Omniscience can be a bit of a bore

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Yesterday I brought you some of the proceedings of the most recent get-together of the United Deities, that ecumenical gathering of gods past and present who regularly meet in heaven to see what is happening down here on Earth.

Yesterday I brought you some of the proceedings of the most recent get-together of the United Deities, that ecumenical gathering of gods past and present who regularly meet in heaven to see what is happening down here on Earth.

As the delegates range from Christian gods to Hindu deities, from Roman gods to ancient Egyptian icons, there is little agreement among them on anything. But yesterday, while discussing Iraq, they were all intrigued by the suggestion that our British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, although a Christian, worshipped his own god in his own way.

If Mr Blair worshipped his own god in his own way, did that mean that among them, unannounced and unrecognised, there was a fellow god whose only function was as Mr Blair's god?

Perhaps we shall find out more if we pursue the minutes of this meeting.

1. The chairgod said he did not believe that Mr Blair had his own god. He thought he knew all the gods, or at least had bumped into them all on occasion. He had never met a Blair's god before. In fact, he did not believe that there were any personal gods in the celestial sphere at all. Was it possible for anyone on Earth to lay claim to a special god?

2. Allah said that if you turned to the Old Testament, you found copious references to the God of Abraham and Isaac. Did these gentlemen called Abraham and Isaac really believe that they had a specially designated god?

3. Perhaps "a designer god" would be a better expression, said the Roman god Mercury, who added that he had been voted the best dressed god in heaven on many occasions.

4. In the early days of the Roman gods, said Jove, almost every god had been personally assigned to a household. What were the "lares et penates" if they were not personal gods ? He was only glad that the "lares et penates" had been reassigned to menial jobs over the years, leaving the stage clear for real gods, like himself.

5. Never mind about that, said an unnamed Norse god. What worried him was the idea of Mr Blair having his own god.

6. Who, after all, would want a god going round saying: "Yes, well look here. I mean, I'm a pretty straight sort of a god. You can trust in me."

7. There was laughter.

8. Next thing you knew, added the unnamed Norse god, you would find the British Chancellor, what's his name, Gordon Brown, having his own god. That would be even worse. Fancy having a god who spoke too fast, in a growling Scottish accent, using words that nobody could understand!

9. And who was perpetually unhappy, said someone else, because Brown's god had understood all along that he had been promised the job of Blair's god, and still hadn't got it. There was more laughter.

10. The chairgod said that while they were on the subject, what did anyone think the result of the next British election would be?

11. Surely this was all wrong, said Jove. As gods they were omniscient. Did they not already know the result of the next election? Could they not see into the future?

12. No, said the chairgod. Did he really have to remind Jove yet again that they had voluntarily relinquished many of their powers of foretelling the future? Knowing all the future had not only made life unbearably dull, it had also created many mental health problems in the god community; knowing precisely what was going to happen in future led to widespread depression, apathy and a complete loss of self-esteem.

13. That was why they had foresworn their powers of foresight. He was glad to say that ignorance of the future had led to a much brighter community spirit, and much more interest in these meetings. He would now like to turn to the forthcoming trial of Saddam Hussein.

More of this some other time.

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