Sunday, 20 March 2016

Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men

Steve Borthwick on his "Naws" blog has defined a "Cult" as a group where only one person knows it's a scam. On the other hand, Genesis are going along a long way out of their way to compare what happens at the end of Supper's Ready with the actions of the Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man.

Ikhnaton is an alternative rendering of "Akhenaten" - the "heretic Pharaoh" who introduced the Egyptians to a form of monotheism - worship of the sun disk. Some believe that Akhenaten may have inspired the religion of Moses - but since we don't know when Moses lived, we'll just leave that as a suggestion.

And they're giving me a wonderful potion,
'cause I cannot contain my emotion.
And even though I'm feeling good,
Something tells me I'd better activate my prayer capsule. 
 But why a prayer capsule? Suggestion would be that the false religion - any false religion - can't provide fulfilment on its own. So the followers of Ikhnaton and Itsacon need a handy boost or two - a potion to bring them down, a prayer capsule to keep them feeling good. This is a religion of control. One that maybe can't cope with emotion and true human feelings.
Not a real Jesus

A decent religion is one that reflects all of human experience. That's why the psalms are so great. You feeling good, bad, utterly downcast or murderously angry? There's a psalm for you. You don't to go out and bash the heads of Babylonian babies on rocks - but you can understand where that psalm came from. You can know the uplift of a lament that turns to praise. Or you can read the lament that stays lamenting - because sometimes we are like that.

A religion that demands happiness, cheesy smiles, uses the expression "blessed" a lot, that demands that you turn to the people next to you and tell them something good that's happened - this is a religion of the prayer capsule. You've got to be the right spiritual and emotional temperature the whole time. Don't be sad, don't get angry. You can be judgemental if you like, mind - judgemental is what we do.

There's a story about a God who came to earth. Who became like human beings. Who road down a dusty road on a donkey - because a war horse would be too grand. Who got angry, got sad, cried and raged and ran around with a whip and cursed a fig tree and bled and cried out in horror and died. That's God in a real life. Not a dumbed-down, blessed version, floating free from the world. Not a provider of prayer capsules.

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