Smile Politely

Everyone Poops — Even God

There is an odd little book for children called Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi which was written for toddlers as they learn to be potty trained. Of course this book begs an extraordinary theological question for us heretics: If everyone poops, does this include God?

I know, it is a wretched if not blasphemous thought at worst and a juvenile one at best. It is not something that good Christians are supposed to talk about.

That’s why I like it.

Carl Jung was tormented by just such a thought at the age of twelve when he felt a terrible image trying to push its way into his consciousness. Jung resisted the thought for days until it had exhausted him. Finally, he gave in and allowed the vision to materialize. Jung described it in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams and Reflections:

I saw before me the cathedral, the blue sky. God sits on His golden throne, high above the world—and from under the throne an enormous turd falls upon the sparkling new roof, shatters it, and breaks the walls of the cathedral asunder. (p. 39)

People have always had lots of questions about God, particularly concerning God’s reasons for creating miserable things such as mosquitos, death and Republicans. And recently I was chatting with a lovely person on Facebook who posed such a question, “Why did God have to go and think up poop?”

Why, indeed?

There is not much in the Bible to shed any light on this subject. However, there is an interesting story in 1 Kings, chapter 18, that at least suggests that the gods may have needed to relieve themselves from time to time. This story describes a showdown between Elijah (and his God, Yahweh) and the priests of the god Baal. Elijah and the priests each prepared an offering on an altar and then prayed to their respective gods to send fire down from heaven to burn up the offering. Verse 27 illustrates, as the priests of Baal prayed without any result:

At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” (NRSV)

The Hebrew phrase that is translated here as “he is on a journey” was actually a euphemism for “he is going to the bathroom.” Thus, we have at least one scriptural reference to a god performing an unmentionable bodily function.

But the fact that this Hebrew phrase is usually innocuously rendered as “he is on a journey” tells us something about some religious folks’ aversion to bathroom humor and how they will change what the Bible actually said in order not to be embarrassed. Another example can be found in 1 Samuel 5:6, which says:

The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and struck them with tumors, both in Ashdod and in its territory. (NRSV)

The Hebrew word here translated as tumors, actually means hemorrhoids.

The God in the Bible had a great sense of bathroom humor, but the easily-embarrassed religious folks of our time have seen fit to get rid of this delightful deity.

Several years ago I was at a party with some of these prissy religious folks and I told this joke:

        Q: What town in Wisconsin sounds like a fart in the bathtub?
        A: Beloit.

I thought the pastor’s wife was going to come unglued as she went into a tirade about how inappropriate and unChristian-like bathroom humor was.

But I’m pretty sure I heard God laugh.

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