Religion Pt. 3: A Symposium in Heaven


Jesus and the seven archangels sit around a table in a boardroom in Heaven.


JESUS: Thank you all for coming. And please, help yourself to a Krispy Kreme. I insist!

GABRIEL: Hey everyone, don’t let Jesus touch your donut, he’ll turn it into a dead fish!

JESUS: Gabriel, please. As you all know, since I took over day-to-day operations of the Heavens and Earth from my Dad almost 2000 years ago so that he could work out some of his anger issues, we’ve gone from a small start-up cult to the largest and most profitable religion in the world. Unfortunately, however, the numbers from the last quarter century are back and they’re not what we had hoped for. Church attendance is at an all time low, and more people than ever are claiming not be affiliated with any religion. Plus, our main competitor, Islam, is spreading more and more quickly every day.

URIEL: Fucking camel herders. If your Father were still in charge he would have smote all those towel-headed blasphemers a long time ago.

JESUS: Now, Uriel. You know we established a policy against smiting a long time ago. And let’s try to tone down the language, OK? The last thing we need is a PR shitstorm because somebody said something “insensitive” about one of the other religions. Besides, our mission statement is about fostering peace and brotherhood among men, not driving them apart through division and animosity.

GABRIEL: I don’t know why you even care about the fate of mankind, Jesus. I’m the only one in this room besides you who has spent much time among them, having been tasked with delivering messages to one bumbling prophet after another, and I can tell you this – humans are all a bunch of slovenly idiots. It took them thousands of years just to get a basic grasp on personal hygiene – much less invent the television. And now they spend all their time snorting deviant powders, fellating each other, and whirling around to their depraved rock ‘n roll music.

JESUS: Come now, Gabriel. You know I was once human myself.

GABRIEL: Yeah, and how did that work out for you? They crucified you, the bleating morons. I don’t know why you didn’t just give up on them right then and there.

JESUS: It is important that we turn the other cheek.

GABRIEL: Oh, blow my horn.

JESUS: OK, let’s settle down now. We’ve got the brand new pope, Pope Francis, on conference call from Earth to discuss the state of our religion with us. Thank you for speaking with us, Your Holiness.

POPE FRANCIS: It’s always a pleasure to hear from you, Jesus.

JESUS: As my new PR guy down on Earth, you have the opportunity to reverse some of the more, shall we say, questionable marketing strategies the Vatican has come up with in recent centuries.

POPE FRANCIS: Like what?

JESUS: Well, we certainly thank you for getting rid of the selling of indulgences, warrior popes, and the whole no meat on Fridays thing. But you’re still espousing quite a few things I certainly never intended to be a part of this religion. For instance, the idea of transubstantiation. It’s ridiculous! How can a cracker turn into my body in people’s mouths? I have never been inside anybody’s mouth.

POPE FRANCIS: Oh, yeah. I’m as surprised as you that one’s stuck around so long. Back in the 12th Century the cardinals had a habit of playing a lot of late night card games that always devolved into competitions to see who could come up with the most frivolous bullshit to stick into the Church teachings and make people believe them. That’s how confession got started, too.

JESUS: Well, can’t you get rid of it now?

POPE FRANCIS: Nah. Not yet. We can’t risk alienating Rick Santorum by advancing our theology beyond the Middle Ages.

JESUS: Fair enough. But what about celibacy for priests, which you guys concocted in the 4th Century? It’s driving Church leaders to molest children, and I never once mentioned anything about it while I was on Earth! I was married to a prostitute, for my Father’s sake! Haven’t you read The Da Vinci Code?

POPE FRANCIS: It’s my favorite book! Other than, you know, the Bible. But I think lifting the celibacy restriction would be too much of a shock to the system right now.

JESUS: What about the fact that all your art portrays me as looking like a Swedish hippie? I’m from Palestine! I look like a New York taxi driver!

POPE FRANCIS: Oh yeah, good idea. Depicting your appearance accurately would go over real well with the “we’re engaged in a holy war with Islam” crowd.

JESUS: Well, isn’t there anything you can change?

POPE FRANCIS: I’m going to keep carrying my own bags and see if that gets us anywhere.

JESUS: OK, well, thank you for that, Your Holiness. And just to put your mind at ease, I wouldn’t worry about Ratzinger being around for much longer. We’ll be sending Michael down to collect him very soon.

MICHAEL: About time.

POPE FRANCIS: I am surprised to hear that he is scheduled to go to Heaven after all.

