Monthly Archives: February 2011

Soon: Chapter 6: The Raid: Responses

Wow.  There have been so many great comments on the evil atheist raid that I feel that I really need to address the raid a bit more before moving on.  A few main points seemed to stand out to people:

1.  Are the Christians Armed?

I think Kish has it right–there is no way we are meant to assume the Christians were armed.  Though the writing kinda makes it sound like they should be, they are definitely meant to be the innocent sacrificial lambs.

Which of course makes detroitmechworks’ comment all the more pertinent: Why are the atheists shooting?  Coker’s comment about “having some fun” seemed to imply that he wasn’t averse to shooting him some Christians, and might even look for an opportunity, but not that he intended it to be a slaughter of everyone, no matter what.  But since it was a slaughter against unarmed and unarmored civilians, a simple extermination of Christians, that raises Evil Paul’s question…

2.  Why Is Paul Even There?

Paul may be anti-Christian, he may even be murderously angry about his father and the Dork Too Stupid, but he does actually intend to take down the entire, worldwide Christian threat, which you would think could be easier done be gaining intelligence, not torching old ladies.  Hell, why go to the expense of flying him out to California and wining and dining him at Smyrna’s Sole Emporium?  As we saw before the raid, Coker was perfectly aware of what was and wasn’t contraband, so Paul’s (alleged) expertise was basically worthless.

And speaking of torching people…

3.  What’s with the laser guns?

I don’t know, but I do know that I didn’t mention another piece of fancy equipment the SWAT guys and gals had:

Flamethrowers.

Paul sprinted through the darkness, gun drawn.  As he neared the porch, flamethrowers belched.  The old woman came whirling out the front door, trailing a billowing sail of fire.

But flamethrowers raise even more questions than they answer:

a.  Where are they carrying all this damn equipment?  It really is like a bad video game, just like Andrew Glasgow said.

b.  Even if they can carry them, why would they?  They have frickin’ laser beams, are flamethrowers really SWAT standard issue or necessary for this raid?

c.  How did Paul’s gun put out a fire?

The hideous, crackling, pinwheeling form and the smell of charring flesh stopped Paul.  He dropped her into a hissing, smoking heap with a single shot.

Because unless Paul dropped her into a pond, I don’t get that.

Ah, the mind-blowing questions brought to us straight from Atheistopia!

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Soon: Chapter 6: The Raid

Well, we’ve got about 20 shabby, unarmed zealots versus about 12 SWAT-type NPO guys and gals, plus Coker and Paul Apostle.

Let’s get ready to rumble!

But first, Jenkins has some fun showing how the words and actions of gentle, innocent Christians are twisted and made to look evil by those awful ole atheists. 

They pass around the Bible (there’s just one to share), and Coker wants to go now, dammit, because…

“The Bible is contraband.”

Paul convinces Coker to hold out for a minute so they can hear more, and I boggle that religious books are contraband.  I mean, I get that practicing religion is outlawed, but owning a Bible is not practicing religion.  Hell, I own a Bible!  (And a Koran, and a Book of Mormon, but I digress.)  But how do majors like “religious studies” exist if religious books are contraband?

Then the Christians sing “Amazing Grace.”  Clearly, they are evil:

No question, a crime was in progress.

You can just see the RTC readers nodding along, can’t you?  “Yep, that is just what the atheists would do if they could.  Arrest people for owning a Bible and singing ‘Amazing Grace.'”

And, of course, innocent little Bible readings are given Sinister Meanings by Paul Apostle.  Polly hops right to Revelation 22, but…well, she skips some interesting bits.  Here is what Polly says:

Blessed are those who wash their robes so they can enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. … “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this message for the churches.  I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.  I am the bright morning star.” … Let each one who hears them say, “Come.”  Let the thirsty ones come–anyone who wants to.  Let them come and drink the water of life without charge. … He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus! (Ellipses are Jenkins’.)

