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Emilio Lopez Adan > Extracts

Essay (literary and non-literary)

2005 | Argia

Holy Father1

I have only been able to see one thing in the death throes of that man: the death throes of any dictator attached to power. I thought we had had enough with Franco, with the heroic operations performed in El Pardo palace and everything..., but no; there have been many others since, and the latest one was in Rome. I am fed up with it all.

On top of that we have the shortcomings of our language. In our tradition the only expression we have to refer to the lesser god in Rome is Holy Father, and the Basque writer, Anjel Lertxundi, and I share an aversion for having to use the term "Holy Father". Father and Holy. Having no other option than to write, read and hear something optimistic and venerable. Many "Holy Fathers" throughout history have been cruel and have oppressed people, while the latest one has passionately defended narrow, discriminatory, moral attitudes.

I have the same problem with God. God by nature has to be all-powerful and all-good, because our Christian upbringing does not allow us any other conceptual option. By using the word we seem to become increasingly caught in a trap, because ontological arguments maintain that once God has been named, it is not possible to deny his existence: as God is the holder of all things good, it does not occur to us that in order to be, he lacks something basic, in other words, existence. This very concept apparently prevents us from being an unbeliever, an atheist.

However, many people in the world give priority to other, more obvious contradictions. We have known for a long time that "good" and "all-powerful" are incompatible. Faced with so much grief, pain and suffering in the world and if one assumes that the world was "created", either he who made it was not all-powerful, or was not good at all. How is it possible to understand the existence of suffering, if the one who made the heavens and the earth is truly good? Theologians have an answer for everything, of course: people needed to be free and the creator owed that at least to the creature made in his own image; and freedom makes evil possible... But humanist spirits are not convinced; it would not have been so complicated for an all-powerful one to have created the world differently, at least without unnecessary suffering. What is more, when faced with the suffering of the innocent, like the leukaemia of a trysomic child, this "justified" suffering, which is the consequence of freedom, what place does it have?

The Manichaeans' logic is stricter. A good God and an evil God, each one highly powerful, as they should be, and us beings of no account there in the middle.

Then there are possibilities that do not pour so much scorn on us.

Perhaps there are many creations and that of our galaxy just happens to be that of a mediocre little god, who did what he could as best he could, and then everything went wrong for him. So what are we going to do about it? There are bad workers, so why can't there be incompetent gods? If that were the case, we would have no reason to rebel and be bitter, because he would be just another miserable creature like ourselves, instead of a god that messed things up for us.

There could be another interpretation, a more political one. Perhaps the Demiurge that created our universe is getting old and, like the Pope, is afflicted with Parkinson's disease and with the help of Alzheimer's has forgotten about us; and while all this is going to rack and ruin, the extreme right-wing angels that guard his bedroom do not tell him anything at all, because they are hoping humankind will get fed up and rebel and then, because it is the dream of all right-wing angels, St. Michael the Archangel will take over the leadership of the police and will send us all to Beelzebub, Barrabas and Satan and all the rest of them for ever. Because as the theologians tell us, the minor sin of the little creature deserves everlasting hell, because he or she offends god, in other words, infinity, and the punishment will have to be in accordance with the dignity of the offended one, infinite in suffering and time... Theologians are calm as well as treacherous people.

In our foolish youth we believed we had liberated ourselves from religion. Now because of first communions, funerals, the cultural heritage of Europe and the health of the Holy Father (with two capital letters), it seems that our beliefs have come to nothing and have been superseded. The same old thing for ever! But not in my case. Out of bitterness and rebellion I shall repeat: no gods and no masters! And what if there were a god in heaven? We would have to get him out of there, as Bakunin said.

1 Or Pope. In basque Aita Saindua
















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