JESUS: Yes, well, under most circumstances the whole Hitler Youth thing would be a disqualifier, but sending a former pope to Hell would be an unprecedented breach of contract, and we’d prefer to avoid having major litigation on our hands right now.


JESUS: Indeed. Goodbye, now. Moving on, the main reason I’ve gathered you all here today is because I’ve invited four guest speakers to share some experiences with us that will give us some valuable insight into how we might start turning things around. Shelley, will you send them in please? (Oh, and could you bring me a coffee as well? Two sugars, no cream. Thanks). Zeus, Mr. Hubbard, Shiva, and Horus, thank you so much for coming.

GABRIEL: Oh, brother. What a bunch of losers.

JESUS: Let’s try to have some respect please. All of these fine religious leaders have valuable things to teach us about running a religion. Zeus, for instance, was only a few thousand years ago the mightiest God in Greece. Can you tell us a little about that, Zeus?

ZEUS: Damn right I was! Those were the days, man. Nobody fucked with me back then. Not the Titans, not nobody. Ever since the Greeks quit believing in me things just ain’t been the same. Just look at them now, with their debt crisis and all those riots. Don’t they remember how awesome it was when I was rocking the shit up on Mount Olympus? I used to be able to bench 500 pounds! For real! And who do you think holds the all-time record for most thunderbolts thrown in one year? That’s right, me, bitches! How much you wanna bet I can still throw a thunderbolt over them mountains, huh?

MICHAEL: Oh, please. You think you’re tough just because you can throw lightning at people? I fucking kicked Satan’s ass straight out of Eden, and I could whoop yours easy.

ZEUS: What?! You wanna go, tough guy?

JESUS: Michael, please try not to antagonize our guests. Now is not the time.

MICHAEL: Whatever.

ZEUS: Yeah, that’s what I thought. You’re too scared. Nobody could take me back in the day, man. Not to mention I was slamming pussy like six or seven nights a week.

JESUS: Ah, yes, you were notoriously promiscuous in your heyday.

ZEUS: Hell yeah! I even fucked Penelope once. Odysseus was so pissed, man. Haha! Who’s with me?!

JESUS: Actually, Zeus, here at Christianity we don’t condone adultery or pre-marital sex under any circumstances. It’s our feeling that chastity outside of wedlock brings humans closer to God.

ZEUS: Pffft. Nerds. Why deny people their most basic instinct and desire? When I was in charge of Greece I let my worshippers get freaky whenever they wanted and that brought them closer to me too, cause I was getting more ass than anyone! You all need to get laid. I bet that’ll help with getting people into you again. I’d also recommend loosening up on all that anti-gay shit. Back when I was in charge of Greece, most dudes were pretty into butt sex and it didn’t seem to do any harm.

URIEL: Faggot!

JESUS: Uriel, please! Well, um, thank you, Zeus, we’ll take that into consideration. Also with us here today is the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. Thanks for being here, Mr. Hubbard. What can you tell us about some of the trends you’ve noticed in religion today?

L. RON HUBBARD: Well, the first thing I would say is that I think we have a lot in common. We have E-Meters, you have the confession booth. We have Tom Cruise, you have Chuck Norris. And both our religious doctrines are based on science fiction novels. The difference is that, unlike Dianetics, the target demographic of the Bible has been dead for over a thousand years. That’s why any old time religion that wants to compete in today’s global religion marketplace should consider doing some serious restructuring. The market for all-powerful deities and eternal salvation is drying up fast. It’s getting harder and harder for people to believe in that kind of stuff when advancements in modern science are constantly telling them that it’s just not plausible. Now that I’m dead, I get how it works, but while I was still alive, I was like, where is Heaven supposed to be? In space? Beyond space? It didn’t make any sense.

JESUS: We would argue that a lot of that confusion stems from misrepresentation in the media. It’s a messaging issue. The only time we’ve ever seen the afterlife portrayed accurately is in the movie Constantine. We’ve done what we can to influence more people on Earth to see it but it seems the fact that Keanu Reeves plays the lead discourages most.

L. RON HUBBARD: I don’t think the problem is the messaging so much as the message itself. People don’t want to hear about Heaven and Hell and all that anymore. Too heavy. People are into New Age-y crap now. They just want to talk about their feelings and whine about all their stupid problems. So I just let them do it, and soon I had thousands of people following me! I also threw in some crap about aliens because most people seem to be pretty into the idea of extraterrestrial life. And, with all due respect, that’s more believable to people today than what you’re selling, Jesus. I mean, people all over the world report UFO sightings practically every day. The only place anybody ever sees you is on a piece of toast!