But here is the full version of Revelation 22: 14-20.  This is from my New International Bible, and I have bolded the parts that Polly left out:

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.  Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.  “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.  I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”  The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”  And let him who hears say, “Come!”  Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.  And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.  He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Hmm, anyone who takes away words from this book, eh?  I’m looking at you, Polly.

But hey, if Polly had left those words in, Paul might have had some legitimate criticisms about the supposed “inclusiveness” of Heaven.  He might have been able to wonder about the judgment against “those who practice magic arts.” 

As it is, Paul can just seem like a jerk.  Polly goes on to preach about “making disciples of all the nations…[having] critical tasks we must perform–despite the law, despite the danger–trusting God to give us courage.” 

These nuts talking about rising up made Paul’s blood run cold.  So they hoped to spread their poison all over the world–to “make disciples of all the nations.”  They were plotting something big, “despite the law, despite the danger,” the woman said.  And that idea that the end was near, that Jesus was coming soon–that was their justification for flat-out sedition.

Finally, Coker (who has wanted to go for about ten minutes now) actually gets to go.  Paul hangs back, as Coker instructed.  The guys and gals swarm the house, break the windows, etc.:

Through his receivers, Paul heard the SWAT team members bellow encouragement to each other.  Then a new sound–the unmistakable, unforgettable whoosh-splat of laser beams hitting human flesh.  This was no raid–it was a shoot-out.  These scruffy outcasts weren’t just a bunch of deluded dreamers–they were armed with high-powered weapons.

“No, no they aren’t!” the RTC readers cry.  “It’s the evil atheist SWAT guys (and gals) who are shooting innocent Christians for their faith!  Just like all atheists today want to do!”

The old woman came whirling out the front door, trailing a billowing sail of fire.  The hideous, crackling pinwheeling form and the smell of charring flesh stopped Paul.  He dropped her into a hissing, smoking heap with a single shot.

And then, an earthquake hits.  Yes, just at that moment.  Because God is clearly pissed.

As well he might be, because Polly’s death was pretty gruesome.  Still, though, you could make a valid argument that Paul was more putting her out of her misery than straight-up executing her…

The middle-aged couple had slipped out and were staggering away as fast as the man could limp.  Paul fired and saw the white form sink, dragging the man down.  Rocking forward on his knees, Paul fired again and the man was still. 

Okay, he straight-up executed them.

Oh, and I should mention that Paul immediately assumes that Polly’s house is a bomb factory.  Hey, just like in Babylon Rising!  Except kinda different!

Then Paul executes one more Christian trying to make a break for it.  Then…

A crevasse burst open in front of him.

And Paul rolls down the famous hills of San Francisco as the old woman’s house is swallowed up.  Along with all the Christians, all the SWAT guys and gals, and Coker.

And the dog.  *sniffle*

Soon: Chapter 5: Coker

As Paul Apostle and Larry Coker (Cry Ark Lore) enjoy their fish dinner at Smyrna’s Sole Emporium, a thought occurs to me: wasn’t World War III a nuclear war?

Why, yes.  Yes, I believe it was.  From Chapter 1:

Conflict between Asian religious factions in the South China Sea resulted in the launching of two nuclear warheads.  A colossal chunk of southern China, including Kowloon, was literally separated from the rest of the continent.

Now, I am far from an expert in the long-term and long-distance effects of radiation.  Still, reading about Smyrna’s Sole Emporium does rather put me in mind of that fish from The Simpsons

Anyway, over their radioactive fish dinner, Coker explains the plan to Paul, and, of course, proves to be an Atheist Bad Guy (is there any other kind?):

Coker gathered up the papers and packed them away.  “If you don’t mind, I want to go in with my people on the first wave, since we’re used to working as a team.”

“Makes sense,” Paul said, disappointed.

“There’ll be more than enough action,” Coker said.  “We’re gonna have us some fun!”

