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A good few years back, I wrote a book called The Little Book of Unholy Questions. The book was designed to be in some way, at some times, a little irreverent. But when it was that, and at all other times, the questions had a layer or dimension to them that was deeper than at first glance.

The book is a series of 501 questions, split into relevant sections that each have an introductory piece of writing (so it’s not just questions, but some discussion and arguments, too) that I have now asked God. She has not yet answered, but hope springs eternal. Here is a selection of some of those from the opening chapter, at the beginning of which I discuss the conception of God as understood in classical theism: omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent.

3.              Do you find anything funny?

4.             Given that you are a perfect being, and laughter is, to me, one of the most supreme joys of the world which would count towards any idea of perfection, have you ever experienced laughter? 

5.             If you have laughed before at, say, a funny joke, or a misfortunate slip on a banana skin, how does this fit in with your foreknowledge, since you knew the punch line was coming?

6.             Can you please explain to me adequately how you can be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit simultaneously?

7.             What does the Holy Spirit really do that you couldn’t do yourself as God the Father?

8.             In other words, a perfect being should not necessitate any other part of itself, so why do the Holy Spirit and Jesus exist?

9.             In order to have the properties of being the Holy Spirit, these properties must be different from the properties of Jesus and God the Father. These distinct properties must not be synonymous to the characteristics of the others in order to be labelled and recognised as the Holy Spirit (and not the others). How can something have distinct properties that are also synonymous (i.e. the Holy Trinity)?

10.            Do you have a central ‘I’, a sense of self?

11.             In what way do you view the world and everything that happens simultaneously?

12.         By seeing what happens on earth, what vision do you use, since a human’s vision differs from a bat’s, bull’s or a spider’s, and is not ‘better’ but different and all these visual perceptions rely on the actual physical eyes?

13.           If you are perfect, then from whose point of view is your perfection?

14.          Therefore, is perfection (as an objective quality) even logically coherent, and if so, how?

15.          Do you have any interests or hobbies, things that you like doing more than others?

16.          Have you ever wished for a challenge in the way that a great chess player wishes for the ultimate challenger (and to defeat them!)?

17.          We know from the bible that some things please you (“And God was pleased”). In this manner, it can be inferred that some things please you more than others. Thus you must have favourite entities that please you the most within a range of entities. Who has been your favourite actor or voice to have played you in a film (let’s face it, everyone likes Morgan Freeman)?

18.          Can you change at all, or are you immutable, unchanging?

19.          If you are immutable as many say, does that mean you are not omnipotent, since you cannot change (or is it that you choose not to change)?

20.          Can you ever feel surprise?

21.          Without sensory organs, can you feel anything?

22.         Since to be perfectly just means to exact the correct punishment for the crime, and to be perfectly merciful means to be more forgiving in the face of crime than justice would have you be, can you be perfectly merciful and perfectly just at the same time?

23.          Can you actually be insulted by anything?

24.         Do you, as an omnipotent and almighty being, get annoyed when somebody takes your name in vain?

25.         Why did you wait 13.5 billion years to create man?

26.         What were you doing in those 13.5 billion years?

27.         Can you ever get bored?

28.         Do you have an image or visual format?

29.         You stated in the Ten Commandments that you are a jealous God; is this true?

30.         Since you ask so much of us, why can’t we just sit down and have a one-to-one conversation with you like we would with our friends?

31.         Is it vain and self-indulgent to insist that we praise and heap worship on you and is it a need that an omnipotent God would not have?

32.         How is creation doing?

33.          Can you create a rock that is too heavy for you to lift?

34.         If you can / can’t do the aforementioned task, does this mean you are not omnipotent, or is this merely a silly logical head-scratcher?

35.         Does logic, then, exist outside of you, and do you have no power over it?

36.         How much do you influence / interfere with the universe on a daily basis?

37.         Since you cannot, by definition, know what you don’t know, and cannot know that you don’t know something, how do you know that you are omniscient?

Grab yourself a copy of The Little Book of Unholy Questions [UK] for some early autumnal fun.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...