A computer program to comfort the human soul and save the world in the process.
As we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century it is becoming more evident that the close connection between human beings and the concept of “religion” is not going away anytime soon. On the contrary, many of the conflicts we are witnessing in the world today can be explained based on a religious background.
Human beings are weak and vulnerable by nature, mainly because they have not managed to explain or find an effective way to deal with the “death” phenomenon. Add to this the amount of injustice, risks and fears surrounding the daily life, and it becomes inevitable for people to hang on to an invisible superpower that provides answers, promises and protection. [Take for example the student who spends tens of hours preparing for a test (say a Physics test). He will feel an obligation to follow up his studying with a prayer hoping that “Everything goes okay” (fear of the unexpected) and hoping “This one problem he did not study well would not be on the test” (Covering for his shortcomings and laziness). (Of course nine out of ten times this problem WILL be on the test (like say for example: Prove that in a perfectly elastic collision the coefficient of restitution is equal to one.), and he will end up with a 68/80 despite the prayers ! (Yes, I am still bitter about it)).
(Late Caution: You should have skipped the last paragraph. It barely offered anything substantial).
Now, since all the signs clearly indicate that we are quickly approaching the “*acropolis*” [See “the Anti-Christ Conquers the World from the Bermuda Triangle” and similar references], and aside from the subscription to a religious group or not, every self-respecting individual should be wondering: “Am I am being a “good” human being?” and “In the case that there does exist a life after death (hypothetical assumption or deep belief) that features a “punishment vs. reward” system (based on the behavior on earth), where do I currently stand ?”.
That is when technology comes to the rescue.
A simple computer program will be the personal gauge and indicator. A user-friendly, multiple-choice, pull-down-menu based software evaluates the daily deeds versus the sins and converts them into points. The cumulative point total gives a rough estimate on whether a particular individual will end up in eternal happiness or eternal misery, (generally known as Heaven or Hell), in accordance with the guidelines of the particular faith he/she has chosen to follow.
Here is a rough overview on how it works: After installing the program you select your base religion (Anything from unitary religions to the Invisible Pink Unicorn). All the ensuing menus and selections are adjusted for the initial selection, awarding and deducting points accordingly. The first couple of screens are “General” and “Belief”: Generals may contain selections like “gender” or even “skin color” (Unfortunately, some religions do pay attention to such details), while the “Belief” menu is a survey-style questionnaire that will test your commitment to the selected religion (Do you believe in God? His angels? His book? His prophets?...Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior? ….Do you believe in spirits reincarnation?...). These will generate “constant points” that does not change on daily basis unless there is a change in the profile (like say you go through a near-death experience and you feel that you should change your answer to the “Do you believe in fate?” question from “agree” to “strongly agree”).
Next, you move to the daily activities section. With the carefully-designed and accurately guided selections this process should not take more than ten minutes to reflect on the day and sum it up (which is well-worth the effort given the fact that this will unveil your final destination. Also keep in mind that there will be PDA compatible version where the selections can be uploaded from a mobile device back to the main program). The daily activities will include: “Worship practices” (Did you pray? On time?... Are you observing the Sabbath?... Did you run the three miles? (There must be a religion out there that considers jogging a form of worship!). “Food and beverages restrictions” are the cornerstone of any religion (Did you eat anything that has a soul? Did you eat meat? Was it pork? Was it Hallal/ Kosher? …Did you drink alcohol? Was it beer, wine, or liquor? Did you get drunk? Did you pray while drunk? Did you drink blood? Was it human blood? Literarily or figuratively? ).
The most complex menu is the one dealing with “Human interactions” and “Integrity”, since practically this is the targeted end result of any religion. Those are probably going to need extensive work by sociological and philosophical experts to compose. (Did you Cheat? Steal? Lie? Harm?...Did you kill anyone? Was it for fun or in the name of religion?...Did you engage in any sexual acts? Same sex? Premarital? Visual ? Oral? Anal?). There could be an added section for “Charity” (Did you give to charity? What percentage of your daily income? Did you brag about it?...) and another one for “Conversion” (Did you try to convert anyone today? How many? How many converted? How many punched you in the face?...)
