BOOK 3: Persecution of the Lambs

Posted: October 7, 2011 in SciFi

And thus it came to be

The seeds of time were sown far and wide

Some landed on barren soil and died

some landed on sterile land

where animals and birds were fed

A few landed on a mountain top

And roots strong and wide were led

Into fertile earth,

Strong enough indeed

to crack the living rock

Some grew wild, some mild

And others turned to weed

Strong of mind and thought

The lambs soon did find

 many enemies who lay in wait

for them  astray to go

to test the wind and seek the sun

to rise to the clouds, and

be dashed to the ground

To open the mind

Begone all  evil to think and

To question the very beginning and

seek not the end

 for thus the seeds will wither and die

and as dust disappear without a sound.

Bennie’s crew did not waste time to move to the site of the spring. They wanted to settle in as soon as they could, to give themselves the advantage over Oscar’s group. Within a day they had moved all their worldly possessions to the site. They built a small and a compact camp against the side of the hill facing the volcano. This gave them a good view of Mt Brutus and the mountains in the distance. It also provided fair warning if any person or animal were to approach their camp, except from behind over the hillock.

Jim and Tom continued to restore the spring and within two days it was providing sufficient water for the camp to wash and cook. It did not compare with Base Camp’s supply but their relative independence was worth the effort. Bennie couldn’t wait to see Oscar’s face when he heard the news.

At Base Camp, Karl had already informed the group that Bennie’s camp at the wreck was deserted. After casting around he located them at the old spring and from a concealed vantage point among the rocks on the hillock, watched them work to restore the spring and build a new camp.

“Well I’m actually relieved,” Oscar said when Karl told him. “Now we don’t have to refuse them access to our camp and neither do they need our water. The women will probably think the same.”

“The same what, Oscar?” Esme asked as she walked to the two men. Oscar told her what had transpired and she agreed with his opinion.

“There’s one problem and that is that their group is men only and we as women know that men are unable to live on bread alone! Graham has been on to me at every opportunity. Even Amanda and some of the other younger girls are not safe. We must warn them not wander off to the forest on their own.”

“What about bathing, Esme?” Karl asked.

“Well, we’ll all have to go together, the females I mean,” she replied with a light blush as the two men smiled at her Freudian slip.

“Anyway, when they arrive here let’s pretend we don’t know where they actually are and express surprise,” Oscar suggested.

“Ja,” Karl agreed “they should think we’re going to allow them to join us.”

“Hey guys aren’t we playing mind games?” Esme interjected. “Surely we are able to defend our decisions. We owe them nothing.”

“True. Let’s play it by ear and see what they say,” Oscar agreed.

The next morning Bennie and Jim Armstrong arrived as expected at Base Camp.

Karl saw them coming and together with Oscar and Gary, walked out to meet them.

“Top o’ the morn t’ya,” Bennie said in a mock Scots brogue.

“Morning Bennie, Jim,” Oscar replied.

“Well, let’s get down to business shall we?” Bennie said as he confidently sat himself down on a rock. The others followed suit. “’ave you guys come to some sort of decision regarding our last discussion?”

“Well we expected you a few days earlier. You were quite desperate when we last spoke and that was some four days ago,” Oscar responded. Might as well play along with them he thought.

“Yeah’s, right that is, but then we got ’eld up. We ’ad things to do, see?” Bennie responded. Let them sweat it a bit he thought.

“What things Bennie?” Gary asked innocently.

“Things you know. Like making our camp better and looking for food an’ so on,” he continued to evade the question. “Well what’s your decision, Oscar?”

“Well Bennie, we were thinking to let you guys join us, but then Karl here came and told us you guys were OK. We’re happy you found some water and have settled down at the old spring. I hope the water’s sufficient for you.”

Bennie looked at him calculatingly: “So you were spying on us were you? And now you’re playing games with us; well fuck you and fuck your camp! We’ll get on without you. We don’t need no ’elp from you and we’ll ’unt our food where we like.”

