Circular: Intolerable Mythology

You would think with our ability to communicate with anyone anywhere anytime that intolerance would be a thing of the past.  Being scared of those that are different is usually born of a lack of understanding and fearing the unknown.  Now we can just Google to our heart’s content and learn about other cultures but instead we’d rather look for that freeze frame shot of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct to prove to ourselves that we did see what we thought we saw.  Why did I use that as an example?  Um…quickly, look over there! Now that you’re back I have to admit I offended some religious people at a gig when I updated the Bible for every day Australians. Yet what I was doing was nothing that hasn’t been done over the centuries.  The Bible has constantly been updated and even in recent months the Pope has come out and exonerated the Jews and allowed for communion to be given to alien beings if they were ever up for a snack when visiting our blue green planet.

Even within the Bible the Gospels are updates.  I’ve read all four of the Gospels written by John, Paul, George and Ringo and through these scattershot parables of life and death I have pieced together what must have been tough times for old J Dawg.  In fact in some of the stories I think Jesus comes across as a bit of a party pooper…just say what you mean and stop speaking in metaphors you smartarse!  Although in his defence there was a lot of pressure on him.  Imagine how annoying his life became once everyone discovered he was the Messiah and could perform miracles.

“Hey Jesus, what are you doing?  I need a miracle.”

“Oh for fucks sake, it’s 7.30 in the AM!  I’m trying to cook some toast!”

I attended Sunday school once and at first it was great.  Why wouldn’t it be?  There were all the things I loved there:  sandwiches, sand pits, my best friend Sandy.  Then we went in to hear the stories and at first I was enthralled especially with the tale of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

I imagined Jesus starting off with some simple card tricks before standing over the body of Laz and turning to the crowd proclaiming with a pious voice, “I raise Lazarus from the dead and…fucking hell, he’s a zombie.  Lets get out of here before he bites us!  I knew I shouldn’t have played God and raised the dead.”

Instead the story was that he raised Lazarus from the dead and then the Romans came along and killed him because he was Jesus’ greatest achievement.  So essentially poor Lazarus’ life was like this: “Hey I’m alive!  Oh I’m dead!  Hey I’m back again!  Oh come on!”

Tough life!

Then one of the kids asked if that was a true story and the priest said yes, that is a true story.  Now even as a young boy I thought, “Get fucked”. It is quite clearly not a true story unless Jesus worked in an ER and knew the term, “Get me a chem. 7 stat!”  When you approach it as Jewish Midrash where the story is a parable then it makes more sense because the translation means that Lazarus was ostracized from the community and considered dead until Jesus accepted him back into the tribe.  That actually is a nice story and says a lot more about Jesus than pretending he was a young Frankenstein parody.

But since it’s a parable maybe it could mean something else.  Maybe Lazarus was just a heavy sleeper.  All the lads got to his house and it was like:  “Well it looks Laz won’t be coming to the footy with us.  He had a big one last night on the Disco Biscuits and he won’t wake up.”

“Here let me try to wake him up.”

“Come on Jesus, the bus won’t wait for us.  Stop acting like you’re better than everyone.”

“Just give me one go.  WAKE UP LAZ!!!”

“Fucking hell, I was dead to the world.”

“It’s a miracle.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.”

Here is my main problem with Christianity:  Why have we held onto the story of Jesus in Western Society and allowed other mythological tales to be downgraded to such an extent they’re movies made in cheap 3D with Sam Worthington being the Aussiest of all ancient heroes?  Imagine if we had held onto the tales of the Norse Gods as our number one belief system.

The boss of the Norse Gods was Odin who killed a giant to make the earth and when he desired ultimate knowledge he plucked out his eye and his son Balder said, “Dad, just use Google on my iPhone” and Odin declared, “No, I’m the king of the Gods, I will do it my way…and besides the coverage is terrible, fuck you 3G”.  Hardcore!

Odin’s son was the mighty Thor who’s name sounded like he had a mighty lisp, so much so behind his back the other gods would joke, “Mighty Thor, I’m not feeling so great myself”…but none of the other gods would say this to his face because Thor was an angry ranger with a massive hammer and he’d smite you in the freaking face with it.

Meanwhile in ancient Greece we had their crazy arse Gods lead by their mighty leader Zeus who not only impregnated a mortal woman as a golden shower but was also rewarded by being dubbed Zoo Weekly’s Deity of the Week.  Zeus gave birth to his daughter Athena out of his head.  People once believed that.  It was a fact!  Imagine the pressure that would have put all the magicians under.

“Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat?”

“Whatevs, I pulled my daughter out of my ear…I’m Zeus, what are you gonna do about it?”

The Chinese had Monkey who got his own TV show that not only taught me to call people a sissy poofter but had me question my sexuality as the male Tripitaka was so beautiful with his big eyes, full lips and ample bosom.

All these exciting religions could have been made our own and instead we celebrate the one about the dude that no one stood by when he needed a pal, who could turn water into wine but never attended one Triple J Hottest One Hundred party and was crucified for it.

Don’t you ever feel you just made the wrong choice?

To read the opening of the “G’day Bible” check out the app circular.justinhamilton.com.au. For the story about offending the religious nutbars see my Melbourne International Comedy Festival show “Circular”.

Justin Hamilton

Paddington, Brisbane

March 15th, 2011