Thursday, September 18, 2008

Buddy, you got any faith to spare?

"THE TEN Commandments, one of the most negative documents ever written." With that provocative claim posted high over two city streets, controversial cleric Francis Macnab yesterday launched "a new faith for the 21st century", a faith beyond orthodox Christianity.

- Jesus 'just a Jewish peasant'
- Cleric launches new faith
- Ten Commandments 'too negative'

Dr Macnab says Abraham is probably a concoction, Moses was a mass murderer and Jesus Christ just a Jewish peasant who certainly was not God. In fact, there is no God, in the usual sense of an interventionist deity - what we strive for is a presence both within and beyond us. - The Age

Apparently, all you have to do for people to have deeply-held beliefs now is to make those deeply-held beliefs up for them. No need to worry about intellectual inquiry, living your life honestly and suffering for your ideals, or struggling with challenges to your beliefs - all you have to do is pick up a new, branded, production line faith from the supermarket once your old one has worn out. Is it Thursday? Care for a spot of Scientology this morning then? No thanks, not for me, I'm trying to cut back.

I've got an idea. In this age when every two-bit guru offers some new idea to believe in (but when it becomes harder and harder to believe in the person offering the belief), I could make up a faith of my own. I'll retain some of the aspects of other beliefs. For instance, environmentalists believe the world will be destroyed by global warming. I could choose to believe the world will be destroyed in an event called 'the apocalypse', or 'Armageddon'. Macnabbians believe in the teachings of a Melbourne psychotherapist. I could choose to believe in the teachings of a 2000-year-old person called 'Christ'. I could call our religion 'Christianity'. (I know, this all sounds a bit wild and way out, but think about the advantages of believing a man 2000 years ago, as opposed to a guy who announces a new religion over his morning coffee and croissants. It'd be so much harder to challenge him!) Whereas Scientologists believe that our lives are manipulated, behind the scenes, by sinister intergalactic supervillains, I propose instead a belief in two principal metaphysical figures, one representing the good (known notionally as 'God'), the other representing evil (known hypothetically as 'The Devil').

I'm going out on a limb here, but I'd like to propose some other important aspects of this religion. We could do good deeds to one another (let's call this ethical concept 'doing good deeds'), and exercise compassion and kind to the poor (we could call this 'helping' the 'poor'), and emphasise the importance of humility and truthfulness (in the forthcoming release of this new religion of mine, this will be referred to as 'humility' and 'truthfulness'), as well as courage and self-sacrifice (referred to, in short-hand, as well as long-hand, as 'courage' and 'self-sacrifice').

Obviously I've been a little unoriginal here and stolen some of the ideas from some of the traditional religions - Scientology, environmentalism, and Macnabbianism*. But hey. They sound like good ideas to me.

Hell, some sucker person might even believe in them!

*I guess it's traditional, since this new faith has been in existence for at least two days now.


Dale Slamma said...

Am I going mental or did you post this previously? Is that sentence correct? Don't worry about answering the latter. I would like a banana smoothie.

TimT said...

Not that I'm aware of. Unless you read my MIND previously - I had the idea for this post last night.

You didn't read my mind, did you? Must remember not to think so loudly.

Dale Slamma said...

Goodness. I was quite certain I had already read this here on your blog. I will try to stop reading your mind at once.

Steve said...

Tim, I think reading CS Lewis is getting to you. I was going to appoint you as my Poet Laureate under my rule as benevolent dictator of Australia. Now I think I have to find a religious appointment for you. What would be a good Aussie equivalent to "Archbishop of Canterbury"? Wizard of Wodonga? Pope of Perth? An added benefit will be that I might let you crown me on top of (as you will recall) the Sydney Opera House after I climb it on a robot mule.

Anonymous said...

Christianity: the belief that a 2000-year-old Jewish zombie will get angry at you if you masturbate.

Anonymous said...

But on a serious note, this is a brilliant post. In this day and age people want spiritual redemption without commitment or sacrifice, or simply far greater levels of gratification. For some reason Madonna springs to mind, the woman is pretty much just trying to buy her way to salvation. Kabbalah is a fascinating and inspiring adjunct to Judaism, it is not a religion in and of itself. As a friend of mine put it once "Kabbalah is just for people who can't handle living without their bacon and egg McMuffins or not doing stuff on the sabbath."

TimT said...

Thanks Rachy. Speaking of Madonna (and why not?) now would seem an opportune time to link the horror that is LEGO MADONNA!

Steve, not a chance I can become anointed Pope in your kingdom I'm afraid. I am merely here to do Lego Madonna's bidding...

Dale Slamma said...

Lego Madonna lying on the bed
Listen to the music playing in your head

TimT said...

You really are reading my thoughts. That's exactly what I was thinking of when I typed that comment. 'Listen to the music playing in your head', indeed!

Email: timhtrain - at -

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