Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Gospel According to Richard

Since it was unearthed by an archaeological team in the Middle East earlier this year, The Gospel According to Richard has been making huge waves in God-bothering circles. Though many have doubted its authenticity, a team of scientists have analysed a tiny fragment of the codex with a carbon dating machine they stole from MIT, and have confirmed that the book is “really really old. Ancient. Donkey’s years. Even older than that, if you can imagine it.”

Since the age of the document is no longer in any question, translators and religious scholars have been hard at work assessing the content of the now-famous tome. Being no stranger to the Christian religion myself (we were introduced at a party in Kent fifteen years ago), I decided to look at The Gospel According to Richard, and see what I could deduce myself.

The Gospel is quite small when compared to many of the other books of the Old and New Testaments, but what it lacks in size, it gains in clarity. It mainly features Richard outlining his devotion to God, such as in the most widely quoted segment, which appears several times:

And God spoke unto Richard, “How do I know you will continue to worship Me?”
And Richard spoke unto God, “My Lord, I just want to tell you what I am feeling. I have got to make you understand, for you are the Lord, my God.
I am never going to give you up.
I am never going to let you down.
I am never going to run around, nor will I ever desert you.
I will not give you reason to weep.
I will not say goodbye.
And I will never bear false witness
And hurt you.”
The Gospel According to Richard, Chapter 2, verses 1-9

This section, which has influenced many people since the new gospel was unearthed, is very powerful. Indeed, the first time I read it to my cat, she was moved to tears. And my cat has been dead since I was a child. Such is the potency of these verses.

This main message of Richard’s Gospel seems to be that Richard is pointing out that religion is a two-way street, that if God scratches my back, I’ll scratch his. Or I would, if he was corporeal. Consider the opening chapter of the Gospel:

Richard spoke unto to God,
“We’re no strangers to theological devotion.
You know the commandments and so do I.
A full commitment is what I am thinking.
You would not get this from any other religious follower.”
The Gospel According to Richard, Chapter 1, verses 1-5


With a message so full of love and devotion, it is a shame that much of this book is damaged. Water damage seems to have been the cause of much of the ink running in this manuscript, leading to a section consisting of nothing but “Never going to give. Never going to give. Never going to give you up.”, repeated for several pages.

Theologians who question the veracity of this as a genuine Biblical book mostly refer to Chapter 5, verse 2, in which Richard says to God, “…don’t tell me that you are too blind to see it.” The nay-sayers quote this as theological balderdash, given that God is omniscient, or all seeing. Referring to Him as ‘blind’ constitutes a gross underestimation of His powers. The true believers counter with the argument that this verse should not be taken literally, that Richard is showing an early appreciation of irony, or that he is indicating that he knows that God is testing him, and by accusing Him of blindness he is having a joke at God’s expense. That wouldn’t be something I’d necessarily do myself, but there’s nowt as queer as folk, as my Mum would always say.

Indeed, The Gospel According to Richard is a goldmine for anyone interested in the apocryphal books of the Bible and the history of the Christian religion. From the opening verses (quoted above) to the final line (“And Richard spoke unto God: “Lord, call me ‘Rick’. It’s less formal, you see”), this contains lots of interesting things for theologians to ponder upon.

At least until we unearth Richard’s follow-up Gospel, Together Forever (With God).

14 comments:

Red said...

Best. Rickroll. Ever.

Also, your Google ad is telling me Jesus loves me and it's kinda creeping me out.

BeckEye said...

Oh my God, you are awesome.

Some Guy said...

This is pure genius. I salute you.

Jillian said...

Hmm...your google ad is telling ME I can get free fruit trees....it's tempting me....

katrocket said...

hahahahaha!!! This is most excellent. I don't understand how you're not winning more awards, besides the fact that Falwless has recently outlawed them.

Mo said...

Oh my god, Rick is truly omnipotent. For some reason, I am in the mood to completely humiliate myself, so I bestow you with the link to a very embarrassing video/party invitation I made with my aunt inspired by none other than Sir Astley.

Falwless said...

One of your funniest fucking entries in the history of time.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Red: Cheers! I wonder what the targeted Google ads are like for my "Who Wants to Fuck a Goat?" DVD review...

Beckeye: I bow, and thank you.

Some Guy: Ditto.

Jillian: There's no such thing as a free fruit tree.

Kat: I reckon this should put me up for a Pulitzer. If I don't get a nomination, it's probably because I can't spell Pulitzer.

Mo: Speechless. Truly, truly speechless.

Fal: Yeah, I feel the same way. This one made the side bar.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Rick Astley is my God too!

I also wanted to tell you that you have been nominated over on my blog. Come and check it out please! Nominate someone if you can-BUT hurry time runs out when midnight stikes!

Gwen said...

::STANDING OVATION::

Truly genius. I bow before your awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

Yep! said it wouldn't happen to me but here I am "Rick Rolled". LOL dammit mannnnn!

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Michelle Roger said...

All hail Richard! Frickin' hilarious.

Emma C said...

I laughed so hard at this I gave myself an asthma attack (which hasn't happened since I was 12 years old and watching Fawlty Towers).

You are up there with Basil and Manuel - I can give no higher praise.

Now...where did I leave my Ventolin?