Letter from God
The following work was written by Shortridge High School student Mary Jo Easley, in the manner of a Kurt Vonnegut piece published in his book Palm Sunday. To learn more about Mary Jo and her thoughts behind the piece, scroll to the bottom of the essay.
It’s come to my attention that you’ve reached an unprecedented point in human history in which not only are you all lonelier than ever but also sadder. It seems the main issue is that you’re adrift in a sea of fallacies. I’ve seen and heard your struggles. To help you I will use your vernacular. Believe me, humanity may have tasted the fruit of knowledge, but I snack on that stuff all day long so I’ll try to keep things as simple as possible.
I’ve allowed a great deal of suffering to occur throughout human history. I’ve intervened little, there has been the Chicxulub meteors, the Black Death, countless natural disasters and wars, etcetera. The fact that I’ve chosen now to intervene should tell you that I’m greatly concerned for your race. Your gradual downfall is partially my fault, yes, but mostly, this is on you. Is it possible your poor treatment of yourself, others and Earth is an outcome of granting you free will? Maybe, in which case I guess that’s my bad (LOL).
I’ve certainly allowed too much to go unchecked and this is why you’re all so troubled and flawed. When I decided to upgrade you from simple vertebrates to humans, I thought you’d all just be grateful to move up from the bottom of the food chain. I suppose if I had only given you ideal character traits you’d all be sitting around content. Thanks for keeping me entertained with your own ideas. Now that’s enough about you, I’m the one you’re not familiar with.
Most of what theological scholars and others have “determined” about me is absolute malarkey. However, they were right about me being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. This can be interpreted as kind of creepy, but it’s intended purpose is to provide reassurance. Whenever you’re scared or lonely I’m there. Take it or leave it; your choice. This also means I hear your burning questions, “Am I naive for being an optimist?”, “Who is God?”, “Will there be a life after this one?”, and trust me, all of these questions are valid. Unfortunately, I can’t give precise answers to all of these questions as you’re still merely children incapable of handling the full truth, but I can give you basic explanations.
Whom am I? Please save yourself the energy of trying to personify me. All you truly need to know about me is that I’ve given each of you the chance to be of similar character. I’m referring to the characteristics: knowledgeable, good, sympathetic, merciful, wise, just, and truthful. These are timeless qualities that I highly recommend each of you strive to be. This task of striving to be of good character should also give purpose to your so-believed “meaningless” lives; plus some cute Instagram posts along the way if you know what I mean (#doitfordevine).
I’d also like to address that I’m not male, a father figure, or any sort of patriarch. If you’ll allow me to level with you, the entire idea of assigning a sex to every living being is rather rudimentary. Neuroscience confirms you’re dispositioned to identify patterns and categorize information; explaining your need to compare and contrast living beings. If after all these years you’re still struggling to treat all living creatures with equal respect because of their sex I can bang! make you androgynous asexual beings again. Don’t make me turn this evolution thing around.
The Bible, Quran, Sutras, Tanach, Vedas, and other religious texts aren’t my words, therefore, stop taking them as such. Any religion that has a message of division, superiority, or arbitrary obligations isn’t one worth supporting. A lot of people are squandering their lives either trying to please me or in contrast defying all that I stand for. There is a happy middle between these two extremes.
Whether this happy middle “new religion” I’m suggesting is a religion or merely a lifestyle based on a heartfelt moral code is debatable, but in all honesty, it doesn’t really matter.
At the end of the day, I want all of you to be happy, successful, and caring. Here are the commandments (rules) that if followed will allow you to live your best life:
- I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
- Honor thy father and mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
Excluding commandments 1, 3, and 9 each of these is just as relevant as they were back when I initially devised them. Everything I’ve done has been for you.
In today’s technologically advanced world it’s hard to truly have a day off. However, it’s good to slow down and appreciate what’s around you. After all, I included that 3rd commandment to help you.
I mention coveting your neighbor’s wife but don’t try to draw the conclusion that this excludes husbands as well. If someone has made the commitment of marriage, same-sex or otherwise (#loveislove), don’t be a snake in their garden party.
There will undoubtedly be fighting over this letter before any peaceful change, but keep this in mind: No human is capable of understanding me or the meaning of life. While it’s funny watching you toil with possible answers I’m here to say ‘no, not quite.’ Stop fighting over beginnings, meanings, and endings. Make the most of what you’ve been given and help and share your time with others.
Be kind, build bridges, and spread love. You might find the community and happiness you’ve been yearning for.
Peace be with you,
This exceptional piece was created by Mary Jo Easley. Mary Jo Easley is an 11th-grade student at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, IN. She likes to keep herself busy with clubs, golf, and movies, but when she gets a free moment, she enjoys picking up a good book or magazine. She enjoys Kurt Vonnegut’s writing in particular because of its witty language and insightful messages. She hopes to achieve the same characteristics in her own works as she progresses as a writer.
About the Letter:
Kurt Vonnegut’s autobiographical collage, Palm Sunday, is all about the impact of taboo language on society. Inspired by the novel’s chapter, “Religion,” I tackled many of the taboos related to religion, including the creation of life, the relationship between science and religion, and the power of God. Almost all of the taboo topics regarding religion I discuss were pulled directly from Vonnegut’s “Religion” chapter. I found his anecdotes and ideas in this chapter to be particularly provoking, which provided more than enough material to write about.
Pulling from my religious background, I purposely brought up certain taboo topics, knowing many in the religious community would find their mentioning absurd and unacceptable.
God and religion, in general, have historical origins. These teachings are relevant but ancient, and often hard to apply to modern life. I wanted this written task to address the taboo possibility that, at its core, religion is a valuable structure that’s been polluted by humans.
I considered many different text types but ultimately found that a letter from God would give me the freedom to say everything I wanted to say without diluting the message by trying to be politically correct, satirical, or informative. Writing from the unique perspective of God also provides a position of authority which, in a way, allows me to circumvent some of the criticisms someone might face if they were to write about the taboos I did. I mean, really, who would tell God not to mention race, or sex, or the creation of life? –Mary Jo Easley