The Tigris/Euphrates Valley hosted the first giant agricultural settlements. The wholly unnatural creation of huge monocultural farming territories, unprecedented human population densities, permanent land occupation, and intimate associations between people and their domesticated bovine, porcine, equine... livestock fomented physical, social, economic, political and biological disasters of mythological proportions. As with all tragedy-embracing human endeavors, no lack of priests were ready to spread the anodyne of religious swill to save crops, souls, and a percentage for themselves. "Bait-and-switch" strode the earth.

The essence of agricultural religions is the unending series of personal sacrifices required in this life, to be rewarded with restoration of principal plus interest in the next. (Judaism is the musings of nomadic shepherds and has different fine print altogether.) All debts come due on the apocalypse, Judgment Day, Ragnarok, Armageddon or some other time a long, long way down the road. In the meanwhile, the affluence and splendor of the priesthood will be a direct measure of your chances of eventually becoming the Ben Cartwright of a heavenly Ponderosa. It is rather inconvenient, then, that the Second Millennium is upon us. The Second Coming is upon us, come and gone and TEST OF FAITH! Remit all your earthly possessions to the One True Church to reserve your place in Heaven. Now! Sinner.

The One True Church will need those funds. When Christ does come back there await Him tens of thousands of his virgin brides, all named Mary, desperately ready to consummate their sacred marriage vows. I hope He is feeling studly, because some of those hymens have grown to be inches thick over the years, and their owners are rather long in the tooth and decidedly short of heterosexual fixations. A surprisingly large number of liberated priests may also be joining in the slowly moving line. It will be a time of vexatious contention.

One is wont to ponder an Elvis-like congruence. The Prince of Heaven will bloat the earthly concept of poly-fidelity to barbarous proportions. All the objects of His conjugal pairings bear His Mother's name. This will spare Him the onus of marriage bed gaffes when cooing sweet Song of Songs into ear after ear after ear after ear. It may, however, lead to some interesting locker room gossip among the players between quarters.

By the tenets of His Church, He may not enjoin his connubial duties in search of pleasure. Unlike Wilt Chamberlain and his thousands, His tens of thousands of assignations must be directed solely toward procreation. Analysis intimates that about 60% of His wives are of childbearing age and at any moment

[(4 days)(13 times/year)/365.24 days/year] = 14.24%

of them are fertile. (Leap years count, but every 25th leap year does not, except for every 100th leap year that does count, thanks to Pope Gregory.) Ten thousand fecund wives net will yield about 1400 random conceptions annually. Child support payments will be murderous. Given 8 diapers/child-day and ten milliliters of Baby Magic to render clean their pretty pink hemidemigod fundaments each occurrence, we are anticipating four million (!) changes each year and 11,000 gallons of Baby Magic, to go. If He intentionally selects for fertility the numbers multiply tremendously. I look forward to His priesthood being empowered and fulfilled by day care (and child molestation charges).

The official status of the maturing hemidemigods and -goddesses is open to doubt. The questionable wisdom of cross-breeding gods and humans is underlined by Hercules, son of immortal Zeus and mortal Alcmene. He was renowned for his strength and courage, but operationally short on brainpower. One would hope Christ's Kids would branch out of the Family business into carpentry or some other respectable profession. We can hardly support yet another caste whose sole purposes are breeding and Welfare. The eventual solution to this escalating disaster is obvious.

Mendelian breeding of second-generation Christian hemidemideities can select for a desired trait. Within ten generations we can isolate descendants of those initial 1400 who are more than 99.9% pure God. They will then be sent home en masse with the bill, 30 days net payment or forfeiture plus reimbursement for damages. Lord knows we have the lawyers to pursue it. I expect that all Hell will break loose shortly thereafter.

The alternative to thousands of years of planetary dislocation to sweep up and dispose of all these theological cobwebs and dust bunnies is to stop the problem at its source. It brings into new focus the difference between Greeks (gentle philosophizing pederasts) and Romans (engineers who got the job done). Let us endeavor to wash our hands of the whole affair.

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