Conversation With Larry
I wanted to talk philosophy with a couple of co-workers one day. Talking philosophy is rare, even rarer than talking religion, outside of academic circles. I realized this, but was hoping to spark some interest in philosophy in the workplace, and I love nothing more than a good dialogue.
Standing nearby were a co-worker named Jeff and one named Larry. Jeff was only 18, not too up on philosophical matters. Larry was a likable redneck. I said "Okay guys, here's the philosophy question of the day," then I asked: "Does time really exist or is it just a social convention? Is it merely a creation of the human mind?"
I believe Jeff said "Yeah, time is real." Not a deep philosophical answer. Larry answered more in-depth, and I had no idea a half-hour-long conversation would result. After I answered Jeff by saying I believe time is only in our minds and a way of measuring the regular rhythms and cycles of Nature, Larry responded. "Yeah, you know, Chris, I guess you're right. God is real, and God is forever, so He's not bound by time."
Considering I was in the buckle of the Bible Belt, this is pretty much what I expected, so I wrote a question on a napkin for Larry. The question was multiple-choice. "God Is Either: A. Somewhere B. Everywhere C. Nowhere." Then the following dialogue ensued:
Me: Without considering God, though, is time real or just a fabrication?...But if you want to talk about God, I have a question for you.
Larry: (Placing his finger on the napkin and pointing at the B choice) Everywhere.
Me: You really think God is everywhere? How can He be everywhere? (I grabbed a jar of parsley). If God is everywhere, he's inside this jar of parsley. But this jar of parsley is a separate object. If God is separate from any object, He is not everywhere. And to be everywhere He must be everything.
Larry: God is in all his creation. God is everywhere. Yes, He's in that jar of parsley.
Me: You see that rusty nail hanging from the wall? Is God inside that nail?
Larry: God is everywhere.
Me: Then that nail is God.
Larry: No, God ain't that nail. God is in Heaven, with Jesus.
Me: How can He be everywhere if He's in Heaven?! That means either Heaven is everywhere or that God is not everywhere because Heaven is a separate domain, a separate place.
Larry: Jesus Christ is in all his creation.
Me: Oh, so now you're talking about Jesus. I thought we were talking about God. I don't believe in Jesus. Jesus is nothing but a myth. God is nothing but a myth too. He's only in your mind.
Jeff: No, God isn't a myth. (This was Jeff's final comment in the debate).
Larry: The reason you feel that way is because Jesus is trying to talk to your heart and let you know he's real, but you're keeping him out. You're not letting Jesus in your heart.
Me: If Jesus is everywhere, he's in my heart! How can I keep out someone who's everywhere?! If Jesus is in my heart, I don't have to worry about going to Hell do I? Jesus will be in my heart forever, even if I go to Hell, right?
Larry: No, you have to accept Jesus and have faith in him.
Me: If God and Jesus are everywhere, they're inside the Devil. They're in Hell too. If Jesus is everywhere, he's in the Devil and in Hell - not only that, he is the Devil! He must be everything and everyone if he's everywhere. Larry, you see this nail? (pointing to it). What does this nail have that makes it a physical object?
Larry: It has mass. I've been a machinist for 20 years so I know all about nails. I know my physics.
Me: That's a good answer. That's an excellent answer. It has mass and mass is one of the characteristics of a physical object, but that's not the answer I was thinking of.
Larry: What were you thinkin'?
Me: I was going to say that it's a separate physical object because it takes up space. If God is everywhere He's inside the nail, on the edges of the nail, on the surface of the nail. He is the nail. Otherwise He's not everywhere. If He's everywhere the nail is just an illusion and not a separate object. To be everywhere God must take up space, he must be physical, not just a spirit being.
Larry: God is everywhere, but he ain't in that nail.
Me: But you said He's everywhere! Now are you changing your story? If God is inside that jar of parsley, like you said - in all his creation, then that includes the parsley inside the jar. He's inside not just the jar, but inside the contents of the jar, which is parsley. So when I eat the parsley from that jar, God travels with it and God gets inside me all the way down until I digest the parsley and it passes out of my body. God moves with the parsley if He's inside the parsley jar.
Larry: (No comment)
Me: Is God in all his creation, or just the animate ones which are alive, which have the breath of life? Is God inside inanimate objects like the jar of parsley and the nail on the wall too?
Larry: Yes, He's in all his creation. He's been in his creation since before He created the world. Jesus put his love in all his creation. And everyone who believes in Jesus has the power to perform miracles. Miracles are still being performed today. Have you heard about the evangelist in Mexico who raised 32 people from the dead? He did it just a few months ago.
Me: (At this point I knew I couldn't have a serious academic discussion with Larry, seeing how he believed the dead could be resurrected). No, I hadn't heard about that. But Jesus is an asshole! If he's all about love, why does he send people to Hell for not believing in him? You know what John 3:16 says. It says that if you don't accept Jesus you'll be punished for making the wrong choice. Have you ever read the book of Revelation? Jesus goes on a rampage in the book of Revelation and slaughters half the human race. That isn't love.
Larry: Jesus is the creator of the world. He wants to be your lord and savior, but you're blocking him out, Chris. You're blocking him out of your mind.
Me: Larry, you need to read your Bible. Jesus is a destroyer just like his dad. He's also a mythical creature, like a unicorn. The legend of Jesus is based on earlier savior-gods from other cultures. There's hardly anything original in the New Testament. The Bible is a copycat book. Christianity is not an original religion. It's based on religions which came before it.
Larry: Christianity has always existed.
Me: How can Christianity have always existed if Jesus wasn't born until 2,000 years ago? He didn't even exist until He was born.
Larry: Jesus has always existed.
Me: Nope, no proof or even evidence of Jesus has ever been found. He's a myth. And I can never worship a God who kills his own creation, like God did throughout the Old Testament. I refuse to worship a mass murderer. I love people too much to do that. And another thing - how in the world can God and Jesus be everywhere if they're two separate people? The Bible tells of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They can't all be everywhere if they're separate entities. And where in the hell is the female principle? The Holy Trinity has no female at all. Why three men and no women? Why does the Bible say "God the Father"?
Larry: That's enough! Stop talking about my father! Noone's gonna talk about my father!