Shorter John Cottingham: Would that all atheists had the humility to realize that the only thing that can save all of humankind from its moral inventions are the religious doctrines I prefer to believe in.
What with the sun's being about to enter its red-giant phase, God realized it was time to get the End Times rolling. (He had always thought that the imminent, literal end of the solar system would be a reasonably clear sign to everyone. But anyway...)
First, then, the tribulation. The Antichrist induced war among all men. Then came pestilence. Famine. Earthquakes. Surviving populations fled to caves to escape the molten fragments of planet and moon and star hurtling toward earth. The wicked were slaughtered, rendering the seas boiling cauldrons of human blood and viscera. In short, just the kind of wholesale ghastliness one would expect from the penultimate stage of any lovingly plotted eschatology.
But then the Messiah returned to earth. And the dead were resurrected. And the sinners were forever banished from the cosmos. And the rest were invited to join God in Heaven, for all eternity.
My wife and I were at a wedding party the other day. The means of entertainment included several free-standing arcade games, among them, Pac-Man. My wife had never played, so I showed her the ropes.
Shortly, an adorable little boy approached. Call him Willy. Willy was maybe five years old. He watched, intrigued, as Pac-Man chowed down on pac-dots and battled Blinky and the other ghosts.
We asked Willy if he'd like to play. His eyes lit up. As he took my wife's spot, I explained the basics. He played a round, which ended quite prematurely. Then it was my turn. I commenced Pac-ing, explaining to Willy the meaning behind all the happenings on the screen.
But Willy didn't seem to hear me. He was concentrating; he thought he was playing. The whole time I was controlling play, he was moving the joystick, using body English, exclaiming when Pac-Man was in this or that tight spot. It was very amusing. And also illuminating. Willy hadn't yet learned which events in the world were ones he could plausibly take credit for.
A man suddenly finds himself in an impossibly comfortable chair in a quiet home tucked in a Pearly-gated community nestled atop a shining hill of Elysian cumulus. He realizes he has died and gone to Heaven.
Gathering his bearings, and now somehow looking over the entirety of his life, he muses:
A dead body is found in the park. Homicide arrives to investigate.
Presently, an onlooker approaches the investigators and assures them they need look no further. The investigators look up from their work, eyeing the man skeptically. "You've solved the murder, have you?"
"Yes," he sagely replies. "It was the murderer. He did it."
Postscript: Not long after, the county coroner issued her conclusion--death by natural causes.