155. Creed Caper

What­ever the creed, there are believ­ers. Wherever believ­ers exist, there is the chance for power of some kind. When­ever power can be scented, preda­tors gather like jack­als. That is the human story. What kind of creed? Any at all — reli­gion, pol­i­tics, ide­ol­ogy, sport, com­pany pol­icy, a book on how to grow petu­nias… . What of the believ­ers? They crave the idea of a com­fort zone, a path already hewn, a promise of future plea­sure. Most of all, they fear to be orig­i­nal, and strangely, for the per­mis­sion to fol­low, they will suf­fer any hard­ship and com­mit almost any atroc­ity. What of the preda­tors? They are at all lev­els of the food chain, some only slightly less enmeshed than the entirely cred­u­lous. But in small ways or large, they will break the faith for advan­tage. At the top of the hier­ar­chy, they are apt to be life­time hyp­ocrites. Such lead­ers are cer­tain that pub­lic piety and pri­vate cyn­i­cism is ‘the real­ity of power’, and despise the can­did. By and large, they rule the human world.

This all began with creeds. A creed on grow­ing petu­nias is less vir­u­lent than a creed on eter­nal sal­va­tion. Why? The petu­nias grow or they don’t grow. Vis­i­tors from the dead with an inside story on sal­va­tion are not a daily event. Even the rumour of such vis­its has kept entire reli­gions in busi­ness for mil­lenia. For life­time hyp­ocrites, it is smart to pick a bul­let-proof cover. Eter­nity is the best deal going, when it can turn a profit. Wasn’t it Saint Thomas Aquinas who said, “never trust a man of one book” ?

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