Social Question

SmashTheState's avatar

How would your life change if you knew for a certainty that God was dead?

Asked by SmashTheState (9618 points ) June 17th, 2010

In James Morrow’s novel Towing Jehovah, God’s mile-tall corpse is found floating in the ocean, and it explores the reactions of the people tasked with towing God’s body to shore for burial.

If we found God’s corpse floating face-down in the ocean and you knew for an absolute certainty that (a) there had once been a real God, and (b) that God was now dead, what would your initial reaction be? Horror? Relief? Existential despair? Joy? How do you think your life would change? How do you anticipate the rest of the world would react?

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70 Answers

jazmina88's avatar

i would not even want to live anymore

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If it is dead, how does anyone know that it was a god? Sorry…haven’t read the book

dpworkin's avatar

I’d have to get my black suit pressed.

Leanne1986's avatar

I would want to know more. I am really intrigued by the whole “is there, isn’t there a God?” thing and so I would want to learn the history of this being that once lived and what “He” had done with his time when he was alive. I would also be intrigued and a bit scared probably to find out how the world is affected after his death and to see if much changes in the great scheme of things. History lessons would be vey interesting if there was proof that God was definately once alive and kicking. I’d like to think that I would try and keep and open mind.

BoBo1946's avatar

@SmashTheState wow..haven’t read the book either, but would be horrified and very sad!

Would not change my life…would go on doing what I’ve always been doing, the best i can!

ragingloli's avatar

It would be ‘Mission succesful, Target Eliminated.’
Nothing would change.

Qingu's avatar

Which god?

The question seems to imply Yahweh, the ancient Mesopotamian sky god. I’d be surprised that he existed in the first place, I guess.

cthulette's avatar

I would certainly be intrigued, but my own outlook on life would not be significantly changed.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I would probably think, “Wow, What an amazing holographic fear-based experience we conjured up! Another great way to steer ourselves totally off-course….and everyone is buying it! Especially when the truth is that God isn’t out there somewhere, sitting on a cloud, strumming a lyre and embodied, but living and breathing inside us…if we could but remember that.”

AstroChuck's avatar

Someone should check his wallet and see if he’s an organ donor.

MissA's avatar

Now, we’ll NEver know who killed JFK.

Seriously, I thought that Jesus had a body, but God didn’t. So this author changed tha story?

CMaz's avatar

No, because the God of money will still keep us busy. :-)

And if you put God into perspective. That will never be an issue.

Really, depends on you concept of what god is.

netgrrl's avatar

It would definitely shake me up a bit, but essentially nothing would change for me. None of the core values I hold dear would change. I don’t believe in a supreme being, so finding out there was one, but is now dead wouldn’t mean much. Nothing changes.

LuckyGuy's avatar

My life would not change a bit. I’d still have to get this damn report done.

I’d watch the removal and disposal video on Youtube. Would they call in BP or Halliburton to clean it up?

envidula61's avatar

So… imagine when that body begins to putrefy!

Morrow is pretty good at satire, isn’t he? He graduated from an SF writers group I used to belong to, but he’d stop by for a visit every once in a while, otherwise I never would have read it.

I doubt if my life would change much, except that the drama would be played out on the internet for forever and I doubt if even I could avoid it. Imagine the number of questions on fluther! On all Q&A sites! Is it really God? How did he die? What will happen now that God is dead? Etc, etc.

It would be as bad as “is he in love with me?” Ubiquitous. Inescapable.

And the smell!

tinyfaery's avatar

Some big body floating in the water would not be proof of any god. And my life wouldn’t change. I live my life like there is no god anyway.

Cruiser's avatar

I’d buy more guns and ammo because all hell would be about to break loose!

Aster's avatar

I’d be shocked, sad, go into denial then start “bargaining with God. Wait; those are the stages of grief and God died so I’d prepare for a “whole lotta looting goin’ on.”

ItsAHabit's avatar

It wouldn’t change my life or the way I lead it in any way.

Seek's avatar

@AstroChuck

If not, I hear Loki’s hungry. Hasn’t had god-meat in a while.

Fly's avatar

My life wouldn’t really change much. I don’t believe in a god so His suddenly being found dead in an ocean wouldn’t really make much of a difference to me.
“So He was real? My bad.”
And as @tinyfaery said, a large body is no proof that it belongs to God. I’d be more likely to believe it was a giant than a magical invisible man in the sky.

CMaz's avatar

Don’t worry everyone.

I am still here.

downtide's avatar

No change at all, except I’d be totally surprised he ever existed at all.

ItsAHabit's avatar

I didn’t even realize that he had been ill!

liminal's avatar

I would go live with @Cruiser

bolwerk's avatar

After Jehovah is lady to rest, poor Babby Jesus would be an orphan. Truley would I be sorrey for His lots.

Maybe a gay couple would adopt Him!

