Where we last left off, I posed the question of the significance of having a god in red pyramid world. And it is all about having an advantage, like a genie in a lamp. If there is a god and I know how to relate to him/her/it, then I have an extraordinary advantage in getting what makes me happy. God may even just give me what I want.
Here is part of the reason why people can be so defensive or insecure about their religious commitments. Disagreements over whose religion is right suggests that my approach to god may be less effective than someone else’s . . . or worse, what if my religion is wrong? Others may be securing more happiness from god while I fall behind or actually suffer loss as punishment from god. Thus, whether the advantage is god or a genie, there are also disadvantages.
If there is a god, how do I know what to do in order to have what I want from that god? Can I know god well enough to manipulate him and so be in control and thus get what I want—and thus, practically speaking, be god myself? On the other hand, if I fail somehow, not only might god punish me, but I also must carry around fear of failure or guilt when I have failed. Both emotions are contrary to happiness. If there is a god, I must also find a way to deal with other people’s opinions of god and their judgments against me, which could be how god feels.
God as a genie in a lamp sounds better and is thus a more popular notion of god—a sort of god that is a wall flower, lonely, insecure, wanting to be wanted and important to us. There are at least five problems with genies: First, you only get three wishes. What if you want things from god but he gets tired of giving? The second, third, and fourth problem with god as a genie is that he can’t kill anyone, make anyone fall in love, or raise the dead—the very three things our happiness might depend on. Fifth and most significantly, what if someone gets the lamp away from us? Now we are back to people’s nervous, irritable insecurity about their religion. Any evidence that you are right and they are wrong feels like you have the lamp and they don’t.