A SHORT WALK ON THE WATER
So did Jesus fool the whole world and himself
JESUS was a splendid illusionist, trickster and entertainer. He created his faith by copying other religions. The holy miracles, about which people are still told, were conducted in brilliant fashion. All the promises of mercy and salvation that he gave, he invented to get control of other people.
Thomas, the shipwright, knew almost everything about Jesus. During their youth they were members of the same gang, conning innocent people out of their valuables.
Far later in life, Thomas was confronted with his memory of those times. He saved Bibi, an Indian boy, from the gallows and together they escaped from the Roman tributary kingdom of Palestine.
Their journey became a dramatic one. On the way, a sandstorm surprised them and their guide was killed. Reaching a port by the Red Sea, they managed to sign on for India. En route, the ship was attacked by pirates.
In the course of these events, a warm friendship develops between the elderly Jew and the Hindu boy. Thomas, a widower, doubts that there is a god. He reasons that no almighty creator could be responsible for the vast complicated and dynamic world that we see. God must be a figment of man’s imagination, exploited by our earthly rulers to scare their ignorant and superstitious subjects into obedience.
For the young Bibi, this talk about a lonely god seems like a bad joke. In his heaven, there is a plethora of gods and deities with different capabilities and responsibilities. As a Hindu he is free to choose the god that he believes is most useful to him and if it doesn’t work he can have another.
During the voyage, Thomas starts to suspect that someone has stolen his identity. Among the shadows in India someone is waiting for him, somebody who wishes him ill.
The writer finds The tree of knowledge on The Malabar Cost.
Photo: Aslam Mohammad.