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Lighter Side: Judge Orders God To Break Up Into Smaller Deities

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 671 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... Thanks to Dave Haith. ... JUDGE ORDERS GOD TO BREAK
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      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 671
      Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.

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      Thanks to Dave Haith.

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      JUDGE ORDERS GOD TO BREAK UP INTO SMALLER DEITIES
      The Onion
      January 30, 2002

      http://www.theonion.com/onion3803/judge_orders_god.html

      WASHINGTON, DC - Calling the theological giant's stranglehold on the
      religion industry "blatantly anti-competitive," a U.S. district judge ruled
      Monday that God is in violation of anti-monopoly laws and ordered Him to be
      broken up into several less powerful deities.  

      "The evidence introduced in this trial has convinced me that the deity
      known as God has willfully and actively thwarted competition from other
      deities and demigods, promoting His worship with such unfair scare tactics
      as threatening non-believers with eternal damnation," wrote District Judge
      Charles Elliot Schofield in his decision. "In the process, He has carved out
      for Himself an illegal monotheopoly."

      The suit, brought against God by the Justice Department on behalf of a
      coalition of "lesser deities" and polytheistic mortals, alleged that He
      violated antitrust laws by claiming in the Holy Bible that He was the sole
      creator of the universe, and by strictly prohibiting the worship of what He
      termed "false idols."

      "God clearly commands that there shall be no other gods before Him,
      and He frequently employs the phrase 'I AM the Lord' to intimidate potential
      deserters," prosecuting attorney Geoffrey Albert said. "God uses other
      questionable strongarm tactics to secure and maintain humanity's devotion,
      demanding, among other things, that people sanctify their firstborn to Him
      and obtain circumcisions as a show of faith. There have also been documented
      examples of Him smiting those caught worshipping graven images."

      Attorneys for God did not deny such charges. They did, however, note
      that God offers followers "unbeatable incentives" in return for their
      loyalty, including eternal salvation, protection from harm, and
      "fruitfulness."

      "God was the first to approach the Jewish people with a 'covenant'
      contract that guaranteed they would be the most favored in His eyes, and He
      handed down standards of morality, cleanliness, and personal conduct that
      exceeded anything else practiced at the time," lead defense attorney Patrick
      Childers said. "He readily admits to being a 'jealous' God, not because He
      is threatened by the prospect of competition from other gods, but because He
      is utterly convinced of the righteousness of His cause and that He is the
      best choice for mortals. Many of these so-called gods could care less if
      somebody bears false witness or covets thy neighbor's wife. Our client, on
      the other hand, is truly a 'People's God.'"

      In the end, however, God was unable to convince Schofield that He did
      not deliberately create a marketplace hostile to rival deities. God's
      attorneys attempted to convince the judge of His openness to rivals,
      pointing to His longtime participation in the "Holy Trinity," but the effort
      failed when Schofield determined that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are
      "more God subsidiaries than competitors."

      To comply with federal antitrust statutes, God will be required to
      divide Himself into a pantheon of specialized gods, each representing a
      force of nature or a specific human custom, occupation, or state of mind.

      "There will most likely be a sun god, a moon god, sea god, and rain
      god," said religion-industry watcher Catherine Bailey. "Then there will be
      some second-tier deities, like a god of wine, a goddess of the harvest, and
      perhaps a few who symbolize human love and/or blacksmithing."

      Leading theologians are applauding the God breakup, saying that it
      will usher in a new era of greater worshipping options, increased
      efficiency, and more personalized service.

      "God's prayer-response system has been plagued by massive, chronic
      backlogs, and many prayers have gone unanswered in the process," said Gene
      Suozzi, a Phoenix-area Wiccan. "With polytheism, you pray to the deity
      specifically devoted to your concern. If you wish to have children, you pray
      to the fertility goddess. If you want to do well on an exam, you pray to the
      god of wisdom, and so on. This decentralization will result in more
      individualized service and swifter response times."

      Other religious experts are not so confident that the breakup is for
      the best, pointing to the chaotic nature of polytheistic worship and noting
      that multiple gods demand an elaborate regimen of devotion that today's
      average worshipper may find arduous and inconvenient.

      "If people want a world in which they must lay burnt offerings before
      an earthenware household god to ensure that their car will start on a cold
      winter morning, I suppose they can have it," said Father Thomas Reinholdt,
      theology professor at Chicago's Loyola University. "What's more, lesser
      deities are infamous for their mercurial nature. They often meddle directly
      in diplomatic affairs, abduct comely young mortal women for their
      concubines, and are not above demanding an infant or two for sacrifice.
      Monotheism, for all its faults, at least means convenience, stability, and a
      consistent moral code."

      One deity who is welcoming the verdict is the ancient Greek god Zeus,
      who described himself as "jubilant" and "absolutely vindicated."

      "For thousands of years, I've been screaming that this third-rate sky
      deity ripped me off wholesale," said Zeus, speaking from his Mt. Olympus
      residence. "Every good idea He ever had He took from me: Who first created
      men in his own image? Who punished mankind for its sins? Who lived eternally
      up in the clouds? And the whole fearsome, patriarchal, white-beard,
      thunderbolt thing? I was doing that eons before this two-bit hustler started
      horning in on the action."

      Lawyers for God say they plan to appeal Schofield's ruling and are
      prepared to go all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

      "This decision is a crushing blow to God worshippers everywhere, and
      we refuse to submit to a breakup until every possible avenue of argument is
      pursued," Childers said. "I have every confidence that God will ultimately
      win, as He and His lawyers are all-powerful."

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