Saturday, February 19, 2011

Religion As Microsoft Might Explain It

Several weeks ago, I wrote that I thought that I had figured out why we have so many problems with the Middle East-the men there obviously used violence as a coping mechanism to sublimate the stress of living in a desert, without beer, and with women who dressed like Batman. This kind of deep cultural awareness is a direct benefit of those years I spent getting an extra degree in Anthropology.

While this is obviously a brilliant insight into another culture (judging from the hate mail sent to this blog) it is obvious that I need to expand upon my explanation. Being a Texan by birth and training, I believe I can best accomplish this explanation with a metaphor.

Several thousand years ago, a nomadic people living in a desert became God’s chosen people. This wasn’t exactly an honor, however, since evidently God showers his favor on a people by periodically making their lives seriously miserable. This divine favoritism started with Job and his family, and then got worse over time. We will call this God 1.0®- the original release of a religious operating system. While there were a few earlier versions of God operating on some units, to keep our metaphor concise, we will just refer to these earlier religious operating systems as Beta Releases that did not survive field testing.

While God 1.0® was the dominant system for a thousand years, eventually there was a major upgrade with the release of God 2.0®. Predictably, due to the long period of time between releases, there was a large population who remained comfortable with God 1.0® and refused to upgrade their religious operating system. Most of this resistance to market saturation was regional in nature, so the manufacturing point of God 2.0® was moved to Rome, thus allowing the continued release of God 1.0®, (although in limited numbers) to remain in distribution in the Middle East.

For several hundred years, the market remained static-until the release of God 3.0® in the Middle East. This was a new improved God: cleaner, brighter, and all natural. Some enthusiasts contend that, actually, God 3.0® has existed for thousands of years, and point to its roots in the earlier Beta systems. We will ignore this claim, leaving it to the copyright lawyers. While this system became very popular in a relatively short period of time, it neither replaced God 1.0® nor God 2.0®; and all three systems remained in continual distribution.

Almost a thousand years later, there were major patches issued to God 2.0. Some members of the user group in Germany claimed the original release had become corrupt over time and could no longer be loaded. These user complaints brought about releases of God 2.1®, God 2.2®, God 2.2B3®, and so forth, for several hundred years. While the original God 2.0® is still available, there are almost as many versions of the patched God 2.0® systems as there are units to load them. This trend set off a veritable cottage industry in custom-designed religious operating systems for limited distribution. For example, some people, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, are attempting to load a Linux-based operating system, with what can only be called mixed results.

And here is the problem: if you have gone to the trouble to purchase, install, and maintain God 3.0®, you would expect your life to be… well, good. Or at least, not suck. But, no matter how you want to measure it, it seems that the people living over the hill (those infidels still suffering along with an outdated God 1.0®) seem to have a better life. They are more prosperous, healthier, and (outside of the times when they are unsuccessfully attacked by people with God 3.0®) more peaceful. I won’t even bother to include a comparison of all those people with some version of God 2.whatever.

If I were a user of God 3.0®, I would be pissed. Instead of a smooth religious operating system, all the users seem to get are system crashes and unholy viruses. There are documented cases of some users of God 3.0® suffering such severe failures that the hardware literally explodes in public. Personally, I would want an upgrade, a patch, or an unlimited onsite service plan. Hell, God, how about a rebate? If I have to wait until you come up with some type of bug fix for this operating system, can I at least get an advance on the afterlife? But don’t send one of the 72 virgins; I’d rather have a single hot hooker who knows her business.
Note. These opinions are mine, and not actually those of Microsoft. Besides, any organization that could release both Works and Vistas must be more closely associated with the devil.


  1. i am glad you are back in your real topics.

  2. hahaha laughing my ass off. I want to know how much hate mail this generates. Spectacular. Was this fueled by Guinness or Laphroig? This blog should be a general education requirement.

  3. Laphroaig and spell check don't mix. But it makes a fine post-posting celebration.

  4. Fatwā, you infidel dog.

  5. Wow. I'm glad Mrs. The Doctor pointed me here, Mark. : )

    I kind of like the pre-1.0 God version that just requires a pen and paper (and fingers to hold them). Just the basics, in other words. Religion has become a sort of sour taste in my mouth lately - and this, after having lived through the God 3.0 (and further iterations of that) for many years.

    The God of Job (I've lost track of the versions at this point) had an interested thing to say at the end of the book. After Job and his friends all tried to figure out why Job had to suffer as he did, God came down and began talking. You can almost sense the biting sarcasm as God says "so, how would one of you like to explain all of nature to me? You know, just S&G." Job - probably the only wise one among the bunch - said "uh, okay Lord. How about I just shut the hell up instead of trying to create YANS (Yet Another New System) to explain you?" And God said "you got that right, Jack."

    Religions are man-made. Every single last one of them. As such, they've all got major bugs. They serve a purpose for those who would otherwise wake up in the middle of the night, screaming about bits and bytes, but really - beyond that I don't see much use for them (this hop-scotching back and forth between metaphors is making me dizzy). Don't need 'em, don't need 'em.

    I'm still a deist, but the scope of my belief is now much more expanded, and inclusive of traditional shunned persons. Gays, women who want to hold the door open for themselves, cats who want to hang with dogs, and even vegans. (gasping at the thought here) It also includes atheists. I figure: if God made 'em, I just can't imagine Him being all startled and bent out of shape at the fact that they're using their God-given abilities and talents, regardless. Atheist singers, Hindu MDs, pro-contraceptionist scientists and construction workers all have a part to play in the mosaic.

    My acid test of the ridiculous boundaries of a religion is this: how does their God react to the notion of someone masturbating? If that God is scandalized, he's no friend of mine. 'Cause mine created us with our parts, and with our opposable thumbs and eyes and everything. I suppose if I'm wrong about that, and there's such a thing as karma, I'll likely be born into the next life without elbows and eyes. It would serve me right.