[ed.’s note: from a short story I wrote a few years ago: a philosophical question of some importance: the crucial ambiguity of verification: which interrupts any possible statement-chain in any possible proof of teleological authorship]

“While everybody else my age was wrestling with the question,” he said, gesturing with a cup of coffee, “of whether there’s a God or not, I was wrestling with the much-trickier issue of how, exactly, the guy would prove it to us if he were. I mean, seriously. Think about it. Conquistadors were able to convince the Aztecs they were Gods and they were just greasy fuckers in tin helmets on dwarf horses with syphilis. They didn’t even have guns! Wait, did they? Okay, that’s not important. Wait, was it the Aztecs or the Incas? Fuck, it’s all a blur, but that’s not important. My point is, what’s my point. Some local super-being could land on Earth and do some miracle-type-thing like make the sky black at noon or levitate a skyscraper and if he or she claimed to be God, how would we know she was lying? Even if dude managed to pull off some truly astounding shit like Uranus disappears or he reverses local time for five minutes, how would we know where he or she stood on the infinite power ladder of the Universe? Maybe they’re just in the middle of a ladder we’re on the bottom of.” He sipped the coffee. “Even if we felt convinced, so deep in our souls, that we were finally being granted an audience with Yahweh, the one true God, the beginning and the end of Creation, how would we know that we weren’t just merely under the power of like a minor warlord of this corner of the Galaxy with some mildly-impressive mind-control powers and a second-hand teleportation device? It’s not even that hard for the CIA to totally fool people. In fact, if God came along, or came back, as the Christians would have it, you know, think about it, what irrefutable evidence would we have that it wasn’t a psy-op?”

“You wouldn’t know until a bigger God came along to kick the smaller God’s ass…”


“But the difference between ‘god’ with a lower case ‘g’ and upper-case ‘God’ would have to be the indifference. Infinite power must mean infinite indifference. A true God wouldn’t bother to manifest. It just wouldn’t care enough.”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR [letters are vetted for cogency and style]

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