Halo Halo! God, Broadband and Buddhists
Back in November David Cameron pledged that by 2020 every home in the UK would have access to fast broadband, although there was some doubt as to whether this could be achieved.
Now, however, the Church of England has come to his aid and is to allow some of its churches to have their spires adapted as broadband beacons bringing broadband access to the approximately one million homes in remote or rural areas of the UK still without it (Guardian 17 May).
We don’t have the full details of God’s involvement or his IT expertise yet, but think of the possibilities. Gone will be the hassle of using that old technology where you had to get on your knees to pray whenever you wanted to contact the Almighty. Now (as long as heaven has a reliable connection) you will have direct access to God whenever you want, and from the comfort of your own home or laptop.
Hopefully Judaism and Islam will modify their synagogues and mosques to operate a similar service for Jews and Muslims, and all the smaller, independent gods will get in on the act too. Assuming all areas of heaven have the necessary technology and are aware of the marvels of Skype, everyone down here will be able to enjoy a face to face discussion, confession, or whatever, with the god of their choice, whenever they want.
One advantage is that by allowing us to see what God gets up to in heaven it may put an end to all that bickering about which god is the best: well, nearly all the bickering, Zen Buddhism may still present a bit of a problem.
It’s like this. Although Buddhists appear to be mainly inoffensive ex-hippies whose only concerns are meditating and not stepping on beetles, some Christians are concerned about what they actually believe in. They may not sacrifice babies to Beelzebub, but they don’t have a bible, they don’t have a god, and to be honest, they don’t appear to be in any kind of hurry to get one.
And according to another Guardian report (18 May), this is causing a bit of friction at York Minster were some evangelicals have been complaining that Zen Buddhism just isn’t Christian enough.
What has happened is that for the past two years, much to the annoyance of the regular users, Zen Buddhists have been meeting in the cathedral precinct every two weeks for ‘silent meditation’ sessions. These were set up by the canon chancellor of the Minster who himself practices Zen meditation, describes himself as ‘religiously bilingual’ and admits that ‘there are those who think I’m an out and out heretic’. ‘There is a recognized phenomenon now’ he said, ‘called “dual religious belonging” where people have a foot in more than one religious camp’. Well, if religion is all it’s cracked up to be what’s wrong with having two, or more, different ones?
Christian Concern however, the conservative evangelical organization, are wary about putting their feet anywhere where the Buddhists have been meditating. ‘The archbishop of York must take swift action’ said one member of the Church of England’s general synod, ‘this type of confusion undermines the Church of England’s current initiative to encourage Christian prayer’.
Don’t know how you’re going to sort that one out God, have you tried teaching them to love their neighbours?