Home > Social and Political Satire, Social Issues > Can God Make Something Heavier Than He Can Lift?

Can God Make Something Heavier Than He Can Lift?


I Asked This Question in Fifth Grade and Even the Pope Hasn’t Answered It. Maybe I Should Have Asked “She”?.

By Joe Bodolai © All rights reserved.

Wrapped in Thorns and In Flames? Is this a loving heart?

I just stared at the terrifying image of the burning Sacred Heart of Jesus on the wall above Father Franko’s head as he spoke to Sister Lucille’s Fifth Grade class at Holy Name School in Youngstown, Ohio. I stared.  It looked like an extracted human heart surrounded by thorns and flames. What does that mean?

Out the window, I could see that it was 10:00 a.m. at the stacks from the open hearth at U.S. Steel, where my father worked, or rather, used to work. The stacks belched their black soft clouds of gas into the air. They carried on without him. My dad. He died five days earlier.

“God is all powerful,” said the kindly priest, a reality show version of Bing Crosby in The Bells of St. Mary’s, a movie that makes me cry every Christmas. Seriously. Except now I think Ingrid Bergman is sexy hot and I imagine her in her Saint Victoria’s Secret lingerie.

Her mental image was replaced by the scary real presence of Sister Lucille, the Meanest Nun in School. We called her “Sister Lucifer.” No doubt she entered the convent because she was an Alpha Female, with her psychic tool belt. Her conversations with her fellow Brides of Christ likely included the words “suck my dick.”

“God is all powerful?” I thought. “So why can’t He bring my father back to life? Why did he kill him?” “He” had taken my wonderful dad from me the previous week and this was my first day back in school, still confused and aching with grief. My father died in the 130 degree heat of the blast furnace, an uninsured no previous condition heart attack no doubt served up as a main course after his usual appetizer of two packs of unfiltered Lucky Strikes a day. And hefty portions of fatty paprikacs Hungarian bacon in the role of the elegant hostess showing him to the Coronary Corner Table. Okay, but why now? He was just 42. Even Hitler lived to 56.

I couldn’t ask the questions I wanted to ask about my dad, but by my age, ten, I was really having some serious logical issues with the notion of God. I assumed that God’s power was for “good”, and was baffled why He was not winning in His apparent struggle against Lucifer to make our world a peaceful, happier place. After all, He was “all powerful” and should be able to cover any point spread. It seemed as if the battle between good and evil was way too evenly matched, about as evenly matched as the epic conflict between shirts and skins. If God is all powerful, shouldn’t Satan be coaching the moral equivalent of the Washington Generals?

Then it hit me. Catholicism, or any religion, has nothing to do with earthly reality or a struggle between Good and Evil. It is basically a real estate ad for an imaginary gated community called “Heaven.”

Life is bad. Heaven is good. Sign up now. No money down. Offer requires certain conditions including costumes, rituals, and political and social behavior. And then money every week in the collection plate.

So I raised my hand.

“Father, God can do anything, right?”

“Yes, of course Joseph. He’s omnipotent.”

“Well, if he can do anything, can God make something heavier than He can lift?”

Uh-oh.

“What?”

“Can God make something heavier than He can lift?”

The first of the many awkward pauses that would follow some of my utterances all my life turned the room into a freeze frame. In this momentary absence of time, this was in my brain:

  • If God can make something heavier than He can lift, then He is not “all powerful.
  • If God can’t make something heavier than He can lift, then He is not “all powerful”.
  • Therefore, the existence of an “all powerful God” is impossible.

In my mind, this was a question more legitimate than those discussed by medieval theologians, even Thomas Aquinas, and other scholars. It was often expressed as “how many angels can dance on the head of pin?” a question that made me wonder why the hell they’d want to do that rather than how many of them would sign up. And why was god a “he”? Did I miss that day? Moral heroes in my life were and always have been more women than men. I was just curious.

As stunning as a lightning strike, the punch line arrived. The metal edge of the wooden ruler that Sister Lucille carried for discipline smote me on the wrist bone. A twinge of pain shot up my arm with the osseous equivalent of licking a 12-volt battery. Blood slowly emerged from the new slit of flesh on my wrist. All eyes looked at me and the room seemed to spin. Not in the romantic comedy way where couples gambol barefoot in the fountain at Lincoln Center, but more like the way when you’re just about to vomit cotton candy, Sam’s Club grape soda, and French fries with gravy on a too-fast merry-go-round at the Possum County Fair kinda way.

My classmates’ eyes pointed at me in ridicule and pity, and I felt as if I were on the bad side of a cage, as if I were a baboon scratching my red ass and eating the lice. I would continue to have this enormous skepticism about everything related to “God” for most of the rest of my life. Once I started drinking, or rather, seeing what happens when girls were drinking, I developed even less respect for this traditional Catholicism or religion. Like the so-called “Immaculate Conception”: The “Virgin” Mary telling Joseph “honey, it’s a divine virgin birth, I swear! God is the father!”

