"Thou art God"

"Thou art God"

A Story by Joe

My personal view on life, as helped shaped by Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land"


“Thou art God… All that groks is God.”

So the Man from Mars, Valentine Michael Smith, tells us in Robert Anson Heinlein’s masterpiece “Stranger in a Strange Land.” I have read the book numerous times now (I am writing this immediately after reading it once again) and each time this line has resonated deeply and emotionally within me. It is, I believe, only now that I finally understand what the line means for me.

I grew up in a Christian household, with my father being very much invested in the church, and my mother being informally, yet still personally, religiously inclined. Being raised in such a household I was imparted with liberal Christian morals. Now, I do not think of myself as Christian. I’d say I’m more “Agnostic: positively inclined”, meaning that I am unsure of whether there is a traditional god, gods, afterlife, etc., but am leaning more towards theism than atheism.

I include this small, biographical paragraph to help explain how Valentine Michael Smith’s proclamation of “Thou art God” rings true for me.

For me, this all-important line is a concise, to-the-point explanation that we are all in control of ourselves. We are the Shapers and the Shaped, the Makers and the Made. We decide where we go in life. We do the things that, ultimately, make us who we are as people. We decide whether we want to go to college or go to a job. We decide to either pursue our passions in life or to allow them to drop away as we pursue other goals. We decide whether we’ll treat those around us hastily or patiently. We shape ourselves, each of us.

“Thou art God” is a hope for all of us. If we want something we can do what we must to get it. We can have what we desire, sky’s the limit, if we truly put ourselves out there and reach for it.

“Thou art God” is also a responsibility. It forces you to be in charge of yourself. It makes you be able to look at what you have and say “I did this. I achieved,” but it also makes you look at your shortcomings and say “what did I do to not reach my goal?”

We, all of us, are masters of ourselves and our immediate surroundings, and we should celebrate the fact that we are such. There should be no hate. With all of the Shapers in this world, we should, as Valentine Michael Smith agrees, love one another. If we could learn to utilize our “godliness” in cooperation, we could learn to reshape our world into one that is mutually beautiful, comfortable, and useful.

Alas, this is quite a pipedream, and if we were to hold our breaths in anticipation of worldwide cooperation, we’d be blue in the face far too long. However, we can achieve some semblance of such. While it is not necessarily possible to get all world leaders to agree on something, it is quite possible for one or two of us to achieve cooperation. We can speak to friends, classmates, co-workers, or even strangers, and to, first, find common ground and, then, begin to learn to accept each other.

“Thou art God,” for me, only solidifies my long-contemplated “purpose of life.” We, each of us, must find a reason for our lives. We shape ourselves every day. It is no easy task to handle on our own and, even though we can’t pass the job onto someone else, we can get help. And we can help. We can listen to each other and utilize, for ourselves, actions or ideas of others. We can guide others to help them find the purpose of their lives, and we can be guided to the same.

We should all live with the knowledge that “Thou art God” because it is true, as discussed above; but if the package is too controversial for your taste, take it from Mr. Willy Wonka:

“If you want to view paradise,
Simply look around and view it.
Anything you want to, do it.
Want to change the world?
There's nothing
To it”

© 2013 Joe

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Saw this on reddit.

I rather like this essay, the philosophy behind it is impressive, even if I don't entirely agree. The writing style itself is very good as well. I guess you could say that the only thing which bothers me about this is the format. I don't know, I'm a bit of a stickler for wide spaces between paragraphs. :P

Posted 8 Years Ago


8 Years Ago

Thanks so much for the review!
Yeah, I'm not particularly happy with the spacing either. I cop.. read more

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Added on February 24, 2013
Last Updated on February 24, 2013



Des Moines, IA

I am a Christian-raised Agnostic who loves to read and write, particularly the science fiction and horror genres. My main philosophy on life is this: There is no predestined point in our lives, so we.. more..

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