Since Amazon is taking forever to load the preview, I’ve taken it upon myself to provide some insights here:
This book is a work of fiction, and all characters and people mentioned are not based on real people or things. These facts must be given special consideration because there is a supporting character in the story referred to as “God.” To deflect potential accusations of blasphemy, the aforementioned character is not intended to be the God. The character is instead a fictional god who also happens to be named God. The role this fictional character plays is the all-knowing and omnipotent creator of the universe, the one whom people communicate with in their prayers.
(referenced end note:)
This character, God, was originally going to be named “Clapton.” The reason it was changed to “God” was because a convincing argument couldn’t possibly have been made that the name “Clapton” wasn’t referring to a specific being. Several decades ago, an apparent theological discussion resulted in the proclamation “Clapton is God.” With the similarities between the god in this book and the almighty Clapton, use of the name “Clapton” here might have implied blasphemy. It was decided that “God,” being more generic, was a safer name to use.
Now that that’s out of the way, readers of all religious persuasions can enjoy this book knowing that their personal deity isn’t being made fun of.
Prologue: In the Beginning
1. The Deal with Death and Judgment
2. How Not to Wake Up Dead
3. Immaculate Contraptions
4. A Dicey Pair in Paradise
5. Helical Heavenly Tour
6. You’re Welcome to Stay as Long as You’re Dead
7. Neck in The Clouds
8. There but for the Disgrace
9. Nightlife after Death
10. Trance and Mental Meditation
11. This Was Your Life (Part One)
12. Saint Michael Captured (On Video)
13. The Regrettable Rush to Limbo
14. Flying Low
15. I May Be Dead, But You’re Still Killing Me
16. Falling Angles
17. The Great Gag in The Sky
18. This Was Your Life (Continued)
19. Thank God for Beer
20. Hangovers, Butterflies, and Explosions
21. For Father’s Sake
22. Hot Crossover
23. Amber Lights
24. This Was Also Your Life
25. Flying Low Again
26. Lord of the Diner
27. There Is No Dog
28. Lucy in Disguise as Diamond
29. This Is Not Only a Test
30. The Moment of BS
31. The Ever Afterliving End
Appendix A: Top Ten Fun Facts about God
Prologue:In The Beginning
When God created life, he had no idea what he was doing. He never meant to cause so much suffering and grief; all he wanted to do was realize a greater part of his infinite potential. In the absence of inferior life-forms, being God wasn’t all that special.
His first attempts at life creation were problematic. Working in the vacuum of space, he’d conjure up a new life-form, and it would instantly die. He’d attribute the death to faulty design, make something else, and it, too, would die. After many failures resulted in a mounting pile of unique carcasses, he halted in frustration.
“Damn it!” he whined. “Why is life so hard?” It then occurred to him that life would stand a better chance of surviving if he created it as part of an ecosystem. And so God created Earth , whipped a bolt of lightning into the primordial soup, and watched with delight as simple life-forms emerged. Initial satisfaction gave way to boredom, and God grew weary of the simple life. He wanted more excitement and drama, a real struggle for survival. To that end, he crafted more complex creatures that made a better show of fighting, killing, and eating each other, as well as procreating.
In what is now known as the Mesozoic Era, God hit his stride with the creation of the dinosaurs. The giant reptiles were unprecedented achievements in biological design, built for the sole purpose of beating the snot out of each other, and they did it well. Epic dinosaur battles were all the rage on Earth for millions of years. The tyrannosauruses, stegosauruses, ichthyosauruses, and icky thesauruses were all distinctly fierce and bad-assed, and kept God entertained for nearly two hundred million years. He witnessed every fight possible within the pool of contenders, after which, the novelty faded.
Rather than let the dinosaurs loiter on the world stage as a bunch of has-beens, God decided they ought to go out with a bang. So he grabbed a passing asteroid and slammed it against the earth. Most dinosaurs went extinct, along with 75 percent of all other animal life on the planet. This one act, known today as the Cretaceous– Paleogene extinction event, established a precedent for how God handles situations when his creations fail to please him: he destroys them en masse and leaves a mess of collateral damage in the process— an uncouth tendency, but, as the Holy Bible has repeatedly confirmed, that’s how God rolls.
Looking down at the ravaged planet, the omnipotent one pondered his next move . “What now?” he thought, stroking his beard. “How can I possibly top the savagery of the dinosaurs?” It occurred to him that the key to fighting prowess might not be in greater physical strength, but in relatively greater intelligence. He created the human, an animal of comparatively puny stature, but mentally resourceful enough to commit such atrocities as to make dinosaur battles look like child’s play. So perfectly attuned was human intelligence that it allowed the maximum expression of primal instinct while restricting the ability to transcend it.