To end the meal, Paul acts like an ass and Coker becomes awesome for a moment:

“I got a team chomping at the bit, but everything will be by the book.” [said Coker]

“I’m not worried.  And the word’s champing.”

“Huh?”

“The correct term is champing at the bit.”

Coker laughed.  “Polycarp, champing…that’s another difference between the Army and the Navy.  No vocabulary class in the SEALs, man.”

“Sorry, I’m a bit of a wordsmith.”

“I know, Professor.  And tomorrow you’ll get to see what SEAL training can do.  My team and I will have these perps subdued quicker than you can say ‘Delta Force.’  Then you can play Scrabble with them, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do.”

(Emphasis Jenkins’)

Oh, zing!  Coker just gave Paul a talking-to!  Coker, you may Rarely Rock, but this is one of those times.

Oh, and by the way, Paul is actually kinda wrong, anyway.

So, after Coker puts Paul in his place, they each get a good night’s sleep, and Coker picks Paul up the next morning with his team of SWAT-type dudes and dudettes.  They carry Bayou Solar assault rifles

Oh, Atheistopia, never stop being the green, cancer-curing place that you are!

(Coker, in case anyone is interested, is carrying a fifty-caliber Glock Century Three.)

They arrive and stake out Polly’s house.  They can hear what’s going on in the house via the bugs that have already been planted in there, and they’re hearing the sounds from the house on their freaking skull phones, which just work for anything, don’t they?

[Paul] heard an animal–probably a dog–padding around, whining quietly. …  The dog came to life when a light came on, and Paul heard running water as the woman fussed in the kitchen.  She was clearly talking to the dog and filling water and food bowls.

Because that’s what women do, after all.  They fuss.  In kitchens.

Then people start arriving.  Just to make sure they are extra-innocent, they are all modestly or shabbily dressed.  And they even have super-secret code words!

A tall, slight man in his early twenties approached the house.  He wore modest-to-cheap clothes and a jacket too light for the weather.  His hands were in his pockets.

The man knocked lightly three times on the front door.  When the woman opened it, he said, “He is risen.”

She responded, “He is risen indeed.”

“Sounds religious to me,” Coker said.

Paul recognized the phrase as an early church greeting, referring to Jesus.

So, Paul, tell us again why it’s so important for you to be here.  Because Coker seems to be doing just fine on his own.

Oh, and that’s the greeting the Global Community used for Antichrist Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind series!

Clearly, just like the Carpathianists, these Christians are evil!

Right?

Soon: Chapter 5: Frisco

As I began Chapter 5, I started to think that maybe I would be able to dispense with it in one post.  Then I realized that, just like the guns, I will be much too fascinated with my loyal readers’ reactions to Jenkins’ Atheistopia’s San Francisco.

And, also as with the guns, it will undoubtedly be enlightening for me, as I have never been to the city.

Paul touches down at San Francisco International to meet his contact for the raid on the old lady’s house.  This is as close as I’ve ever gotten to San Francisco:

Paul’s contact is an ex-Navy SEAL named Larry Coker (Rarely Rock).  But we’ll get to him.

[Paul’s] favorite city had grown from around seven hundred thousand people to more than a million during his lifetime alone.

The first thing Jenkins tells us about the cities Paul visits is their population.  I personally can’t find myself caring all that much.  It might be interesting if it had something to do with a population explosion after the war.  But SF was not hit by that massive tidal wave.  But Jenkins does tell us that certain landmarks were destroyed, so…it’s confusing.

He took a cab north on 101, which now ran seven lanes in both directions…

Oh, and we later learn that cars of the future regularly and safely travel at one hundred miles per hour.  I’m serious.

The glass O-shaped Pacifica Life & Casualty Building was a marvel, and the side-by-side regional and municipal centers–one shaped like an infinity symbol and the other replicating an ankh–drew photographers from all over the world.

Remember, folks, even in Atheistopia, the only real religion is Real True Christianity.  All the rest are just playing and pretty symbols.

