Of Gods, Adolescents and an Orphan

ABBA captured the essence of the mature gods of antiquity with the line "The gods may throw the dice their minds as cold as ice and someone way down here loses someone dear " of The Winner Takes It All.

The mature three of the Holy Trinity – God the Son, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit – have little in common with the mature gods of Greek Mythology. If someone has to die down here it's for an undisclosed higher purpose; they cause their sycophants to die because that is what Gods do, but they take no pleasure in it.

The mature three of the Trinity also don't gamble on the human race, instigating titanic life and death struggles for their amusement then championing their favorite warriors as their predecessors did, for example, during the Trojan Wars.

The Trinity Three were not into playing favourites, they were, to use a term appropriated by the Catholic Church, ecumenical, all races and ethnic groups were welcomed to worship them, Jesus in particular. This was not the case for the original incarnation of the one-god-fits-all model imagined by the Jews and appropriated and adapted by Christians and Muslims, both claiming an improvement over the original.

The new-fangled-god of the Old Testament which did away with all pretenders to omnipotence, male and female, like the Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses he would replace in the hearts and minds of god-worshippers everywhere was not above playing favorites. His pets being the so-called Chosen Peoples who made Him more than a figment of a sun-baked mind.

In Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ridley Scot's over-the-top interpretation of a Bible story for which there is no archeological evidence, the god who only communicates via those who first speculated about his existence, then gathered in a book the purported proof (Zoroaster actuality did it first) has the voice of a child.

The god of the Old Testament often exhibited behavior associated with childhood such as petulance, impatience, short attention span, a need to be praised, unthinking cruelty … serious character flaws in adults which diminished, if not totally disappeared in most children as they got older.

In the Islamic re-thinking of the Jewish god, unlike the re-modeled god of the Christians, Allah does not appear to have matured into an adult deity, getting stuck somewhere on Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

The Koran is not so much a philosophy as a set of rules. The rule-maker exhibits the same adolescent certainty in having absolute knowledge of the world around him and an adolescent intolerance of others who won’t play the game by his rules.

Where the child in God is most evident is in the required Marcel Marceau-like charades he has people, to whom he has granted a favour, perform e.g. Zachariah to whom He has granted a son, and Mary, the baby Jesus.

In the Koran, a child's unthinking cruelty becomes a deliberate act of destruction which seems to give God a great deal of satisfaction. Even in revelations about the cities He has destroyed, you can hear the boy in Allah talking and exulting in His annihilation of the men, women and children they sheltered, the losers in revelation 7:99.

During a normal day i.e. morning or afternoon, even in the Prophet’s time, children played and adults worked, or were busy with more important things, from making love to making war. Yet, it is people at play whom Allah brags about killing in revelation 7:98; and like children might say or do, He schemed to make their obliteration come about. An omnipotent, omnipresent god does not need to scheme to get His way, but a child often does.

7:97 Did the people of the cities feel assured that Our punishment would not come upon them at night while they were sleeping?

7:98 Or did the people of the cities feel assured that Our punishment would not come upon them during the day while they were playing?

7:99 Or did they feel secure against Allah’s Scheming? For none feels secure from Allah’s Scheming save the losing people.

Those who have been reading my brief essays on Islam for any length of time know that I often like to end them with further food for thought in the form of a question, in instance, two questions. The first is the more serious; the second, I suspect, many of you will consider a gratuitous observation.

Perhaps it is, perhaps not, it all depends!

First Question!

Can an adolescent having never known a father also be a father-figure, and if so, what type of father-figure would an orphan imagine he would be?

Reading the Koran you can literally feel a father's love for his son as in revelations 33:56-57 where Allah blesses His Messenger and issues a stern warning to anyone who would harm him.

33:56 Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. O believers, bless him and greet him graciously, too.

33:57 Those who cause Allah and His Messenger any injury, Allah has cursed them in this life and the life to come and has prepared for them a demeaning punishment.

Does Allah's relationship with His Messenger not remind you of another God-Son relationship?

The Prophet Muhammad never knew his father who died before he was born. His mother passed away when he was six or seven years old.

When you read the Koran, especially the verses where Allah expresses his love for His Messenger and where He threatens to do serious damage to anyone who would harm him, or cause him distress, you can’t help thinking that Allah was also the father Muhammad, as a child, never had, the father that a fatherless child might imagine.

In his last public appearance, a short time before he died, God's Messenger asked the thousands who had come to hear what would be his last sermon, if he had done a good job.

The crowd shouted in unison: “We bear witness that you have conveyed the trust and discharged your ministry and looked to our welfare.”

He then lifted his forefinger towards the sky and then pointing towards the people then to his father in heaven asked Him to bear witness three times: “O Lord: Bear Thou witness unto it”.

Did Muhammad in making the Koran known to mankind want to please Allah the way a child wishes to ingratiate himself to his father and in return get the love and approbation that comes from being a good son? Did he imagine the wisdom that his equally imaginary Father wanted his son to transmit? Did he imagine the love of a father he never had? If you believe, then the answer is obvious.

Second question!

If God had chosen not to spend an eternity without indulging in that anger soothing ultimately relaxing activity that is being intimate with someone you care for, would His choice of partners have been the same as that of His last and greatest Messenger?

Older men's preference for whom they chose to be intimate with and why can be an indication of their emotional growth. Of course, if both Allah and His Messenger did not share the character trait which psychiatrists refer to as "the eternal teenager" (Important! I do not necessarily consider the label eternal teenager a derogatory term having been accused of being one myself, and which is not only defined by a person's sexual preferences) then, the following applies only to His Messenger, not to his Mentor. Remember that the Prophet, in the following hadith, was in his fifties.

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:

I was with the Prophet in a Ghazwa (Military Expedition) and my camel was slow and exhausted. The Prophet came up to me and said, "O Jabir."

I replied, "Yes?"

He said, "What is the matter with you?"

I replied, "My camel is slow and tired, so I am left behind."

So, he got down and poked the camel with his stick and then ordered me to ride. I rode the camel and it became so fast that I had to hold it from going ahead of Allah's Apostle.

He then asked me, have you got married?"

I replied in the affirmative.

He asked, "A virgin or a matron?"

I replied, "I married a matron."

The Prophet said, "Why have you not married a virgin, so that you may play with her and she may play with you?"

Jabir replied, "I have sisters (young in age) so I liked to marry a matron who could collect them all and comb their hair and look after them."

Bukhari 34.310

Bernard Payeur