The Religion War
||This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary. It should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (December 2009)|
The delivery boy from the first book, who is now the Avatar, must stop an epic clash of civilizations between the Western world, led by Christian extremist General Horatio Cruz, and the Middle East, led by Muslim extremist Al-Zee. To accomplish this task, the avatar decides to find the "Prime Influencer", a person who, he feels, can indirectly influence all the decisions people make by virtue of responsibility, from fashion to the election of the President. He attempts to do so by enlisting a talented and arrogant programmer at Global Information Corporation (GIC) (an all-encompassing, worldwide future sort of TIA created out of fear of terrorism) to analyze GIC's massive databases using software. Also, people's phones are, in the name of preventing terrorist communications, restricted to only calling certain contacts a person has that have been approved by the Department of Communications; this fact ultimately comes back in the book's climax.
The Avatar applies his unparalleled ability to identify developing patterns and accurately determine the most probable outcomes of a situation to accurately predict the war plans of both Cruz and Al-Zee. He subsequently uses his ability to recognize even the vaguest patterns (which makes him seem to know more than he actually does) to bypass guards, escape interrogations, and ultimately win an audience with the warring leaders.
Ultimately, the Avatar fails to stop the onset of the war. However, at the conclusion of the book, the Prime Influencer, who turns out to be an opinionated café owner that the Avatar had met previously by chance, launches a simple, yet catchy, phrase (If God is so smart, why do you fart?) that spreads throughout the world like a virus thanks to an advanced computer worm, named Giver-of-Data (GoD), launched by the GIC programmer shortly before his death, which unlocked everyone's phones, linked them up to automatic translation systems, and disabled call billing. According to the story, "Once you heard it, you could never forget it." It was this phrase that finally captured the collective imaginations of ordinary people, causing them to reevaluate their assumptions about the nature of God. This ultimately led to the elimination of fundamentalist religious practices throughout the world, which, in turn, resulted in the end of the Religion War.