Thursday, 8 May 2008

Fantasy religion?

When general elections loom in Great Britain the New Statesman magazine begins "fantasy politics". For the moment despite the meltdown in recent local elections of my beloved Labour Party the UK is not yet facing a general election. And just in case there is any doubt David Cameron is on my nightmare list rather than the fantasy list and there's a special place reserved in one of Dante's circles of hell for Tony Blair, now he's become a Roman Catholic that should suit him fine. I suppose it's fortunate for Blair I don't believe in hell really.
Based (I think) on fantasy football - in which you choose your favourite football team from all the available talent - fantasy politics has a non-party approach to nominating your favourite - and it is hoped most competent - people for the various top jobs to create a government cabinet. Historical and geographical variations on the main theme can also be played - thus even dead people can be nominated in the historical game and in the geograpahical game even those not eligible to be elected (ie foreign nationals for British, French or Brazilian elections etc) can be proposed for the top jobs - the great thing is you can play this for any country - I'll check before I post this to see whether there is a fantasy US presidential politics or maybe even a fantasy European Commission. (OK ok it would seem that fantasy football may have started in the US about American football - as opposed to football for the rest of the world:)
However, recently I've been wondering about fantasy religion. Partly it was Tom Heneghan's Faithworld blog about speculation hotting up about the next candidates for Pope. Don't worry I'm not going to suggest we play fantasy Pope or fantasy conclave just yet.

This is fantasy religion - what do you want in your religion. It's not about personalities, it's about issues and qualities.

So here are the rules:
- five qualities you want in your religion;
- which religion you think currently best has that quality;
and you're not allowed to vote for any religion more than twice.

So here I think are my five for today:
For a profound sense of the holiness and otherness of God - Judaism and Islam
For a deep understanding of change and decay - Buddhism
For a real connection to mother earth - indigenous religion, paganism, Celtic Christianity
for life triumphing death and evil - Christianity
for scholarly endeavour and questioning in faith -- Reform Judaism

So what are the qualities you want in your fantasy religion and in which religion do you see them?