He stood up and was about to walk off when Jim Armstrong who had remained sitting, said: “Oscar, did you say you were prepared to welcome us back or are you fucking with our heads?”

“To be honest, Jim we were fucking with you and in the light of Bennie’s response, it is clear that our decision not to welcome you back was the right one,” Gary replied angrily. “No, we and especially the women would not have been happy with you coming back into our camp.”

“Pity,” Jim said. “Then the lines are pretty well clear. One would’ve thought that we’re all in this together and even if we had separate camps, we could’ve co-operated and helped each other. Who knows maybe you’ll need something from us sooner or later.”

“I agree,” Oscar replied. “I would have been more than happy to have you guys join us from the outset. But you played your cards as you saw fit and it would have been unfair towards my people if we were just to let you walk back in without a murmur. Unfortunately you must now face the consequences of your own decisions.”

“Let’s go Jim. Let these fuckers stew in their own soup.” Bennie plucked at Jim’s sleeve and Gary couldn’t help noticing Jim’s irritation with Bennie as he stood up and walked off without a backward glance.

“Well, that was an interesting discussion,” Karl said.

“Yes, and did you see the look in Jim’s eyes when Bennie said they must go?” Gary asked.

“We’ll bank that for later,” Oscar said. “I’ve a strong suspicion that we’ve just missed what could have been a great opportunity to heal the rift that seems to be growing between the two camps.”

“What now?” Gary asked.

“Well as Jim said, the lines’ve been drawn. What that means is that it’s everyone for him-or herself now. We’ll have to watch our backs and protect ourselves. Fourteen vs. over a hundred souls; sounds like good odds to me, but fourteen determined men could create a lot of shit,” Oscar replied.

“As I see it we will have to set up a Council of War and plan a defensive strategy,” Gary commented.

“Let’s not be melodramatic Gary,” Oscar cautioned. “We need to tread carefully, but I agree we must plan. Let’s get back to camp and call a meeting for this afternoon just before bathing time for the women.”

Ten weeks had passed since the crash of the Airbus. The scenes on the plateau as well as around it were largely unchanged. Red seas continued to thunder against the cliffs of the mountain. In the distance Mt. Brutus was still spewing forth intermittent showers of lava, smoke and gas but the amounts were small and localised. In the distance, the survivors could still make out the far-off mountain range which seemed to sign-post the extent of their world.

The birds were well and truly settled in and had built nests. In many instances the small hatchlings were already growing feathers and the day when they would leave the nests was drawing nearer. During the day, the noise was deafening but at least it died down at night, except for the piercing cries of night jars and plovers. Both camps regularly raided the nests for eggs and bird meat became a staple food. It was nevertheless an unwritten rule not to recklessly plunder the nests. Even Bennie’s Crew seemed to be conforming to this common-sense approach.

Oscar’s group settled into their camp routine and most of the 108 members of his group had specific functions and responsibilities. Christine was the medical person while Esme functioned as a camp supervisor. She had a natural way with people and could reprimand someone without giving offence. Gary and Oscar were the planners and they, together with John Duguid, Donald James and Karl were largely responsible for the construction of facilities, toilets, water and security.

June Hailey and her daughters as well as Zyndile and a number of other survivors, harvested herbs, the bark from certain trees, aloes and roots in the surrounds to be used as food or for medicinal purposes. Zyndile played a major role in identifying the relevant herbs and making of potions. She was also able to identify poisons which they used to poison the tips of wooden spears which had been hardened in fire for hunting purposes. Rachel Hailey loved to help her with these processes and learned from her. The two soon were firm friends. Hassan also became a good friend of Rachel’s and the two often sat talking on the rocks near the source which was a favourite place for them.

Mike meanwhile was experimenting with the cannabis plants and the seeds from the female plants were stored in a safe dry place in the camp.

