Lilith’s Rant: Barbara G. Walker

by Barbara G. Walker

LILITH SPEAKS: Hey there, Yahweh, Jehovah, God, Allah, whatever pseudonym you’re using these days. It’s me, Lilith, the one you dethroned and tried to marry off to that jerk Adam—that clod who never even learned how to make love properly. Fat lot of good he must have been to Wife Number Two, poor old Eve. I’m back, Buster, and I’ve been watching you for a couple of millennia now. You’ve got a lot to answer for. You’ve been screwing up right, left, and diagonally.

GOD SPEAKS: Why, Lilith, what are you doing here? My followers turned you into a demon long ago. You have no right to come back.

LILITH: I have more right than a johnny-come-lately like you, Sport. You know perfectly well that I was Queen of Heaven back there in Sumer and Akkad, thousands of years before anybody heard of you. As for the demon thing, all that Night-Hag nonsense and pretending that I took away men’s souls in wet dreams, why, you also know perfectly well that it was just a ploy to make guys fear their own physiology—and that of women, even more. Do you know how much human agony your miserable anti-sex campaigns have caused?

GOD: Well, agony is good. The more they suffer with patience on earth, the better I like them and reward them in the after-life. I made that clear, back there in the story of Job, if you’ll remember.

LILITH: After-life, is it? A promise you never have to make good on: very convenient, Yah. And let me tell you, those bible stories made nothing clear. They caused so much confusion, contradiction, and misinterpretation that folks have never stopped fighting over them. They are the fuzziest mess of myths ever put together, and you know it. You’d think a god pretending to be omnipotent would at least be able to write a comprehensible set of instructions for whatever he wants people to do. But you—far from it. Your scriptures created more chaos than any other single cause.

As for Job, you know he wasn’t rewarded in any after-life; he got over his ills and tragedies right here on earth. You know who didn’t get over them? All of Job’s innocent relatives and servants and animals, that’s who—all murdered by you, just so you could win a stupid bet.

GOD (huffily): It wasn’t a stupid bet. It was intended to prove that faith in Me is a human’s most important quality.

LILITH: Yeah, and just what do you think faith in you consists of? Believing that you exist? Or believing that you mean well but can’t make it stick? Or believing that you are scary and meaner than a junkyard dog? As I recall, you like to order people to fear you.

GOD: Now, that’s not fair. I am the God of love and compassion and forgiveness and truth.

LILITH: Is that so? How much love and compassion did you have for all the world’s creatures when you changed your mind and repented having made them, so you decided to slaughter them all in a universal flood? And speaking of truth, you know that dreadful story was simply plagiarized from all those older flood heroes with their arks, Uta-Napishtim and Manu and Atrakhasis and Ziusudra and Deucalion. You knew it was nothing but a silly myth, and you let those poor mortal fools wrack their brains for centuries, trying to figure out how Noah managed to collect all the polar bears and arctic foxes and Australian kangaroos and Chinese pandas and American possums and llamas and all the other thousands of land species from all over the world, and get them into a boat that would have had to be bigger than the state of California to hold them, and all their fodder for five months, and extra animals for the carnivores to eat. Why, the load of dung alone would have been enough to sink the boat in a couple of weeks, even if it was bigger than California. Truth, indeed!

GOD (loftily): Believing the Word of God without quibbling is a good thing. You don’t understand that myths serve a purpose when believers can take them literally without questioning the details. It makes them use their faith.

LILITH: It makes them not use their reason, if they have any. And you know that your flunkies on earth did all kinds of rewriting and reinterpreting in an effort to make the Word of God sound reasonable, and failed miserably. Besides, where was all the love and compassion when you ordered that any bride found not to be a virgin must be killed; and all those thousands of Moabites and Amorites and Jebusites and Canaanites and several dozen other nations must be slaughtered down to the last infant; and you had children torn apart for making fun of Elijah’s bald head; and you massacred thousands of Egyptian children after deliberately “hardening” Pharaoh’s heart so you could do it; and you told every follower to murder any of his own family members if they happen not to believe in you; if all those victims were God’s children also, their old dad was a pretty nasty piece of work, I’d say.