Unfortunately for God, as the collective human consciousness developed, people sought knowledge regarding the nature of their existence. Since they found nothing conclusive, they created religion. God became the answer to their existential questions, as well the answer to anything and everything humanity didn’t know. Recognition made God uncomfortable. No longer could he sit and watch the whole of humanity as one watches a circus act full of clowns. Being constantly worshipped and begged for mercy inevitably broke the fourth wall. It made no difference whether humans could perceive God. All the noise they made to get his attention had the same psychological impact.
Unable to withstand the guilt trip, God begrudgingly assumed the role of father figure to humanity. To maintain their devotion, he bestowed a few miracles every once in a while , and to keep them from getting complacent, he conjured up a disaster or two. At least, God thought, he could interact with people from a safe distance and prevent them from cramping his style. But when they came up with the idea of “Heaven,” he knew his days as a youthful and freewheeling deity were destined to wind down.
He wasn’t at all taken with the prospect of creating Heaven. “Why should I?” he asked himself. “If they spend all their lives thinking there’s an afterlife, and then they die and there isn’t one, who cares? They won’t suffer any real loss, and I won’t have to listen to anyone bitch about it.” As time wore on , however, God grew tired of eavesdropping on funerals, hearing people say the dead were “in a better place now” and knowing it wasn’t true. He despaired over a life-form he’d indirectly blessed with the faculties of reason accepting a fairytale as truth. Moreover, he saw himself as a loving God (in some perverse way) and couldn’t bear to deny his children the realization of such a strongly held belief.
After lengthy contemplation, he finally said “screw it” and put himself to the task of making Heaven. But before he could do that, he’d have to endow humanity with a life essence that was more than biological. Taking a cue from popular religious beliefs, he altered human DNA to include a “spirit” or “soul,” as they called it. This spirit was an immaterial expression of consciousness that became spatially focused once it exited the body at death. An incorporeal analog of the body it once occupied, the spirit was capable of functioning and communicating with other disembodied spirits.
There was only one drawback to the spirit that God couldn’t rectify. An object of consciousness, it would temporarily lose a great deal of knowledge acquired over the course of its mortal life. In the same way a complex computer program can be quickly transferred from one computer to another but requires time to install and execute, a lifetime of brain activity takes time to reconstruct in the spirit form. It was a trivial flaw in God’s eyes, as any amount of time compared to eternity is meaningless. But God realized soon enough that by creating a heaven, he’d opened up yet another can of worms. If people could live forever, what were they supposed to do with all that free time? What purpose would eternal life serve? God already had his grand arena of conflict on Earth; he didn’t need another one in Heaven. Driven to maintain his reputation as “supreme being,” God knew he had to come up with something good.
He decided that the purpose of this greatly extended life would be for human spirits to evolve to become beings almost as great as, but not quite as great as, himself. Since God considered his very self a perpetual work in progress, he would never have to worry about anyone eventually becoming greater than him ; he was already too far ahead in the game, and if anyone came too close and started getting all up in his face, he’d just serve them up a cosmic bitch-slap and cast them into a domain for spiritual rejects (later called “Hell”). Rarely did someone come along with the arrogance and stupidity to confront God. The first was Satan, and though the details of the conflict won’t be mentioned here, it goes without saying that God put him in his place. (Actually, Saint Michael did the dirty work, but God told him to.) Satan vowed to “get God back,” but understanding the inherent difficulty in defeating God, he took the passive -aggressive route to vengeance through corrupting the will of mortal men and women. He enjoyed the most success with politicians, lawyers, and corporate executives, although he never derived lasting satisfaction; corrupting people in those professions was so easy, he barely had to make an effort.
Ever a work in progress, Heaven grew remarkably over the centuries. The original Pearly Gates have long been torn down, and Saint Peter’s podium is now part of an exhibit at the Sacred Art Museum on Cloud 189. Afterlife rules and culture have also changed considerably. Angel wings , halos, and harps have been declared permanently unfashionable. Likewise, any choir that performs Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” runs the risk of being pelted with tomatoes as everyone is sick of hearing it. The transference of spirits from mortal to immortal existence, which includes the judgment of sins, has been overhauled as well. Current practices are complicated, and the only way to adequately explain it all is to use an actual, recent experience as an example. This experience can be thought of as an afterlife biography that begins at the moment of death and is written from the “other side.”