More about Atheistopian San Francisco:

[Paul and Larry] took 101 south, and when they got near the rebuilt Fisherman’s Wharf, Coker began pointing out all the areas of interest, from the memorial to the destroyed Maritime Museum to the fully computerized interactive Fort Mason, and from the holographic Art Institute to the historic Cable Car barn.

To Paul, a city located between the Pacific Ocean on the west and San Francisco Bay on the east needed no promotion.  It had once consisted of forty hills and now was made up of twenty.

Coker takes Paul to dinner at Smyrna’s Sole Emporium.

Paul was a steak man, but he enjoyed fish, especially in San Francisco.

Of course Paul is a steak man.  All true-blue, all-United Seven States of American, tall, witty ladies’ men are, you know.

The thing about San Francisco is, I’m a bit surprised that it’s Paul’s favorite city, given its history of liberalism and gay activism.  Then again, I figure Jenkins does not intend his RTC readership to share Paul’s adoration, as the city will be the location of Paul’s first acts of Christian persecution.

Oops.  Hope I didn’t give anything away.  😀

Soon: Chapter 4: Polly

In between mistreating every woman he knows, Paul finds time to be given his first mission in the Zealot Underground task force.

First, the big important men go to The Secure Room.  No, I am not even kidding:

Koontz unlocked a three-inch-thick steel door that revealed, six inches away, a three-inch-thick wood door, also locked.  Once they were inside and Koontz had secured both doors, a guard outside ran a final scan of the room.  The results appeared on a small monitor on the wall.  No evidence of bugs or microwaves or any other invasive devices.  Koontz hit a button next to the monitor, which triggered white noise, a barely audible hum that would interfere with any recording equipment and make their conversation unintelligible.

Even to each other.  That is how secure The Secure Room is:

The first order of business in The Secure Room is to obsess about guns:

“You kept up on your firearms, Paul?”

Paul nodded.  “I can handle anything from a derringer to a howitzer…”

Forgive me if I find that just a bit hard to believe.

“…I’m at the range every two weeks, minimum.”

“You own a double-action semiautomatic?”

Sure!  We all do!  /Sally Struthers

“I’ve got an eleven-point-eight-millimeter Beretta and a Walther Stealth.”

“Got a preference?”

“Depends.  What am I going to do with it?”

“Kill someone from close range.”

Paul hesitated.  “Beretta’s hard to beat, Bob.  Who am I going to kill?”

“Hopefully no one.”

But…but you just said he was going to… *sigh*  Never mind.

Unlike Paul, I am not at the range every two weeks.  So I am looking forward to my loyal readers pointing out anything else that may be wrong with the above passage!

Koontz wants Paul to be “a wild card” and go along on the “strategic raids” and be a consultant and listen to interrogations and do interrogations and help interpret interrogations and report back to Koontz about various crap, and a bunch of other vague and ill-defined things.  Not sure how having a Ph.D. in religious studies qualifies someone as an expert in interrogations and giving them, but whatever.

Then, for no reason that I can yet fathom, Koontz tells Paul more lies about The Dork Too Stupid–specifically, that his captors tried to interrogate him, but…

“…well, the way he fought it, it turned into ‘suicide by cop.'”

I cannot get over how stupid it is to lie to Paul, who is supposed to be “in the know,” and who will be Koontz’s eyes and ears in the field.  Paul could find out this is false by talking to anyone involved in that mission or, hey-here’s-an-idea, reading the file on The Dork.  (I don’t know about Paul, but this would be Number One on my to-do list if I were in his shoes.)

Then Koontz talks about a recent event–the Reflecting Pool in Washington turning  into a Pool of Blood (yes, real blood).  Of course, we readers know that this was a Miracle From Turbo-Jesus, but Koontz (and Paul, and all the other evil atheists) think it was a “prank” staged by Christians.

Specifically, they think it was done by The Dork.  Rather surprising that they simply executed him instead of, oh, gee, I dunno, asking him about it, but there you go.

