The way to compromise

The state of the world had reached such cataclysmic proportions, that the religious leaders of the planet decided that it was time to get together and put past differences behind them. Only through godliness, it was felt, would the human race have a chance to survive. If believers in different faiths could get along, then all the non-believers in the world would follow suit.

A big conference was held in Geneva, which was attended by all the leaders of the world’s major and not so major religions. However, it soon became apparent that the job at hand was not going to be as simple as they thought. After all, hadn’t religion been the main cause for persecution, war and general bloodshed for thousands of years? All the participants decided that they would go away for six months in order to discuss matters with their co-religionists to look for compromises that could be made. In this way, it was hoped, believers would find other creeds more palatable.

For half a year, the whole world held its breath. Speculations were published in the media as to what the ground-breaking compromises would be. Finally the long-awaited day arrived. The world’s religious leaders reconvened in Geneva. With the eyes of all humanity fixed upon them, the representatives began to take the podium to announce the decisions of their co-religionists.

As the representative of the world’s largest religion, Roman Catholicism, the Papal delegate was the first to step up to the microphone. After a long-winded preamble in which he recounted the history of Catholicism and its major achievements and apologised to all those who had been hurt by it, he finally announced that the Pope had decided to allow contraception to deal with the world’s population crisis and had agreed to compromise on his own infallibility. There was much cheering in the hall and outside of it. Everybody understood the significance of these decisions and how hard it had probably been to reach them. If this was to set the tone for the conference, then surely peace for all mankind was around the corner.

And sure enough, it was. The Calvinists gave up their belief in the Elect, Buddhists agreed to stop praying to a bald, fat idol, Muslims said that the idea of Jihad wasn’t such a good one after all and that they’d ease up on the no-alcohol business so that they could go for the occasional pint with the other believers and the Mormons finally agreed to stop bothering the hell out of other people.

As everyone was preparing to go whilst busily patting each other on the back, someone remembered that the Jewish delegate hadn’t spoken. A black-garbed bearded rabbi was called to the podium. Taking his notes from his pocket and adjusting his spectacles, he drew a deep breath. “Friends and fellow believers in G-d,” he began, “As representative of the oldest monotheistic faith in the world, one that formed the basis for the morality of the Western world and of a people that has undergone persecution in the name of religion for 2000 years, I must tell you that the past six months have not been easy ones. We Jews have our factions, Orthodox and Reform, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, Zionist and non-Zionist, Hassidim and Misnagdim, and yet we all have come to the realisation that for the sake of world peace, the environment of our planet and the continuation of the human race, we have to make far-reaching compromises. So, bearing all this in mind, we finally decided that we, representatives of the Jewish religion, are prepared to give up on the second Yekum Porkun of Shacharis on Shabbas. Thank you.”

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