Many have tried to formulate a fifth question to add to the four asked on Seder night. Here is my own: “What am I doing here?”
I am a Jew, and I know it is incumbent on every Jew to participate each year in a Seder. But, as a non-believing Jew I find it hard each year to utter the words and accept the concept of visualizing myself as if I actually experienced the Exodus from Egypt. After all, I cannot believe that “with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm the Lord God Almighty took us out of Egypt.” I don’t even care about natural wonders that might or might not explain it, I just don’t believe it. If the Lord God Almighty had saved the Jews from the Holocaust that might have been persuasive.
I think less and less about the existence of God, now that I have grown up, but this experience set me thinking again. I came to two alternative theories about God. First, is that God might have existed once, but then saw what a mess he had made and abdicated. So all these believers are out-of-date, worshiping a God who is no longer around. He (She or It) has left the premises (the universe) in the hands of the laws of physics and chemistry and gone on a long (perhaps permanent) vacation. So that anyone who actually manages to make contact with God, would be told “leave a message and God will get back to you in due course.”
Another alternative is that God is not there all the time. He is on and off, like a TV that is on the blink, or time sharing. He might be on duty during a particularly sacred period for one religion, say Sikhism, but off duty for Judaism and Islam, but then on duty for Islam but off duty for Christianity. That’s assuming that there is indeed one God as monotheism requires (that why it’s called “mono”), but then God might get too busy and confused with all these different requirements, and he might have stand-ins (not stand-ups). Like he could have his son step in for him on some occasions. Now for some the concept of “the son of God” is sacrilegious (while for others its just silly), but for certain believers, well, you know what I mean.
All this supposition about God might be futile, but that’s what the Seder is supposed to do, get us to ask questions. At least I am fulfilling that requirement. By the way, my father always said (jokingly I hope) I was “the wicked son.”