Father Ridgeway and Suzette, who was now able to hobble along with the aid of a makeshift crutch, worked together to counsel some of the survivors who were still struggling to come to terms with their losses. Little Alistair often walked with them. He had recovered fully but was not yet strong enough to walk or play for longer than an hour or two. Suzette had adopted the young boy and he moved into her small lean-to as soon as Christine pronounced him fit enough to do so. Meanwhile Amanda was running about with her arm fully healed. She and Elizabeth Hailey struck up a friendship and their favourite subject seemed to be boy friends, real or imagined that they had left behind. Shenaaz often joined them but she was still grieving the death of her mother and tended to isolate herself from the others.

Meanwhile Ahmedi Lockhat was very concerned and shared this concern with Al-Llah in his daily prayers; Hassan still refused to speak with him and chose instead to wander off with Rachel or some of the other younger survivors. He rarely spoke with Shenaaz as well. The family was clearly torn apart by the loss of their mother and partner, but the anger Hassan seemed to be harbouring against his father was inexplicable; Shenaaz could not understand her brother’s attitude toward them either.

Sitting under the shade of a flat-top tree, Hassan and Rachel were talking; she was the only person he spoke to as a rule and the two of them enjoyed each other’s company.

“You mustn’t be cross with your father Hassan,” Rachel was saying. “It was not his fault that your mother was killed.”

“I know that, but my father always says “Inshal-Llah” which means that it was God’s will. I am not angry with my father but at his stupidity to think that God wanted to kill my mother. Saying it is God’s will is a cop out.”

Rachel did not have an appropriate answer to his statement, but said: “I don’t think God wanted to kill my father either or the millions of other people who died in this disaster which has hit the world, even all the passengers who died on the Airbus; just think of the poor woman who was eaten up by the hyenas. I wonder if there is a God doing these things or allowing them to happen?”

“So why does my father always say, it is God’s will? Then he is wrong! And if he is right, then God is a cruel, malicious and sadistic being. The Qu’ran states that God is merciful, forgiving, most generous and compassionate. This is a lie if one looks at what has happened to all of us.”

“That’s what I don’t understand either,” Rachel replied looking perplexed. “I think we should speak to Christine because she seems to know about these things.”

“Why not the priest, what’s his name?”

“Father Ridgeway. I don’t like him. He believes only he is right and that if we ask questions we are sinning. I spoke to him the other day and asked him why God is punishing us like this here on the mountain, and all he said to me was that God has a plan for all of us and we must just have faith. Wow, that is also a cop out if you ask me,” she exclaimed.

“That’s what my father also says. And what I don’t understand either is whether Al-Llah and your Jehovah is the same being.”

“Let’s ask Christine, come,” she said gaily as she jumped up and without waiting for Hassan, ran to where Christine was sitting, pounding some herbs and roots between two rocks.

“Hello Christine! What are you doing?” she asked as Hassan caught up with her.

“I’m making some medicine which Zyndile taught me to do. What are you two up to?” she replied looking up at them.

“We want to ask you some questions, but if you’re too busy we can come another time,” Rachel replied.

“No, No, No! I am only too happy to have someone to talk to. What’s bothering you two?” she said smiling at them. She liked the two kids and had noticed them talking and walking together in the veldt.

“Well we’ve been wondering about God and Al-Llah and things like that. Hassan is very angry with his dad who says the death of his mother is the will of God, how do you say it Hassan?”

“Inshal-Llah.”

“That’s a very interesting question but I don’t know that I’m the right person to answer this,” Christine replied carefully. She knew this was a very sensitive issue; like Socrates, she could be accused of corrupting the minds of the youth.

“We thought about that, but neither the priest nor his father would give us a truthful or open answer. Their minds are closed to questions like this, but not yours,” Rachel responded.

“OK, I see. Which god do you want to talk about first?” Christine asked.

“All of them, aren’t they the same?” Hassan asked.

