Francis Meyrick

Kentucky Fried God-in-a-Box (part 2)

Posted on March 1, 2008

Following popular appeal from my regular readers, (all three of you, Jimmy is on holiday) I am continuing the experiment. I tell myself: “Fools rush in, where angels fear… to be read. “


I try to wander through this vale of… of…. flowers, with a balanced, good humored, tolerant, and reasonably compassionate outlook on my fellow man. I rarely punch anybody out anymore, I’ve stopped deliberately running over kittens, and it’s a long time since I’ve used lethal force. What I’m saying is…I try not to be ‘judgmental’. You know, one of those superior bastards who looks down upon the world, and passes judgment on the lower classes, with the benefit of his or her exalted philosophical wisdom and insight. (You see them on CNN all the time.)

Having said all that… some things just make me shake my head in disbelief.
What…is this strange tendency people have to stick God in a box? Is he… some kind of Kentucky Fried God you can stick in a little cardboard box, eat him when you’re hungry, and then dump him in the trash can when you’re finished? Can you do that? Is that how it works?
Oh, no!
I hear you thinking it… now he’s going to write about HIS God. He’s going to lecture us from the lofty moral heights of HIS biased, pre-judiced, sanctimonious, moralising pre- suppositions. He’s a bible-basher in disguise! He’s got an agenda! He’s going to…
No, I’m bloody well not.

I’m not going to lecture anybody. I know from my own experiences what a ‘gigantic turn-off’ that is. I’ve had enough people come in, determined to ‘save my soul’… Who know better, and decide it’s time to reach down and pluck a sinner from the fires of hell.
You know. That sinner…. me….!

No, what I had in mind, when I humbly and a little nervously offered “Kentucky Fried God-in-a-Box (1) ” in this exalted forum, (wondering if anybody was going to take the slightest bit of interest), was something else. I was wondering more if people would like a good-humoured, mischievous, almost whimsical tour through my confuddled little life, and join me in taking quiet little potshots at humanity. Join me quietly chuckling at the self-important nonsense people spout. Including myself, of course…
To be sure…

So, to put it another way. Kentucky Fried God-in-a-box, could be an opportunity for you, dear reader and listener, to join with me, through your reviews and feedback, and make merry of humanity. Poke fun at people. Laugh at their expense. Not forgetting of course, that we too, are… the people. After all, in the words of a great Irish philosopher, who died a hundred years ago, whose name… temporarily escapes me…. in his words:

“Humanity is a great source of merriment to me. And that includes myself. “

So having said all that, and hopefully still having a listener or two left…
we shall now proceed with… with…. a philosophical treatise, covering metaphysics, theology, astronomy, speleology, and last but not least, the exalted doctrine of ‘Floatism’. We shall call this treatise by the somewhat technical name:

“Kentucky Fried God-in-a-box. “

So here we go, and let me start by suggesting this:
Ask… a hundred people to define ‘God’.
Who is he, what is he, IS he…??
With those responses alone, you should be able to fill a library or two. Thousand.
The pictures people will conjure up will range from a toweringly angry Old Testament Biblical God (hell, fire and brimstone), at one extreme. Then, somewhere in the middle perhaps,will be a gentle, compassionate, Jesus meek-and-mild God. Picking daisies with little children in a nice grassy meadow, with the sweetest little lambs percolating through the picture. And, further along the spectrum, will be a sophisticated non-God, a lip service God, a find-God-in-Truth-and-your-self God. Who, some would say, is just a feature of Man’s imagination and need for solace and comfort. Not a real God at all. Then again, many people would say that of the first two Gods as well…

So, my point is this: for us Writers’ Harbor pseudo artistic types, somewhat rebellious perhaps, quite used to doing our own thing and kicking at the traces, what… are we to make of this God fellow? Whoops! Pre-supposition already! Okay, okay, I accept… he could be a “she “. Or an “it “. I’m sorry…
Start again. What are we to make of… God? Whoops! I’m sorry! Okay, okay, I accept… I should have said:
“What are we to make of God/Allah/Jehovah/Buddha/etcetera/etcetera… “
Happy now? No?? Well, tough!…., because we are NEVER going to get out of the starting gates if we don’t ramrod roughly over SOME people!

* * * * * *

I left you at the end of chapter (1) with a vague over view of…. well, that depends on your point of view. If you’re an average Christian, then you would perhaps be inclined to say it’s a vague overview of my development from Atheism through Agnosticism into some kind of belief system. If you’re a Bible basher, a screaming Evangelical, a Holy Roller, then you’ll probably want to shout at the top of your lungs:
(Oh, shut the f…k up…!)
And, on the other hand, if you’re an Atheist, you’ll probably want to hit the ‘escape’ button, thinking more that said overview is just another sad record of decline. The decline of a reasonably independent, reasonably educated fellow into the clutches of superstition and false, quasi-spiritual gobbledygook. Stay with me for a while.
Don’t give up just yet…

Let’s rewind to my story “Going to Confession “. A small, snapshot-in-time of innocence at age nine or ten. If you haven’t already perused it, I have now put it on ‘Evoca’. It’s an easy read. It is a story with no delusions of literary grandeur.

