A short story by JACK HASTIE

IALDABAOTH, the presiding demiurge, was in the chair. The accused, Yahweh, in the dock. The clerk of the court read out the indictment: you are charged firstly with GENOCIDE; Namely that (1) in 1556 anno mundi you wilfully destroyed the entire human race, with the exception of one family, by drowning. And that (2) after the exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt you did incite Joshua to carry out a systematic holocaust of the Canaanites.

Secondly, with sundry other incitements to MURDER viz that of Agag King of the Amalekites by Samuel; Michael Servetus by John Calvin; bishops Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley by Mary Tudor; Thomas Aikenhead by the Church of Scotland, to mention only a representative few.

Thirdly, with malicious HOMOPHOBIA in that you destroyed the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis XIX, 24-5) and that you commanded your followers to treat homosexuality as a capital offence, as reported in your autobiography (Leviticus XX, 13).killer competitionPH

The clerk sat down.

Council for the defence rose.

The chair recognised him: “Mr Freud.”

“My lord, I submit that the accused is not fit to stand trial.”

“On what grounds?”

“The accused has a demonstrably unstable personality. I will submit medical evidence of four conditions that render him incapable of rational, moral behaviour.

“Firstly my client is BI-POLAR. In addition to the charges listed in the indictment, which he does not deny, he wishes to be considered also his murderous intentions as described in his autobiography (Leviticus XXVI 14–39), in which he threatens his own followers with a series of tortures which the Court will be appalled to hear.”

Ialdabaoth intervened: “I hardly see this as an argument for the defence, Mr Freud.”

“Can I presume upon the Court’s patience?” Freud continued. “On other occasions he has healed the sick, encouraged little children to come to him, exhorted his followers to ‘do unto others as you would be done by’, love your enemies and love your neighbours as yourself.

“He has offered himself to torture by crucifixion in order to underline his principles.

“These are documented fully in the second volume of his autobiography. However, even in this phase there are traces of an underlying streak of intolerance and arrogance. I quote, ‘no man cometh to the Father but by me’ (John 14,6) and ‘there is no home to believers but the church’ (as quoted by Cyprian of Carthage). There is also a worrying indication of an urge to self- harm by courting martyrdom.

“In a more recent mood swing he seeks to re-invent himself as ‘the ground of our being’, to re-interpret his autobiography as allegory, never intended to be taken literally and to distance himself from his previous atrocities.

“May I now move to the second evidence of clinical malfunction? My client suffers from PARANOIA. He admits as much himself in his autobiography in which he states, categorically, ‘I am a Jealous god’ and then goes on to list a series of collective punishments he proposes to inflict on the children of those he thinks are opposed to him (Exodus XX, 5).

“My third contention is that my client suffers from OBSESSIVE/COMPULSIVE DISORDER. If the court will be patient enough to read this lengthy and repetitive document” – he passed the book of Leviticus to the clerk – “it will realise that his insistence on the minutiae of rites and ceremonies, burnt offerings, ritual purity – clean and unclean foods, purification of women, ritual bathing – Sabbath observance, redemption of slaves et cetera, et cetera, et cetera renders him incapable of making rational judgements.

“My fourth clinical submission is that my client suffers from SCHIZOPHRENIA. There are two symptoms which support this diagnosis: firstly he has developed the illusion that he is three persons simultaneously.”

Freud passed on copies of the minutes of the Council of Nicaea of 325 and of Constantinople of 381. “He has even given a name to one of his alter egos and a title to another. This a classic case of split personality of the Jekyll-and-Hyde variety, since the original personality is almost exclusively evil and the more prominent alter usually, though not exclusively benign. It is difficult to know to which of the personas his more recent atrocities are to be attributed.

“Secondly in his third personality phase he inspires his devotees to talk unintelligible nonsense, as reported in Volume II of his autobiography (Acts II – Pentecost). There is some evidence that the cause of these mental conditions may be genetic, since his younger brother, Allah, has recently been exposed as a murderous psychopath and sadist.”

The council concluded his argument: “On the basis of these well-documented accounts of the mental history of my client I submit that he is not fit to stand trial.”

The presiding demiurge turned to the Council for the prosecution: “In view of what the court has heard do you intend to continue with the prosecution, Mr Nietzsche?”

“My learned colleague has put the case more comprehensively than I could myself. I would withdraw my case if a formal verdict of guilty but insane can be recorded,” Nietzsche replied.

• The illustration above was provided by US artist Shell Fisher. You can see examples of his other work here.