The Gods that have suddenly become silent
(note: this is a short essay I wrote last year; formatting has been partly removed to be compatible with the forum; the essay was part of a bigger project for a University topic roughly translated into English as "law logic and argumentation", so also please note that this is a translation, do not burn me if my English isn't perfect at times)
We are currently witnessing what no animal kingdom would have ever thought would be possible: the days wehn nobody is a stranger. The days where everyone can learn about anything anywhere. The days when ignorance is simply not excusable anymore. It is simply not possible that something really big happens in one part of the world, and the rest of the world doesn't find out about it. Hurricanes, storms, earthquakes, pollitical turmoil, everything that one can imagine possible is publicised all over the world, if it happens.
It is this world in which any normal, intelligent person would think that someone who really had something to say, something that would really impact the way we live and our future lives, that someone would make it public with the most success. Edison's light bulb, atomic power, the discovery of H5N1, contraceptives, even things less helpful, such as music, arts, TV shows or documentaries, all these are now available for anyone to get their hands on.
If you go out through the world and ask people about Shakespeare, or the Beatles, or perhaps "Dracula", chances are that whoever you ask has at least heard of them, if not more. It would therefore be a perfect environment for publicity for anyone.
No doubt the cultural shock of different cultures that have begun interacting is great. Take no further than the example set by Japan and its historical samurais, shoguns and emperors. But, as the example goes further, such a cultural shock doesn't mean a fatal shock. All parties involved have learned to accept, embrace and adapt. No nation has died in vain, simply because it didn't adapt to, practically, a global society.
It is this setting in which any normal, intelligent person would find a god making proof of his or her existence. Yet this doesn't happen.
Throughout all cultures and religions, be them monotheistic or polytheistic, legends and feats that, at least theoretically, would leave whole crowds in awe, have been said and transmitted from generation to generation. Such legends of gods talking directly to humans, interacting with them, sometimes even being in their midst. But those legends now are starting to look more and more like legends, like stories that a parent tells to his child at bedtime, in an effort to stimulate his imagination, and perhaps carrying a message of how that parent wants the child to be when he or she grows older.
Such legends that simply don't happen anymore.
Is any religion immune to this? Apparently not. Pick one at random: Greek mythology, Christianity, Islam, we could even include Gilgamesh in this... in each you will find at least one example of the god (or gods) transmitting his (their) will directly to humans, through personal interaction with them. Wether you look at the story of Moses, who is supposed to have talked directly to Yahweh, whether you look at the story of Zeus, who personally and very directly chose which part of the bull will he accept as a sacrifice, they all share one thing in common: the willingness of a god to interact directly.
Historically speaking, the challenge for one god to transmit his message all over the world, at that time, becomes obvious. Some gods have somehow succeeded, others have failed, most have slowly died in a very funny cosmic game of "get rich or die trying". The question of why no god is even trying to get his message across, beyond any possibility of doubt, seems to be a rhetorical one.
All across the world, people claim that the question above is pointless and invalid. They claim that gods have not ceased to speak, but are continuously doing that with some of them. There are extraordinary claims of miracles, faith heals and magic, but there is at least one problem with them: there is no one single god, or one single recognized pantheon of gods that they are attributed to. All around the world, we have Christian miracles (even more: Catholic miracles, Orthodox miracles, etc.), Islamic miracles, possibly Buddhist miracles, etc. How does that come, when these religions are mutually exclusive? How can it come, when each of these religions claim to have at least just as much right to the pool of "souls" on this planet like any other? Is there a battle over souls amongst different gods?
These questions, when added to our original question, should provide just about enough doubt on the veridicity of these legends and claims. But there's more.
Has anyone ever documented a miracle? Has anyone also publicized their documentation? Has anyone caught on tape a miracle? The answer to all these is an unfortunately resounding "no". So much different from the life of Jesus Christ, for instance, in which Jesus himself had no inhibition to perform miracles in fromt of crowds of people. That they weren't caught on tape is understandable, since there were no recording devices back then. But why the reluctancy now? Why do gods seem to shun means of popularization that would: 1. spread their will throughout huge numbers of people and 2. make people believe in them beyond any doubt, thus offering them a greater ammount of the "soul pool" ?
We presume that the god of the Christians exists. Under such circumstances, can a Muslim be condemned for not knowing the true god? Why, since most Muslims will never get in contact with the Christian doctrine and word of their god? Free will, as many current religions like to publicize with, also means responsibility, but does responsibility also extend to actions that we had no idea that are wrong, and, furthermore, no way of finding out that they were wrong? To which law do we apply responsibility, if we have two laws that contradict each other directly? How will anyone be judged according to those two laws, and how will he know, if one of them is wrong, which one it is?
Such questions deepend the cultural cavity left behind by the question of "why have gods suddenly become silent?" We live, beyond any doubt, in a world in which almost nothing has remained absolute, but almost everything has become relative. And not so much have they "become" relative, but the people actually realized that they had always been so. Wouldn't the word of a god, now, right this day, displayed in all the grandeur that the ancient legends speak about, blow any trace of doubt on the existence and on the truth of their word?
But still, the gods are silent. We are therefore left with two possibilities: either the god(s) has (have) forsaken us, or they don't exist. Couple that with the fact that all legends and beliefs are slowly getting proven as false, or impossible, or wishful thinking, and the correct choice out of those two will become obvious.
Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."