Apr 15 2008


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“You remember when I was thinking about how God was inconsistent?” Greg said. “That maybe He just sorta randomly popped in and out of the universe on some incomprehensible agenda?”

“Yeah,” said Brigid. “‘Sticks in his Holy Oar’ was the exact phrase you used, if I recall.”

“I think I may have come up with an explanation.”

Brigid snorted. “This oughta be good.”

“It is!” said Greg. “Maybe it’s a way to compensate for Hiesenberg.”

“Do what now?”

“Well, you know about the Observer Effect, right? And the whole thing with the maybe-dead-maybe-not cat? Not really Hiesenberg, but related to Hiesenberg. Point is, there are situations where you can’t measure a thing without the measurement itself being changed by the fact that you’re measuring it.”

She shook her head. “I don’t get you.”

“Well look at it this way. You ever hear the old saw about ‘character is what you do when nobody’s watching’?”


“Well think about that a minute — and think about what it would mean in a universe where everybody knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Big G was watching them all the time. I mean really, who would raid the cookie jar if they could see God standing there, lightning crackling around his big hoary beard, ready to lay down the smite? Nobody with half a brain, anyway.”

“Please tell me you didn’t just say ‘ready to lay down the smite.'”

“If you take it as a given that there is some kind of ‘morality test’ aspect to reality, then God must absolutely do everything possible to remove Himself from the equation in order to get any kind of meaningful result, you see what I mean? It’s obvious when you think about it. If character really is what you do when nobody’s watching, how do you determine somebody’s character if you are, by definition, always watching them?”

“That doesn’t make any sense at all,” Brigid said. “God doesn’t need to determine character. God knows already. That’s what makes Him, y’know, God. Or one of the things, at least.”

“Yeah, there’s that,” Greg said. “But people don’t know their own character without it being tested.”

“Congratulations,” said Brigid. “You’ve solved it. As a duly authorized representative of the Great Unknown, I hereby declare you enlightened.” Bringing her fist down as if clubbing him over the head, she added, “Sha-ZAM!”

“Heh,” said Greg. “I always figured enlightenment would feel more sublime, and less like I was being dissed by my roommate.”

“Funny,” said Brigid, “that’s what Thomas Aquinas said.”

-The Gneech

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