Miles Kington: Believe it or not, the cross is a design triumph

The Catholic God said that he would not personally choose 'The Da Vinci Code' as a mouthpiece for Christianity
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The Independent Online

It is about time we went back to the United Deities for an update on what the gods are thinking. While we humans get on with mismanaging the planet down here, the assembled gods up there are keeping a jaundiced eye on us, whether they are ancient classical gods, old Indian gods, or just the familiar modern deities.

Here are the latest minutes from the latest meeting:

1. The chairgod said that the first item on the agenda was most unusual. Apparently there had been a big fuss in Britain when an airline had forbidden an employee to wear a small cross on her chest. What did the gods think about religious regalia? What did the Christian god in particular have to say about that?

2. The Christian god said it was nice to hear that the cross was still controversial. People wrote off Christianity every day as passé, and every day Christianity proved them wrong. Witness the success of The Da Vinci Code and so on.

3. The Catholic God said he would not personally choose The Da Vinci Code as a mouthpiece for Christianity. If you had to choose a book, what about the Bible?

4. The chairgod said that, as per usual, they had gone off the subject within seconds. Could they restrict their remarks to the cross and other religious personal accessories?

5. The Christian god said he rather agreed with the late comedian Bill Hicks, who commented that a cross was an instrument of suffering and death, and that wearing a replica of one was rather like wearing a small Kalashnikov on a chain round your neck.

6. Having said that, he thought also that a cross was also a design triumph. He reminded his fellow gods that the early Christian church had used many other symbols to identify the new creed. It was like a contest for a new logo, of which the cross had emerged the clear winner. But it might have equally been the early Christian dove that won. Or the fish. They had also used a fishing boat, with the letters XP on the sails ...

7. The Jewish god said he thought he might be missing something, but what was XP all about?

8. The Christian god said that they were the first two letters of Christ's name in Greek. Kai and Ro. Also, the fish was chosen, because fish in Greek was ikthus, the letters of which spelt out the initials of "Jesus Christ, son of God, Saviour". In Greek.

9. The Jewish god said it sounded as if early Christianity was dominated by nerdy people with a crossword mentality.

10. The Christian god said that early Christians had to be a bit devious because they were so persecuted.

11. The Jewish god said, Persecution? The Christian god was trying to teach the Jewish god about persecution? Did he maybe want to hear what persecution was really like?

12. The chairgod said that they might have wandered off the subject again. He personally agreed with the Christian god that the cross was a fabulous design concept in itself. No wonder it had been also chosen as a symbol by pharmacies. And the Red Cross. And England football supporters. And Malta. And Lorraine...

13. The Christian god agreed, though he also thought that if you were looking at religious symbols, the Islamic crescent was very graceful.

14. Allah said that he was pleased to hear compliments paid to the crescent, though honesty compelled him to admit that it was originally a Turkish symbol which had been around for hundreds of years before Islam was born.

15. In the same way, added Allah, as the two intertwined triangles had been around for a long time in the Middle East before they were adopted by the Jews as the Star of David.

16. The Jewish god said he was sorry, he had missed that, but were his people being persecuted again?

17. The chairgod said he was amazed that a discussion of religious symbolism had got this far without the vexed question of the swastika being raised.

More of this fascinating design talk tomorrow...

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