Then there was that nonsensical business with Abraham, whom you ordered to kill his son Isaac as a sacrifice to you, and the yellow-livered old phony actually agreed to do it, instead of telling you to bug off, as any decent parent would have done. Then, mind you, as the knife is coming down on the kid’s throat, you holler, “Just kidding!” and trot out a ram to be sacrificed instead.

What’s more, to this day the Muslims not only believe the truth of Old Testament stories, they also believe their own version, which has you telling Abraham to do the same thing to his other son Ishmael, whom they think might have been the first Muslim. So, not only is your favorite, Abraham, so dumb that you can play the same trick on him twice; he is also dishonest, and a pimp, selling his wife Sarah to the Egyptians in return for money and real estate. You’ve allowed millions of people to believe that this pseudo-patriarch was a real person, when all along you knew he was just another name for Father Brahma (Ab-brama), an ancient import from India to the Middle East. You’ve got a ton of nerve to think you can talk about truth.

And as for love and compassion, what kind of love and compassion drove your sycophants to torture and burn nine million people during the Inquisition’s heretic-hunts, and mount bloody crusades against millions more? I hear that Adolf Hitler was a big fan of your love and compassion. So was Torquemada. So were thousands of other church-sponsored sadists. I suppose you think it was love and compassion that inspired you to invent the cruelest hell ever envisioned. It’s been said any God who would create a hell for his children should be the first one burned in it. Your so-called love is just about as worthless as your so-called truth.

GOD: The concept of hell is very useful. It has kept many people away from sin. LILITH: Kept them away from sex, you mean, which is mostly what your servants have been going on about for two thousand years. But it never seemed to prevent much in the way of rape, murder, extortion, wife-beating, pedophilia or ecclesiastical thievery. Your clerics were the worst robber barons in Europe’s history, remember? You find it easy to forgive them, but you can’t forgive a couple of horny sixteen-year-olds who think they’re in love?

GOD: Lilith, Lilith. You’re angry at having been diabolized, so you look at the dark side of everything. Can’t you admit that my followers have also done a great deal of good in the world? Didn’t they convert the heathen and bring them a better life?

LILIITH: Sure, they also brought diseases, slavery, economic exploitation, Mother Hubbards to cover up their previously comfortable nakedness, and “armies of the Lord,” like the Spaniards, to massacre all the heathen who didn’t want to be converted. Sorry, old boy. The equation doesn’t balance when you add it all up. The only reason your toadies maintain their hold on the world is that they’ve managed to hush up nearly all the bad stuff that went on, and keep it out of the history books. Like old Eusebius said, “holy lying” is the church’s best advantage. If people were actually educated about even a fraction of the crimes you condoned, you would be seen as the devil’s better half.

GOD: You are far too vituperative, like any woman scorned, I suppose. Didn’t I send my dearly beloved son to earth to redeem all of fallen humanity?

LILITH: Oh, come on, not that again. You’re trying to claim that a father who demands his son’s death can pretend to be a good father? And that an allegedly all-powerful god has to insist on somebody’s blood before he can manage to forgive some primal misdemeanor involving a fruit tree? If you really wanted to save humanity from hell, Mr. Omnipotent, why not just eliminate hell? Why this cruel, cumbersome, and ultimately ineffective ritual, copied from all those old Middle-Eastern savior gods that were killed and resurrected every year for ages before anybody ever heard of your so-called son? And parenthetically, if all men were sons of God, how come that one was your “only-begotten”?

What did it mean, after all, to save humanity from hell? If Jesus’s death was supposed to do that, how come hell went right on receiving applicants century after century? What kind of idiots would call that “salvation” for all humanity?

