How it begins

by Caleb Reading

[I didn’t write this]

Start with a cage containing five monkeys,
inside the cage, hang a banana on a string
and place a set of stairs under it.
Before long, a monkey will start to climb towards the banana,
as soon as he touches the stairs,
spray all the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt
with the same result, all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water.
Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the
other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water, Remove one monkey
from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the
banana and wants to climb the stairs.
To his surprise and horror, all the other monkeys attack him.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if
he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five monkeys
and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is
attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment
with enthusiasm.

Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a
new one, then the fourth, then the fifth.
Everytime the newest monkey takes to the stairs,
he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no
idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are
participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of
the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water.
Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for
the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know, that’s the way
its always been done around here.

And that, my friends, is how religion begins.


[Feel free to insert “tradition,” “politics,” or whatever else in place of the word “religion”]