JESUS: That’s a good point.

L. RON HUBBARD: My other suggestion would be to revise your revenue model. Charitable donations and tax exemption aren’t going to keep you going forever. Inking Tebow to that endorsement deal was a brilliant move, but spokespeople like him don’t come around too often. Just start charging people out the ass for everything. I did it and the zeroes haven’t stopped adding on to my bank account yet. Incidentally, Jesus, I’d like to thank you for having banks in Heaven. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t spend all the money Scientology is making down on Earth!

JESUS: Don’t mention it. Next up is Shiva, who has agreed to speak to us as a representative of Hinduism. How are you today?

SHIVA: I’m feelin’ kinda mellow, man. And hungry. Anybody got a Hot Pocket?

RAPHAEL: What’s that smell?

SHIVA: Just a little ganja, bro. I hope it’s cool that I smoked up before I came here.

GABRIEL: Ugh, he’s stoned again. Why in God’s name do people worship dumbasses like this guy?

SHIVA: You’re tellin’ me, man. One time I got this like, crazy potent herb from my buddy Shakti, so I started sharing it with people I met. And every time I did they would start hallucinating me having a third eye or wearing serpents around my neck and all kinds of crazy shit. Next thing I know, I’m an important figure in a major religion. It’s a trip, man.

ZEUS: Hey bro, you got any of that bud left? Back in the day, I used to smoke a mole, chug a bottle of Muscle Milk, and then go beat up my little brother Poseidon. It was awesome.

JESUS: Oh, brother. Shelley, can you please escort these two out so they can do… whatever it is they want to do.

RAPHAEL: You know, Jesus, I’ve found that in my experiences of healing the sick, cannabis does a great deal of good for the health of those besotted with illness.

JESUS: No, Raphael, end of discussion. We are going to maintain our position on drugs for the foreseeable future. We’ve put too much funding into those Above The Influence commercials to turn back now.

RAPHAEL: I’m just saying…

JESUS: NO. OK, finally, I’d like to introduce the Ancient Egyptian god Horus.

GABRIEL: Hehe. How ya doin’, bird brain?

JESUS: Gabriel, enough. Just because Horus has the head of a falcon doesn’t mean he’s any less worthy of our respect. Horus, I apologize.

HORUS: That’s quite all right. I’d like to start by telling you all a bit about my background. Thousands of years before the dawn of Christianity, I was born on December 25th, the only son of the god Osiris and a virgin mother. My birth was heralded by the brightest star in the sky. I was raised in part by my foster father, Joseph. At age 30, I was baptized in a river, and my baptizer was later beheaded. After this, I gathered twelve disciples and traveled around Egypt performing miracles like walking on water and raising my dead father Osiris—which translates to “Lazarus”—from the grave. I gave a famous sermon on the mount and was called “the lamb of God” by my followers. Eventually, I was crucified and descended into Hell for three days before resurrecting on Earth and finally ascending into Heaven.

JESUS: OK, just what in the Hell is going on here??!?

HORUS: I’m just telling you my story.

URIEL: Yeah, kick his ass, Jesus!

JESUS: I am going to sue the living shit out of you, motherfucker! Where do you get off infringing on copyrighted material like that??

HORUS: No, I –

JESUS: I’m gonna shove my foot so far up your ass you’ll taste toe fungus!! I’ll see you in court!!! Shelley, escort this jackass out of here. And bring Shiva and Zeus back in here. I need a toke.


One hour later, Jesus, Shiva, and Zeus sit in Jesus’ den watching Planet Earth.


ZEUS: I’m just like… woah, man. Dude, Shiva, you have, like, the best weed ever.

SHIVA: Word, bro.

JESUS: Dude… like… what am I doing with my life? 2000 years of this shit and I still haven’t brought peace on Earth. You know what, man? Screw it. I’m going down there now to sort all that shit out. I’ve been putting it off for too long.

SHIVA: Preach it, brosef.

JESUS: If my Dad asks where I am just tell him I’m at a barbeque at Mike Huckabee’s house.

ZEUS: Cool, dude. If you meet any hot chicks down there, give ‘em my number.

One Comment

  1. Robin wrote:

    Hilarious! Didn’t know you knew that much about religion. You should send this off to ????? somewhere. I can even see it as a SNL skit. Well done, you heathen you!

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