In the wake of the American debacle in Afghanistan, questions are asked about the limitations of American power.
Other questions relate to the persistence and resilience of the Taliban, and to the future of governance, women, religious minorities, and so on, in Afghanistan.
A concerned world also speculates on the influence of the emboldened Taliban on the future of terrorism.
But let me reflect on the heart of the problem; the problem of God.
It is widely believed that a supremely powerful Deity, worshipped under various names and flattering titles since Abraham’s days, always determines who rises to power on earth. So, very simple questions:
Does God love the Taliban or hate the Afghan people?
Or does God love the Afghan people but was unable to stop the Taliban?
Alternatively, God loves the Taliban and the Afghan people. Working on a 20-year plan, God made sure the Taliban regained power.
The question of the power of God is starkly presented by the change in Kabul. But in a world of timid cultural correctness, if modern civilisation does not boldly address this question, the fanatics will increasingly define and enact the will of a weird God and remain largely unchallenged.
The intolerance associated with Islamic extremists in fact begins in the Bible, in Genesis, where a Creator-Spirit with infinitely powerful wizardry is introduced, together with the other books attributed to Moses, where the Creator’s tribal/racial agenda, His laws and His desire for absolute power are described.
From its beginnings, the Abrahamic tradition is a matrix for divinely inspired totalitarianism. The Creator’s prescription, “they shall be put to death”, for unbelievers (or different believers) and various law violators is handed out in the Bible as casually as by ruthless Ayatollahs in today’s theocracies.
Judaism Christianity and Islam are rooted in this Abrahamic tradition. At different times, they have all acted with the irrationality, brutality and vindictiveness that are in tandem with a jealous and unforgiving self-righteous God.
Indeed, God’s final solution to human sinfulness is an act of genocide or perpetual torture in the penal region of Hell.
Today, there are cults of Jewish and Born Again Christian fanatics who express themselves in such irrational and offensive doctrinal extremes, that in different socio-political circumstances, these are as capable of endorsing the kind of irrational violence we now associate with the Jihadists.
But we can tame this God, if we persuade Him to accept that He is a human invention. That is not absurd. We can show Him that all other gods were man-made or man-adopted.
They were (and some are still) regarded with great reverence. Man ritualistically gave them power. Man does exactly the same thing with Abraham’s God.
The genius of the Israelites was to imagine a God who cannot be verified by any of the senses! God was obviously a ridiculous concept but also an indestructible mythical ‘existence’.
After persuading God that He is our invention, we strip him of His old power; just as we have done with many other gods and, in a different context, with most modern monarchs.
This is a huge enterprise, and only the United Nations has the educational, scientific and cultural institutions, as well as the long-term strategic patience to embark on this journey of gradual transformation.
The goal would be the re-invention of the monstrously powerful Deity we first encounter in Genesis into a benign and friendlier fiction that tomorrow’s Jews, Christians and Moslems will not find worth killing for. Perhaps a step to a Godless universe.
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.