Monday, February 28, 2011

Pagan History 101. All this really happened.

A long time ago there were people who worshiped the Gods. Some of these people lived in cities - others lived in the countryside. Some of the them could read and write - others were illiterate. Some of the them were rich and powerful, some of them were poor and some of them were slaves. But they all worshiped the Gods. Then along came some mean people who told them to stop: "You are Pagans - stop it!!!" The mean people had big clubs and swords (and later on guns) but the other people didn't want to stop worshiping their Gods, so they said "you can't make us!" This was just what the mean people were hoping they would say.

So the mean people killed lots of Pagans, and then they proclaimed "Aha - we've killed them all, now no one still worships the Gods!" A lot of the other people were still worshiping the Gods - but now they were very afraid, so most of them said "Yeah ...... that's right .... yeah, we, uh, don't worship those nasty old Gods any more...." But there were still a few troublemakers who said "yes we do!"

"Who said that!?!?" the mean people demanded. At first the other people just looked at the ground and no one said anything. Then one of the mean people (a really big one) picked someone out of the crowd and said "If you don't tell me who said that I'll kill this person!" Still no one said anything and the big mean person killed the other person like he was brushing a bug off his arm. He smiled at the smell of blood - he was pleased at how much fun it was to kill these "Pagans". So he grabbed another one.

"How many of you Pagans do I have to kill before you tell me who said it." He brushed another bug off his arm......

Eventually the "Pagans" learned to keep their mouths shut. Or maybe the big mean people really did succeed in killing them all. But the mean people couldn't kill the Gods - and they couldn't kill the ability that the "Pagans" had to communicate with these Gods. You see these "Pagans" believed that no one had to be taught how to "be a Pagan". The mean people, on the other hand, believed that there was only one God - but that no one knew about "Him" unless the mean people explained it to you. Usually after explaining it to you they would put a big sharp sword against your throat and ask "so, now do you understand?"

Stories persisted about the Gods - and when no one was looking these "Pagans" would sometimes pray silently "Gods - are you still there?" Some people claimed that they heard answers to these prayers - but they had to be careful who they told. Other people claimed that their great great great grand-parents had never stopped worshiping the Gods. Considering the circumstances it was hard to tell who was crazy, who was lying, who was a spy, and who just might be a real live honest to Gods "Pagan".

But the mean people weren't done yet. They looked around and saw that the whole f*cking world was full of these goddammed "Pagans". "Jesus Christ - lookat 'em all! How in the Hell are we ever going to afford enough cannons to save all their souls!?!?!?" But the mean people found a place where there were Pagans who had never seen iron - but where there was lots of gold. The mean people called this place "The New World" - but really they should have called it "Easy Pickings." The mean people thanked their bloodthirsty "God" and got to work. They quickly became fabulously wealthy - and it gave them more than enough "investment capital" to invest in taking over the whole goddammed planet.

Now the White European Christians went totally ape-shit. They rampaged across the entire surface of the planet earth. They murdered people in the name of Jesus. They leveled cities in the name of Jesus. They burned books, destroyed temples, tortured Priests and Priestesses - all in the name of Jesus. They even had the nerve to simultaneously enlave people and baptize them in the name of Jesus! All this really happened. They had no shame whatsoever. They were intoxicated with the lust for power and wealth.

The world had seen lots of empires - but there had never been anything like this before. And once the White European Christians started running out of planet to conquer - they immediately went to war with each other! They slaughtered each other by the millions. In the name of Jesus.

But before the White European Christians had started butchering each other, a bunch of them had colonized the Eastern part of North America and eventually became "Independent." In some ways they were the most shameless and bloodthirsty of them all. They could simultaneously proclaim that "all men are created equal" while complaining that the King of England hadn't done enough to eradicate the local "savages", while also quibbling over what percentage of a human being a slave was (I mean, if "all men are created equal", shouldn't that be 100%?).

When the White European Christians who were still in Europe started turning on each other, the "Americans" saw this an opportunity to grab the whole world and make it their own personal empire. They invented television, coca-cola, machine-guns and other handy tools to help them fulfill their "Manifest Destiny." To make sure that their fellow "Christians" would understand who was boss, they finally invented a new evil weapon that could literally destroy all human life - and then they did some educational demonstrations of the proper use of these weapons. So today we live in a "unipolar world" - a world that is basically one big happy Christian empire.

9 comments:

Mike said...

Realizing that this is a fable, what about the Chinese and Indiana who are mostly indigenous religion?

Apuleius Platonicus said...

China and India have a great variety of religious traditions, and these have changed over time. Personally I think that "indigenous religion" is a misnomer, and it simply a more politically correct way of saying "primitive religion", but still with the same connotations of (1) lack of intellectual sophistication, (2) cultural isolation, and (3) ethnocentrism.

Mike said...

What term would you use? Natural religion maybe? Can't use polytheism because it is only meaningful from a monotheistic point of view. It is impossible to not be ethnocentric. There's no such thing as a person without a culture and that is what it would take to not be ethnocentric. There are people who are part of more than one culture but they continue to think as a person in the culture that they are currently participating in. From my point of view, indigenous religion doesn't have any of the connotations that you mention. Daoism does not lack in sophistication. From the Chinese point of view, I bet Judaism seems to be culturally isolated. Buddhism is definitely not primitive. I doubt any educated person, outside of Evangelistic Christianity, would say that any of those qualities are true of Daoism, Janism, Buddhism, Islam etc.

Rhondda said...

Apuleius, I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Thank you.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Rhondda: thanks for appreciating the humor in this. I was partly inspired by "A Brief History of the United States of America", the short animation that appeared in Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine".

Anonymous said...

Apuleius,

Thank you again for a highly thought-provoking post! I look forward to them.

Aetius

mamiel said...

I am going to read the opening of this story to my 5-year-old tonight as a bedtime story.

A little heavy-handed Apuleius, but I wouldn't dispute any of it......

mamiel said...

Oh, and I did literally lol.

Giorgia.S said...

haha! Well said!