Miles Kington: Good Lord, it's enough to drive a god to atheism

Most humans grew up believing in the gods of their parents. It was like supporting the football club your father supported. Totally illogical
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The Independent Online

I think it's high time we paid another visit to the United Deities, so here are selected minutes from their latest meeting...

1. The chairgod said that it had been brought to his attention that several gods were uneasy about the fresh outburst of atheism and heresy on Earth.

2. It was certainly true that in one country, Britain, the main broadcasting companies had given air space to a man who said religion had only disastrous effects, and another who said Christianity had been distorted beyond all recognition by its supporters.

3. The Christian God said he supposed he was referring to the man Dawkins.

4. The chairgod said he was.

5. And to the man Starkie.

6. Also true, said the chairgod.

7. Allah said you would not expect anything else. Britain was a godless country - or at least it had been until the recent influx of Muslims. He fancied that the arrival of Islam in Britain might just be enough to reclaim the island for religion.

8. Meaning, I suppose, for the Muslim religion, sighed the Christian God.

9. Of course, said Allah. The Christian religion had had a 1,500 year head start in Britain and was not doing so well, even so. Islam was racing ahead. At the present rate, Britain would be an Islamic country in 100 years' time.

10. The Christian God said he had been around a lot longer than Allah, and he could promise Allah that whenever a religion seemed to have got it made, there was a big shock round the corner.

11. Zeus, chief Greek God, said he could vouch for that. Just when he thought he had got everything sewn up in the Greek world, the Romans had come along and turned him into a look-alike god called Jupiter.

12. Jupiter said he wanted to know who Zeus was calling a lookalike god.

13. The chairgod said that he never ceased to be amazed how quickly gods could get off the subject. He wanted to know if anyone had any thoughts on atheism.

14. The Jewish God said he thought atheism had a lot going for it. If he were a human being, he would be very tempted to be an atheist. It did not make sense to be a believer.

15. Allah asked if this was another Jewish joke.

16. The Jewish God said that everyone would know when he was making a joke, because it would be a lot funnier than that. The great thing about being an atheist was that it removed the necessity to choose which god or gods to believe in. Most humans grew up believing in the gods of their parents. It was like supporting the football club your father supported. Totally illogical. But if you walked away from football, and didn't support any club at all, you'd be a happier person. Same with religion.

17. The Catholic God said he had heard Judaism was getting very liberal these days, but he didn't know it had spread to the gods.

18. The chairgod said what he found fascinating was that atheists were very religious about atheism. There was a religious streak in men which unbelief did not eradicate. Dawkins was very evangelical about science.

19. Allah agreed. He said that a good example of this was the way religious people had from time to time predicted the end of the world. In AD 1,000, many Christians had been persuaded that the second coming was around the corner, and stopped buying groceries. Nowadays, even in secular societies, people were again predicting the end of the world, though this time as a result of global warming.

20. The Jewish God said that if he were a human today, he would be very tempted to foresee the imminent end of civilisation. It reminded him of the rabbi who has a dream in which God comes to him and says, "Rabbi, the world will end at the weekend." And the rabbi says, "At the weekend I am going to the country with friends. Could you not make it Monday?" And God says...

21. The chairgod suggested that now was not an appropriate time for funny stories, and moved on to the next item, which was the question of Mozart's Requiem.

More of the gods soon, I hope.