Good news, a play in two acts

Act 1 — Circa 100 AD — two people pass each other in the marketplace

Good day.

Good day.

Have you heard the good news?

What good news?

We are all loved and should love one another in return.

That sounds pretty good. How do you know this?

The creator of the universe sent an emissary, to unite the human and the divine, and to show us the way. This emissary was executed, and died, and lived again. Love transcends death. We no longer need to fear death. We don’t have to be afraid of anything.

Wow, that does sound like good news. So what am i supposed to do now that I’ve heard this good news?

Love the universe with all your heart and soul, and love your fellow humans as you love yourself.

Wait. Love my fellow humans?


All of them?


Even the dirty foreigners?

Especially foreigners. In the eyes of love there is no difference. People of every kind are equally loved and equally important — rich and poor, native and foreign, sick and well, male and female —

Wait did you just say there’s no difference between men and women?

Not in the eyes of divine love.

So, wait, you’re telling me that this good news means I’m supposed to think that foreigners, women, beggars, lepers, prisoners… all these are as good as I am?

Yes, as a matter of fact, they are.

That doesn’t sound like good news to me.

But it works both ways. It means you’re as good as the emperor.

I do like that part. Can I keep the good news where I don’t have to die and I’m as good as the emperor, but lose the part where I have to love foreigners?

That is not the good news I’m trying to share.

I like it, though. Thanks! (Walks off stage, whistling. From off stage we hear, “have you heard the good news?”)

Act 2 — the present day — the first person, standing in the same position on stage, is now in modern dress. A second person in modern dress comes on stage, carrying pamphlets.

Have you heard the good news?

What good news?

After you die, you’re going to be consigned eternally to a realm of unimaginable torment.

That doesn’t sound like good news.

The good part is that you can be saved from this fate.

Saved how?

You have to believe in the power of my prophet to save you.

Just believe? That’s it?

Yes. But you also need to join my group.

Why? If all I have to do is believe?

If you really believed, you would believe you had to join my group.

What does it mean to join your group?

You have to go to weekly meetings, and you have to follow this list of rules.

These rules are mostly about sex.

If you really believed, you would believe the sex rules are very important.

What about foreigners? Women? Prisoners? The poor? The sick?

What about them?

Aren’t there any rules about taking care of the less fortunate? Treating people with dignity? Seeing other people as equals? Isn’t there anything about love?

Of course the creator loves you. I mentioned that, didn’t I?

No, you mentioned eternal torment and sex.

Well, the creator loves you, and that’s why he’s going to save you from eternal torment if you believe.

But who made the eternal torment?

The creator, of course.

The creator made a realm of eternal torment in order for joining your group to save me from it?

That’s right! Will you be joining my group now?

No, I really don’t think so.

(Both leave the stage in opposite directions. From offstage we hear, “have you heard the good news?”)