Written by Steddyeddy

Monday, 2 June 2008

image for Amen..Ahem....er...Praise the Lord....but which one? "Oy Vay I ask you. My son ze carpenter. Should have an ology."

It would appear that The Good Lord works in mysterious ways.

At least that's what the average person might think if they were to try and visit each of the 662 million plus web pages that contain the word God (result courtesy of a well-known search engine).

Now a religious cynic I may be, but I think many will agree that of the estimated 4,300 faith groups belonging to religions throughout the world, aside from 4,299 being wrong in their assertion that they are "THE religion with THE God in charge, the one thing many of them have in common is crass commercialism. Now this does make me think.

The old adage regarding religion is that "to believe, you have to have faith, while to have faith, you have to believe".

However, many of these 4,300 faiths have a core message that in order to believe you have to have money and pay a subscription. Or buy the tat on offer to decorate your home, car, bathroom, greenhouse etc.

Returning to some of the 662 million plus pages thrown up on the internet. Now while I firmly believe each to their own, providing they leave me alone and don't expect me to do or believe as they do, I'm happy. I don't even mind if some plumber, deciding that business is hard, founds a new religion on the belief that straight drainpipes are a conduit to heaven. Each to their own.

But reading some of the religious messages from the various groupings, it does beg the question "Who is right?" Naturally enough, each individual religion thinks they are. The Protestants, Roman Catholics and the Jews do. The Hindus feel they have a hand in things, as do the Muslims. The Buddhists say they're right, while the Church of the Latter Day Saints think they are. And the Quakers judge themselves being first past the post. And of course the Scientologists are barking mad.

And that's just a selection of some of the major religions.

"To believe you have to have faith and to have faith you have to believe". This, in marketing terms, is not a unique selling point. Neither is it much use as a 21st Century, with-it "Mission Statement" (apologies - the word "mission" has religious connotations of its own). In fact, by and large, religions haven't really got much going for them in terms of marketing, full stop.

Imagine you were an Atheist on the verge of becoming an ex-Atheist. You were in the market for a religion to take home. You pop into the Religions-R-Us open-day for an "out of the box" religion.

First stop, the Jewish section. "There was Noah the zoo keeper and navigator. Built a ship. Took on board two of each and every animal on the earth. Why he took flys, wasps, bed-bugs and snails we'll never know. Then we had a chappie called Moses. Several hundred years old. Not being a member of ATOL, he made the travel arrangements himself rather than use ye-olde-lastminute dot com. As a result, not only did it take him 40 years to travel a few hundred miles, but he turned left instead of right and missed out on the oil fields."

Second stop, the Christian Section. "Our boss was 33, single and living with his mum. He was, despite scientific proof to the contrary, the result of a virgin birth. He could turn water into wine and feed a banquet with a couple of bread rolls. Could walk across water. And he and his friends wrote more letters to the Corinthians than the Telegraph has published from its readers since its inception."

Third stop, the Divine Light Mission. "Our boss is the Guru Maharaji, or Prem Rawat to his friends. He's a qualified pilot. He has invented an aeronautical watch. He says that you are living your life for someone else and that you have to make your salad before you add your toppings. He collects Rolls Royce's, helicopters, mansions and pots of money on your behalf, to help with his vital work. That'll be 10% of your wages please."

You then say to each stall-holder "Prove it".

They can't.

You have to have faith to believe, and to believe you have to have faith.

Next stop, the exit.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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