Silhouette's avatar

Meh, wouldn’t change my life at all.

Coloma's avatar

I would think that the floating giant was not ‘God but an alien being.

‘God’ is not a body, a person.

‘God’ ( in my perception ) is the embodiment of universal intelligence, there could never BE a BODY!

I would celebrate the discovery of ‘proof’ of other life in universe, but would change nothing about who I am or how I conduct myself.

Your_Majesty's avatar

How a God could be dead if there’s no real real God? Even if he’s really a God,hey if he’s a God he can’t be dead,right? I mean,Gods are immortal.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Ha, when the cat’s away the mice will play!!!!

CMaz's avatar

I would then have to fear Skeletor.

Zaku's avatar

According to minister I spoke with yesterday, I am God, so I guess I would check out my new state of existence and see what was up with it.

If there were a news report of a mile-high corpse found in the ocean, I wouldn’t take anyone’s interpretation that it was God, but I’d be really interested in what the heck it was. If people started freaking out somehow that it was the dead Christian God, I’d just welcome the shock to the entrenched cosmological notions of those who had had strangely literal interpretations of the Bible. I’d probably make smartass remarks about how I trusted good old Poseidon was still alive and well and that clearly it was just a Titan that was taking a really long time to decompose.

ipso's avatar

Since God is real in the actions of his believers, there would be a huge pile of good and bad deeds laying there – dead. What a great opportunity to try and compare the weight of both to see what it all really means to the world.

However, if there were and actual Jesus looking body laying there, I would sneak up and rip out one of his leg hairs and use it as a cracking bullwhip.

Or perhaps in my case Thor. If so, I would bury him in a mound, and seek revenge.

CMaz's avatar

Towing Jehovah would be a cool movie.

ipso's avatar

Yes! – like a whale.

God Soap – “to wash your sins away”

ragingloli's avatar

@ipso
like a whale
Thank you for reminding me what W.T. Snacks would do to the corpse… dear gods.

DominicX's avatar

Living my life as an agnostic, it wouldn’t really change.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Nothing would happen for me. I wouldn’t believe it anyway, this story.

lloydbird's avatar

Wouldn’t “God” then be in Heaven, still being “God”?

Nullo's avatar

I find the notion ridiculous in the first place. Immortality is part of what it means to be God, after all.

Fyrius's avatar

Personally, my mind would be blown. I’d have to radically change my understanding of the universe to comply with the fact that there has formerly existed a god in it. I’d first want to know what sort of god we’re talking about here, though, and if there’s any connections with the beings the religions made up.
I’d be on the lookout for radical changes in the universe, to figure out what exactly this god has been doing all this time, and what difference its death will make. Pending that, I wouldn’t know what to think of it yet.

The scientific community would explode into excitement, too. New fields would be born. Theo-biologists would want to do an autopsy to learn how its body worked, and if it has cells with DNA like us, and how it can be humanoid without fitting into the evolutionary family tree. Theo-neurologists would want to understand how its brain worked, and theo-physicists would want to know where this thing had been living all this time and how it accomplished what it would have done.
It would be our first look at an extra-terrestrial life form.

Even though I’m an atheist, it would be madness to expect my life wouldn’t change. It would be madness to expect world politics wouldn’t be turned upside down and inside out and tied pretzel-shaped knots into. It would be madness to expect this wouldn’t be a more important historical event than the world wars.
And imagine if what this god had been doing all this time was veering dangerous meteorites away from Earth, direction black holes safely around us, keeping blood-thirsty aliens from discovering us, all just outside the reach of our telescopes.

Coloma's avatar

@Fyrius

lol

This event would really rock your world ey? hahaha

Funny and dig the creative writing!

What IF..the body of ‘God’ was ‘Hoss’ from Bonanza….does that mean we are all going to the Ponderosa in our afterlife!

YEE HAW!

Fyrius's avatar

@Coloma
Assuming we live on the same planet, I think it would rock yours too. :P

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Fyrius A very realistic answer. Thank you.

Coloma's avatar

@Fyrius

Yes, well..I already live in my own little world..but it would be quite the pot stirring event undoubtedly.

;-) Back at’cha….

aprilsimnel's avatar

I thought he was a little guy who liked bowling.

Merriment's avatar

Other than a burning, overwhelming need to know the cause of death and any possible suspects to be on the look out for…I think I would be mostly wondering if there were any other gods out there.

anartist's avatar

Have you read this? How can it be a god if it is floating face-down in the ocean? Sounds pretty mortal to me. Just taller.

Coloma's avatar

@anartist

Hahaha….some of the questions today….and answers…hilarious!

ETpro's avatar

First I would spend some serious time figuring out how he died. If someone killed him, that is a person I wouldn’t want to cross.

Pandora's avatar

I agree with @Merriment. I would have to find out who did it and whos the new boss and find out what his rules are.

