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.