Maury's Result? “God. You Are NOT the Father!”

Thing is, here’s what I believe: she’s a blackout drunk off in a stable with some badass shepherd boy who’s got a big old donkey and a quart of Johnny 3:16 distilled Tebow Tequila. I’ll bet if we go on Maury the result would be… “God. You are NOT the father!”

Look, Mary, just because you don’t remember it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  1. david
    March 2, 2010 at 9:40 am | #1

    a good question.

  2. Russ
    March 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm | #2

    Hey, you are a GOOD WRITER!

  3. April 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm | #3

    I think its a gr8 blog makes lot of sense u put a much thought into it

  4. Anonymous
    December 27, 2011 at 10:55 am | #4

    Golly. You had it all figured out when you were just a child. You’re probably, like, you know, really smart. Or something.

  5. Anonymous
    December 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm | #5

    Impressive and greatly missed.

  6. Ifjustone
    December 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm | #6

    Can “God” create something heavier than he or she or it can lift? First define “God.” The answer is yes and no at the exact same time. Think about it. Also. Alcoholics always have a lot of trouble with the “God” concept. All you really need to know to get sober is that IT ISN’T YOU. Pride kills more than alcohol. Surrender and win!

    • Tom
      December 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm | #7

      You’re a shithead, and your god agrees.

      • Anonymous
        December 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm | #8

        Hah! Guess I don’t take myself as seriously as I used to cuz your comment to my comment just made me laugh…

    • Anonymous
      January 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm | #9

      I agree with the other response in that you are a shithead. It doesn’t matter what you define god as, if you claim that he’s all powerful you might as well keep your fairy tales to your self. If the basis of your god, as is true for all the denominations of Christianity (and Judaism, and Islam), is omnipotence, then he should be able to make something heavier than he can lift, which voids omnipotence and therefore makes it impossible. Nothing, be it god, the universe, or some guy crucified two thousand years ago is omnipotent.
      And how can you be so ignorant as to lump all alcoholics into one boat and say they have a tough time with the concept of god. Ignoring the fact that all people are different and what works for one might not for another, it has nothing to do with pride. It has to do with the fact that people are suffering, we are all surrounded by suffering. What makes the difference is that some people try and escape from the suffering, through materialism, alcohol and other substances, others try and fool themselves into thinking there’s something better coming and it will all be worth while in the end, and some understand that if you just take a second to be aware, to live in your suffering, you might start to ask “what is suffering?” It’s nothing. Just a product of your body interacting with your mind/consciousness/whatever. People who try and “surrender” to god or what have you, will find that they’re constantly having to re-surrender. It works ok for awhile but sooner or later temptation catches up to them and they have to relive the whole ordeal of surrendering and telling themselves that they’re worthless and only god can help them. I’ll tell you first hand that, that is a waste of time. And the Bible which they get all that nonsense from has hardly a single fact in it. It is a fascinatingly rich historical document carried through thousands of years but that is all. It may as well be shelved along with the childrens’ nursery rhymes or the Greek and Roman gods and godesses. Read The Bible: A Bibliography by Karen Armstrong. If people would just stop chasing desires to escape from how they feel, and instead, tried to live in the moment and be aware, they would find suffering is only a way of thinking. To be content you just have to be.

      • Anonymous
        December 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm | #10

        I love you!

  7. Peter Nordström
    December 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm | #11

    sulla lulla sul sul say

  8. Anonymous
    December 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm | #12

    RIP Joe. Though I never knew you at all, or had even heard your name before, your writings have taught me a few things, and I thank you for the knowledge you have passed on.

  9. Amazing Gatoraide
    December 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm | #13

    Frail creatures that we are [mankind], who are we to judge our Creator? Sometimes we just need the right meds and frame of mind and not take things [like our Pride] so seriously.

    I’m very sad to hear about this man’s passing. Having never known about him, I decided to read up on his blog. I can’t say that “Wayne’s World” was anything inspiring or positive on a large scale. It’s difficult to understand when one lashes out against the wrong things in the world yet participating in the machine of Hollywood.

    God bless and God speed to heaven, may you find eternal peace.

    • December 28, 2011 at 8:40 am | #14

      After reading this entry you still think Joe was heaven bound? You should read his entry again.

      • December 28, 2011 at 10:47 am | #15

        We are not to judge where this man is in the afterlife. Only God knows, only God can judge him. Have some respect. He was a troubled man.

      • Anonymous
        December 14, 2013 at 7:00 pm | #16

        Yes, cunt, Joe is in heaven.

      • Anonymous
        December 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm | #17

        Yes, Joe is definitely in heaven. You should read the bible again.

  10. Aimeeboz
    December 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm | #18

    I never knew who he was until I read about his suicide. Yet in his death his wisdom and insight has impressed upon me

  11. Lina
    December 28, 2011 at 1:48 am | #19

    whelp…he off to hell…! I’ll pray for him though. Amen

    • Frank
      December 28, 2011 at 7:59 am | #20

      Nobody cares about your mystic bullshit Lina. Even if hell existed, as described in your superstitious scripture, what would prayer accomplish? You’re so stupid, you don’t even understand your own bullshit.