Coloma's avatar

Well…hypothetically speaking…IF it was ‘God’...I’d think that would then make the ‘Devil’ the prime suspect…uh oh…. lol

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma I thought that too. But what would be his motive after all these years. To win us over? I bet his tablet of names is larger than the tablet in heaven. :( It would have to be an angel that got too big for his britches. Or as Merriment suggested. There was another God. Oh, heck. Who would want Gods job anyway. We suck! Its got to be like working at Social Services.
I got it. He died when he quite. It was suicide!

LostInParadise's avatar

The first thing I would want to know is if the world suddenly suddenly got a lot worse. If not, then I would start thinking that, as @Pandora suggested, he gave up on us. He might have figured that if this is the best of all worlds and we act like such weasels, what’s the point? In a way, it might be a good thing. Maybe people would start to think that if even God gave up on us, maybe it is time that we started shaping up.

Coloma's avatar

‘God’ giving up and throwing himself into the sea in an act of suicidal retirement from the thankless social work of humankind….sheesh, you guy’s…..that is so disturbing! lol

I think this could end up in another ’ Lets write a story’ zone! lol

Maybe when Gods true love Mother Earth was pronounced terminal he just lost it.

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma LOL, yes, this could be another soap. “As God Turned” could follow “As the World Turned” That follows, “As the Oil Spill Churned” or the “People of Grease”
Oh, wait. There’s another thought. He tried to help with the oil spill and slipped and fell and got covered in oil.
Great. Headlines now reads “BP Kills God”, Then the devil is quoted as saying, “Hey it wasn’t me this time, I always told God that man was a bad idea.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, his beloved earth mother was suffocating and he dove into her polluted bosom for a final embrace! hahaha

Yeah…ain’t it the truth…classic irony, a major corporation ends up killing God. lol

Damn…we’re on a roll with this one..I can see it now…40 weeks on the best seller list! ;-)

Here’s a couple o’ more titles…

’ A crude way to die ’ and ’ The Devil didn’t make me do it’ excerpts from Gods diary with an intro from the Dark Prince.

’ Luuuucifer I’m home!’

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma LMAO, I love the first title, A Crude way to die. Ohhhh, thats too funny and yet sad all at the same time. (Sad because BP is destroying our planet. Who would of thought. Every one thought it would be a nuclear reactor that would take us out or nuclear war. Instead some ancient dinosaurs long gone come backs to bite us after we disturb their resting place)

Coloma's avatar

@Pandora

ZING! :-)

And hey!

Thats my title….I’m sittin’ on that one for awhile…soooo, don’t get any ideas….lol :-)

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma OOPS, already sent it to my publisher. LOL

ETpro's avatar

@Fyrius Unfortunately I’ve never had the pleasure in the flesh, but I’ve had my fun times with @ragingloli here on Fluther. :-)

Fyrius's avatar

@ETpro
That was a joke in reference to something he said earlier in the thread.

@ragingloli
“It would be ‘Mission succesful, Target Eliminated.’”

ETpro's avatar

@Fyrius They are never as funny when you have to go back and reconstruct them.

mattbrowne's avatar

I would tell Friedrich Nietzsche, hey, you got that one right.

silverfly's avatar

Not sure if this question is dead, but here goes:

So many good answers! And yet so many people evaluating the story as if it was non-fiction. It’s not real people, so answer the original question. I also really liked the paradox that @lloydbird introduced: if it was God, wouldn’t he be in heaven being God? Interesting thought… I thought.

So to answer the original question: First of all, I would be shocked that God had a physical form. Secondly, I think I would go into denial and confusion. I don’t believe in God as a tangible being. I think he/she/it is everywhere and in everything. I see God as pure love, so I’m not sure that I’d actually believe it was God.

However, if it indeed was in some physical form and reality kicked in, it would crush me. I think there is a balance in the world that some may call God and without it, I think some interesting possibilities would occur. Maybe the world would implode? Maybe existence ceases to be? I wouldn’t change how I lived because I’m pretty content with the way I’m living. I don’t do it for God. I try to live a good life for myself and for others and in doing so hope that it contributes to my idea of God at the same time!

flutherother's avatar

As much as it is impossible to know that God exists it would be impossible to know that he was dead. There is always the possibility that some other greater God still exists so for me nothing would change.

ETpro's avatar

@flutherother Great point. If I found GOd dead, my first question would be, “Who killed God?”

Fyrius's avatar

@ETpro
I think your first question should be ”what killed god”. And then explore the possibility that it was another person as one hypothesis. (With a rather lower prior probability than, say, old age or disease or an accident, unless you already know other gods to exist.)

silverfly's avatar

The question is philosophical, not literal. It doesn’t matter who or what killed god; it matters that it’s fact and it matters, as it pertains to the question, how you’d change your life in response to knowing he existed and died.

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