Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy 666

It's supposed to be the Devil's Own Number (though some say that one is 616), but as the Devil is a Christian creation non-Christians don't have to worry about it. What a relief. Even Christians can relax because there is a lot of doubt about whether the translations of the Bible got the number correctly. Which, then, might mean that any other number might be the Devil's own, of course. Makes you shudder, huh?

Not really. Superstitions are interesting mostly for what they tell us about our attempts to have some control over the noncontrollable parts of our lives. If my lucky number is, say, seven, then I can affect the odds of winning a lottery by playing it, and if capricorns are unlucky in your bedchamber - well, you know what not to pick as a boyfriend. Go for lepricorns instead. And don't walk under ladders, avoid black cats and chimney sweeps. Somehow this will put you in control.

Other people's religions are often called superstition, in the same way as other people's children are called brats. This is wrong. I bet you expect me now to say that we should have more respect for the religions of others, but I won't. Instead, I recommend more careful scrutiny of our own religions. This is hard to do. I can't think of anything in echidneism that I'd like to change. In particular, it is absolutely true that anyone eating frozen tofu while pretending that it is ice-cream is guilty of heresy, will grow large green pimples on their noses and will not share in the Great Chocolate Mountain that is the lot of all good echidneites.

Well, maybe such a horrible person could do penance putting their big toes into their eye sockets at the time of the full moon.