The Columnist
  The Gods I
  The Gods II
The Gods III
The Gods IV
  The Gods V
  The Gods VI
  The Gods VII
  The Gods VIII


Never mind all the bishops milling around at Lambeth - there has been a much more important religious conference going on this year, and that is the gathering of the main gods of the world which takes place every ten years - yes, the Hindu, Christian, Muslim deities, and every other one that matters.
      I have never attended this divine conference, owing to my non-divine nature, but I do have a press release covering the proceedings of the last conference ( May 1998, our time ) and I think you will agree that it sounds a lot more interesting than the Lambeth get-together.
      Here are a few salient paragraphs from the report of the meeting, just to give you the flavour.

       1. The Jewish God and the Christian God had had several more meetings to discuss a possible merger but nothing had been decided. The Jewish God had maintained that he still wanted nothing to do with the Millennium, and the Christian God had said, All right, be that way. The next meeting will take place after 2,000.

            2. There was general agreement among gods that the 1990s had been a hopeful decade. There had been no major war on earth, which was a source of satisfaction to all concerned, except Thor, Norse God of war and thunder, who asked it to be placed on record that he regretted the stifling spread of peace.

            3. A Hindu god said that he ( or she, it not being clear ) opposed the involvement of Thor in these sessions. The Norse Gods, he/she said, had not had any followers on Earth for at least 1,000 years and were not entitled to representation in these matters. He/she moved that the Norse Gods in future not be asked to these inter-deity conferences.

            4. Thor said that normally he wouldn’t pay any attention to what some six-armed creep who couldn’t throw a hammer with any of them said about life in general, but in this case he was prepared to make an exception and would the lady or gentleman in question come outside and  say it again.

            5. The chairgod called for order, and moved on to the next item on the agenda, the Salman Rushdie fatwa. Did Allah have anything new to report on this ? Allah said he personally was glad that Mr Rushdie was still in hiding, as this showed that Mr Rushdie took the fatwa seriously, even if nobody else did. He himself, added Allah, had not read The Satanic Verses, as he was forbidden by his own religion from doing so. There was laughter.

            6. Talking about Satan, said the same Hindu god/goddess as had spoken previously, had there been any change of mind about inviting devils and kings of the underworld to this conference ? The chairgod said that they had discussed this long and hard and were still of the opinion that inviting devils and demons to a high-level all-deity conference would be taking creeping liberalism too far. “Which ever way you slice him,” said the chairgod, “an Anti-Christ is still against Christ, and the last thing we want is terrorism at the god level..”

            7. Thoth, an Egyptian delegate, said he did not normally side with Thor, but really he could not put up with mockery from gods who were still believed in directed at gods no longer worshipped. Just because belief in a god has died out, he said, did not mean that god is any the less worthy of respect. There were some gods still believed in today who could not have gone three rounds with some ancient gods he could mention. Besides, the ancient gods had much better stories, and he would back the best of Egyptian mythology against the yarns of the New Testament any day ....

            8. The motion was seconded by a block of Aztec and Mayan gods.

            9. The chairgod said they could second the motion as much as they liked but a sub-committee of gods had gone over and over this one till they were blue in the face, and they had never come to a conclusion. In his view, the whole subject was bedevilled by the fact that there were lots of gods in the old days and very few new ones, so the old gods tended to have more votes. Perhaps there was a case for divine PR.

            10. The chairgod asked the Catholic God to report on any noteworthy visions in the Catholic world in the previous decade. The Catholic God said that divine visions were being provided at the usual frequency, but that the failure rate was increasing. This was because children were increasingly being told to be wary of strange grown-ups, and on at least five occasions recently the Virgin Mary, having appeared to a child in a vision, had been told by the child to stop pestering them or they would get their parents to give her a good hding. On one occasion two years ago St Joseph had appeared in a vision in Guatemala to a group of peasants and had been taken hostage.

            11. The God of Ian Paisley at this point stood up and demanded furiously to be give a chance to speak. He would not make a fuss, he said, but the Catholic God was being given far too much airtime.

            12. The chairgod ruled the God of Ian Paisley out of order, saying that there was still not enough proof that the God of Ian Paisley was a genuine god.
              More of this some other time ...