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Religion in a Parallel World

When I was writing Postsingular, I thought it would be interesting to have the dominant Western religion of the Hibrane be slightly different from Christianity. So I wrote:

“We like to eat them [cuttlefish],” said Azaroth. “I thought you knew that. Thanks to teeping and omnividence, we fished our own cuttles extinct. Since then, the planetary mind has taught us to be more careful. In any case, our people especially dig eating the Lobrane cuttles since they’re so dense and chewy. I should also mention that cuttlefish symbolize a certain holy cuttlefisherman of ancient times. He rose from death on the triangle to found one of our great world religions.”
Relative to little Thuy, the single-story shops and houses were as tall as office buildings. The buildings looked to be assembled from naturally grown components as well. Overhead, shells and shiny seedpods hung upon lines stretched across the street; they’d been crafted into representational forms: a star, a candy cane, a cuttlefish holding a triangle—Thuy recalled Azaroth’s mentioning that the cuttlefish was a symbol for a Hibrane religious figure. Perhaps these were ornaments to celebrate a holiday.
“What!” exclaimed Gladax, taking the bait. “I told those flowers they have to stay red right through to the end of the Cuttlemas holidays.”

This change seemed cute and funny at the time, but now it’s coming back to haunt me. Because Hieronymus Bosch’s art is loaded with Christian iconography, and the time he lived in was dominated by the Roman Catholic church.

So I need to think of a Hibrane religion that fits with the cuttlefish/triangle thing and is close enough to Christianity so that my envisioning of Bosch can be comfortably close to my goal, which is our own historical Bosch.

First of all, as a fabulist (and setting aside whatever my realworld religious beliefs might or might not be), I find it interesting to suppose that our religions were indeed founded by otherworldly beings—and I take this class to be a very broad one, extending to higher dimensions as well as to divinities.

In this case, the appearance of Christ wouldn’t simply be an inevitable historical stage, on a par with the emergence of the alphabet. It would, rather, a somewhat arbitrary and unpredictable irruption of a higher reality in our mundane world. On a par, if you will, with the three-dimensional A Sphere choosing to manifest himself to flat A Square in Flatland.

Or, closer to my novel Hylozoic, it might be that some aktualized higher being like the harp or the pitchfork made an appearance as a religious savior in human form, with motives that might be altruistic and benevolent, although the motives might instead be arcane and obscure.

If we take Christ’s life as being the unpredictable intervention of a higher being into human history, then there’s no absolute necessity for a Christ to have appeared in an otherwise identical parallel Earth. Things very much like puffballs and oak trees must evolve, but a monotheistic religion based upon the Beatitudes and clinched with the prophet’s execution and resurrection—maybe that’s not inevitable.

This said, if some higher being is motivated to meddle with our timeline, the same kinds of reasons might drive the being to poke into the parallel line as well. But they might happen to do it a bit differently there. So we can suppose that the Hibrane has something like Christianity, only different.

In other words, I’m supposing that the harp or the pitchfork or some other aktualized higher being did in fact incarnate themselves as a Lord and Savior and founder of a world religion in the Hibrane. Maybe at some point the aktuals will in fact tell us about this.

And, on the evidence of Postsingular, I know that this avatar was a man who was a cuttlefisherman, and who was executed on a wooden triangle.

What was the Hibrane savior’s name?

Jude Christ. According to an online Catholic Encyclopedia, Jesus had four “brothers,” although the orthodox view is that these were in fact cousins. Their names were Joseph, James, Simon, and Jude. I think I’ll use Jude because of the dissonance caused by the echo of Judas the Betrayer, and the positive energies of the Beatles, “Hey Jude,” Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, and my deceased Mondo 2000 friend St. Jude Milhon, “The Saint of Hopeless Causes, Dubious Cases, and Children’s Aspirin.”

How exactly was Jude Christ executed on a triangle?

It’s similar to crucifixion. They nailed together three boards to make an isoceles triangle with its narrow vertex down. Possibly the construction was backed by a cross—indeed many crucifixes have slanting props. In the Hibrane, people just happened to focus on the triangle.

[Photo of a model of the Common European Cuttlefish Sepia Officinalis, to be found in the Mediterranean off the Holy Land.]

How can cuttlefish be made a warm and fuzzy religious symbol like the lamb?

He embraces everyone. He reaches out.

Oh, that’s too scary a picture, I’m just kidding with that. 🙂
I have this thing for cuttlefish…

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3 Responses to “Religion in a Parallel World”

  1. rs Says:

    maybe Mormons having something to offer here. I’m not really familiar with their beliefs but my understanding is that they believe Jesus came from another planet. Some early Christians, and perhaps some modern ones, believe that Christ overshadowed Jesus, coming into him at the baptism, and leaving at the crucifixion. Others believed he was not human and could not experience pain, etc. and therefore did not really die.

  2. linus Says:

    This blog entry reminds me of Carl Reiner interviewing Mel Brooks on stage in 1961: the absurd 2000 Year Old Man act. (See wilkipedia on this….) Although I purchase chants of antiquity and liked being an alterboy in the company of Priests, I personally believe that Christ himself was a obviously a phoney baloney (this is really perhaps a sensible “jewish” perspective….)
    What were Einstein’s views on “Christ?” I quite like the idea of the “Christ-Cuttlefish” i.e., returning to earth in the form of a cuttlefish….

  3. The Necromancer Says:

    This all very Lovecraftian, n’est pas? Having just finished Software (which I had the audacity to review…), Postsingular looks to be another marvelous option — maybe with a little cthonic twist…

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