Be Nice

As someone who views organised religion as an operating system, I found the book by John Niven, ‘The Second Coming’, an absolute hoot. The intro says it all.

God takes a look at the Earth around the time of the Renaissance and everything looks pretty good – so he takes a holiday. In Heaven-time this is just a week’s fishing trip, but on Earth several hundred years go by. When God returns, he finds all hell has broken loose: world wars, holocausts, famine, capitalism and ‘fucking Christians everywhere’. There’s only one thing for it. They’re sending the kid back.‘ …

… as a struggling musician…

The God Niven creates is laid back and despises what’s being said and done in his name. Let me put it this way, Niven’s language is somewhat ‘ripe’ to put it mildly; his view of intolerant religious fundamentalism, mainly in Christianity, is excoriating; and as for the ten commandments, there should have been only one – Be Nice. Erm, that’s it. Be Nice.

Not only is the book very funny it also challenges those who use hate to promote their views. Worth reading, but only if you’re not precious about your religion.

So, why am I mentioning this in what is currently a confused and, in some cases, frightened world? Well, put simply, there are a great number of people who are doing just that – they’re living the Be Nice commandment.

For example, a friend of mine whom I’ve mentioned before lives her faith-based beliefs daily. Her sense of responsibility to her family and community means that she is currently unable to attend her church or the local homeless kitchen initiative for which she volunteers.

Another, a fellow writer, lives in London with her self-employed husband and family. She also lives her faith-based beliefs daily and gives time to her mosque to help her community. She has to balance practical issues, e.g. finance, and keeping those she loves safe and close.

Both of these incredibly caring, strong women, of different faiths, live the Be Nice commandment daily. You’ll have your own examples.

Obviously there are those who will try to weaponise this situation to suit their own ends. The current incumbent of the White House calling Covid-19 the ‘Chinese’ virus and declining to take responsibility for the handling of this emergency is but one example. There are others.

In this hyper-chaotic world, the ‘law of unintended consequences’ applies. This means that we have no idea where we will be when the initial challenges created by Covid-19 begin to be addressed. Will we have learned? Will we apply what has been learned? We can only wait and see.

We will get through this, of that I have no doubt. However, as I wrote previously, it’s how this particular challenge is dealt with that will define us.

So – Be Nice.

J J Mitchell

‘No one left behind’


6 thoughts on “Be Nice

  • 22nd March 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Behaviours across the world are a bit like a curate’s egg at the moment – some shining examples of Being Nice, others absolutely not. As you say, American’s current White House incumbant definitely falls into the latter category. Let us hope that KARMA will work its magic sooner rather than later!

    • 22nd March 2020 at 5:50 pm

      Curate’s egg for sure. As you say, let’s hope karma will happen.

  • 22nd March 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Have purchased ‘The Second Coming for my Kindle – sounds like just what I need to read right now, we all need a bit of a laugh.

    • 22nd March 2020 at 6:43 pm

      At some stages it made me laugh out loud. You’re right, we all need a bit of a laugh. Enjoy.

  • 28th March 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Kindness (or Be Nice) has become such a common word in current times that it rather highlights the fact that there has been such a lack of this emotion. As it doesn’t have to cost us anything, let’s hope that the increase in kind behaviour will continue after all this passes.

  • 28th March 2020 at 4:59 pm

    One can only hope, Sue, and you’re right, it doesn’t have to cost us anything. We’re seeing various forms of altruism all around us. From those who continue to work in the NHS, to others who are volunteering to help others. This exists, it always has, it’s just that sometimes the world seems to concentrate on those who exhibit selfish, dysfunctional behaviour.

    I will be interested to see how the world ‘turns’ after this has passed. Some things will revert, of that I have no doubt; others will remain. It will be fascinating to see what.


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