By Fabia Morger
Richard Dawkins (further called: RD) – moments after his death by a fatal stroke
The Maker (further called: M) – receiving RD in the afterlife
The scene is some ominous unearthly place of no clear shape. Richard Dawkins enters the scene in his pyjamas looking sleepy and bewildered. M, already present, approaches him.
RD: Where am I? Who are you?
M (in an awkward attempt at being humorous): Well, guess who!
RD: Hmm… you could be one of my fans – one of those young enthusiastic students who have read all my books around twenty times. Are you here for an autograph?
M (looking very uncomfortable): Erm, no. Sorry, I think I shouldn’t have let you guess. I’m afraid, I’ve got bad news for you. Last night you suffered a fatal stroke and – well, there’s no easy way of saying this – you died. So, here I am – your Maker!
RD (dumbfounded): What?!
M: Oh, believe me, I get that a lot. As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten that astonishment about a thousand times only during the last split second. Nobody has ever not been disappointed in my appearance! I have kind of been hoping that you, as an atheist, wouldn’t have your hopes up too high.
RD: I didn’t. Actually, I’m just amazed that I’m still around! (staring at M) So, you are supposed to be the creator? Of life, the universe, everything?
M (embarrassed): yes, I guess so. A long time ago, I thought it might be nice to have some other thinking entity around me. You know, it got a bit lonely with just me and nothing else around, so I created all that stuff. I created the stars, space and the physical laws and all that; and, with that, I also created the Earth. Then I just waited for what would turn out eventually. I had pretty high hopes, I have to say, and, for the first few billion years, things went pretty well all over the universe. And then, when the humans finally came along, I thought: “great! They seem to have turned out pretty well, maybe we could meet up every now and then and have a chat!” But, of course, nothing went as planned, there. I have to say, humanity turned out to be my biggest disaster yet!
RD: How can you say that?! If you’re truly the maker of the universe, this is all your responsibility! All those wars and other disasters… Why didn’t you fix it?! I mean – you’re God!
M (shamefully looking down): Oh please don’t call me “God”! It makes me feel terribly aware of all the pressure humans put on my shoulders. But yeah, you’re generally right, it is my responsibility. Did you ever in your life try to draw a dog and you gave it a really cute head but then, when you moved on to drawing the back and the paws, it got all messed up and, in the end, instead of having a painted dog you ended up with a monster that had mismatched legs and an overly long tail?
RD (confused): Huh?
M: That’s about how my creation of the universe went! I tried my best, I really did, but it just didn’t turn out the way I thought it would! And all that talk about me being omnipotent – how could I be?! If I was, I would have cleaned up that miserable place called Earth years ago!
RD: That’s what I have kept telling people for the last fifty – (he interrupts himself) So, what you are saying to me is that, while you were powerful enough to create something as immense as the universe, you do not have the capability to put in order this tiny little planet Earth?
M (unhappily): I have to admit, making things is easier than fixing them. I mean I thought the humans would offer me some sort of thought exchange, that’s why I initiated their creation in the first place, but they turned out to be mostly just awful individuals! And the stuff they do in my name! The stupidity! Nowadays, I just hope all of this will soon be over due to some major environmental disaster or something – not that I have any power to initiate that!
RD (upset): Oh, I really have to say I would have preferred the inexistence of a deity to the existence of you!
M: I know. You made that pretty clear in all those TV-shows you appeared on! Still, I prefer you to those crack-headed religious nutters that went around not eating shellfish or avoiding premarital sex for my sake! I hate it when they turn up here and I have to teach them that heaven’s not gonna happen.
RD: But how could you? How could you have let those people believe in such crap when you were right here watching them suffer from your incompetence?!
M (frustrated): As I said – I’m NOT omnipotent, for God’s sake – there, now I’ve said the word myself!
RD: I understand but still – I think even I could have done a better job than you! If I had only built every human being in the world exactly like me we would have avoided centuries of religious wars!
M (sarcastically): Oh, I’d like to see you try! Maybe, in your next life, you get to be God and I get to be one of your creatures complaining about your faults!
RD: So this is what’s going to happen? Reincarnation?!
M: Well, no. I’ve just been picking up some of those phrases you humans are using.
RD: So what is it, this unexpected afterlife?! Where am I going? I hope you didn’t mess that up as badly as you messed up the human race!
M (shamefully): I’m afraid that is the worst part. I really got the afterlife wrong.
RD: Oh no.
M (hesitantly): You see, I actually wanted the afterlife to be in a non-place! So that your deceased soul would be nowhere, if you understand what I mean.
RD (bitterly): That would have been a good idea!
M: Well, turns out you can’t do it once you’ve created space! Then, I thought I could create some sort of heaven and hell thing – since so many of you humans seem to be so fond of the thought of people getting punished after death! I had some really good ideas how to torture people in hell. The people in heaven would just have endless sex- and food-orgies without any feeling of shame or regret! (sighs) But when it came to the sorting – it’s a sheer impossibility! I mean: is someone who committed a terrible crime but spent a long time in prison still guilty and evil? And what’s with all the people who committed something bad but wouldn’t have if they had lived under different circumstances? I mean, can you blame them? And what about all those individuals who carelessly destroyed the environment but, at the same time, would never have hurt a fly? Man, it gives me a headache just to think of it right now!
RD: I see. But why on earth did you have to make an afterlife at all, then? Couldn’t you just have let everybody die properly without anything happening?
M (sarcastically): Oh, clap, clap! Richard Dawkins enters my realm and, within a few seconds, comes up with the perfect solution on what to do with the dead! Don’t you think I would have loved to do that?! People just tend to have such big expectations in the afterlife that I felt this obligation to give them at least something! So, I created a big public bathroom to store all the deceased. I tried to make it a clean one but I accidentally added the smell of piss and occasional pubic hair on the floor. I guess that’s where you’re going to hang out for the rest of your – well, for all eternity!
RD (increasingly outraged): Oh no! I am not going to spend my afterlife in a dirty public toilet! If there is an afterlife, at least make it clean!
M: Yeah, I get that a lot, too! So, anyway, there’s a supernova going on a few light hours away and I’d rather see that than endure that tragedy called human life any longer. So why don’t you just go ahead and settle in, while I’m off?
RD (suddenly hopeful): Hang on a second! This isn’t just one of those terrible nightmares I’m having while taking a nap on my couch?
M: Nope. Sorry!