One day a ship arrived near the shore of a remote island. Into a large rowing boat climbed a priest and a dozen soldiers armed with muskets. The rowing boat was slowly lowered into the sea and the soldiers took the oars and rowed towards the shore while the priest read passages aloud from a well worn bible.
On the island lived an indigenous people. For centuries they had lived in simple harmony with nature.
The priest and the soldiers reached the shore and climbed out of the boat. The soldiers hauled it further up the beach as the priest looked around.
From the near-by forest a group of natives spotted them and came to investigate. One broke from the group and approached the priest.
"Hello chaps! Can we help you at all?" he asked.
"How come you can speak English?" asked the priest, incredulously.
"Well, I think it is mainly for the benefit of the readers. We would be here all day if he had to do the conversations in grunts and sign language. How come you can speak English? You look more like Spaniards to me. Maybe Portuguese." The native spokesman replied.
"How do you know what Spaniards and Portuguese look like? This is the first time anyone from over the sea has ever set foot on this island," the priest enquired further.
"No idea really, mate. Do you mean you are not Spaniards?"
"Hey? Well, yes, as a matter of fact we are, but..... oh never mind. Tell me. What gods do you worship?"
"What what, mate? Here. Have a coconut."
"No thank you. I said what gods do you worship?"
"How about a pineapple? Sorry, mate. You've lost me there. Gods, you say? What are those?"
"Who do you think created the world? Where do your loved ones go when they die? What happens to their spirits?"
"Errrm. Don't really know, mate. Never really thought about that."
"What? You've never really thought about it? How can that be? Surely you want to know who created this world. Surely you wonder what happens to your loved ones after death."
"Oh, hang on a minute. We do have a funny legend about that, now you come to mention it. The Story of Need To Know Norman. Really funny it is. All about this chap Norman (don't ask me where they got that silly name from) who kept asking questions that can't be answered. The kids always love that story. Mad as a bonkers bag of crazy snakes that Norman feller was. That's how our mothers teach their children not to ask questions that can't be answered. It really interferes with their playing and having fun when they do that."
"But it is IMPORTANT to know these things. Otherwise, how will you know if you are living your lives correctly?"
"Well. I think if such a bizarre question ever arose, we would just check whether we were happy. How about that?"
"That will not do! You are not here to be happy!! You are here to serve God!!"
"OK. Sure thing. Which one of you is God? Does he want a coconut or a pineapple? Or a banana perhaps?"
"NO!!! You do not understand! God is the creator of this world and everything in it. He created you and everything you see. If you serve him then after death you will spend eternity in heavenly bliss. If not then it is eternal damnation in the fiery pits of hell for you!"
"Ha ha! Good one, Vic. Have you got any others you'd like to share with us?"
"You are not taking me seriously!!"
"Sorry, you've lost me again. 'Seriously' you said? Not sure we use that word here."
"Seriously! In a serious manner. With gravity."
"Nope. You've totally lost me there, Vic. Sure you won't have a bit of pineapple? It's good and juicy. Go on. You know you want to."
The priest looked round at the soldiers, who quickly did their best to suppress a rising tide of mirth. He made a stern face and turned his eyes to the boat.
"We will try another island," he said. "These people are clearly beyond salvation."
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