ask palinode: immortal kombat edition

It might be too soon for another question but perhaps you could put it in your file for later. You might also hesitate to post something like it for fear of receiving a fatwa. Although it might be something to brag about to your buddies at the pub.

Who would win a WWF smackdown: Jesus, Mohammed or Buddha?


Janet, have no fatwa-fear for me, for I live fatwa-fear-free. In fact, I’ve been fatwa-fear-free for nine months now. I recently joined FFAA (Fatwa Fearaholics Anonymous), a community of people who used to live in a state of paralysis, never knowing if their next move would result in the issuing of a fatwa against them. Oh no, they would think, if I order this B-B-Q pulled pork sandwich, will an irate mullah in the kitchen put the Allah smackdown on me? What if, in the course of casual conversation, I defend Atatürk’s original decision to constitutionally end the Caliphate? I don’t wanna get myself in a pickle with those Joes. But ever since I joined FFAA, I’ve discovered that nobody cares what I think, least of all a bunch of people who have their own lives to contend with.

Actually, I did receive a fatwa in the mail once, back in the eighties. It was one of those direct-mail offers. Dear MR. PALINODE, you may already have been sentenced to death under the authority of the Prophet (PBUH&HF)! Don’t miss this exciting opportunity!! It sounded good, but you had to send in your credit card number.

Let's look at the contestants and review the odds.

Combatant #1 – There are several versions of Jesus to select for combat. You’ve got your baby Jesus, who is clearly too young and suckly for this kind of thing. Then there’s your on-the-cross Jesus, but he’s a bit weak from loss of blood. So let’s bring in Revelations Jesus, the hillbilly avenger. As outlined in Revelations, this Jesus comes equipped with a horse, a blood-stained robe and a sword. That’s a formidable arsenal – the horse for speed and position, the sword for offensive power, and the robe for pure psychological value. You can act as brave as you like, but when your opponent’s clothing is dripping with blood, it’s got to give you pause, like holy shit, this guy just mopped the floor with someone else and he’s still coming at me.

Most people don’t read Revelations too carefully, though, because it states clearly that when Jesus returns in full battle mode, he will come back balancing one foot on the point of his sword, with the bloody robe draped over his head and the horse on his back. So the best he can do is flail his fists around and try not to impale himself.

Odds of victory: Poor.

Combatant #2 – I confess to being a bit ignorant when it comes to the fighting style of the Buddha, but as far as I can tell, he appears to be a stout fellow with long earlobes and a body made of brass. His only weapon is the point on his hat, which, though dull, could present severe problems for anyone unlucky enough to trip over a rock and land on him. Given his metallic body, it’s unlikely anyone could do him any real damage without an industrial kiln or a grenade launcher.

Despite his built-in weapon and impenetrable body, the Buddha is hampered by his inability to move. Jesus and Mohammed could avoid his attacks by simply not going near him. If the match involved props like wooden chairs, someone could lean the chair up against him, effectively blinding the Buddha.

Odds of victory: Not so good, but someone might back into him and fall over.

Combatant #3 – Second in numbers only to Christianity, Islam is one of the world’s most widespread religions, counting as many 1.3 billion adherents spread across the globe. When you consider that the religion was only invented in 1975 by Muhammed Ali when he left the Nation of Islam, it’s stunning that he’s managed to gain so many converts in only thirty years. Given that degree of determination and charisma, not to mention his stint as world heavyweight boxing champion, I have no doubt that Muhammed would be the first one swinging and the last one standing.

Wait, he’s the guy with the really bad Parkinson’s, isn’t he? Ah man.

Odds of victory: Considering that one opponent is blinded and the other immobile, I have high hopes for Mr. Ali. But there’s a good chance that he’ll just point at them and fall over.

THE WINNER: Tom Waits-Mitch Hedberg tag-team duo.

Interested in the eternal struggle for betterment of the soul through vigorous inquiry? Ask Palinode! askpalinode @ gmail . com.