I’m currently reading The First Heretic by Adam Dembski-Bowden, which—as most readers know—begins with the destruction of Monarchia. After I got over giggling about Lorgar bitch-slapping Malcador, the Emperor’s speech to Lorgar hit me pretty hard. Lorgar, based upon his upbringing on a very religious planet, was convinced the Emperor was a god. By all accounts, it makes 100% sense. He does appear to be all powerful and all knowing (maybe?); doesn’t that mean some divine attribution?
But here comes Dad, kicking over his sand castles and yelling at him for not doing his chores as quickly as his brothers. Also, I said no worshiping me, I said I want to abolish religion, I said I’m not a god, and you’re deliberately disobeying me. So I’m going have one of my obedient sons break your toys. I have spoken, there’s my decree, no more discussion.
Ignoring the fact that Papa E should have actually talked to his son about the religion, because that’s a given, I couldn’t help but wonder what if something similar happened to other religions. What if Vishnu or Ganesha came down and rebuked the thousands of Hindus in Asia? Or Muhammed to Muslims? Hitting closer to home for me as a Christian, what if Jesus Christ came down to Earth tell us to stop worshiping Him because He isn’t a divinity?
“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” – Voltaire
Lorgar’s response to the Emperor’s declaration was that obviously, his vision of the golden god coming to him was not the Emperor. Therefore, that was a “real” god, and he must go find the real god(s). But how would Christians, as a whole, respond?
My parents are rather hardcore fundamentalists when it comes to their faith, not unlike Lorgar and the Word Bearers (just without the murdering). Last year I passed them a joke when Easter was on April 1st, that had Jesus popping out of the tomb to scare his disciples saying, “April Fool’s!” They were unbelievably offended. I cautiously broached this question with my mother, and she refused to even consider the hypothetical. Many would probably react the same way, the more I think about it. I nearly asked my priest, because he’s pretty cool, but I reconsidered as it’s kind of like asking him what it would be like to know his job was meaningless.
My big question with this is would it change anything? Would people carry on as normal, as many Imperial citizens did with the Cult of the Emperor? Would there be rioting in the streets? Would churches be attacked and burned? Would Christians get lynched?
Or, would Christians follow Lorgar’s lead and find a new god to worship? Turn to Islam, perhaps, since God and Allah are the same? That might make the most sense, if not a turn to Judaism.
Or, hey, there’s always the Voltaire route: invent one. Inventing a religion certainly worked out for L. Ron Hubbard.
“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” – Nietzsche
But can you imagine how much the world would change if this did indeed happen? It would certainly affect more than just the religion itself; politics, businesses, sports, literature, art, music, you name it would all experience some degree of the fallout.
All I can really hope, though, is that the Pope or Christians in general don’t turn into daemon princes as a result. This isn’t a good look for anybody.
What would I do if that happened? I’d like to think I’d respect His wishes, and devote my faith to Buddhism. I’m already a big believer in Buddhism, especially since it can apply to any religion and/or any walk of life, so I might as well keep going down that road.
But that’s what I’d like to think would happen. I might go full Lorgar, covering myself with ashes and ask to be whipped like a naughty Catholic. Well, maybe not the latter part.