In my early teens, I was bashful and contemplative in public but brash and argumentative when alone, talking to God. Growing up in a strict and disciplined Christian Brothers’ school environment, it was natural that there were conversations about God. And there were many conversations with God, although He contributed zero input to any topic and remained silent to any of my questions. Maybe He did but I mistook them as my ideas? Nah, there were too many discussions and arguments that couldn’t be reconciled, He simply didn’t say a word. Whenever I opened my heart to him and shared with him my innermost thoughts and deliberations, he never showed up. Too busy, I suppose. Who was this inconsequential, scrawny bespectacled boy anyway? Why would the Almighty be distracted from incomparably important quests and conquests to tend to an insignificant boy who may or may not believe in him?
In the early 1970’s, I read about people in Hong Kong eating the brains of live monkeys. Their cruelty and callousness was too much for me to swallow. At the time, I had gone off meat, after my pet chook was turned into a main dish for a Chinese New Year party. A personal choice, being a pescetarian. Those who choose to be omnivorous have an absolute right to eat animals, as long as the killing was as humane and stress-free for the animal as possible. To partake in a meal in which the dish is still alive and screaming isn’t right nor can it be a right no matter what the argument is. At the height of my consternation and distress, I asked God why He allowed such awful cruelty to happen. He gave us free will? How far does He allow free will to be exercised? Absolute and limitless? Even humans have the wisdom to allow freedom but with some constraints attached. We value free speech but detest hate speech. We are free to exercise our right to free speech so long as we do not engage in speech that will provoke others to inflict harm on people due to their race, colour or creed. Why would God allow total free will without any safety clauses?
The all-knowing Almighty God would know that a crime was about to be committed before it was actioned. He would know the monkeys were about to be scalped and realise without a sliver of doubt that their brains were about to be exposed well before the cook even took out his saw and kitchen knives. And if God happened to be too preoccupied with some major disaster at the time, he could have dispatched his guard dogs to stop those who were about to commit the hideous act. Those were my ideas at the time, and I vigorously debated them with God. The cook had free will to open up the skulls of live monkeys. The diners had free will to eat the monkeys’ brains. But, there wasn’t any need for God to allow the suffering of the monkeys to occur. As soon as it was established beyond any reasonable doubt that the crime would soon be committed, God’s dogs could have been dispatched to capture the culprits.
The movie “The Minority Report” came out in 2002. The theme of the movie cast my mind back to the “eat monkey-brain” episode of my life during which God’s dogs would police the world and stop crimes against animals before they happened, stamping the undeniable existence of God. In the movie, three Precogs could look into the future and foresee any crime well before it is committed. Would-be criminals would be arrested before any harm is inflicted on the public. It was a world free of crime therefore, stamping the undeniable existence of a powerful authority.
I was so pleased with myself for coming up with such a fresh idea years before Steven Spielberg made the movie. Today, I wanted to find out who wrote the story, but was crestfallen to discover the story was written by Philip K Dick in 1956!