Then Koontz finally gets to the point, saying there are Christian subversives in all seven states, and that Paul’s first assignment is to go to San Francisco and “monitor…rush…[and] supervise the interrogations” of…

“…a Christian cell led by an elderly, wealthy widow we have code-named Polly Carr.”

Huh?

Paul smiled.  “So you do know a bit of church history.”

“Well, I’ve heard of Polycarp, but that’s the extent of it.”

Ah, I see.  Koontz likes his little word games, just like Jenkins.  Gee, what a coincidence.

But I still don’t…

*Googles*

Ohhh.

Now, this just shows that Jenkins has never conversed with atheists about what we know and believe.  I consider myself, for an atheist raised in a secular home, to be fairly well-versed in the basics of Christianity.  Indeed, I don’t think people can help but be so when they are raised in the States.  Like The Pretender, I have “learned some lingo.”  And I had no idea who Polycarp was. 

And Koontz, if he is presumed to be a bit older than Paul, spent, at most, only his early childhood in a world in which Christianity was legal.  So how the hell does he know who Polycarp was?

Anyway, that is Paul’s mission.  I bet you can all guess what will happen when Paul gets to Polly’s home.

Soon: Chapter 4: Apostle’s Ladies

Much of the rest of Chapter 4 showcases Paul Apostle’s interactions with the women in his life.

First up is Felicia, Paul’s secretary.  As a black woman in her late forties, it is naturally assumed that this is the one woman in his world that Paul won’t sleep with.  And as a black woman in her late forties, she is naturally introduced to us through a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. plotline.  You see, when Paul returns from a consulting job, it is “King Day,” and the big news is that a speaker referred to Dr. King as “Reverend.”

Here’s the odd thing–Dr. King’s doctorate was in systematic theology.  So why is it okay to call him “Doctor,” but not “Reverend”?

Here is part of the exchange:

“Tell me the truth, Dr. Stepola.  You see any harm in using a man’s title, one he earned and used himself?”

Nice to see that the tradition of LaJenkins heroes always being addressed by their titles is continuing.

“Yes, I do, Felicia.  And the organizers know better, too.  It’s playing with fire to link religion with a hero like Dr. King.”

Link?  Isn’t that where Dr. King got his nonviolence philosophy?”

“If you’re talking about his tactics, I believe he got them from Mohandas Gandhi.  Think about it–what that title links him to is occultism and ignorance.”

“I just meant–”

“Dr. King was a product of his time.  Do you think highlighting that era’s blindness serves his memory?  When we want to honor Thomas Jefferson, do we focus on his slaveholding?”

Good thing Paul can whitesplain race history to a black woman.  The long tradition of LaJenkins heroes interrupting everyone continues, too.

Felicia looked stricken.  Paul smiled.

You ass.

“Am I going to have to arrest you for practicing religion, Felicia?”

“Cuff me.  You’ll need backup.”

Wow, Felicia doesn’t take any sass, does she?  Excuse me while I roll my eyes into the next state.

“Oh yeah?” he said, chuckling.  “We’ll see about that.  But seriously, I spent four years studying the world’s major religions….

Um, it takes more than four years to get a doctorate, Paul.  Maybe you can reference your friend Dr. King about that.

…And ‘I ain’t gonna study war no more.’  That’s what the history is like.  Believe me, religion is the opposite of nonviolence.”

You ain’t gonna study war no more?  Really, Paul?  I just…there are no words.

After that battle of wits, Paul retreats to his office.  The picture of Jae on his desk makes him “acknowledge” that he has thought more about Angela than about his wife lately.  Meanwhile, I’m rather shocked that Paul has a picture of his wife on his desk at all.