“No, they are all as different as the people who worship them, Hassan. The ancient religion of the Arabs was the worship of the stars and of a group of gods which included Al-Llah as the High God as well as female deities such as the three daughters of Al-Llah (banat al-Llah) called al-Lat, al-Uzzah and Manat, goddess of fate. These were worshipped long before the birth of Muhammad ibn Abdallah. It is said that he based the Qu’ran on divinely inspired words he was said to have had when he was about forty years old and more. The new religion of Islam, which is based on his verses was ultimately largely enforced through the sword and so-called Holy Wars on infidels which included everyone who did not subscribe to Islam.  Naturally they also, just like other religions, used missionaries and outreach programmes to build a massive following in the centuries that followed. At this time in history the Jewish religion was already thousands of years old as were the Buddhist and Hindu religions. Of course there were also the religions of the early Egyptians which were later tied in with Christianity although most Christians aren’t even aware of the pagan roots of their own religion. The Hindus seem to have the oldest religion. Buddhism arose from it. Christianity is not that old; about 600 years before Islam.

“So where was Al-Llah before he instructed Muhammad?” Hassan asked.

“Good question, Hassan. Where do you think?”

“I don’t know. My father would say that He has always been present but He chose to reveal Himself to Muhammad when He chose; it is not for us to question.”

“But why only reveal himself after so many centuries and if he is the same god as Jehovah, why not call himself Jehovah?” Rachel asked.

“You could ask that, but religionists would tell you that God works in mysterious ways, Rachel. It would have saved a lot of pain and suffering as well if he had done that.  The notion that Al-Llah and Jehovah are one and the same god is spurious and a weak attempt by religionists to defend their respective faiths. Muslims believe that if you believe in Yahweh you are an infidel as much as you are an infidel if you believe in Jesus. Many Christians as well as Jews believe Muslims are the enemy and many wars and crusades have been fought between them. How then can these gods all suddenly be the same? If Yahweh, god of the Jews looked down on the world today what would he see? Jews killing Muslims; if Al-Lah looked down on the world, he would see Muslims killing Muslims, Christians and Jews and if Jesus Christ looked down on the world he would see murder, mayhem and Christians killing Muslims, Catholics killing Protestants and Protestants killing Catholics. This has been going on for centuries. If these three gods were to meet and discuss humanity and their creation, I’m sure they would throw up their celestial hands and walk away in disgust. Satan however would be delighted.”

“Sorry Christine, you’ve lost us,” Rachel said laughing at the vacant look Hassan had on his face.

“Oops. My apologies. I’ve slipped into my philosophical mode,” Christine replied sheepishly. “What I was saying is that whether any god actually exists is not important. What is important is how we as people behave, not what you believe in.”

“But that is a very different thing to praying and reading scriptures and worshipping God or Al-Llah, isn’t it?” Rachel asked.

“Yes. Think of it this way. Millions of people do all those good things that the religions teach people to do but then they go out into the world, conduct themselves disgracefully and even murder and kill those who do not practice the same rituals. Compare their behaviour or the behaviour of the Jesuit Clergy who massacred thousands of Protestants in France in what became known as the St Bartholomew Day massacre and the terrorist acts perpetrated by Al Qaeda in recent years, to the behaviour of a peasant in say rural China who has never heard of Jesus, Jehovah, Buddha or Al-Llah; has never prayed or meditated for one minute but works hard, looks after his family and friends and is a good person who does no harm knowingly. Who do you think is the better person? Who is morally the stronger?”

“The Chinese man naturally,” Hassan replied.

“Exactly. Yet Christian priests will preach to you and say that if the China man did not repent and know Jesus, he would never enter the Gates of Heaven. Other religions will have a similar requirement.”

“How stupid is that?” Rachel exclaimed in disgust.

