PETER KOMIS — THE FREAK GOD — 2017
If you are ready for a delirious religious war between or among three crazy gods, you will enjoy the disorder and mess these wars can create within a vast parable and metaphor of the third god growing up to adulthood.
The basic gods are the Great Vallach and the Great Creator. The Great Vallach materializes into a smoky dark cloud and uses great eagles for its intervention whereas the Great Creator materializes into a golden cloud and uses bolts of lightning to mark his territory. The Great Vallach or at least his supporters have apparently tamed invisible Arkon pythons who are supposed to keep watch over the Arkon shuttle that brought the people who are living on this crazy planet from some other planet that does not need to have a name but could easily be called Arkon. Cosmic truth is not exactly the main point here.
The third god is the Atheistic God. Do not be afraid of this oxymoronic name or god. How can a god be atheistic which means that this god does not believe in the existence of gods? Never mind the details, everything is possible on this planet.
The planet is divided into three realms, kingdoms, republics or whatever. One dedicated to the Great Vallach. One dedicated to the Great Creator. One dedicated to the Atheistic God. The first two are based on the existence of a church or temple with many priests and disciples who are made rich and powerful by the faith of the people of their respective kingdom or republic who provide the priests with a lot of money to go on indoctrinating the people with sectarian and fundamentalistic ideas that consider all others as heretic enemies. The third entity is based on the existence of a research university that discovers scientific truth and develops technological knowledge and competence under the guidance of scientists and technicians.
A common and current trend is that the Holy Kingdom of Vallcha and the Blessed Republic of Eden are often getting into some alliance to fight against the Republic of Heelon. There is only one neutral ground, which is the independent and autonomous city of Tyre, like the city in Lebanon, like the city from which the metal craftsmen came to build Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. Do not think it is a plain reproduction of the Old Testament, though it probably is with the Semitic “Arabs” who are servants or servile slaves in Israel, the Semitic Jews who are the free citizens of Israel and the Semitic Phoenicians in Tyre who are not part of Semitic Israel.
The Atheistic God and his Republic of Heelon is the rest of the world contemplating the situation in the Middle East and the constant fight and struggle of Muslims against Israel. I just dropped the Old Testament’s word “Arab” because in the Middle East the Muslims are Sunnis and Shias, and the two sides are hostile to each other, but the Sunnis are themselves divided between some Semitic Arabs and the Indo-European Kurds and the Turkic Turks, three linguistic groups that are hostile to one another. And add to that the fact that most Shias speak Indo-European languages like Shia Iran and like Sunni Pakistan and you have the mess only American politicians are unable to cope with because they do not understand it.
This book is just as messy as that and I regret the atheistic Republic of Heelon should, could or might represent the West which is mostly Christian and NOT atheistic, even in the most anti-religious countries of Europe like France: the vast majority of these atheistic people are christened, receive some religious education, marry in church as well as in the city hall and are buried in church. Harari can say what he wants, but he has it wrong: the development of science does not mean the disappearance of religions, and I insist on the plural. That’s what is lost in the book because it starts with a strong allusion to Peter Pan with some kind of magic technically enhanced teddy bear. This aspect of the tale vanishes after a few pages to develop into the metaphor of the Atheistic God growing out of science and technology.
It is not even recovered at the end when the Atheistic God wins over the other two, who are not completely dead, mind you. This loss is a shame because the magic of children’s books is also lost and the children’s book it was at the beginning turns into religious science-fiction right through to the end. I really miss Jonathan and bear robot Framm.
Apart from that, this is a tale and some might shrug their shoulders and frown with their eyebrows and even eyes, eyelids and eyelashes at the idea that science destroys religion. It is totally absurd. Some of the greatest scientists of this world have strong religious affiliations like Einstein who was a Jew and Teilhard de Chardin who was a Jesuit. Pasteur was a Catholic and most English scientists are or were Protestants, like Newton with his monument in Anglican Westminster Abbey, not to speak of the various affiliations of American scientists. Note too that most Muslim scientists, doctors, etc. are Muslims of course and they are the vast majority of scientists in their Muslim countries, like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and many others. And what about India and its scientists who are most of them Hindus and some of them Buddhists? China is even more complicated, just like Japan.
It is an idea that should not be promoted among young people that religion and science are antagonistic. They are not because they are on two different levels of human behavior and action. Religion is often a “justification” for war but it is in no way a warmongering ideology by definition, even when you read some verses in the Quran or in the Old Testament. Religion is an essential human freedom covered by Human Rights under the title of freedom of expression, belief, and faith. This book’s vision could more or less, rather more than less, promote the idea that religious wars are inevitable, inscribed deep in human flesh and even human mind.
And it is not. Not because of science, but because the basic human nature is best defined and represented by the religion of Buddhism that states every individual, hence the whole humanity, is basically inclined to strive for their living in the satisfaction of their needs and to help the members of their communities to do the same and share their means when necessary and possible. And this stance does not come from science but from the belief man can be controlled by their minds and this mind is or can be targeting enlightenment and not sectarian fundamentalistic bigotry.
Enjoy the trip into this hallucinatory vision of Palestine.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU