Atheist died and found himself before God. God smiled at him more affectionately than any human being had ever done while he was on the earth.
“I never imagined you existed outside human illusions and delusions.” Atheist said with his usual candour having overcome his surprise.
“On the earth,” God said slowly as if he was pondering over each word he uttered, “I don’t exist much except in human illusions and delusions.”
“Oh!” God’s reply was another surprise for Atheist.
“Do you think if I actually existed on the earth as I really am there would be so much evil perpetrated in my name?”
“Evil,” said Atheist. “And that too in your name. That is exactly what me lose faith in you.”
“I know. Because you had no faith in me, you were a good human being. What if you had also started fighting in my name?”
“Where am I?” Atheist looked around.
God laughed. “In the presence of God.”
“Call it what you wish. Names matter little here.”
Atheist hesitated for a while and then asked, “I’m not sure I’d be happy here.”
“I’m not sure I’d like to be with religious people.”
“There are no religious people here. Very few reach here after death and most of them are atheists, agnostics and other genuine seekers. Even here they go around finding their own ways of existence. You are totally free here to do what you wish.”
“What about religious people then? All those who fought, killed and died for you?”
“Everyone reaches the kind of hell or heaven that they have created for themselves.”
“Didn’t you create hell and heaven?”
God laughed. “Illusions.” He paused and then said, “Hell or heaven – it’s the individual’s choice.”
Atheist pondered a while. “Why did you create human beings?”
“Creation is not a choice. Creation is an unfolding of what lies within one.”
Atheist felt sympathy for God.
Atheist Before God was my suggestion for Indispire Edition 139. The topic found only one taker. The topic lingered on in my mind and here’s the result.