Those were happy days in many ways. There were stressors, such as parents who were totally at loggerheads with each other, and sometimes called on the children to take sides. Another story maybe… But spiritually, I was pretty well at peace. I had it all figgered out. I was a Roman Catholic, but at that age I didn’t think of myself that way. It was just me and God. And he was okay. He was like Father Petrus, the big, bearded, genial, always smiling, broken-toothed monk-priest at our local church.
It wasn’t until age sixteen that this picture of reflected bliss in the calm, unruffled waters of my inner lake finally… was lost to sight. Under the impact of rocks lobbed in ruthlessly from all directions.

A lot of the trouble… was school.
I got sent to the ‘Gymnasium Augustinianum’. No, not a place full of trapeze artists and treadmills. (Well, sort of. In a different sense.) It was supposed to be a school for really bright kids. The really clever ones. There was only about three of them in Holland. You may well ask: “Well, what were YOU doing there then? ” And that would be a valid question. I don’t know… I think it was a mistake, and I stupidly got on the wrong bus myself. Whatever…
There I was, and my fellow school mates were…little Atheists. All of them. Without exception. It was technically a Dutch Roman Catholic school, run by a holy order known as the ‘Augustinians’. Unfortunately, (well! depending on your point of view) due to declining numbers of candidates for the priesthood, retiring teachers were more and more
being replaced by lay teachers. We only had two or three of the Holy Fathers left trying to teach us rebellious brats. I remember one poor old dude was trying to teach us Biology, (we gave him absolute hell), and the other one had pulled the short straw, and he was forced to struggle through the mixed blessing of teaching us “religion “. He was, as I remember an unhappy man. I spent five years at this seconday school, and during that time I remember him becoming more and more withdrawn and dispirited. Whereas in the first year we had usually one period a day for “religious studies “, in my fifth year we only had two sessions a week. Similarly, whereas at the start I recall we actually discussed ‘Religion’, usually heatedly, I remember well that towards my fourth and fifth years, this subject had become taboo. The class was more of a social occasion , with talk of football, politics, television, other teachers….anything except religion. And our religious “teacher “, well, he would just sit there and say nothing. He was content to be there in body, if not in mind. So, after an hour of this, the bell would ring, and we would all troop off. Another religious class was now officially over. I think… the poor man had simply given up. I know he had given up with his students, but I also suspect he had given up in himself. A few years later, I was to see him, still in a priest’s black robes, walking down the pavement, leading a small, distinctly scruffy little dog by a lead. The Holy Order of the Augustinians had apparently given him permission to have a little puppy. An unusual but no doubt faithful companion for a forlorn, unhappy priest.
It was a small wonder then, that in this distinctly Atheist environment, I had a rough time.
There was a time I would argue furiously in the class room, totally outnumbered. A case of twenty five against one. Then, once I realized that I was the odd one out, it started me doubting my simple faith in God. After six months or so of this, as already related, my despairing Irish mother sent for the Parish priest. Alas, to no avail. I was now an Atheist.
I knew… that there was no God.

And I suppose I could have stayed an Atheist for the rest of my life. Many people do. I’d almost say it’s quite the fashion these days. It’s kind of trendy to be an Atheist. Whereas to be an Agnostic, who says “Well, I don’t know…? ” is to taint oneself a little with the suspicion of an inability to make up one’s mind. It’s almost like ordering a Rose wine with your meal. It’s neither a red or a white, and it’s a wine perhaps for political hacks and fence sitters. But, as so often in life, the winds of happenstance were about to blow. And blow they did. Severely affecting my small vessel, floating on the seas of Life. Fate was about to shuffle the cards. As it happened, my father was getting close to retirement. And my parents were planning to retire to Ireland. As I was rather unhappy at the Dutch school anyway, my mother decided that it would be wise if I was to start the new school year in Ireland. The family would follow along soon after. At any rate within a year or so. When she floated the idea to me I was more than happy at the prospect of escaping that awful Dutch school I had really grown to hate. I readily agreed. The thought never crossed my innocent Atheist mind that she might have an ulterior motive…

Thus at the start of the next schoolyear, it came to pass that I, the Atheist, found myself being driven in through the gates of Rockwell College, Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland. Aye, Tipperary. Where the song comes from. ( “It’s a long, long way from Tipperary… “)
(Okay,okay, I promise I won’t give up my day job)
I was accompanied by my parents, and wondering, what… I had let myself in for. It was a boarding school, and I had never attended one of those. And it was presumably going to be full of little Irishmen, and I was more of a little Dutchman.

Little did I know what an eye opener lay ahead of me…
In chapter (3) we might return to the adventures of a fine young Dutch spawned Atheist now arrived in holy Catholic Ireland.

And may the saints be praised…

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on December 28, 2008, 9:02 am

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One response to “Kentucky Fried God-in-a-Box (part 2)”

  1. Three claps for this story – I had to giggle about some of the scenarios. Jeehosephat! What memories of those little critters pinned so perfectly into boxes. Reckon that was metaphorical? Now, I want to know more about punching people out and deliberately running over kittens. I don’t much care about the killin’ – one must do what one must do.

    Uh, Oh – ya didn’t think I was gonna be any obsequious mewly -mouthed girl, did ya?

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