Note – this post is written tongue in cheek and respects all faiths and beliefs.
Ever since I was quite small I remember being exposed to religion. There was not really any choice in the matter. One parent was a slightly devout Catholic and so myself and my siblings all had to trundle off on Sundays to the local country church.
It all escaped me really what was supposed to happen. An old bald man sat behind a mesh screen in a darkwooden phone box thing and I had to tell him what bad things I had done. I didn’t think I had done much to warrant telling this old guy and can’t remember what I must have said. Probably just made something up.
I wonder what others tell him. I guess if you think long enough you can find something wrong.
Many millions of people around the world tell some old guy something it seems. Each old guy (there are many younger ones these days) then tells another even older guy something at some point. And they all answer to this guy below, the infallible one, who draws millions of people to Rome each year to see him wave.
Funnily enough, there are no old ladies to spill your inner most thoughts to in this system and some of the others. Wonder why half of the created children aren’t allowed any part of running some of these particular shows?
Crowds don’t always flock to just religious figures, stories and places. Sometimes, millions are devoted to just one man, as in old China. I guess sometimes people’s natural inclination towards their devotion of others can be taken advantage of. Some people might actually warrant a little devotion, but who decides who gets it and how much devotion they get?
Weapons and money have often helped to decide these questions in many places and times all throughout history.
The country that has probably the greatest number of devoted people – practically the entire population – is India. Indians have been devoted longer than almost anyone else. For many millenia. Their long held devotion to their plethora of gods makes the Rome and Mecca based lot look like positive newbies. Some of the biggest single crowds in the world congregate in India during their festivals and other auspicious times. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad when I visited some of the sacred sites there. Only a few thousand devotees around, a positively tiny number.
One of more spectacular and highest attended gatherings of devotees in the world is in Mecca each year and occurs during the traditional Hajj pilgrimage season. Over 2.5 million pilgrims can be there during one season. And the patterns they form are mesmerizing as they circle the central point in devotion.
Even before the relatively modern organized religions there were aspects of nature we worshipped such as the sun gods. The Greeks and Romans had plenty of figures to be devoted to. And even more ancient people such as those which have inhabited Australia for 50,000 years or more believed in a range of gods as they sometimes recognized in natural landscape forms.
So it seems that for as long as humans have been around, we must deify someone or something. Perhaps very far into the future humans might outgrow this, who knows.
If you have been paying attention recently you will know that I’m a life long devotee to Abba. With the creation of their new music aptly titled “Voyage” these four fabulous Swedes have in a way resurrected themselves into the world’s consciousness. Perhaps they never really left, given the astounding popularity of the Mamma Mia! franchise.
Their cutting edge technology “Abbatars” will ensure that they live on maybe forever. And like the very best of other old European masters such as Beethoven, Mozart and Greig, Abba’s music – their message of hope and a source of joy worldwide – will undoubtedly remain in our hearts for many centuries to come.
But then we come to the important points to consider.
Nobody has been killed in the name of “Abba”. Abba don’t say, “don’t judge others” then proceed to judge alot. Whole nations haven’t been invaded in their name. There is no Abba inspired cultural system which rigidly segragates you into one of thousands of unalterable levels, ranked from top to bottom, the moment you are born. Abba haven’t caused huge loss of life simply to perpetuate themselves or their music. And from their many little known acts of kindness, Abba have been wonderful role models of humility and simplicity for everyone, especially children.
It seems to me that Abba are truely worthy of respect. The current revival of pure and spontaneous joy that has resonated globally really is a miracle.
Abba don’t tell people how to live their lives. Or discriminate against others. Or force their views on people. They are a simple source of happiness and joy who cut across nearly all cultural barriers. So why not worship Abba? If I am going to worship anything, it will be them. Even when they are old and bald.