THE ATHEIST - EPISODE SEVEN
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Samuel rose up and walked towards the ocean. I got up and dusted some sand off me. When I turned back to follow him, there was a path created in the waters. I can't say if I was freaked out or in awe, but I didn't pause for long.
There was a pull to enter the waters with him that can only be compared to the pull that I felt towards my corpse. But this was stronger. A strong wind blew, before the air became almost still. I followed him into the waters and along the cleared path, looking about at the separated ocean.
Oh my God! This is wow! Scientifically impossible, but wow!
As we got deeper into the ocean, I saw that the path ended, just as some stairs appeared. The stairs went down, and not up to the Heavens, as often depicted in movies. Despite the pull, I paused before following him down the stairs. Seriously, I was afraid!
"Where does this lead?"
"To your destiny," came his distant response.
With dread, I climbed the stairs, seeing as I had no choice, with the path closing behind me. As I climbed, it became darker and darker, and the only thing to light my path was a glowing Samuel. He waited for me at the base. At least, I hoped it was the base of the stairs.
"Where is this?" I asked.
Just then, a distant object lit up. And then another, and then another. Soon, out of the darkness, I saw what looked like stars and planets in the night sky. I turned back, but the stairway had also disappeared into nothingness, leaving vast space behind us. I swallowed, daring not to look beneath, for I couldn't imagine what held me up. Were we really in space now?
Samuel continued walking towards nothingness, and all I could do was follow. A door appeared a little further up and Samuel walked towards it. I reached for him.
"Please, can you just tell me where you are taking me?"
"To receive your judgement," he replied, his gaze steady on me.
"To h...hell?" I swallowed.
"Well, there are only two places to go after death. Do you think you deserve to go to Heaven?"
My heart raced within me. Wow, was it still there? Well, I still have limbs and a vocal cord. The only difference now is that time and space do not limit me.
I swallowed again. "Well, I don't think I deserve hell!"
"And why is that?" He paused at the door.
"I'm not a bad person. I... I'm actually pretty decent, compared to most!"
"So, you're a good person?" Samuel replied, with an eyebrow raised.
"Y...Yes! I'm a good person. I may not be perfect, but I'm good."
"But you don't believe God is good...?"
His question took me by surprise. Had I fallen into a trick? "Well... Isn't He supposed to be perfect?"
"And who holds the criteria on perfection? Do you think you are in a position to judge His actions?"
"I just don't understand how people say He loves and cares for us, yet He lets bad things happen to us..."
"Well, you claim to still love Angela very much, but you personally hurt her deeply... Do you love her or not?"
"But you hurt her...intentionally?"
"I'm not perfect."
"But, you are good, right?"
"I guess not."
"The Messiah was right to say "no one is good but God.""
"I don't agree. Even He is not good. If He really is all-knowing and powerful, why would Lucy be born with such a debilitating disability? Why did we lose three pregnancies? If He had anything to do with it, like my mother thinks, He is heartless!"
"For someone about to face his maker, you really have little fear..."
I shrugged. I was afraid, but my anger prevailed. "What difference would that make?"
Samuel wasn't smiling when he replied, "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom..."
I rolled my eyes. "Is that supposed to convince me that He is good?"
"You believed in science and evolution and cause and effect, right?"
I didn't miss his reference to 'believed'. It was a truth I wasn't ready to acknowledge, so I gave it no regard and simply nodded.
"So, without having God to blame for all the evil in the world, you were able to see how people made their own choices, and people are victims of the choices of others, regardless of God...?"
Again, I nodded.
"And science and human behaviour can explain the development, spread and containment of diseases?"
"So, you are aware of the influence of your diet, sleep habits, exercise, waste disposal, and other environmental issues carried down from generations, determining the general health of the population...?"
"It would seem that, without God, you have only humanity to blame for the calamities that befall man. But with God, you appear to have a scapegoat. I suppose it is your expectation of God that is in error, and not His goodness. Because the Creator gave you free will."
"Then, maybe He shouldn't have..." I knew I had no more argument, but this seemed to make sense. If our willfulness was the cause of all evil, maybe it was careless of God to give us free will in the first place!
"Well, I suppose then you would not be able to know wrong from right, nor judge God of evil. It is a shame that you do not appreciate the gift you have been given, but seek to denounce responsibility at every point."
I kept a straight face as I stared at the door. If God created us, He can't be entirely without blame. If I create an atomic bomb, I can't blame it for destroying everything in sight, when I knew exactly what I was creating. No, God is not blameless... He, too, has to take responsibility!
"Darren," Samuel said gently, looking in my eyes. "I do understand your predicament and sympathise with you. Truly, nobody is perfect. Going by that standard, every soul would end up in hell. But God had compassion on mankind, knowing your weakness. He sent Jesus to redeem the soul of everyone who believed and trusted in Him for salvation. So, for many, Jesus stands as an advocate before the Father. But unfortunately for those who rejected Him while living, He is a stranger. I'm sorry that you will now have to stand before the Father on your own."
I simply nodded. I'd heard this speech countless times and laughed and mocked the preachers. I hadn't believed, and it was too late for Jesus to make a difference in my life. I was alone, and my arguments about my goodness could not hold water.
With tears in my eyes, I watched as Samuel opened the door to my destiny.
To be continued...
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