It'd been quite some time since Unreal had shot the poop with a preacher when the press release about 58-year-old Mark Littleton appeared in your favorite RFT columnist's inbox. We learned Littleton is busy pimping his recent Big Bad God of the Bible, a 352-page novel that revolves around the question, "Is God really a bully?"
"This compelling story takes place at a local Starbucks, where the author meets people who are 'seekers' of knowledge," reads the press release, "all on a quest for answers as to why God ordered genocides and various killings as evidenced in the Bible, and on issues like free will and the problem of evil."
To quote Unreal's editor: "Fuckin' A!"
While everyone else over here was busy texting and twittering, Unreal prepared a hot cup of tea, sat down at our old Dell and picked up the ol' landline one afternoon last week. Littleton, a Kansas Citian, was happy to indulge.
Unreal: It says here you've written more than 90 books. Good God!
Mark Littleton: Yeah, 98 is the count, I think.
You have more than 1 million books in print. God has obviously been good to you.
I'm not complaining. I'd like God to get me on Oprah, but apparently even God can't do that.
You're kidding. Haven't you asked?
Sure, I've said, God, if you want me on Oprah, I'm there. I pray a lot.
I know a lot of people who think God is a real asshole.
Oh yeah, sure. About two years ago, I started reading a lot of books by atheists, and I learned that if you have any knowledge of the Bible, of God, of Jesus, whatever, it's all so hysterical. I wrote the book because I wanted to show the God of the Bible is not this nasty bully who wants us under His thumb and will kill us the instant we don't rear back and say, "I'll do whatever You want." He's quite a delightful character.
Well, why is He taking away corporate jets?
[Laughs] I'm not sure — do you mean what the government, what Barack Obama, is doing?
Yeah. Isn't God involved in that?
I don't think God gives one hoot!
Well, He's killing newspapers!
[Laughs] The newspapers are killing themselves. Look, the Bible does not teach that you'll be rich if you follow God. If I as a Christian thought that being a Christian meant I'd never have go through real trouble, I mean real trouble, not just, "My big toe hurts —"
I got salmonella recently, and my house smelled like a sulfur bomb exploded, and I just kept thinking: Why is God doing this to me?
Well, OK. If God gave you an answer, He'd have to give you a global, encyclopedic explanation. I tell people: God rarely answers the question, "Why?" Maybe it would take too much space.
I see that one of your characters in the book is very close to "reaching a commitment to Christ" and is killed in a traffic accident. How cruel! What do you think, you're God?
Well, you know, this is fiction. This is not real.
That's what we thought!