By Jug Suraiya
God sitting in the office of the CEO, Cosmic Executive Officer, conferring with his HRM, Human Relationship Manager.
God: Well, HRM, while I’ve been on tour to make sure everything’s running smoothly in my infinite universe, what’s been happening on that tiny little speck called Earth, which I’ve left in your charge?
HRM: Well, boss, it’s a bit tough to say, because it’s getting pretty difficult to figure out what’s really going on there, because of something called fake news. Which are made-up things which people spread around as the truth, so that other people believe them.
God: Golly. But can’t these humans make out what’s true and what’s not?
HRM: Sometimes it’s hard for them to do so, because humans are programmed to believe what they’re told by authority figures, like parents and teachers, priests and political leaders and TV anchors.
God: Wow. That’s a lot of programmed belief. So what’s the latest piece of fake news that people have taken for real?
HRM: Well, actually it didn’t start of as fake news, it started off as satire which some people mistook for fact and spread it around as such.
God: OK, so did this satire that people took as fact, have anything to do with that thing called politics with which humans seem to be getting more and more preoccupied?
HRM: It does have to do with politics of a sort, the politics of religion, which can be the most political politics of all.
God: You don’t say. So what was their fake news about religion?
HRM: It was about how the parliament of a country called Iceland had passed a resolution saying all religion was nothing but a mental disorder. It appeared in a satirical column called ‘Laughing in Disbelief’, and a lot of people took it to be for real, and began to share it on social media with other people, until it snowballed into a big issue, with people taking sides, for and against, and getting into verbal fights with each other.
God: Good Lord, or rather, good me! Are people still fighting over religion, all these thousands and thousands of years after they invented it?
HRM: They are, indeed. In fact, they’re fighting over religion more than ever because, over all these years, they’ve invented more and more religions, each competing with all the others.
God: You mean all these competing religions have become like the football World Cup, or the Indian Premier League?
HRM: It’s even bigger than that. Because you come into religions rivalry, with each religion claiming that they hold the sole copyright on you, God.
God: But dash it all, how can they do that? How can they try and divide the indivisible? Don’t they realise that I’m beyond differentiation, beyond taking sides? Can’t they see that I’m above all religion, like an impartial referee, or umpire, or whoever those chaps are who don’t support one team or other and make sure that no fouls, or match-fixing, or other jiggery-pokery takes place?
HRM: I’m afraid they can’t. Each religion believes you support it, and it alone.
God: Well, can’t you spread the word that they’ve got it all wrong, and that I’m for all religions equally and I’m not for any particular one at all?
HRM: Sorry, Boss. But that’s one thing that’ll immediately be dismissed as being patently fake news …
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.