Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

I’m presently reading Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. He is such a fun author to read. There is a playful mix of humor and provocative thought.

In this stand alone story set on Discworld, the great god Om has come down to live among men – but rather unintentionally as a small one-eyed tortoise. The only person who can hear his voice is a young, not-too-terribly-bright novice in the priesthood of Om. The worship of Om has become something fraught with exacting laws and rather distressing quality time in the torture chambers beneath the temple.

Terry Pratchett weaves ideas and humor into well plotted story and the result is often surprisingly deep. On one hand this story skewers blind faith and the evil that religion is capable of. But it is also a story of the power of faith when it is not blind. Our young unlikely hero sees the reality around him and has a faith that can potentially change the world. Pratchett does not simply offer cynicism but hope (with a good dose of humor).

“It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. Not even the most stupid Creator would go to the trouble of making the human head carry around several pounds of unnecessary grey goo if its only real purpose was, for example, to serve as a delicacy for certain remote tribesmen in unexplored valleys. It is used. And one of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual.

Because if this was not the case, then human beings faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing big stupid grins, similar to those worn by certain remote tribesmen who occasionally get raided by the authorities and have the contents of their plastic greenhouses very seriously inspected. They’d say ‘Wow!’ a lot. And no one would do much work.

Gods don’t like people not doing much work. People who aren’t busy all the time might start to think.

Part of the brain exists to stop this from happening. It is very efficient. It can make people experience boredom in the middle of marvels.”

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