“That’s what people have been taught to believe and instead of improving themselves and changing their behaviour, they think that if they go to church, worship their respective gods and do what the churches mostly want, they are good. Many believe that their religions justify and indeed encourage bad behaviour, jihads, crusades and religious wars if in their view this will strengthen their cause. Of course what these fanatics seek in a religion they will invariably find. I’m an atheist but that does not mean that I am a bad and undisciplined person or unable to do good deeds. Religion is not the patron of good behaviour, I’m afraid. In many cases it has had the opposite effect on people and has encouraged hatred, intolerance and led to wars. Look at it this way: how can any religion justify itself if its adherents kill in the name of Jesus Christ, Al-Llah or Jehovah and while slitting the throats of innocents or detonating bombs, cry: ‘God is great!’? Any moral belief system should have a positive and beneficial effect upon our lives and upon those we interact with. If a religion results in intolerance, aggressiveness and even violence concerning other people’s beliefs, it is immoral, weak and unsustainable. Many of the verses in the Qu’ran clearly call on the followers of Islam to become the conquerors of all religions, the followers of which are referred to as idolaters[1]. The same applies to many verses in the Torah where Yahweh calls on Joshua and Moses to exterminate their enemies.”

“My father always says Al-Llah works in mysterious ways and I should not question. It’s a cop-out, I think. If Al-Llah exists and he allowed my mother to die it is not mysterious, it’s cruel,” Hassan said, close to tears now.

“Yes, that would be the way I would’ve seen it as well at your age,” Christine replied carefully. “Over the years however, I’ve come to realise that these things have nothing to do with the so-called gods. Things happen because they happen, never for a particular reason. I’m not a fatalist who believes that your path and destiny is pre-ordained. In fact, if this were true, we might as well do nothing and wait for the end of the world to arrive. I believe that every person will reap what he or she sows, in other words you are the architect of your own destiny. When you step on an ant on the ground, his family won’t wring their feelers and say it was the great ant god in the sky’s will or that it was the ant’s destiny. The ant was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. The ants will continue doing what they are programmed to do and by ‘programmed’ I mean what their DNA specifies.”

The two teenagers grinned at the image she had conjured up for them. Sounded like the animated movies of the ants they had seen back in a world they had almost forgotten about.

“As soon as you start to believe that an external force or power controls your life and the lives of those around you,” Christine continued, “you in fact allow others to control you. This is exactly what religions do and have been designed to do. Your mother’s tragic death was circumstantial. A volcano erupted and spewed forth massive rocks; she was the one to suffer its effects just as you as family were traumatised by the tragedy. She was not being punished and neither were you or your father. We humans seek reasons why natural disasters affect us, so we look at the stars, gods, devils and goblins and ascribe some mysterious force or intent to them; thus things such as disasters are ascribed to God or Al-Llah’s will.”

“But is there a god or gods, or not?” Hassan insisted.

“The existence or not of a god or gods, is a question as old as man’s thoughts about his origin. It is the product of mysticism which is the opposite of reason, truth and honesty. Many god-concepts were used by people who wished to influence and manipulate others for their own purposes. History is full of these gods and the more violent they were, the better. The Jewish god, Yahweh or Jehovah was a cruel and destructive god according to the Torah. It took the Jews centuries to believe that Yahweh was the only god. Even then although they worshipped Yahweh, they also accepted that other gods existed. When Mohammad brought his new religion of Islam down from Mount Hira where he first experienced the embrace of an angel instructing him to recite (iqra), Arabs believed in a number of gods. Muhammad was however adamant and totally unrelenting that only Al-Llah be worshipped. This led to bloody battles and wars of attrition. But as I said earlier, gods and devils are the manifestation of man’s need to look for outside forces to either blame or seek strength in for his own mistakes or even his good fortune.”

“But Jesus wasn’t violent was he?” Rachel asked.

“No, according to the Gospels he was gentle and self effacing although in some accounts in the Gospels he acted quite violently as well. His followers, who eventually established the Roman Catholic Church, were however amongst the cruellest of all. But you must also remember that Jesus was a Jewish lay-Rabbi, and not a Christian. The Christian movement and ultimately the Christian churches started much later.”

