Believers claim that God is omnipotent, the creator of heaven and earth. Occasionally in the Bible we see evidence of his powers – raining down plagues and destruction on people he didn’t approve of, making fire suddenly appear from nowhere, whisking a few favoured individuals up into heaven, turning a woman into a pillar of salt and other useful antics. Through Jesus, God supposedly raised people from the dead, fed hundreds with a few meagre supplies and, just to show he was no party-pooper, turned water into wine.
But what’s he been up to since then? Seems to me he’s been a tad shy and retiring for the last couple of thousand years. Although there have been plenty of opportunities for him to show his mighty power, thrill the faithful and confound the doubters, God seems to be resolutely sticking to the small stuff. These days he might help someone to find their car keys or pass an exam. Sometimes he does something a little more impressive, like helping someone to recover from a serious illness or injury when they weren’t expected to (although in most cases, people just die). But surely there’s so much more an all-powerful being could be doing?
God has been quite happy to allow rape, plunder, enslavement, torture, destruction and murder on a grand scale throughout the years. Did he stop the Inquisition in its tracks with a few nasty plagues? No. Did he swallow up the Nazis in the depths of the sea or the bowels of the earth before they had chance to fill the death camps? No. Did he step in to halt the genocide in Rwanda? No. Has he put an end to killer diseases such as malaria, typhoid or cancer? No. Did he put forth his mighty hand to stop the Asian tsunami, or protect millions from the effects of the Ethiopian famine? Did he divert Hurricane Katrina from her course to avoid death and destruction? Again, no.
In fact, what the hell has God been doing all this time? Has he lost his powers, or simply lost interest in us?
Just one more reason to believe that God is about as substantial as a puff of smoke and as likely to exist as pigs are to sprout wings and take to the sky.