In Competition No. 3025 you were invited to submit a Lord’s Prayer for the 21st century.
One of my favourites, among the many parodies of the Lord’s Prayer already out there, is Ian Dury’s ‘Bus Driver’s Prayer’: ‘Our father,/ who art in Hendon/ Harrow Road be Thy name./ Thy Kingston come; thy Wimbledon…’.
The challenge drew a smallish but pleasingly varied entry. Bill Greenwell’s ‘The Refugees’ Prayer’ started strongly — ‘Half-hearted, we chant/ in haven, harrowed by the numb;/ deny kin can come,/ deny well, be dumb…’ — but then puzzled in parts. A.H. Harker, Alan Millard, Paul Carpenter, David Silverman and Meg Muldowney were also strong contenders.
The winners, printed below, are awarded £25 each.
Our Dawkins, who art in Oxford,
Followed be thy meme.
Let religious apologists come,
You’ll tear them a new one
In Fort Worth, Mombasa or in Devon.
Give us this day our daily facts
And forgive those who criticise our best guesses,
As if an as yet incomplete explanation of the laws governing the physical universe somehow represents a damning indictment of the scientific method.
Lead us not into superstition,
But deliver us from concepts that are medieval,
For we are all of the animal kingdom,
With the power of reason, and glory in nature
Until the inevitable and complete
extinguishment of our consciousnesses at
the moment of death, an event which
reason dictates, ipso facto, to be
unsurvivable in any meaningful sense,
Our Faithbase, which is in the Cloud,
Genderless be your name.
May your dominion extend,
Your influence magnify
In reality as it does online.
Give us each day our social media
And preserve us from inappropriate behaviour
As we avoid that which may be offensive to others.
Let us not forget our passwords,
Or overborrow on our credit facilities,
For yours are the algorithms,
The power and the profit
As long as a signal lasts.
To whom it may concern
(Allegedly residing in the conceptual space known as ‘Heaven’):
You seem to think the name of ‘God’ is hallowed
But we consider all the names given to deities by
various cultural traditions equally valid.