“But Christianity is named after him isn’t it, and surely he was or is a god as well?” Rachel asked again, totally confused now.

“That’s only partly true, Rachel,” Christine said. “The Catholic Bishops only affirmed Jesus’ divinity some 325 years after he died. He would never ever have said he was a god himself because the Jewish Sanhedrin would have stoned him for blasphemy. Jesus never intended to create a new religion; he was a Jew through and through. In fact he was more likely to have been an opponent of the Romans and a Messiah or Christ in the classical Judaic sense, which meant ‘the anointed one’ or king of the Jews in the political sense. In any case, the myths which surround his life and his preachings have a parallel in many earlier religions, such as Horus in the ancient Egyptian world. There are even theories that Jesus never existed but that he was the manifestation of the new astrological era of Pisces the Fish which follows the precessional cycles of the earth and started in the year 1 BC.”

“But they did kill him, didn’t they; Jesus I mean?” Hassan asked.

“Yes, according to the Gospels he was crucified with the collusion of the Roman occupiers of Israel. But he was not killed for blasphemy and neither was he stoned which was the Jewish way; he was crucified which was the Roman tradition and was a punishment reserved only for political threats to, and enemies of the Roman Empire. The Romans were worried that he was in fact an actual descendant of King David of the Jews and had a claim to the throne. This would have presented a major political problem for the Romans as it could have united the Jews again. As it was, seventy years later the Jews did in fact revolt against the Romans and almost defeated them. Getting rid of Jesus was a political convenience for the Romans and it also suited the Jewish Sanhedrin as Jesus’ following was growing at an alarming rate. In fact he did not seem to like what the Pharisees were doing in the Temple and almost caused a small riot when he overturned the money tables where people were paying to worship their god. This the Sanhedrin frowned upon as it was they who had instituted these practices. I sometimes believe that Jesus hated the institutionalization of the Jewish faith and thought it was time for a new approach.”

“In Islam, it is believed that Jesus was just another prophet much like Muhammad. What you’re saying is that it’s only because a group of Christian priests said he is a god that he became one,” Hassan observed.

“Yes, that is exactly what had happened. Remember that he never claimed to be a god. When he said he was the son of God according to the Gospels, it is as good as my saying I’m a daughter of God, in other words a believer in the Jewish tradition as was the case with Jesus. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, they actually state that Jesus himself says that he was not God and that there is only be one God.[2]  They believed that he was the son of God in the sense of being a righteous person and other persons are also called sons of God[3]. In any case, many theologians are quite convinced that the Gospels were tampered with to reflect the prophecies in the Old Testament relating to the coming of the Messiah and his being the ‘Son of God’. That he is the son of God is actually rejected by the Jewish religion as well as by Islam. It is also rejected by the Orthodox Church, which states that Holy Spirit ‘proceeds from the Father’, and that the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son should be worshipped together, so who’s right?” Christine replied.

“My father says one should prostrate oneself before Al-Llah and humble ourselves in his countenance. Is this not a good thing? I mean to humble oneself lest we become full of our own thoughts and forget Al-Llah?”

Christine looked at Hassan kindly. She realised that his mother’s death was a massive blow to him and his family. He especially, more so than Shenaaz and his father, had not yet come to terms with this fact. She involuntarily thought how convenient it was for those who looked to some deity to help them in times of grief such as Hassan was now experiencing. It was infinitely more difficult for a non-believer to come to terms with these challenges. Karl Marx was right: Religion was indeed the opiate of the people.