Then, we meet Trina Thomas, the “vivacious redhead from the South” who “presides” over “the division lab.”  Paul enlists her aid under false pretenses: he wants to make sure the letter from his father is not a fake, so he tells her that it’s a genealogy project of Jae’s.  This is an example of the “flirtatious banter” the two exchange, though Paul describes their relationship thusly:

Though she was married, Paul always thought it was the fact that they worked together that kept them from taking the next step.

This is just fascinating, for so many reasons.  First of all, Paul (and Jenkins) always seem to forget that Paul is married, too.  As well, isn’t this the same Paul who slept with all his “female colleagues” on business trips only a few chapters ago?  Not to mention that Paul is in consulting and this woman runs the lab.  How much “working together” could they really be doing?  And I love Paul’s (and Jenkins’) assumption that but for Paul’s misgivings about “working together,” Trina would happily hop right into his bed.  Because women, even in our glorious cancer-curing, war-free atheist utopia, have no control over their own actions when the “quick-witted” Paul is on the prowl.

“And what do you have for us?  Some precious artifact?” [Trina asked]

“A personal favor, actually.  For Jae.”

“Is she ready for me to take you off her hands?”

“Afraid not.”

Ah, the banter is indeed scintillating.

So, after his tough day of whitesplaining, banter, and getting on the new task force, Paul heads home to his despised wife:

“Paul, when you get back [from your trip on the new task force], do you think we should go to counseling?” [Jae asked]

“You go.  You’re the one who’s paranoid.”

Yanno, I’m starting to see why Trina keeps their relationship on a strictly Stupid Banter level.

More on the task force next time.

Soon: Chapter 4: The Christian Threat

Full of just all kinds of resolve, Paul goes to visit his boss, Robert Koontz (Torn Bozo Trek?).  Naturally, every page must prove Paul either an asshat or Concerned With The Things Of This World in a way that a good little RTC should not be:

Standing in the doorway, Paul recognized that, frankly, it was Koontz’s office he aspired to more than his job.  Large and handsomely appointed with a nautical theme, the office had banks of windows on two walls, offering sweeping views of both the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

I’m not sure how a self-reflective “recognition” can be “frank.”  Is Jenkins saying that Paul was kidding himself that he wanted the additional stress and work of Koontz’s job, the stuff that presumably gets him the nicer office?

Also, a nautical theme?  Oooo, Jenkins and Koontz, how creative of you.  Surely nothing says Successful Manly Man like a nautical theme, unless it’s maybe a golf theme or a hounds-and-hunting theme.

What, no dogs playing poker?

Anyway, Paul and Koontz play a stupid, three-line game of cat-and-mouse with regard to The Dork Too Stupid, and Koontz almost immediately reveals what Paul already knew, that The Dork was a Christian.

Then, Koontz says:

“I hear we confiscated an arsenal out of his car, and he tried to take a few of our guys down with him.  One tough hombre–but you knew that.”

We readers know that either Koontz is lying, or whoever “he heard it from” is lying.  We readers know from the Prologue that The Dork was Too Stupid to leave the compound without a weapon, and that the only resistance he put up to his own murder was thinking a few snide thoughts about his murderers.

Presumably, Koontz is lying because he is an evil atheist.  And evil atheists do evil things like lie.

And if this was the lie being given to the press, it would make some sense.  Our rockin’ atheistic utopia is being threatened by violent Christians like The Dork Too Stupid.  But no, the lie being fed to the press is that Army hero The Dork accidentally died by accidentally wandering into a deserted warehouse in the dead of winter, accidentally climbing into a barrel of napalm, and accidentally immolating himself.

Accidentally.

The lie Koontz is telling Paul is that The Dork was not a stupid “martyr” who let himself be followed, captured, and murdered, but that The Dork was a veritable Christian Rambo.

It’s a stupid lie, easily discoverable, and I have no idea why anyone in the agency is telling it.  And it’s hardly necessary for Paul–it’s obvious to Koontz after ten seconds of conversation that Paul is on board whether The Dork had an arsenal or not:

“It’s a disease,” Paul said.  “An addiction.  Religion gets hold of people, and they can’t seem to keep it to themselves–they spread it and get other people hooked.  Makes me sick–the waste of a guy like Andy Pass.”

