So many readers have shared with me the one question they’d ask God. Thank you! Here’s another selection along with my comments. For the authoritative answers, you’re going to just have to wait for The Boss to get around to you.
Q: When I was 5 years old, I was in the family car coming home from Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and I saw God in the sky. I would ask God, “Why I was able to see you and what did it mean?” (I’ve never seen Him again.) — D.
MG: What did God look like? The problem with all theophanies (experiences of God) is that we never know if they’re hallucinations or the real deal. The deeper problem with your story is that it changes faith from something you believe in and trust in and hope for into something you saw on the way home from the beach. By the way, did you eat a hot dog from a beach vendor before you saw God? Just asking.
Q: My question would simply be WHY? Why did you do it? Obviously, this human experiment didn’t work out so well. Most of the world’s problems have been and still seem to be centered around religious differences. I have no complaints about the awesome planet, though. — J.
MG: So, let me get this straight: You’re uncomfortable with the religions that produced Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr., but you’re quite comfortable with a planet that produces hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis? We need to talk.
Q: My question would be, “If you sent us guardian angels, why don’t they protect abused children?” Suffering children tug at my heart. As a child, the only way I could sleep after thinking of them was to hope that the joy they felt in heaven after their deaths was so great that no memory of pain could exist. I still hope that. — D.
MG: I still hope that, too. We know that God gave us free will, and that most of the evil we see is the result of our misuse of that freedom. To stop evil would mean that God would have to end free will, and free will is the foundation not only of goodness but also of love. Still, the evil done to children haunts my thoughts, as well. It is the worst thing we do. I would surely ask God with you, “How can you cope with our evil choices?”
Q: After much thought, I would ask God, “Did you create life on other planets?” — B.
MG: Many of you asked this question, but personally it’s not a big one for me. I think it’s actually half of the real question. The other half is, “...and do they know of You?” Or perhaps, “...and do they have baseball and golf and pizza?” From my perspective, if they don’t have baseball, golf and pizza, I could care less if there’s life on other planets.
Q: I would ask, “Why is there no credible, objective evidence of the existence of any god?” — B.
MG: Once again, let me get this straight. You’re sitting in front of God, it’s your turn to ask a question, and you ask the God right in front of you, “Why is there no evidence that you exist?” I must be missing something.
Q: My question is, “What do you wish ME to do?” — R.
MG: I know the answer! Do good things.
Rabbi Marc Gellman answers religious questions. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org