Thursday, 2 May 2013

The creative committee

I was listening to Depeche Mode's 'Playing the Angel' album on the way to work the other day and some words from 'John the Revelator' got me thinking.

By claiming God as his only rock
He's stealing a god from the Israelite
Stealing a god from a Muslim too
There is only one god through and through

Now if it's true that there's only one god, then is any one religion right or is it (more likely) that none of them have got it right but they all make their own interpretation of the same idea.
This is a good point because it would mean that all the conflict in the world that has arisen from the simple premise of 'My god's better than yours' is all wrong. Which it obviously is anyway. Let's face it, as little kids there were always the inevitable playground fights that started with someone uttering the phrase 'My dad's better than your dad - my dad can beat your dad up'. These same kids grew up (well, got older anyway) and decided to continue knocking seven shades of shit out of each other for a reason they perceive to be bigger but is essentially still bollocks.
It's funny how if you start to compare the stories in the Bible with those in Greek and Roman mythology there are many parallels that can be drawn. There are common stories, just with places and names changed which shows that perhaps these events occurred somewhere at some time but nobody really knows for certain. And if nobody knows, then why make a big song and dance over the who's right or wrong?

But could it really be true that there is only one god? The Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Pagans for example had many gods. Some seem to have a god for every conceivable occasion, and maybe these guys are / were closer to the truth.
If we assume for now that the world happened by creation rather than the detonation of a very large firework, looking carefully around us we can see that the world was in fact designed by a committee.
Surely no single god would make it like that? Any god that allegedly loves us should never have created the wasp. Those were clearly made by some belligerent bastard of a god who didn't like the god in charge of making the humans and decided he'd make these creatures as a petty way of getting one over on him. He didn't stop there. Not content with making a creature that serves no useful purpose on this earth beyond annoying us during the summer, he went on to make ants, mosquitoes, and any number of other pointless bitey things. This bastard god was obviously a bit of a renegade outcast of the creation committee, because the others let him get away with these things. It must have been a 'he' because it's hard to imagine a woman coming up with such things.
The most obvious illustration of the committee theory has to be the platypus. This poor creature has lived its life having the piss taken out of it by everyone because of its oddball looks. The committee had an argument over this one, that's for sure, and no firm decision was arrived at. So a group of very disgruntled gods sent their CAD files to the 3D printer at exactly the same time, causing a glitch in the software which combined elements of every design and what came out was the platypus. Whereupon they all just shrugged and said "whatever...." and created April fool's day as an excuse.
Everywhere you look you find examples of compromise in design, and this only happens in a committee. If it's just one person there's usually a sense of direction and a commonality that you don't get when there are others involved. If a car is designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro you get something that looks like it grew organically from a single source. If the bloke who designed the chiller cabinets in Tesco got involved the result would be a complete mess. Like the Fiat Multipla.
So I therefore conclude that if there is a god, there's actually a whole bunch of them. This is handy because if there's something you don't like you can bitch about it to the god responsible rather than having a bleat to one who actually did lots of other things right and makes you feel guilty for moaning about something so trivial.
In Terry Pratchett's Discworld books there are assorted gods all over the place (I was particularly amused by the concept of 'Anoia' - goddess of things that stick in drawers), and I think this is the answer to religion.
Just believe what the hell you like; make up your own gods if you want, because when the curtain finally falls we'll all be wrong anyway.

The platypus - a result of bluesky thinking outside the box in a committee meeting