Frej Wasastjerna



                      ... And that concludes my lecture. Any questions?

                      Yes, over there?

                      No, it's an urban myth that it was a federally funded theological research program that found the answer to the question of why there is evil if God is both good and almighty. I'm afraid I must admit that we theologians had nothing to do with it, it was an anthropologist who finally solved the problem. Let me tell you how it happened...


                      Theodore Easterling was sitting crosslegged on the floor and listening to a native priest.

                      "...No, He isn't our god alone. He's the one and only God, of whom all other gods, for instance your Christian god, are aspects. The one who sits outside time, seeing it all simultaneously, both past, present and future, which are all the same to Him. The one who continuously creates the world, maintains it and views its end."

                      "Thankyou." Easterling switched off his recorder and laboriously stood up, watching the priest do so with much less effort. "I've got enough material for today, I have to write it down. But I hope we can continue tomorrow."

                      The priest nodded, and they went out into the street. A cow was walking along the street, and something about it attracted Easterling's attention - its movements seemed somehow poorly coordinated.

                      Noticing the direction of Easterling's gaze, the priest said, "Yes, that cow is sick. I believe you Westerners call it mad cow disease. It happens every now and then."

                      "Do you eat cows like that?"

                      "Certainly not! That's taboo!"

                      Maybe that made sense. If bovine spongiform encephalopathy had been around for a long time here, and if the prions or whatever the infectious agent was could infect human beings as well, a taboo against eating them would help protect people's health.

                      "What do you do with them then?"

                      "Well, wasting their flesh would be a sin, so we sacrifice them and pray to God that he won't take offense at being offered unclean flesh."

                      Thrifty. But wait... If a prion could jump one species barrier, maybe it could jump another as well... Yes! That had to be why the world was the way it was! God was suffering from divine spongiform encephalopathy!