God is Dead???

The following is an article from The Independent, A british daily last sunday. What do you think???

God is dead. Long live the Gods!
Benrik Limited, authors of the cult best-seller ‘This Diary Will Change Your Life’, is now turning to an even more ambitious project: launching a religion. Meet the Benrik Gods…

Published: 16 December 2006
The world stands in dire need of new gods, and preferably lots of them. The current fad of worshipping one single all-powerful deity is clearly not working – all the major monotheistic religions are in crisis. Believers have been losing faith in the Judaeo-Christian God for centuries. In spite of the shrill evangelical movement, Western society is still largely secular – one of this year’s runaway best-sellers is The God Delusion by the militantly atheist Richard Dawkins. In the Islamic world, one of the root causes of extremist anger – according to some scholars – is the feeling that Allah has not delivered: if he is indeed all-powerful, why are his followers subject to the political will of America and Israel?

Part of the problem is that a single God is too remote. Omniscience notwithstanding, we stand little chance of catching his eye, let alone interacting with him in any useful way.

Benrik Limited has devised a range of more accessible gods, more suited to our 21st-century requirements. They are inspired by the lares and penates, the Roman household gods. These, of course, were little wooden figurines that every Roman household kept in a special shrine, called the lararium, and prayed to every morning. Unlike the all-in-one monotheistic God, the lares and penates were fit only for particular purposes: ensuring the family was properly fed, for instance, or protecting travellers against peril.

Historians conjecture that these gods had their origins in more ancient, animistic religious beliefs. And indeed they are clearly related to the deities of other primitive cultures, like the African gris-gris protective amulets, or Polynesian idols. There is an obvious, basic human need for such talismanic mythology. And why not? It is far more satisfying to have a baroque profusion of friendly divinities surrounding us, than one inaccessible and rather grumpy headmaster-type, perched on his cloud.

The Benrik Gods are an updated version: they are the new gods that rule our lives. But rather than invasions and crop failure, they deal with fake orgasms and spam email. Without them by your side, you simply have no hope of coping with contemporary life.

There are 1,000 of them in total, forming a Benrik Valhalla that covers all aspects of our complex and fragmented modern world.

Some of them deal with relatively trivial problems – Benrik God No541 “Against Split Ends” or No14 “Against Losing The Remote”. Some help with the key issues of our modern lives: Benrik God No987 “Against Unexpected Redundancy” or No322 “To Help Find The Love Of Your Life”. And others you may invoke on much weightier matters, like Benrik God No304 “To Divert Oncoming Asteroids” or a recent God, No926 “Against Surreptitious Radioactive Poisoning”.

Each God comes with instructions for use: for instance, the Benrik God No30 “To Ward Off Spam Email” must be placed on top of your computer; the God No29 “Against Your Partner Snoring” goes by your bedside table. Worship is open-ended: the more you invoke them, the more likely you are to get results.

Benrik is currently busy producing them in amulet form, so that they may be disseminated as widely as possible. As befits contemporary Gods, it also has an online lararium where you will be able to create your own pantheon, registering the Gods you have acquired, and worshipping them along with other Benrik God followers. They are also downloadable to that modern portable shrine, the mobile phone, via Benrik’s website http://www.benrik.co.uk/gods. Of course, the more you collect, the better protected you will be against unfortunate occurrences, although – as is the case with most religions – no legal guarantees are given.

At a time when our culture is mired in pragmatic, hyper-rational efficiency, Benrik’s mission is to bring back a little superstition for the 21st century, making the world a much more interesting and imaginative place. Like all new faiths, it will take a while to bed down; if within 100 years, most of the adult population keeps a couple of them at hand, then our work will have been done. God is dead. Long live the Gods!


Published by mungaimacharia

A christian with interests in Theology, Ministry, Politics and Social Justice.

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