Yanno, given that this is a RTC writer writing what he thinks evil atheists think about religion, this is Actually Not That Bad.  Hell, it’s almost…subtle.

Koontz introduces Paul and us to the new, ultra-secret, super-special task force for rooting out the religious: Zealot Underground.

Dun-dun-dunnnnn.

And just so we know just how dangerous they are to this atheistic world Jenkins has created, Koontz tells us what we could lose:

“Peace for more than a generation.  Not a single nation at war for the first time in history.”

Yeah, This World Rocks.

Soon: Chapter 3: Paranoia

Paul spends the moments after his discovery of the letter, and the remaining three pages of Chapter 3, ruminating on the message and engaging in some good old-fashioned paranoia.

Of course, Jenkins first makes sure to let us know what an evil atheist Paul Apostle is, because he is aghast at the letter, feeling that it has turned his heroic, war hero father into someone…

…gullible and cowardly…[who] had offered his son [only] a myth about a man who died on a cross and was coming to punish those who didn’t buy it…

I needed more from you at twelve, Dad.  I deserved better.  Thanks, Mom, for sparing me this till now.

And, fellow evil atheist that I am, I think Paul has a point.  That letter was nothing but rote evangelism.  Paul Sr. could have left the kid a couple of tracts and it would have been all the same.  That letter had nothing personal, nothing individual, nothing that could give a boy any insight to his father beyond his religious affiliation.  Yeah, a kid deserves better.

Paul, making sure that the intended audience knows that atheists are evil and misguided, has this to say about his dead father’s RTC-ity:

And the idea that the Bible’s prophecies were being fulfilled, that God’s Son was coming soon–well, urgency was part of the come-on in virtually every fraud.  “A onetime offer,” “Get in on the ground floor,” “Fire sale–prices will never go lower,” “Something for nothing”–how could his father fall for that?

The florid what-if pitch was another typical huckster tactic–fire-and-brimstone razzle-dazzle to throw in a scare and close the deal.

Well, yeah.  Paul’s dad’s, Jerry Jenkins’ particular brand of Christianity, involving as it does eternal torture for all who don’t exactly agree, is “fire-and-brimstone…to throw in a scare.”

But here’s the real scare: Paul Apostle, Our Hero, will come to recognize the truth, and, even more importantly, the rightness and righteousness, of this very philosophy and tactic.  Paul isn’t here to re-introduce this atheistic, solar-car-driving, cancer-curing world to a kinder, gentler religion.  He’s here to point and laugh as God rains fire on the heads of those who would dare not believe in his God. 

And those unfortunate enough to be born into a world where they cannot, by definition, even learn about this God.

So, Paul won’t be proven wrong about the fire and brimstone, the urgency, the scare.  He’ll just be proven wrong about the “fraud” and “huckster” parts. 

Everything else, he’s spot-on.

So, after making sure that Paul is deeply unlikeable by calling his dead, RTC father naive and a pathetic dupe, (gasp! this must be how all atheists think!),  Paul’s mind immediately goes to…dun dun DUNNNN…conspiracies.  Clearly, Ranold B. Decenti had someone plant this letter in Paul’s dead mother’s house.  Because Rented Bacon Lid has nothing better to do with his time than have someone travel from D.C. to Chicago to stage a loyalty test to see if Paul knew the Christian truth about the Dork Too Stupid before Bacon Lid ever said anything.

Spinning the plot, Paul had to acknowledge it seemed like a stretch.

Oh, ya think?

But, just as a glimmer of reason begins to flicker in Paul’s mind, it extinguishes itself.

But “a stretch” didn’t mean impossible or even far-fetched.

Naturally, the one emotion that manages to take hold, after all Paul has just been through, is anger.  He resolves then and there to become an exterminator of the Christian threat.