If I Ever Hear God's Voice, I'll Shit My Britches

Let me begin by saying that I’ve never heard the voice of any god, demon or angel. 

Never! Trust me, I’ve never even gotten a phone call from one. I’m just as relieved to tell the you the truth, because if I ever did hear the voice of a god, any god, I’d shit my britches. On the one hand, it would be the most earth shattering conversation I’ve ever had, assuming that god would let me ask a few questions. But even if I’m rendered speechless from wonder, I can tell you that my life would never be the same again. And, if I actually got to see god, I probably wouldn't be able to recover from the experience. 

Lots of people that I know personally claim to hear from a god on a pretty regular basis.

Their casual approach to dialoguing with the creator of the universe is rather mind boggling. It leads me to believe that they know very little about the wonders of our vast universe. No one in their right mind would approach the creator of such marvels so nonchalantly and about such petty concerns otherwise. Nor would they go away and quickly forget the experience.

My mom talked to god all the livelong day.

She carried on casual conversations. I could hear her in the back room mumbling things, and I knew she was at it again. She’d lose her car keys and god would help her find them. She’d be worried about some earthly detail and ask god for advice. Her endless hurts inflicted upon her by my dad were often discussed with god. Sometimes, she could be heard beseeching god to drive the demons away. In my mom’s world god was her constant companion even while demons lurked in the shadows. Yet, she had a very simplistic view of the universe, almost no knowledge of science and few explanations for the wonders of the natural world. I contend that if she had known a little bit about how things worked, she’d have been significantly humbled in the presence of a god.

For all the talk about hearing god’s voice, something that I think should rank higher than meeting the president or a movie star, I see very little evidence of the experience changing people’s lives. 

Believers slip into these rambling, often self-centered conversations with their imaginary friend far too comfortably and then go about their daily business making risky choices and doing foolish things. You’d think that talking to the supreme power would have more impact on their behaviors. You’d think that by having had such an amazing experience, they’d gain wisdom. You’d think that there would be less fear and anxiety after meeting god in such a personal fashion. But it doesn’t appear to be the case. Instead, the devout can meet with god over breakfast and then fight with their spouses over some triviality by noon. They can brag about how they have this personal relationship with an almighty being yet rely on alcohol to get them through the night. They consult with god for advice but still choose terrible life partners and raise damaged children. If knowing god in such a personal fashion has no more impact than that, I’m suspicious.

Of course, I don’t believe anyone, anywhere is hearing the voice of a god. It’s far more likely that they’re simply talking to themselves.

My mom did a lot of talking to herself and her children sat by and watched her. When we were tiny, we really believed that our mommy was hearing god’s voice. We took it for granted actually that her daily consultations were protecting us and helping her solve problems. We grew up to whisper a few prayers of our own. I use to make a deal with god. I promised him that I’d never ask for a favor if  he’d let me live long enough to raise my children. And, I never did. I always worried that favors might be limited and so I was very careful to save my requests for a rainy day.

Now, I look back on those days of prayer and realize that I’d been indoctrinated from birth to believe in nonsense.

It was one great, big social construct that my culture had invented and no more real than the story of Hansel and Gretel or Cinderella. Once I managed to eradicate the god virus in my brain, which took considerable effort, I saw my mother’s conversations with god as absolutely ludicrous. It’s too damn easy for people to make these fantastical claims about hearing god’s voice and about god answering their prayers. Once again, it’s their word against no word from god. None. I can't check out their outlandish claims by hearing god's voice for myself nor am I willing to confuse a warm fuzzy feeling with angels singing glory, glory, glory. In order to play their game, I’ve got to declare that the emperor is clothed even when it’s plain to me that he’s as naked as a jaybird.

If ever I needed a visual that perfectly represents the utter foolishness of prayer,  I conjure up a mental picture of the Wailing Wall. 

Not that all prayer isn't equally delusional, but to watch a grown man bowing repeatedly to a wall that is literally inches away from his face while talking, talking talking to the air is too good to overlook. What are people thinking? Especially when it's fair to say that god never engages in a dialogue. It's a one way endeavor with no reason whatsoever to believe that there is anything other than the stone wall as the recipient. Whether it's my mom in the back room talking out loud about my dad or a devout catholic lighting candles and kneeling in front of a statue, no one answers.

Generation after generation, century after century, the heavens remain as silent as a stone wall.

It's so disingenuous, dishonest and dare I say arrogant to pretend that someone, a god no less, is there listening to you when clearly no one is in the room nor can a bodiless voice even be heard over the cosmic airwaves. Why even mere mortals have managed to send their voices across the globe for others to hear. But not god. No, she's as quiet as a mouse, just listening and listening to thousands upon thousands upon thousands of humans asking for advice, forgiveness, understanding, begging for relief from pain, pleading for protection and on and on and on and on. Yet, her voice is never heard, not even the sound of heavy breathing on the other end of the line reaches our ears.

That's why it's no longer difficult for me point out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.

If I ever did hear the voice of a god, demon or angel, you can bet your bottom dollar that my life would never be the same again. It would rock my world, changing me and the way I view life beyond recognition in much the same way as meeting an alien from outer space might do. Unlike those who carelessly claim to hear from a god every day of their unimpressive lives, I can give a hypothetical god her proper place in the universe knowing full well that to hear her voice would be a miracle. Until I do hear her voice, I can be pretty sure that no one else is hearing from her either.

Guess what? It’s been pretty quiet out there in the great beyond for a long time.

Teresa Roberts is an author, world traveler and dedicated myth buster. Her recent book - Have We Been Screwed? Trading Freedom for Fairy Tales - can be purchased on Amazon.