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Priest: Why don’t you love God?

Humanist: Because of God’s little heart.

P: What does that mean?

H: God’s small love for everything. God’s little heart.

P: What do you base this on?

H: Five billion years of evidence. God’s little heart.

P: You mean the age of the earth?

H: Yes. God’s little heart.

P: Explain.

H: For a billion years the earth had no life at all for God to love. Then came one-cell things and multi-cell things, which God did not love. Then came creatures great and small, all of which ended in extinctions. Every life form is terminal. And the whole of it is marred with illness and outrageous fortune. God’s little heart.

P: But God took special care of humanity.

H: Diseases, natural disasters, moral mayhem. Does love bequeath such things to the objects of love? God’s little heart.

P: Perhaps, for a reason.

H: Are the reasons loving? Do loving parents leave toddlers at play with steak knives just to see what happens and then blame and punish the children after they cut themselves? God’s little heart.

P: God eventually gave religions to sooth us.

H: Thousands of religions in competition for truth. God’s little heart.

P: But if Christianity were true, God shows love in saving us.

H: God saves a fragment of humanity from eternal abuse, barely a squad. God’s little heart.

P: There might be a devil to blame.

H: A super-subtle psychopath as our babysitter? God’s little heart.

P: A blissful afterlife might show God’s love.

H: An afterlife for a squad while most burn in perpetuity, and animals simply die. God’s little heart.

J: Is there anything to convince you of God’s love?

H: Nothing yet in the register of evidence.

P: Yes, I see. God’s little heart.

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J. H. McKenna (Ph.D.) has taught the history of religius ideas since 1992 at various colleges and since 1999 at the University of California, where he has won teaching awards. He has published in academic...