how many wars and conflicts you can find that are based on religious intolerance. Northern Ireland, Jerusalem, East Timor, India/Pakistan, the list goes on and on. The sad part is that these are only the current stories, I'm sure you're all familiar with similar situations throughout your recorded history. Each side claims to worship me in some manner but they can't find a way to prove their devotion other than killing their fellow man.
ABC - Sir, what about the millions of people that actually follow your teachings, what will become of them?
Jesus - You forget that I can see into the minds of every person drawing a breath at this moment. All of those millions you speak of are fakes for one simple reason: the Bible is NOT my word nor that of my father. The Bible was written by men and through the years, the teachings in the Bible have been distorted and "interpreted" to the point that it has lost all of it's original meaning. By the way, how's that 15 year old Vietnamese baby sitter in bed Sam? I can't believe your wife didn't know that the kids weren't the only "little ones" the baby sitter was taking care of all this time. Next!
Fox - Why haven't you done anything to prevent the status of the world from degenerating so greatly over the past couple of millennia? Surely someone with your knowledge and power could've done something to prevent the wars, the infighting in the churches and other misunderstandings.
Jesus - I didn't want to get involved because I wanted to believe that you intolerant little jerks could solve the problems on your own. You know, the whole self-determination thing. Dad told me it was a mistake but I wouldn't listen to him. Besides, I allowed you people to staple me to a tree for crying out loud. What else do I have to do to get your attention?
NBC - So you're just going to leave us all to the devil? What about the children who are without blame in this situation?
Jesus - You ignorant bastard, there is NO devil. The devil was invented by shady priests, rabbis and other holy men as a means to encourage people to do what they wanted. As nice as Dad and I have been to everyone from the start, do you honestly think we'd unleash something as horrible as a rogue angel with a grudge on the world? Come on!
CBS - Well Jesus, even though you're leaving we've still got God the Father to watch over us. What does he think of your desertion?
Jesus - *laughs* Dad bailed out of here in the middle of what you call the Crusades. He's been hanging out in the Andromeda galaxy ever since, watching over some telepathic slugs on a planet near Alpha Centauri.
the rest of this highly irreverent interview: www.12footcock.com/archive/ 041201.html
no Supreme Beings,
or Their Avatars
were harmed during the production of this issue.
Nor, does this issue contain any Red Dye Number 3.