Friday, December 25, 2009

For the heaven of it

A woman described as mentally unstable has tackled the
Pope to the ground. Thankfully he seems all right. But
couldn’t the whole monstrous overblown edifice of the
Roman Catholic Church itself be described as a form of
mental instability? Indeed, any form of religion (‘that vast
moth-eaten musical brocade/created to pretend we never
die,’ as Philip Larkin put it) probably qualifies as a type of
derangement, self-willed or otherwise. Which may explain
why some of humanity’s worst crimes—far worse than
knocking someone to the ground—have been committed
in the name of religion. Personally I find it hard to gaze
on the absurd pomp with which most major religions
aggrandize themselves and not feel that, unable to bear
the lightness of being commended by Jesus, we humans
have had to weigh ourselves down with sceptres, robes and
silver in order to survive any intimations of holiness. What
with all that, and the wars waged and massacres done in
defence of different interpretations of God’s word, that
itinerant rabbi who preached in Galilee 2000 years ago,
should he return now, would wonder what in hell had been
done in his name. I prefer Nick Cave’s version: ‘Christ is
the imagination—terrible, irrational, incendiary, beautiful.’
So let us today, 25 December, wish our imaginations happy
birthday; and have a merry Christmas anyway, just for the
heaven of it.

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