Monthly Archives: May 2016

A new Testament

The bible’s New Testament is aptly named, because in it we are introduced to the guy calling himself Jesus. And he describes to us a new God; well the same old one, but now he’s had a makeover. He is no longer the bloodthirsty monster from the old testament, he has been transformed into a gentle loving and forgiving God, who loves all races: yes, even those with foreskins. And by the way says Jesus – he’s my dad.
There is also a new power in the land of the chosen tribe – Romans. We also have a great big new myth to kick it all off.
There were three wise men from the east; they were Magi: followers of Zoroaster, an ancient prophet. The traditional Christian account tells of a simple fairy tale, which is taught at Sunday schools to trusting children and enacted at nativity plays every year. It implies that the wise men having seen the star in the east believed that it prophesied the birth of Jesus, and they followed it with gifts for the infant.
However, according to Matthew’s account, they messed up big style. First they stopped off in Jerusalem to make enquiries; not a good idea. There an evil bastard called King Herod, heard about the prophecy. He called in on the wise men and asked to be kept informed, so that he too could go and worship. When they heard the king they departed and followed their star. They came to the house and saw the infant with his mother and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
And being warned by God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they returned home a different route. Then, the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, telling him to flee with his family to Egypt; for Herod will seek to destroy this child. There sure was a lot of dreaming in those days! And why couldn’t God just send a plague of boils to infest Herod to take his mind of events – just like he did with the Pharaohs: is he getting soft?
Herod, when he saw he had been mocked by the wise men, sent forth, and slew all of the children under two years old, in Bethlehem and the coasts thereof.
Of course this tale is taken from that fabulous book, the bible. You won’t find any reference to this event in any real history books, not even by Josephus, a famous chronicler of the times. Surely massacres of children would be big news stories, even in those fantastic days.
It is notable that it is only Matthew who mentions this mass murder. Mark, Luke and John don’t seem to know anything about it – almost as if it was all in the mind of mad Matthew.
Josephus records for history, the facts that Herod had all the members of the royal family murdered, including his own wife, and their two sons. But he doesn’t record any atrocity of two thousand infants being slain by Herod.
Luke doesn’t report Joseph fleeing to Egypt with his wife and new-born son: he has him going to Jerusalem to show him off.
You must admit God is a bit careless, having his son born into such dangerous conditions, but of course it wasn’t possible that any harm could come to him; if the boy had been killed, he wouldn’t have said – tough shit, but that’s life my boy! Now where can I find myself another teenage virgin to plant my seed?
Just one tall biblical tale among the many.

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Star Voyagers

The Voyager space crafts left Earth thirty nine years ago. Their mission was first to fly past and take images of Jupiter and Saturn: and then boldly go where no craft has gone before. Travelling at speeds of around 38,000 miles per hour they reached the outer reaches of our solar system in 2013. But to finally break free of any faint tug of gravity from our Sun, they will have to pass through the Oort Cloud; a journey taking 40,000 years – so don’t bother putting it in your diary. If there was anyone on board looking back, the Sun would be just another little star twinkling in the darkness: and even then we would only be half way to our nearest neighbour; Proxima Centaura. As you can see, God’s interstellar space is a very lonely place.
And just in case we make contact with any extra-terrestrial life, we have put together a greeting pack in the form of a gold-plated disc: aka, the golden record.
Of course we hope that the aliens are intelligent; hopefully not like the sort to be found at Mos Eisley Cantina, the inter-galactic bar in Star Wars. What would Jabba the Hutt make of the selection of music found on the golden record? Would he appreciate Beethoven’s Fifth? Maybe not, but I can definitely see him jiving along to Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Goode. What about the Wookies? We know that Chewbacca was a fast learner, so I’m sure that any Wookie would recognise at least one of the fifty five languages chosen to represent us.
What if the golden record ends up in the hands of the evil Sith? We wouldn’t want Darth Sidious finding his way here – and what if mad murdering Moses is really one of them in disguise?  We need our aliens to be god-fearing and upstanding, we need them to be more like the Jedi. We need to hope that they also have a covenant with our creator. God-damn it, any aliens we make contact with must for our sakes be circumcised. Surely Yoda must be; he’s got to be one of the chosen.