No God Required
The latest heinous fundamentalist group (LHFG) has pulverized the ancient Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, Syria. It had to be done. The arch was evil. It transmitted up until the very day of its annihilation the influence of a foul genius, two thousand years gone. The mute stone bore testimony to the achievement of an ancient society: its wealth, resources, skill; its confidence, strength, and vision. The very stone was proof of what such societies do when they are so favored: they build.
It is this that LHFG finds evil: that godless stone, deftly structured and shaped, will lure passers-by into dwelling on the past. It invites them to contemplate how a people who built such an arch might have lived. They would picture ancient townsfolk taking shelter within that arch; marketers, arrived early, squatting down to watch the sun rise; cameleers, too late anyway, dawdling to take in the sunset and breathe the cool of the shadows; swaddled infants mewing at the breeze whispering by; the frail availing themselves of neighboring columns for support. Those of imagination would feel the ancient presence; hear the footsteps and the murmur of voices; wonder what, so long ago, those people strove to achieve day after day. It all resonated from stone that had blushed in the sun every day for all those thousands of years.
Yes, the arch struck awe in weak minds, when awe is to be reserved for the One god (tOg) and the One prophet (tOp) who revealed tOg to the world, albeit rather late in the game. Better to return that instrument of perversion to dust and desert than let it work further mischief. Better that nothing ever be known of the faces that turned away from tOp and tOg (albeit before they were born and revealed, respectively), and hence, oh woe be to them now, from Mullah Máximo (MM), today’s single ordained representative of tOg and tOp on Earth. Praise be to tOg, tOp, and MM. Consecrated to MM as his holy force, LHFG has vowed to return all such conduits of blasphemy to dust and desert through booby-trapping and blowing to bits. LHFG has also got lots of cell phone flicks to record, label, and distribute to the world so no one can accuse them of fudging.
The program did start a little late. There’s quite a lot of crud they’ve got to remove.
As alluded to above, it’s not only ancient ruins that pose a problem. We, the blasphemous weaklings, must agree to never again let our thoughts be diverted from tOg by ancient ruins, or we must be blown up, too.
But there’s a hitch in that agreement. We may be amenable to MM’s rule and perfectly willing to stop thinking wrong things; but can we do it? After all, that filthy tendency was introduced, one can only assume, by tOg himself. Otherwise, why does every last one of us, without training or trying, do it? – that is to say: look at neat things, think about them, then think whatever else occurs to us as a result.
Thinking is something we tend to do a lot of. In the beginning, we thought about finding dry caves, which we managed to do; then, before you know it, we were thinking about blasphemous arches and blasphemous cities, and what do you know, we built them, without asking anybody. As our comfort increased, our sense of self amplified. As that swelled, we found all sorts of things in our way. In moving one obstacle aside, we only came across 10 more. Soon we were fighting for civil liberties no fisherman working nets back then would have dreamt of in a thousand nighttime pipefuls. Oddly, in disputing each of those rights, we brought to light one more wrinkle in the complicated fabric of tOg’s changeling, the creature causing MM such grief now.
Because, let’s face it, all we do is think of blasphemous things to do and then do them. Sing. Dance. Recite poetry. Hone likenesses out of stone. Fornicate. Make sculpture out of trash. Paint portraits. Write. Read. Watch movies. MM must stop all that and bring us into the fold or blow us up along with the stone arches.
Such bad luck to get so late a start, because MM has an awful lot of us that need blowing up. As a matter of fact, you might think MM would be mad at tOg for giving him so much to do. But no, and this is where MM should pause and reflect himself. He likes the work. A whole lot.
Another point on which MM might himself reflect: How is it that tOg would create a multitude of creatures, bestow on them a host of gifts and abilities, then require their obliteration – in a very bloody fashion by his holy representative MM – for making use of those gifts and abilities? Would this not make tOg seem to be quite possibly a knucklehead? At the very least, feckless? Maybe MM has made a big mistake about what tOg wants. Maybe MM doesn’t really care.
The niqab is such a handy metaphor: MM wants to shroud tOg’s changeling, not in divine, but in MM’s dictate. MM’s fervor is not to establish the paradise of tOg on earth, but to satiate his own lust in the violent exercise of power that imposing an impossible dictate requires: that dictate being the annihilation of the personality of those who submit, the corporal annihilation of those who do not. Handy too that MM claims exclusive access to tOg’s divine truth. Had others access to that truth, they’d all bow right down and obey MM, wouldn’t they?, and what fun would that be?