A few things to keep in mind:
- Before accusations of blasphemy starts flying around, remember that all the standards (all the menu selections and the points added and deducted accordingly) are set by a distinguished assembly of clergymen for each respective religion. Each council will use the necessary and approved references (religious books, historical incidents, contacts with spirits,…) to assure that the program is effective and accurate. It would be unfair to raise the user expectations for eternal happiness, only to send him/her crashing with the biggest disappointment of his/her life/afterlife.
-Within those same lines, and for a close estimation that prevents huge disappointments, the user has to have a very high sense of self-monitoring and be honest with oneself. This is a personal record and if you choose to lie and convince yourself that you are an excellent human being with a guaranteed direct pass to heaven, you will be unpleasantly surprised at the moment of the truth. [On a side note, this daily self-evaluation process may help restrain people’s evil behavior. One may be willing to practice more self control once he realizes that at the end of the day he will have to document confessions of the variety: “Today I prayed profoundly but then I fondled a little kid”.
-The program will offer multiple plug-ins and add-ins (for those less popular religions and newly invented ones) along with automatic updates, just in case some religions’ guidelines change (like say Islam making it official that Jihad and head covers are no longer considered main requirements or Christianity announcing that divorce has become acceptable). There will be also a technical support hotline with two departments: A “universal” department that deals with computer-related issues (installation, bugs, connecting to a mobile device,…) and a specialized (per religion) department that helps with the selection process and which will be operated by a clergyman (or an Indian pretending to be one): [If you are Muslim press 3. If you are calling about a food-related issue press 4… “Mmm yeah, I ate some meat that was not Hallal but I was really in tough situation. What should I select?”… “I can help you with that sir. Go to the food menu. After you select meat, not pork, not Hallal, the link that reads “special cases” will be highlighted and active. If you hit the button you will see that option one is “Afraid to starve to death”, option two is “I did not know”, option three is “It was slaughtered by a Jew or a Christian”, option four is “Hallal meat was of a lesser quality and highly overpriced”. Good luck sir and remember that each option has a different point situation associated with it. Salam Alaykom”. click].
-Note to the followers of some religions who believe that they are guaranteed a free pass to heaven simply based on the religion they selected and who may think that they do not need such a program: it would be a good idea to get your copy of FM 2Kx just in case that some other religion turns out to be the real “true religion”, or some other people are the true “god chosen people”, since there are multiple groups sporting the same claim. If you manage to collect a good number of points they will definitely help you out in negotiating your case.
-The most important upside of this program is that it will put an end to people’s arguments about religion. The point system levels the playing field and normalizes “faith” and “goodness” to the point where people can quantitatively compare their devotion and well-doings whether they are members of the same religious group or not:
Say a devoted Buddhist runs into an atheist. The Buddhist tries to convince the atheist to worship a statue while the atheist is arguing the irrationality of religion altogether. The resolution: “How many points do you have?”… The atheist smiles triumphantly and calmly says: “ I have 5821 points to your 3212, and despite the fact that I am pretty sure that these points are not taking me anywhere, at least I can confidently tell you to take your statue, get off of me, and try to be a better person”.
Two Muslims after a Friday prayer in front of the Mosque… “How come I only see you here on Fridays?”… “I know I am missing out on a lot of points by not coming to the Mosque more often, and I know I also give up many points by cussing and for having a short fuse, but at least I am not engaging in fucked up shady business deals and ogling the hell out of every female’s ass in sight”. He violently pulls out a print out: “I dare you to show me how many points you have Mr. Mosque-guy, huh HUH?”. Then they start punching each other in the face.
Now, that we have found this very practical concept, and given the fact that clergymen and software developers are a dime a dozen, all we need is a smart investor who will realize the potential of a program that will become a necessity to every human being and that is bound to protect humanity from self-destruction and create a perfect world.