In a bar somewhere, a scruffy-looking yet somehow attractive and charming man rambles on.
"No, the whole bringing monotheism to the masses was Yves' idea, man. He thought that if we told people some version of the truth, they'd all accept it and use it to guide their lives towards positive principles…sounds reasonable, doesn't it?"
He pauses to take a drink from his mug of beer.
"You could say that Zoroaster was sort of the beta test—tell people about the War, keep it simple, you know, just seven per side, point out that the Destiny and Fate of the universe are in their hands, assume most will make the right choice. It worked out okay, but they got a little picky with details. That 'no converts' thing they got going now is a symptom of that—too rigid, too unwilling to adapt. Anyway, like I said, it was a beta…"
Another gulp serves to keep his throat lubricated.
"Anyway, Yves thinks things over for a few centuries, then comes up with a finished product, and decides to let it loose. Writes the most important bits on stone tablets, then hands them over to Moses. Things go south within the hour, what with that golden calf worshipper massacre you've probably heard about. Moses comes back for another copy of the rules, which they've already ignored, and Yves gives the man some stern words. He must have let his name slip at some point, though when you pronounce it in ancient Hebrew it comes out more like 'Yahveh'…anyway, things work for a while, then problems appear. The usual, you know—corruption, sectarianism, fighting…"
The man shakes his head, flopping his loose black hair about.
"So, old Yves decides he needs to revise things, issue a patch, if you want it in modern jargon. This time, instead of taking it on his own, he shops around a bit for ideas. We synergize pretty well, and next thing you know I'm volunteering to deliver the message for him. We figure that this time, instead of an engraved message from on high, it'll work better if we have a more personal touch, get a human to deliver it—even if it's a human that's part divine, to make the impression stick. So, one shepherd girl and a Song of Fruition later, and I'm busy manifesting a vessel for the next thirty or so years."
He pauses to absorb more of the fermented goodness.
"On, the whole, it goes pretty well. People listen to me, they get the message…few things did go wrong, though. Running into that soldier of Greed in the temple got a little unpleasant. And that time I was giving the sermon when all the people showed up—I wanted to order about 6000 anchovy pizzas, then remembered that not only had they not been invented yet, these people had never seen a tomato before, so I decided to leave out the sauce, then remembered that cheese and fish probably wasn't too kosher, so I left that off, and just poofed up a bunch of flatbread and fish. Oy, and the trinity…I was explaining to the my disciples exactly who I was, and who Yves was, and how Gabriel has the gift of prophecy, and next thing you know they're claiming I'm Yves' son and Gabriel is some holy spirit hiding behind every curtain."
He stares meditatively into his beer, not partaking of any just at the moment.
"And, the whole thing just ended really badly… No, I don't want to talk about it, not the crucifixion, not the resurrection, and especially not that Holy Grail mess. There's a reason I decided to leave behind some memories."
He breathes in deeply, then exhales, and relaxes somewhat.
"You can see why I was put off of religion for a few centuries there. But, after enough time had gone by, Yves broached the topic again. This time, he got me, Gabriel, and Khalid together as a sort of focus group, and bounced more ideas off us. The end result looked pretty good, so we decided to go ahead with it. This time, though, we'd use a real human, not one of us, and I had done the hard work last time, so Gabby got the job of doing the actual delivery work. Now, between you and me, I think she was already starting to lose it even back then, and she screwed up royally. Got whole chunks of the thing wrong, and I have no idea where she got that pillow routine."
One more mouthful drains the glass, which is set back down on the table.
"I just sorta gave up on the whole project, but Khalid started obsessing over it, trying to fix things up. Does it seem like a coincidence that all of us that have worked on the religion thing wind up kinda looney? Makes you wonder, eh?"
"Anyway, back in the sixties Yves shows up again, saying he's got another plan, but I didn't even bother listening to him. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. I just ditched the unpleasant memories he'd managed to drag up, packed my bags, and split. I still think this religion idea has merit to it, but next time it's gonna be done right. I'm researching, getting a real feel for what it means to be human, and I'm starting to think that there's no one good solution. In any case, look at the messes that hasty action has caused in the past, eh."
"Well, my beer's gone, my story's over, and I gotta run—catch ya later man, and stay cool!"