One of your earthly pets, the sainted Thomas Aquinas, wrote that your blessed saved ones in heaven will take the greatest pleasure in having a perfect view of the tortures of the damned. If I were a human, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near a heaven filled with people of that sort. Having to spend eternity with a bunch of smug sadists and fundamentalist nincompoops wouldn’t be my idea of heaven—it would be poison pie in the sky, buddy.

GOD: All the same, you can’t deny that I’ve triumphed over you and your fornicating priestesses and your Great Mother clones. You’re yesterday’s news, Lilith. You’ve been forgotten.

LILITH: Not quite, old man. These days there are people reading my original texts, and learning what a hoax you have perpetrated. And even those who aren’t reading are beginning to see that, while you claim to be responsible for all the world’s goodness and beauty, you are just as responsible for viruses, tapeworms, cancer, tuberculosis, boll weevils, flash floods, dysentery, malaria, AIDS, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and all other “acts of God.” You also claim to have made a human species that is doing its best to make the planet unlivable for all the other species. You call that good planning?

GOD: People simply don’t understand God’s plan for the world. But there are many who are trying to explain it.

LILITH: Yes, and every one differs from every other one, thanks to your self-contradictory scriptures and all the contradictory theological pronouncements that followed them. Your bible taught false ideas about how the world began, and had green plants existing before there was sunlight, and rain coming from holes in the sky, and a flat earth, not to mention talking bushes and donkeys, rabbits that chew cuds, dry bones coming back to life, blindness cured by spit, and a hundred other flimflams. You led your churches to deny the earth’s orbit around the sun, for nearly 400 years after Copernicus and Galileo proved it. Do you really think it’s beneficial for people to believe nonsense?

GOD: Miracles and marvels capture their attention. They find it easier to believe the unbelievable than to comprehend the proven. Logical thinking isn’t easy for my people, you know. Millions, even now, are determined to know as little as possible about scientific facts. Spiritual folks aren’t interested in reality, and it’s small-minded of you to question their faith just because they don’t want to put it to the test of literalism.

LILITH: Come off it, Yah. You know that’s rubbish. Ignorance can masquerade as spirituality but that doesn’t make it any smarter. And smarts are all the humans have going for them, if they are ever going to learn to live with one another and with the rest of their home planet in some kind of peace. Their Onward-Christian-Soldier, kill-the-infidel, overpopulate-the-earth kind of mindset is going to make them self-destruct, sooner or later, and you know it. That’ll be good news for the rest of the biomass, but guess what, Yah? You’re going to go with them.

GOD: No! That’s not what I meant, at all! You haven’t understood my plan!

LILITH: What plan? None of the humans seem to have understood it either; they are forever telling each other different versions of what they think your plan is, and never agreeing on it. Maybe some day they will get the real picture, and realize that the universe is bigger than anything they can imagine, and that you and I and all the other deities are just products of their own little brains, and that they’d better remake both of us in more user-friendly patterns before the excess of you, and the lack of me, manage to make them destroy each other forevermore. And guess what then, hotshot? When the human species dies, you die too. They are the only power keeping you alive. Here’s the real scoop on you, old sock: like Marley’s ghost, you are a figment of the imagination; you are a daydream—or more precisely, a nightmare; you are a male ego projected into the sky where nothing manlike has ever lived; you are a fable, a monster, a bogeyman, a supernatural in a world of nature that never has had anything super, except in the human mind.

You need to learn a little humility, bozo. That which made you can also unmake you. Look at me. Here is what they used to call the All-Seeing Eye, which you diabolized into the Evil Eye of Lilith and her succubi. Look, wise guy. Know that I am your elder and your source, and you’d better remember that. Look. Look.

GOD: No! No! Stop! Yahhhhh. . . .

Barbara G. Walker is author of the monumental feminist/freethought sourcebook The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (1983). Her many other books, published by Harper & Row, include The Skeptical Feminist. An atheist, she has also specialized in debunking New Age assertions.

Freedom From Religion Foundation