At a hastily convened press conference in Heaven today, a depressed supreme deity who goes by the aliases of God, Jehovah, Yahweh and Allah announced that he could no longer carry on and was taking early retirement.
Speaking in tongues, including Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic and of course English, so that he could be understood by the alcohol sodden heavenly press corps, God was supported by Heaven's board members including Jesus Christ, Moses, St. Peter, Mohammed, Archangel Gabriel and, surprise guests, Buddah and the Dalai Lama.
There follows a full transcript of God's farewell speech.
"I can't say it hasn't been a blast but all good things must come to an end. It's been fun you know, building the earth in six days after which I really needed that rest on the seventh, striking people down with thunderbolts, parting the Red Sea, which I subcontracted to Moses here, and lots, lots more. I've been doing this job since time immemorial and you know it's difficult being a mythical being, living in the minds of you lot and frankly I've been ailing since the Enlightenment and that's been a helluva strain. I'd like to thank religious fundamentalists of all persuasions for keeping me going so long.
"There have been some black times, it hasn't been all sweetness and light. I mean religious wars of course, giving me a bad name. Tsk, tsk. I should put the lot of you in purgatory, if it bloody well existed. What the fuck have you lot been fighting over? A myth, an idea, your own bloody prejudices. Do you think I give a toss how you worship me? I should bloody cocoa, as long as you just get on your knees and pray I don't give a flying fuck.
"The crusades, protestants and catholics, jews, christians and muslims, shi'ites and sunnis, muslims and hindus, and now this friggin' Kenya thing, PACK IT IN will you? Jesus Christ, I've had enough of it and just to let you know I've sent that bloke bin Laden to hell. Well actually I couldn't as it doesn't exist, he's just as dead as a dodo.
"So I'm leaving the field to Richard Dawkins. He's right, you know."