This blog contains material I wrote and posted on multiply.com between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).
Monday, 26 November 2012
The Mosque Of The Holy Mollusc
I’ve just had one of those random thoughts that seem to lead into increasingly complicated labyrinths. You know the kind I mean?
For instance, let’s imagine a situation where the human race makes peaceful contact with a relatively highly-developed alien civilisation. Byhighly-developed, in this context, I mean a civilisation sufficiently advanced that the human race can’t immediately submerge and crush it completely and utterly, but rather has to coexist with it on roughly equal terms.
Now, furthermore, let’s imagine that this race is completely and utterly non-humanoid; something resembling giant snails will do pretty well as a model. Also, and very significantly, most members of this race (let’s call them the Molluscoids) are relatively rich. Fine?
OK, now, imagine what the religions of the world will have to say about this?
Hinduism isn’t in the running, really. Hindus think themselves intrinsically superior to all other peoples and religions, and this is one reason it’s not a proselytising religion; why would it want to propagate itself when it’s so incredibly superior to everyone else? Everyone else should naturally gravitate to it, right? Anyway, sarcasm apart, Hinduism will ignore the Molluscoids. Buddhism isn’t pushy, so it’s likely to sit back and wait, as well.
No, where we have to look for high religious drama is the Big Three; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Judaism and Christianity will be faced with one humongous problem right off: if God made Man in His image, then how on, well, whichever planet it is, does he make another intelligent, civilised race? Is God multi-formed, or do these two religions start off by junking a fundamental tenet of Genesis?
(Not that they wouldn’t be advised to dump that fundamental tenet anyway. How much does a Dinka have in common with an Ainu? What God looks like both of them? But I digress.)
The Jews, fortunately for them, aren’t in the business of evangelism either, so we can pass them by. But what about Christianity and Islam?
Imagine, now, the various Christian denominations and the Muslims fighting to promote their competing faiths among the Molluscoids. If for no other reason, the alien race’s wealth will serve as a powerful enough inducement to conversion. Y’know, follow the money trail and see where it goes.
I wonder just how one goes about explaining crucifixion to a snail? Or the idea that evolution never happened, to a species which can see for itself that it evidently did? And what about the different denominations squabbling over whether the Universe is 6000 years old? What happens when Baptist Molluscoids begin poaching on the Catholics, or the Muslims on the Presbyterians?
If there’s one thing we know about organised religion, though, it’s that they just won’t quit when the stakes are high enough.