      • Anonymous
        December 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm | #21

        amen brother

    • Tim
      December 28, 2011 at 8:05 am | #22

      Lina, you are a piece of shit. Go fuck yourself and your superior morality. Who are you to judge where anyone is going? You aren’t God and God doesn’t need you as his spokesperson.

      Judge not lest ye be judged is one thing the bible never taught you.

    • Jon
      December 30, 2011 at 5:50 am | #23

      Lina, your comment is disrespectful to Joe and so primitive to apply mythology to his situation

  12. julzrael
    December 28, 2011 at 9:49 am | #24

    I hate to see a clever, funny, witty, and insightful person commit suicide. It doesn’t provide hope for the rest of us, who are most likely worse off in those areas. It is too bad that, even with his intelligence and wit, he couldn’t bear this vicious, painful world, couldn’t find a light of his own to keep him strong & protected, until a less-orchestrated end would pull shut his curtain. Ignorance, perhaps, is truly bliss. The ignorance to not be able to comprehend the every-day ugliness of the world, and the ignorance to be able to just turn your back & act like it isn’t happening, to – somehow – let it all go. To buoy oneself up on the intense Beauty that’s here…and just keep going. Poor man. I don’t know how it is done, but I certainly hope the rest of us can do it. If there is such a thing as an actual, working blessing, then may he and his loved ones be blessed, well into the next world and whatever it brings. *No one* really knows for sure. Gods bless and help us all.

    • Tammy
      December 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm | #25

      This.

      • Anonymous
        December 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm | #26

        That.

        And Dear Joe,

        I grew up in Brooklyn in the early eighties loving Piscopo …not that way, sheesh. (Digression: isn’t it about time my spell two thousand and eleven spell checker recognizes a misspelled Piscapoe? The man effectively raised this white-boy wanna-be comic. Or was that you?)

        …Crystal, Murphy, Belushi and all the burning stars of Saturday night brought me up.

        So, thank You Joe for all you let pass through you. We hardly knew ya. But we are saying goodbye tonight.

        Love and Warm wishes wherever you are,

        A Brooklyn Joe

  13. Al
    December 29, 2011 at 9:48 am | #27

    A good answer: I don’t know. Ask Him.

  14. December 29, 2011 at 11:20 pm | #28

    This is so terribly offensive to me. People should not be allowed to so brazenly use hate speech like this whether it’s in regards to christianity, islam, for being black, brown, white or purple.

    • Anonymous
      January 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm | #29

      Haven’t you heard of freedom of speech? Would you rather the police monitored websites like this (oh wait… they already do that!) and punished those who spoke their minds. If it offends you don’t read it. Or, maybe you could take a stand for yourself and intelligently argue against what they are saying instead of whining about it. People like you are the reason society is crumbling

  15. sillyangel777
    December 30, 2011 at 2:07 am | #30

    violetaflores (@violetaflores) :
    After reading this entry you still think Joe was heaven bound? You should read his entry again.

    who are we to judge another man’s servant, I pray he is with the Father. It is not his fault he was hit as a result of asking a genuine question in stead of taught to seek God for the answer. That was clearly something that hurt him and pushed him away from the creator who gave his son to save him… I pray this man is finally at peace!

  16. sillyangel777
    December 30, 2011 at 2:11 am | #31

    Tim does that make you a piece of shit?

  17. December 30, 2011 at 9:16 am | #32

    A sad thing to read about. I didn’t know of him either but love all of SNL. Humor and comedy often conceal excruciating emotional pain. If it’s any consolation, things aren’t all what they seem. Those who appear to have it all may have it worse than you or me.

  18. gurgle
    December 30, 2011 at 9:35 am | #33

    Wayne’s World.. Wasn’t that the dark comedy of two basement dwellers who gave each other hand jobs and blow jobs and their fake wigs fell off so they had to have anal sex on the kitchen stove?

    • Anonymous
      January 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm | #34

      That comment has absolutely no business here. Grow up.

  19. Paul Richardson
    December 31, 2011 at 3:45 am | #35

    For the record, Thomas Aquinas actually did discuss this very question. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnipotence_paradox

    • December 31, 2011 at 4:37 am | #36

      Paul, thanks for the web site discussion on omnipotence paradox. Joe was right up there with in-depth thinkers at an early age. Never heard of Joe before his suicide. What a wonderful writer sans his perception of organized religion. People, including misdirected nuns do not make a religion bad. Of course, maybe Joe had an impudent smirk on his face when he asked the question. My hands were smacked with a ruler by nuns doing their “class action” punishments. Rest in Peace Joe.

  20. August 7, 2012 at 12:06 am | #37

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    What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & aid other customers like its helped me. Great job.

  1. December 27, 2011 at 10:10 am | #1
  2. December 29, 2011 at 5:41 am | #2
  3. December 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm | #3

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