(Original version in Hebrew by Naor Livne, may be found here)
The Daily Planet’s roof.
Superman is standing on the roof, looking down. Even an ordinary man with no super powers would notice the situation down below is far from ideal. The town is on fire, and in the few places still untouched by the fire, the citizens of Metropolis took upon themselves the task of enhancing the chaos with riots and looting.
The voice of Lois Lane is heard from behind: “Aren’t you going to do something?”
While her question is not really a surprise, his answer manages to surprise her: “No.”
“No? What do you mean ‘No’?”
“No means ‘No’.”
Just like that. Plain and simple. It looks like Superman has decided to quit the super-hero business. Exercising her journalist curiosity, she continues to question him: “But you are Superman! You can fix all that before dinner…”
“I’m through with this saving business. From now on I’ll just stand here on the roof and watch you humans kill, rape, steal and who knows what else.”
“What made you decide that? Has Lex Luther taken over your brain again?”
“Nope, it’s my own decision.”
— * — * —
Why indeed? This is the real question.
Superman does have the power to stop this thing in seconds, but he chooses not to do it, for reasons known only to him.
So what does that make him?
It makes him appear lazy. He can just move a finger and help the world – it wouldn’t require too much from him. It makes him a real sociopath. Enjoying the sunset with clouds of smoke in the background, while people suffer down below. It makes him evil. It’s a situation better fit for an evil character than for the superhero.
What does it tell us about him?
It means he is not a hero. A real hero helps when there is a need, rather than standing high above and watching the sunset, with clouds of smoke in the background. It means he is not good hearted. Someone with a good heart would help others in trouble.
— * — * —
But wait a minute! It’s clear that Superman would never do something like this. After all he is Superman – that’s his very name. So where does all this lead to?
Let’s explain this in two ways:
First: In the above text, replace the name “Lois Lane” with yours, and replace “Superman” with “God”.
Second: This version elaborates on the first one. Several comparisons can be drawn between God and Superman:
Both have super powers.
Both have the ability to make the world a better place.
Both have books written about them, describing their heroic acts.
Both are admired by many people worldwide (not necessarily those who purchase every Superman comic only never to take it out of the wrapper, but rather from the point of view of the “ordinary” people in Superman’s universe).
There are, of-course some differences as well:
Superman is not a god.
Superman uses his powers to help mankind (preventing floods, fires, earthquakes etc.) and if he fails, it’s because some things are beyond his powers, not because he doesn’t try.
— * — * —
The last difference must have infuriated quite a few readers, so let me explain the logic behind it: Unlike the story I told above, Superman would never step aside watching some disaster without attempting to help. God would.
How come I dare claim that God would just step aside and do nothing? How do I know he hasn’t saved many people in each of the disasters that happened to mankind?
God allegedly has the power to stop every catastrophe immediately. So immediately, in fact, that he can stop a disaster even before it claims its first victim. You see, God is allegedly almighty, but if he cannot stop disasters in this way, then he is not almighty.
Now I’m sure no one will argue with me about the fact that disasters do happen, and therefore we come up with only two possible logical conclusions:
1. There is no almighty god.
2. God exists, but chooses to stand on the Daily Planet’s roof, doing nothing.
— * — * —
Let’s concentrate for a moment on the second possibility, and return to Superman’s roof example.
I wonder what Superman’s admirers down below would think about him, once they find out that he could have stopped all this, but chose not to.
Will they be disappointed? No doubt.
Will they cease to “believe” in him? Probably yes.
However, when God stands up on the roof of the building and people down below die in fires, tsunamis, 9/11, the Holocaust – they not only don’t wonder why hasn’t God lifted a finger in the direction of saving them, but they even worship him.
Do they cease to believe in God as a result? Illogically, only a few do so.