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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Divine Intervention

It's about time they had an Intervention...

Via the Charlotte
A divine intervention on Christianity (Reg. Req.)

[The scene: a large room beyond time and space. Several are gathered around a large table; at the head sits The Great One, who moderates]

Great One: Everyone is present. Before we begin, I wish to welcome Agnosticism and Atheism, who are here as my guests. Their memories will be wiped after this session. [Turns to Ath. and Agn.] If I hear a hint of irreverence, I will not hesitate to remove you instantly. Understood?

Agnosticism and Atheism
[In unison]: Yes, Sir!

Great One: Who wants to start?

Christianity: I do. Since this seems to be about me, I have a few questions, the first being: What can I possibly gain from this, this exercise? I'm me [stares around the table], you're not. What can you tell me about myself that I don't know? What insight [sarcastically] can I gain?

Buddhism: A good question, well phrased. I submit that each of us has two parts -- that part which we know by being privy to our thoughts, and that part which we show the world. I submit also that when this inner part matches the outer, we are in harmony and therefore a more healthy, functioning entity. Is this not true? [Turns to The Great One, who tilts His head and waggles His hand, palm down] Perhaps, you are not in harmony. You seem to have lost your identity, and cannot honestly answer "What makes a Christian a Christian?"

Confucianism: You started out so well as a youngster. So few rules! It was not easy being a Christian -- many found you not to their liking -- but it was easy to become one. A savior. Resurrection. Eternal life. Such beauty, such simplicity! That was all the belief one needed. Now we see such fractiousness! Some of you have issues with the strangest of things: Dancing, Blood transfusions. Baptism -- full immersion or not, you argue and argue. You differ in how you view women, people of color, how old the Earth is, what sin is.

Hinduism: You have turned the hereafter into a gated community, and each faction claims to hold the key. You not only relegate us [waves a hand around the room] to eternal damnation, but also some of your own kind.

Chr. [face reddening]: Not true! All those differences are due to human nature. You can't control them! [Much nodding around the table, even from The Great One]. Besides, it doesn't matter! All my folks are heaven bound, no matter what their petty differences. Right? [Turns to face The Great One, who is staring at a spot on the ceiling, hands folded on the table].

Buddhism: For every one of your moderates that would agree with what you have just said, there are two extremists who would not -- thus the paradox. When you fight among yourselves, you look small. And when you disparage others, you shrink further. Your phrase "gutter religion" for example. [Everyone turns to look at Judaism and Islam, who have remained silent until now].

Great One: How do you feel, Islam, Judaism, when you hear those words?

Islam [Gives Christianity a long, stony stare]: Disappointed.

Judaism. [Shrugs]: I agree.

Great One [Roars with laughter, pounds the table]: Islam and Judaism agree? And they say the age of miracles has passed! Christianity, what do you say to that?

Chr: Just another question: Assuming any of this is true, why should I care about what any of you think? I'm the one here with the Good News, the Truth. [He glances at The Great One, who now idly twiddles a pencil between thumb and forefinger].

Agnostic: Ooo! I can handle this one! You're the one who wants market share here, Christianity. You'd be happiest if the whole world was in your camp. People like me and Atheism here, well we're sometimes searching for answers too, and we'll occasionally take a look-see. Say we're shopping for a car [The Great One stops twiddling the pencil, furrows His brow and stares intently at Agnosticism]. Your car, well it looks kinda weird -- the steering wheel is on the wrong side, and none of the paint matches. It goes down the road weaving from left to right, and even though you've promised me a lifetime warranty, I honestly have to be looking at Judaism here. A vintage car, solid design, with a long history. Reliable. No nonsense.

Judaism [A slight bow of his head]: You overestimate me, but your compliment I accept.

Great One [wearily]: So your point, Agnosticism, is that Christianity can be confusing and off-putting to those seeking spiritual enlightenment, and that may be endangering their future membership and their message. Atheism, do you agree?

Atheism: Damn right! [The Great One locates a red button labeled "Smite" on his armrest and presses it. Atheism vanishes in a flash of light. Agnosticism sits very still].

Chr: Confusing? Tell it to the Shiites and Sunnis. If your criticism is "Doesn't play well with others," don't lay this at my feet. There's plenty to go around. And I told you before: ITS NOT MY FAULT. You were the One who gave them free will. You're the One who's all-knowing, but never-revealing. We get no answers, we get no...

Great One: Strange and mysterious are the ways of the Lord.

(Christianity begins a tart reply, but notices that The Great One's pencil is actually a tiny, bright bolt of lightning, which makes slight sizzling sounds as it's being twiddled between His fingers.)

Great One: Yes, I gave them free will. And I also gave them you, all of you, to help guide them to me. Yes they're a nuisance. They're distractible. They can be thoughtless, even hateful creatures. But [smiles blissfully] they're mine. And [looks around the table, the smile fading] so are you. I'm starting to think there are too many of you, that -- what's the earthly expression? -- that the planet is overserved, yes. This is about you today, Christianity, but it's just the first of many of these "exercises," as you call them.

Be here next week, each of you with, let's say, 10 good reasons written in stone why you should keep your job. You can all let yourselves out.
[Tucks the lightning bolt in his pocket and vanishes in a pillar of fire].

Islam: I hate it when he does that.

Agnosticism: Who are you guys?