This is part of a talk that I gave last night at a debate in NUI Maynooth on the motion ‘That This House Would Kill God.’ I argued that I would not kill God if he existed, as I don’t believe in capital punishment, but that, as he is a fictional character, I would write a sequel that writes him out of the plot. As part of my talk, I told this parable that was revealed to me by the fairy Tinker Bell.
Once upon a time our favourite god is living in Supernatural Land with all of the other gods. All of the gods are competing with each other to win believers on earth, by a combination of promises and threats and magic tricks. Some of the people on earth believe that there is only one god, and some of them believe that there are a lot of gods, and some of them believe there are no gods.
But sometimes some of the gods gets weaker, and can’t continue to do their magic tricks, and people on earth become less convinced by their promises and less afraid of their threats. And sometimes, tragically, one of the gods becomes so weak that he or she dies, and his or her followers have to turn to another god or else become atheists.
Naturally, the gods sometimes wonder what happens when they die. Some of the gods believe that there is an afterlife beyond Supernatural Land, and other gods believe that is just wishful thinking and that there is nothing after gods die. And some of the gods believe that they have made contact with gods who are dead, and they conduct seances to try to get messages.
Then our favourite god finds himself getting weaker. And more of his believers on earth are turning to other gods or becoming atheists. So our god goes to a supernatural spiritualist to try to find out what happens after he dies. And the spiritualist conducts a seance, in which they make contact with a fairy called Tinker Bell.
Tinker Bell tells our god that he can stay alive, but only if people continue to believe in him. She explains that it is not the case that people are stopping believing in him because he is getting weaker, instead it is that he is getting weaker because people are stopping believing in him.
Our god asks Tinker Bell what he can do to make more people believe in him. And she says that he can’t do anything, that people are increasingly paying more attention to reason and evidence, and that he will have to accept that. So our god, who is now a wise god, accepts his fate and dies peacefully.
And as he dies, he sees a bright light and Tinker Bell brings him into his afterlife, where he meets all of the other dead gods, as well as Batman and Superman, and Dorothy and the Wizard, and Peter Pan and Wendy, and all of the other fictional characters that nobody believes are real.
And they say to him, welcome to Fiction Land. You’re now in a different part of people’s brains. Supernatural Land contains invented ideas that the brain believes are real, and Fiction Land contains invented ideas that the brain realises are fictional. But don’t worry, you can have as much influence on people while you are here, as you did when they believed you were real.