Are you there, Bacchus? It’s me, Chris.

I stopped going to church in 1999, for numerous reasons- I’d had doubts about my faith, had issues (and still do) with certain Christian teachings and because I discovered Sunday morning TV through Stewart Lee and Richard Herring’s This Morning With Richard and Judy, and later the Hollyoaksomnibus, which provided enough scantily clad women for a hormonally charged teenage boy.

Gemma Merna- I may be more of a brunette fan, but still my all time favourite Hollyoaks girl

Anyway, despite my agnosticism (I wouldn’t class myself as an atheist, because I like the idea that there is a higher power and I’m not sure either way) I do still occasionally pray, these tending to be either “Hope they’re okay” prayers or the slightly more selfish ones for minor fortune-

  • Make the bus be a little late
  • Let Wales kick this penalty
  • Let there still be some money in my account (usually accompanied by my “cash dance” at the ATM)
  • Allow me to resist the lure of cheap, rubbishy action movies on DVD
  • Don’t let me embarass myself in front of this woman
  • Make this an easy shift at work
  • Let it be today that I stumble across a bored, lusty housewife which despite no evidence other than half remembered reader’s letters in Razzle I continue to hope are true.

My most frequent prayer however is my national lottery day bargaining prayers, where I plead with the Powers That Be to let me win, I don’t ask for the jackpot, just a few grand. Enough to quit my job, settle debts and do some travelling. £25k, £50k, £100k.

But I got thinking about this today, my mother and sister were discussing some religious thing or other, and I thought, who am I actually praying to when I make these pleas or pledges to give 10% of my winnings to charity?

I don’t know, really. I just offer them up as silent entreaties to some unknown higher power. I don’t do anything else really, other than try to be a nice person and follow Wheaton’s law:

But I still expect this mysterious figure to smile down upon me and give me what I want.

The thing is, I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the one God thing. If I’m honest, I always thought the way the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Vikings did it was pretty smart.

One god for every different area.

I have my own little pantheon- a god of late night TV, a goddess of iPod shuffle, a god of football, a goddess of tea.

It was like the Olympians had realised that despite all their power and influence they didn’t want to overstretch themselves, each of them had their own area of expertise and they decided to stay in that area.

I like the idea that they put their own limitations on their gods. That Ares could help you kick ass but that he couldn’t give you any decent romantic advice.

Depending on who you are, or what you wanted you could pick a specific god you wanted to pray to. And if your situation changed so could your choice. Its like when you have a problem, you can’t always go to the same buddy, sometimes you know one of them will talk the most sense so you’ll go to them.

I also like the characters they give to their gods. Sure they all get up to some pretty dodgy stuff, but I like that. I like that they’re not perfect, that they have weaknesses and failings, that they rush in without thinking. I’d much rather pray to someone who understands what its like, rather than some figure who never slips up. Unless you count making super-venomous snakes.

Seriously, they mainly eat rats and stuff, do they need to have enough venom to kill a grown man in a matter of minutes?

Over equipped with venom

I also like that everyone essentially had the same beliefs, and that which God you chose to mainly worship kind of revealed what you were like. Ares- you’re a badass, or at least want to be. Aphrodite- you’re a lover, not a fighter.

Personally, my favourite would be Bacchus, who’s like the rock and roll god, all about partying and drinking and stuff. That’s what I can get behind.

Imagine it, you’re going out to a gig and you say a prayer to a guy who’s probably already wasted. He’s gonna know how to make sure your night goes off well, and will safeguard you from being spiked, puking and guarantee that the shots are on offer and the DJs playing some classic tracks.


The other thing I like about the old beliefs is that the gods are regularly messing about. At best they’re just jokers, at worst, they’re dickheads. And that sits with how I see the world. I can imagine a god who sits up there looking down through a pool like in Clash of the Titans and going:

“Hey, guys! Check this out, I’m gonna turn the volume down on those speakers just as he shouts something embarassing.”

Those little things where the universe seems to mock you? The Christian God ain’t gonna be doing that, but my view of the PTB is that’s what they’re like, they use us mere mortals to get their kicks. To them, we’re like a reality show, live uninterrupted 24 hour feed of people going about their business.

But they get to interract, unlike us, who just have to sit there and watch what unfolds. All we can do is yell at the TV, or lust after the hotter contestants.

In fact, more than the greek gods, I probably think that if there is a higher power its going to be like Q from Star Trek. Guy just loves meddling, not all of them are like that, but there’s a few of them who get their kicks messing with us.

Basically, I’m not sure if there is anyone listening to my prayers. And if there is, I have no idea, who’s up there, or who I’m beseeching when I ask for a bus to be delayed, or for it not rain, or for work to go easy, but I like to think they’ve got a sense of humour and that I’m not going to get smited for writing this.

And if they are reading this (though with the ability to see anything why would you bother when there’s an entire world of showers out there?) could I win something on the lottery this week? Just a few grand, maybe £50k? You know, if you can get round to it, big man or woman.

I live in hope

Any thoughts? You know what to do. TTFN


One Comment on “Are you there, Bacchus? It’s me, Chris.”

  1. Man, that is an awesome post. Thanks.

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