Monty Python invented the Ministry of Silly Walks. Lanky, looney John Cleese gave us hilarious examples of absurdity in motion. Religions have invented their own absurd Ministries of Silly Beliefs, Silly Rules and Silly Practices. You can compile your own lists. Here’s the first of mine :
1. Way back when, a divine No-Body said, “Abracadabra” and the world was. And He saw that it was good…for the nonce.
2. He went one better, looked in a lake He had created, saw no reflection but made some mud and fashioned a spittin’ image of Himself which He called “Earthy” (“Adam” in Hebrew).
3. Unmarried and unsexed Himself, though a single Parent, He did a little surgery on the First Man and molded one of his spare ribs into the First Woman, thereby creating the First Couple, whose two sons must have married female monkeys as we hear nothing of their sisters, and both incest and same-sex marriage or even relations would soon be forbidden by descendants who would later compile a long list of Silly Rules.
4. Though devoid of vocal cords, a larynx and even a tongue, He sometimes spoke to chosen individuals of His Chosen Race and dictated to them all they needed to know and much that they didn’t. Whether it made any sense or not, what was in the Book(s) they wrote was God’s own word, so their tall stories, Silly Beliefs, Silly Rules and Silly Practices could never be questioned.
5. Later, His down-trodden Chosen People who, in spite of His predilection and loving care had become second-rate citizens in a land occupied by a foreign pagan Superpower, was blessed with the birth, or better, the incarnation of His preexistent Son, thanks to a nubile teenager whose baby was both conceived and delivered leaving her virginity intact.
6. The divine-human Child grew up and got noticed for His precocious wisdom, His gift of the gab and His power to provide free lunches for the hungry, sight for the blind and life for the dear departed. He never left His native country, except as a Baby, so He never remembered seeing the pyramids, but He was to become the world’s most famous Star, who would literally be worshipped by His fans and fanatics all over the planet.
7. His divine Dad had a thing about people’s disobedience, debauchery, devil-worship and doing unto others what they often deserved. Someone had to suffer and be punished for these sins. So good Chap and model Father that He is, He decided to sacrifice His own Son rather than the rest of us; His torture and death would settle our debt to Someone unnamed.
8. Before Jesus, our self-sacrificing Savior, raised Himself from the dead and took off into space without the help of NASA, He shared some of His powers with a bunch of fishermen and tax-collectors whom He appointed to convert the rest of humanity to worshipping Him rather than His rivals. They could not turn water into wine but they could turn bread into His body. More important, they could forgive mortal sins, like missing Mass on Sunday, in His name, thereby saving such criminals from eternal punishment, as well as offer or even sell Indulgences to shorten or eliminate their punishment if they broke less mortal but equally Silly Rules like being late for Mass.
9. The man elected to take His place as the CEO of the multinational called the Church, has a special power called infallibility. He can’t pick the winners at the race-track or even in the Conclave of Cardinals, but whatever He decides to decree solemnly is guaranteed to be absolutely true. He doesn’t need valid arguments, let alone proof. What he says is true, is. Period.
10. Perhaps the most incredible Silly Belief of believers is that though their dead bodies will rot, their “souls” will not. (“Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, there’s a land that they dream of. Why, oh why, can’t I ?”). Death may look like a Definitive End, but it’s really just a portal to Paradise. Or the other place.
Second-rate science fiction is more credible than these Silly Beliefs. But billions still buy them.