Miles Kington: Turning water into wine and other health and safety issues

Had not Jesus walked on water in a way which, if copied by mere mortals, would prove a risk to life and limb?
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The Independent Online

It is time to return to the United Deities, the all-seeing, all-knowing gathering of gods who survey our petty efforts to keep the planet going. Here are the latest minutes.

1. The chairgod said that someone had tabled for discussion a motion concerning cricket which, for those who were not aware of it, was a game involving...

2. An Indian god with four arms said he could skip an explanation of the rules of cricket. Most gods were tolerably omniscient, and knew the ropes, and those who were not, should keep quiet and listen, as they might learn something.

3. Thank you, said the chairman. Well, the motion concerned a game currently being played between England and Pakistan, in which one batsman called Mohammad Youssuf had made many, many runs, and had put it down to the fact that he had recently converted from Christianity to Islam, and had said Allah was the one to thank for his new-found prowess.

4. The chairgod asked Allah if he would care to comment on this, bearing in mind that there was a recent undertaking by all gods not to interfere in the outcome of wars, games or TV reality shows.

5. Allah said he was perfectly willing to comment. He, Allah, knew very little of the technique of batting in cricket, and there was no way he could have given Mr Youssuf private coaching. It was pleasing, of course, to see a Muslim do so well, and to hear him mention Allah's name in a peaceful context, but if anyone came to Allah and said, O, Allah, thou art great, show me how to score effortlessly on both the off and leg side, he, Allah, would plead a previous engagement.

6. As all the gods knew, it was strength of belief that made a human a great performer. When a human believes he can win, he generally does so. What he believes in is not so important. If Mr Youssuf had converted from Islam to Christianity, and had been so inspired by this that he had then started scoring runs, it would have made the Christian God look good. But in fact it would again have been due to the power of belief.

7. The Christian God said he agreed. He remembered an American tennis star called Stan Smith who said he talked to the Christian God during every tournament, though he had never come through on his particular line.

8. The chairgod said that while the Christian God was there, he might like to comment on the next item on the agenda. There had been a report from England that an Anglican clergyman had given a kiss to a 12-year-old girl when presenting her with a prize and for this inappropriate behaviour had been forced to resign as a school governor.

9. The Christian God said he did not see what this had to do with him.

10. Ah, said the chairgod, but the god who submitted the motion said that if one examined the life of Jesus, the Son of God, as narrated in the New Testament, much of that was equally politically incorrect.

11. Had not Jesus turned water into wine and raised people from the dead in a manner which broke all health and safety rules?

12. Had he not walked on water in a way which, if copied by mortals, would prove a risk to life and limb?

13. Had not Jesus said: "Suffer the little children to come unto me", which might be misinterpreted?

14. The Christian God said that he was not normally a wrathful god, but this was going too far. He demanded to know which god had submitted this motion.

15. The chairgod apologised and said it was Loki, the Norse god of mischief. If he had known that, he would have skipped it.

16. Zeus said, hey, hey they should hold it right there. He, Zeus, had behaved in highly politically incorrect ways during his visits to Earth and he would do it again if he ever got the chance. Why, he wanted to know, should the son of the Christian God be exempt from criticism? Good for Loki, he said, for bringing it up.

More of this controversial debate soon.

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