“Humility is good if it means you realise your own shortcomings and are willing to improve through learning from others or by experience; it is a false morality however when it means that you are worthless and need to seek Al-Llah’s or Jehovah’s mercy. I think it was St Thomas of Aquinas who believed that it means that one should not move outside your bounds or reach out to things above oneself. I reject this as demeaning to man’s own ability to think and indeed to reach out as far as he is able to. Even the Bible says that man was created in the image of God…but then he is castigated by religionists for thinking and for reaching out; the so-called original sin. How logical is that? Remember that pride, which is the opposite of humility, is something that must be earned. Pride in itself is an empty and wasteful emotion if you have not earned it through honest effort, reason and virtue. Humility should never be a goal in itself if it implies sacrificing you right to think. Humility, I believe is the willingness to improve oneself.”

“Wow, we never learned about these things at Sunday school, Christine,” Rachel said.

“Of course not, the church does not like an open mind; that is why they say “You need only to believe” and that is why Martin Luther, the Reformist, said that reason was anathema to religion.”

“But how was the world and the whole universe then created?” Hassan asked. “The Qu’ran states that God created man from congealed blood.”

“Yes, and in the Christian religions they say man was created from the dust of the earth and woman from man’s rib, or something like that,” Rachel added.

“Oh, isn’t that always the perennial and ultimate question?” Christine smiled. “Imagine that you were to live for a hundred years in a world in which no airplanes existed such as our fallen Airbus and that you were then to be asked by primitive people how man could have created such a miracle as an airplane. What would you answer?”

Hassan was puzzled. How did this relate to his question?  A smile slowly lit up his face. Man created heavier-than-air flight and other miracles of technology over hundreds of years of invention, discovery and technological development. Christine was using this as a metaphor for the evolution of the Universe.

“So are you suggesting that we evolved and were never created?” he asked.

“What makes more sense, Hassan? Some mysterious super-being who is invisible, changes the rules and legends from religion to religion; who waves a magic wand and presto all this is created. Who then in a fit of temper or even worse, just because he can, destroys this creation on some whim; then re-creates it again to suit him only to get impatient again some time in the future and destroy it again; or the development of organisms through natural selection in a world which is highly unpredictable, as we have seen; a world where entire species can be wiped out by cataclysms such as we ourselves have witnessed?”

“OK, but the whole evolution thing is said to be a wicked and satanic twisting of God’s creation,” Rachel insisted.

“It’s been a debate since Darwin wrote his famous book “On the Origin of Species” in 1859,” she replied. “If you look at it objectively, there is actually no real debate as the religionists have had to back down every time science and technology have plugged another gap in man’s knowledge and hammered another nail into the coffin of those preaching intelligent design or creation by God. Even the Catholic Church recently accepted the theory with certain reservations. Arguments that the human eye couldn’t have evolved, have been explained and proved scientifically. Opponents of evolution viewed it as a threat to their belief system. What this actually does is to expose the fundamental weaknesses in their religions. Religionists are convinced that the evolution of all sentient beings is a myth; they try to pooh-pooh it as an unproved theory despite the myriad proofs that have been provided by scientists of impeccable reputation. Religions block people’s understanding of the world as it is; as it developed and is still developing. Evolution is an on-going process. People need to accept that what has been proved to have happened has in fact happened and that that which has yet to be proved, justifies further study, further research instead of using religious nonsense to block intelligent enquiry. Such enquiry should be supported, accelerated and not be resisted.”

“To me this would seem to say that the very foundations of religion are fundamentally flawed and weak. A couple of years ago a debate raged in which it was suggested that people speaking out against any religion should be silenced or that any criticism against any religion should be banned outright. They actually wanted international laws passed to stop any criticism of any religion. Now if anything underlines the fundamental weakness of religion, it was this fascist response to valid criticism and the questioning of religions.”

“What about Noah’s flood then? Did that happen?”

