It’s a pity you can’t get a Ph.D. in Inventing Gods. Those who have done it in the past have not always done a great job. So after much research, I have distilled the six key things the Hebrews got wrong with god.
- Make your god consistent with the things we see around us. For example, if we see needless suffering, we should invent a malevolent god that enjoys watching suffering rather than a god of infinite love.
- If god is going to be surprised and angry at events on Earth, make him slightly stupid and certainly not omniscient.
- Don’t invent a god who answers prayers if prayers are only answered at the same rate as chance.
- Be honest about attention to detail. If he designed creatures using parts from other creatures that don’t always work in the new creature or work poorly, say so. For example, the recurrent laryngeal nerve in the giraffe connects the brain to the larynx a few centimeters away but travels unnecessarily via the heart, giving it a total length of some 4 meters. Better to say his designs are good in parts and sloppy in parts.
- You should avoid exaggeration too. If it took 9 billion years to create the Earth, don’t pretend your god managed it in 6 days!
- You should make sure your god is consistent—don’t say in one breath he is perfect and in the next that his first effort at creating humans was so dire that he killed them all and started again.
The Greeks did a better job of this than the Hebrews. Their gods had personalities and were not holier-than-thou. They were capricious and delighted in playing tricks on humans. Now, that’s more like it.