The trouble with Christianity is there are no good stories

'The chairgod said that he could see the Christian god being rather riled by the way everyone rewrote history'
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It's more than two months since we had a report from the United Deities, so let's catch up today. (The United Deities, for newer readers, is the all-god body of deities past and present that looks down on Earth from a great height, comments on our follies and does nothing about them, and is thus like our very own United Nations.)

Anyway, here are part of the minutes of the latest session I can lay my hands on.

1. The chairgod asked the Roman god of drink, Bacchus, to keep it quiet, and brought the meeting to order. As was traditional, he would start by asking the Jewish god and the Christian god if they had come to any agreements on a merger yet.

2. As was traditional, the Christian god said that if he and the Jewish god agreed on one thing, it was about the lack of a need for a merger. The Jewish religion was one thing. The Christian religion was another. What was the point of mixing them?

3. Maybe, continued the Christian god, this was another example of what they had all seen happening on Earth recently, this regrettable tendency to mix things up and go all multi-cultural. World music, for instance, where tangos were mixed with Bulgarian wedding music and called something else, or klezmer music was mixed with jazz....

4. The Jewish god interceded to

say that he personally was very fond of klezmer music, as it was his own chosen people's music, and he had some CDs for sale, if anyone was interested.

5. Another thing was fusion cooking, went on the Christian god, where cooks - generally Californian - mixed two quite different styles of cooking, and hailed the results as sublime. Was that what the chairgod wanted? A fusion religion? A Tex-Mex faith? A mix 'n' match religion? Well, was it?

6. The chairgod said he was sorry, he should have known better than to bring it up, he should have remembered that the Christian god always got very tetchy at Christmas time, having to attend so many carol services even if briefly, and perhaps they could move on.

7. No, hold on, said the Jewish god, there was something he wanted to ask the Christian god. And that was about nativity plays. He gathered that it was traditional for little Christian schoolchildren to re-enact the story of Jesus's birth, with the three wise men and the shepherds and all that mullarkey. Did the Christian god feel it was blasphemous for small children to portray such holy events? Had he ever felt tempted to send a thunderbolt to obliterate them?

8. The Christian god was about to say that that was not the Christian way of doing things when the Jewish god said, hold on, he hadn't finished yet. Why was it only Jesus's birth that got re-enacted at school level? Why didn't the Crucifixion get a look-in? Where were the school plays about Jesus's last days as well as about his first? What was it about Christianity that drew back from contemplating the grim side of life?

9. At this point Zeus, the Greek chief god, intervened to say that the trouble with Christianity was that it had so few good stories. The advantage of a multi-god faith was that there were lots of sub-plots. If you had only a trinity, and all three of them being much the same person, you didn't get much in the way of story-lines. Birth, a few miracles, crucifixion, that was about it.

10. No wonder they had had to steal the Old Testament from the Jews and join it to the New Testament, went on Zeus. Blimey, without the Old Testament there would hardly be any stories worth telling in Christianity. And no wonder Jesus told all those parables. It was a desperate attempt to give the New Testament some narrative colour.

11. And no wonder they had set such store, later on, by all the saints and martyrs. At least they had story potential. Though as all saints' stories seemed to involve mass murder combined with, well, saintliness, he could see why they had had a limited appeal outside the sado-masochistic market.

12. The chairgod said hastily that he could see the Christian god being rather riled by the way everyone was trying to rewrite history, and proposed that they promptly moved on to the second item on the agenda, namely, the war in Iraq.

More of this tomorrow, I hope