Saturday 12 September 2015

#121 Utility

The following blog post includes a cynical, satirical, alternative summary of a religious text. It is not intended to be accurate and may not be particularly sensitive to your religious beliefs. If you are likely to be offended by this or to take it more seriously than it is intended then it may not be suitable for you to read.

We may not believe the story but we all know the story. A deity, some kind of cross between Gandalf and David Blaine, wakes up one morning and decides to create heaven and earth and all the trees and animals and a couple of people, who get thrown out of the nice garden. We say it's because they were eating apples but in the pictures they were both naked so you know what they were really doing.

So then later in the story the humans are still misbehaving too much so the omnipotent pixie makes this big flood and kills everyone. Nice. Except he perversely saves Noah and the best looking two of each animal and so they all start breeding like rabbits (two of the animals were actually rabbits so they set the example) and the population grows back and starts misbehaving all over again.

Now at this point the deity does something that nobody really expected him/she/it to do. Instead of punishing the people or destroying them, which wasn't really working because we're resilient and stubborn buggers, he incarnates himself as one of the people. A slightly odd and preachy sort of chap named Jesus and he kind of does ok. I mean he does some pretty cool tricks, some of which the Pizza Express magician waiter, if anyone saw the article on that lately, can explain how they are done. He also gets a cult following. Then he pisses off some people with his preachy ways, flips over some tables and so we kind of decide that actually we don't all want to be Christians cause it sounds like a lot of hard work and we don't quite believe all these stories even if the guy can do magic, so instead we nail him to a piece of wood and leave him there. This is what we used to do to people who were a bit annoying.

So anyway we know the story that he rose from the dead again, so that we could all have Easter Eggs and blablabla and then he just sort of said right, I'm bored now and beamed himself back up to heaven again. I still think it's a cool story. So people started writing about the story. They loved it. They told it all over town. They became hysterical about it, most of them very peacefully but some really quite violently, some were smug about their "faith" and exclusive about it. They took a kind of "holier than thou" attitude but many of them were and still are quite nice ordinary people. In fact even the pope these days is quite open minded about the tolerance and acceptance of non-believers.

One of the things that made the story so popular and worth believing in was the idea of this guy Jesus. This incarnation of God as a human. What would he do? You know? What would a supremely wise being say if he walked among us? How could he have the right kind of impact? He used to say things that people hadn't really heard before. He didn't say "love your friends and family but forget about that bitch down the street". He told us to love everyone. Even the tax collectors. The hateful. The killers. Love your enemies. This is what he said and how he tried to live. 

The son of God was not a fearful man. When the soldiers came to kill him, he asked for their forgiveness because he knew that evil in humans was more like a disease. More like an ignorance, than a true choice. He knew that the decision to do wrong was only taken by those who were incapable of properly, properly considering the consequences. That those who chose evil needed help and sympathy, not punishment. Indeed, he would rather take the punishment himself. His teachings on this, before the book Zero Degrees of Empathy, were thousands of years ahead of their time and they in many ways still are, if you look at how some parts of society talk about and treat criminals or those groups who seem to pose a threat to them. We may of course believe in the story, or we may not believe in it but we can all believe in the virtue of mercy.

1 comment

Running on empty said...

Love it. Don't be surprised if I quote from it.