An Imagined Conversation

The United States is an interesting place, said God. I like it.

But why?

You are a really strange group of people; but you’re very nice.

Nice? Isn’t that a bit, well, imprecise?

Not at all. It’s very particular. Consider. You value freedom. I value it more than just about anything else. That’s why I gave Adam and Eve the choice about eating or not eating from that tree; if I didn’t value freedom I wouldn’t have allowed them to choose poorly.


So, you have learned to treat people well. Unlike just about everyone else. Of course you didn’t start out that way; you’ve grown. I understand why you get down on yourselves a lot for how you treated the Native Americans and how you treated the Africans that you enslaved.

So how can you call us nice?

You repented. You were going in a bad direction, the same direction everyone else in the world was going and had been going—and then you stopped. You turned around and started going a different way. So you changed. And you’re still working at changing your ways, becoming more decent, more just. You work on it all the time. Not something anyone else does very much. In fact, most of the rest of the world spends their time gossiping about your house instead of looking to their own houses. They enjoy judging you for your past sins, so they can pat themselves on the back for their perceptiveness. They criticize you for every little fault and feel better for it. Oddly, they never treat themselves with that same kind of harshness they reserve for you. They think they’re perfect in every way. You never do.

We’re jingoistic: we chant USA at the Olympics, we wave flags…

Oh. How evil. Really? That’s your definition of thinking you’re perfect? Meanwhile you spend all the rest of your time trying to solve every problem in the world and in yourselves, constantly second guessing yourselves, nitpicking every choice you make and constantly feeling guilty for every bad thing you’ve ever done or thought since you began.


Look at it this way. Of all the countries in the world, all the peoples everywhere, who did I let discover and build the atomic bomb first? The Empire of Japan? Nazi Germany? The Soviet Union?

Well, no. We did that—with the Manhattan project.

So, when you developed the weapon, what did you do?

We dropped it on two cities in Japan.


To stop a really horrendous war. A lot of people question that decision, though…

As I said, you’re always second guessing yourself. So. After you had the technology, alone among all the peoples on the Earth, you conquered the world and pressed your boot to their necks, turning them into your slaves.

Um, no. We didn’t do that.

That’s right. You went home. And then you spent a lot of money rebuilding Germany and Japan, your bitter enemies, guilty of vile atrocities, responsible for unparalleled torture, death and destruction. Now you buy their cars and like them better than your own. And they look down on you.


You remain the most formidable military, cultural, and political power in human history. The Romans couldn’t even imagine the power you can wield and wouldn’t understand why you rarely do. If you so desired, you could conquer the world. You could launch nuclear weapons to totally obliterate your enemies any time you chose. You could terrorize your enemies, your friends, everyone and bring them to their knees. Instead, you just want everyone to get along, to be nice, and to leave you alone—so you can maybe go fishing or something.

If I trusted you to invent atomic bombs, then why do you think you’re bad? I don’t trust bad folk. Imagine what the world would be like if I’d let anyone but you come up with the bomb first. Think the Nazis would have handled the responsibility well? The Soviets? You got it first. And you’re the a reason no one else has dared use one since.

So you really should relax a bit and stop being so hard on yourself. I know some good fishing holes…

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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One Response to An Imagined Conversation

  1. Eric Miller says:

    Wow, Robin, that’s awesome. Thanks.

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