“Again, yes and no. Look around you. What do you see? Floods on a biblical scale. The destruction you see no doubt has happened before. The planet Earth has seen many disasters such as Ice Ages rapidly melting and flooding low-lying areas; being hit by massive meteors; volcanic outbursts etc. If you were to relate this history as we are now experiencing it to an illiterate, uneducated and barbaric people such as the early Israelites no doubt were, you would never be able to explain this in scientific terms. Even if you could, the best way to do it would be to use fairy tales, allegory and legends. That is the language of primitive people; fireside stories, myth and fable. I have no doubt that Noah’s floods did happen but not as described in the Old Testament and certainly not the childish fable of animals two by two and by sevens boarding a craft to survive the floods. Virtually all religions reflect these disastrous floods of similar dimensions, followed by a new beginning, much as we are experiencing it here now. Mystics would try to convince their followers that this was the will of some or other god or deity and that man was being punished. Putting the animals on a boat would certainly answer the questions of the children of Israel or any other primitive society. It’s a lot simpler than trying to explain the intricacies of evolution but it’s a nice fable, that’s all it is. Essentially Genesis as it is written is allegorical, a way of trying to explain the origins of man, totally unscientific, incorrect and mythical.”

As they were talking, Gary stalked up behind Christine and grabbed her and swung her off her feet.

“Whee,” he shouted at her surprise and cursing. Laughing, everybody sat down again and looked at Gary rather sheepishly.

“So what is this conference all about?” he demanded rather imperiously.

“Oh we were just discussing some interesting things, Gary. Nothing to interest you,” Christine said defensively, a bit irritated that their discussion had been interrupted.

“How do you know? I have a wide field of interest and if it has to do with survival on this bloody mountain top, it is my business,” he replied.

“No it’s nothing like that, the kids had some questions and we were talking.”

“Gary,” Rachel asked. “How old are you?”

“Why?”

“No, how old are you?” she replied coyly.

“I am twenty eight. Why do you want to know?”

“I was just wondering,” she said coquettishly.

“No, I’m too old for you, dear.” He laughed and they all laughed with him. Laughing to themselves, the two youngsters got up and strolled away, leaving Christine and Gary alone.

“What was that all about?”

“Just kids asking some pretty damn intelligent questions about religion and stuff like that,” Christine replied evasively. She didn’t want to get into a further discourse with Gary about these issues; people were very unpredictable when it came to religion.

“I grew up with a drunk as a father and a whore as a mother, Christine. Religion has never been part of my make-up. In my life, it was sink or swim and I survived through sport despite my parents. There never was any god or church that guided me,” was Gary’s response. He found discussions around religion tedious and quite frankly just not worth the time and effort. Totally overrated, he thought.

Christine looked at the athletic man in front of her. It was always a source of wonder to her how different people are; how their backgrounds had played a role in moulding their personalities and make-up.

“I grew up in a very religious environment. My father was an Anglican priest and we had to go to church every Sunday at least twice. My mother was expected to play her part and participate and lead choirs and what have you. She used to drag us kids along whenever she could. I hated it because I was never allowed to discuss the questions I had. When I was very small my dad in fact gave me a hiding for asking who married Cain after he killed Abel, because the Bible did not say that there were any other people besides Adam and his family. Only later did I read that Cain left and married into the people of the land of Nod. Wow, that was quite a revelation for me; where did they come from I thought? I’m afraid that is what ignited a streak of indignation and rebellion in me; we were being lied to by our very parents. So there, now you see why I was always a rebel.”

She started gathering up her utensils and made neat little piles of crushed herbs and put them into gourds cut from calabash. Gary helped her and together they carried the stuff to the infirmary which was now quite empty since Alistair had moved out.


[1] Refer inter alia Qu’ran: Surah 61.9

[2] The Bible: Mark 10:18 and Matthew 19:17

[3] The Bible: Matthew 23:1-9

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  1. […] the purpose, use and the point of life?Seriously, Aren’t Atheists Embarrassed by P.Z. Myers?BOOK 3: Persecution of the Lambsvar switchTo5x=true;stLight.options({publisher:'wp.ea66121b-cb7d-42ab-a09d-e2c25b34d802'});var […]

    • Read the book. Seeking a higher purpose for life is the past-time of those fearing death….atheists accept death as part of the natural order of nature; there is no higher purpose.

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