Required Reading for Religious Studies…

Small Gods, Terry Pratchett


And, as is generally the case around the time a prophet is expected, the Church redoubled its efforts to be holy. This was very much like the bustle you get in any large concern when the auditors are expected, but tended towards taking people suspected of being less holy and putting them to death in a hundred ingenuous ways. This is considered a reliable barometer of the state of one’s piety in most of the really popular religions. There’s a tendency to declare that there is more backsliding around than in the national toboggan championships, that heresy must be torn out root and branch, and even arm and leg and eye tongue, and that it’s time to wipe the slate clean. Blood is generally considered very efficient for this purpose.


Many feel they are called to the priesthood, but that they really hear is an inner voice saying, ‘It’s indoor work with no heavy lifting, do you want to be a ploughman like your father?’

It takes forty men with their feet on the ground to keep one man with his head in the air.ឯកសារ:Buddhist_monks_collecting_alms,_Laos.jpg

Take it from me, whenever you see a bunch of buggers puttering around talking about truth and beauty and the best way of attacking Ethics, you can bet your sandals it’s all because dozens of other poor buggers are doing all the real work around the place.

His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, “You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.

Where do gods come from? Where do they go?
Some attempt to answer this was made by the religious philosopher Koomi of Male in his book Ego-Video Leber Deorum, which translates into the vernacular roughly as Gods: A Spotter’s Guide.
People said there had to be a Supreme Being because otherwise how could the universe exist, eh?

And of course there clearly had to be, said Koomi, a Supreme Being. But since the universe was a bit of a mess, it was obvious that the Supreme Being hadn’t in fact made it. If he had made it he would, being Supreme, have made  a much better job of it, with far better thought given, taking an example at random, to things the design of the common nostril. Or, to put it another way, the existence of a badly put-together watch proved the existence of a blind watchmaker. You only had to look around to see that there was room for improvement everywhere.

This suggested that the Universe had probably been put together in a bit of a rush by an underling while the Supreme Being wasn’t looking, in the same way that Boy Scouts Association minutes are done on office photocopiers all over the country.
So, reasoned Koomi, it was not a good idea to address any prayers to a Supreme Being. It would only attract his attention and might cause trouble. ..

Any god could start small. Any god could grow in stature as its believers increased. And dwindle as they decreased. It was like a great big game of ladders and snakes.
Gods liked games, provided they were winning.
Koomi’s theory was largely based on the good old Gnostic heresy, which tends to turn up all over the multiverse whenever men get up off their knees and start thinking for two minutes together, although the shock of the sudden altitude tends to mean the thinking is a little wacked. But it upsets the priests, who tend to vent their displeasure n traditional ways.
When the Omnian Church found out about Koomi, they displayed him in every town within the Church’s empire to demonstrate the essential flaws in his argument.
There were a lot of towns, so they had to cut him up quite small.

2 Responses to “Required Reading for Religious Studies…”

  1. The Vicar Says:

    Yes, my second-favorite Pratchett book — it was my favorite until Night Watch came out. I have an autographed copy, although sadly it’s a paperback. (I didn’t know Pratchett was going to show up at the local bookstore — for one of his other books which I hadn’t read yet — until he was actually there, my original copy was tattered from rereading, and the only copy they had was the paperback.)

    Incidentally, according to an interview he gave, in the original draft Brutha was intended to die in the scene where Vorbis gets… (how to put this in a spoiler-free way) hit in the face, but his editor objected.

  2. Dr. Jim Says:

    Small Gods was the first Pratchett I read, and it is still my fave. I don’t think I’ve read Night Watch. I loved the Colour of Magic and Equal Rites.

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