Silenced: Chapter 23: Next Manifesto

In a passage that mirrors the one in Soon, the manifesto against the evil atheists is written.

But Paul has Grown in the Faith, I guess, seeing as how he’s penning this one all by himself (the Soon manifesto having been written by “Old Carl”:

This he would send to Straight, who would run it past the underground leadership in Detroit, Washington, L.A., Bern, Rome, Paris, and all the other contacts around the world.  Each faction would be free to copy, forward, and disseminate the document as far and wide as they dared, including to all the major news organizations in their respective countries.

Straight has never even spoken to anyone in any of the European underground factions.  Just saying.

We aver that the current world system, which has banned for nearly four decades the practice of religion by people of faith…

Wait, so the practice of religion would be fine by people of no faith?  Glad they put this non-writer in charge of the statement.

…is an abomination in the sight of almighty God.

Too bad God let it happen, and has let generations of children grow up with no access to religion, only to be dessicated…wait, this is coming out wrong.

We ask that you rescind immediately the decree announced today and put a moratorium on laws prohibiting the practice of religion until you can determine how people of faith can peaceably live in this society without fear of reprisal.

Okay, this seems a pretty reasonable request.  I can’t see how—

We are beseeching our God to act in judgment, should this request not be carried out within forty hours of when the decree is announced, or midnight, Bern time, Tuesday, January 22.

FORTY HOURS???  Less than two days?

Okay, I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.  This is actually an improvement (by a factor of FOUR) on the timeline in Soon.

We respectfully warn that you will regret ignoring this request…

This is some new, passive-aggressive permutation of “with all due respect,” is it?  Bless their atheistic hearts.

We refer you to the Old Testament account of the ten plagues that God unleashed against Egypt.  There are those among us who are asking God to eschew the first nine plagues…

There we go, guys!  This is what we’ve been building to!  Kill the firstborn!

Gee, isn’t it FUNNY how we’ve been introduced to a lot of young men who didn’t make an appearance in Soon?  (Berlitz and Taj especially, though BallDangler also mentioned that he had four sons.)

…and to refrain from hardening your heart…

“It’s almost as though we feel it was unfair of God to harden Pharoah’s heart the first time around, as though God was stacking the deck or something…nah, “God is never wrong.”

Short of this, we fear that God may not limit this plague to the seat of government but rather that it will affect the entire world.

We hope…er, fear—FEAR, that’s it…that God will rain his deadly judgment down on the entire planet.

To our brothers and sisters around the globe, we remind you that you need not feel bound by the Old Testament caveat of protecting your own households by sprinkling blood on your doorposts to identify yourself.  We believe the blood of Christ has already been shed on your behalf and that God knows his own.

“Also, that whole ‘sprinkling blood’ thing is just GROSS.  Geez, God, what were you thinking?”

After finishing the manifesto, Paul actually has a very brief moment of almost-remorse.

Paul didn’t know how to pray—that God would do it or not do it.  Such a catastrophe would eliminate any hope of these millions of slain firstborn ever entering the kingdom.

I’ve probably just been listening to too much Christian Talk Radio, but I feel like the RTC answer to this is that God would have already planned that all those firstborn sons would not be among the “elect” in the first place.  They would never have chosen to become RTCs.

(Of course, these firstborn sons, many raised in a world which has outlawed religion, have had so much opportunity to learn about Jesus and convert.)

Anyway, Paul’s brief moment of near-humanity is spoiled by stupid ole Jae, who calls Paul at that very moment…to warn him.

Kinda sad, really.  The Christians are praying for millions to be killed, and atheist Jae is risking her freedom (or, at the very least, her relationship with her parents) to save one horrible asshat.

Jae also mentions that she will be in Europe soon, and tells Paul about the entrapment with Calandre and the bug.

“Paul, hear me.  I’m on your side.  I believe you’re playing up to the underground to infiltrate them.  If I’m wrong, well, then you’re going to take me down with you.”

“Just like you’ve always done…”

Now knowing about the bug, but not wanting to make the sounds of finding it, Paul decides to “use it to his advantage.”  First, he calls Straight to warn him that he (Paul) is bugged.  Then he calls Bob Koontz (yanno, his boss in Chicago, the guy he should be reporting in to regularly?) to say nice things about Bia Balaam:

“I know Decenti sent her to keep an eye on me, but the more I think about it, the less it bothers me.  She’s good people, and if I were in the old man’s shoes, I’d probably do the same.  Did you know she’s got kids?”

“I didn’t, Paul.”

“Yeah.  A grown daughter and a son at Georgetown.  Pretty proud of ’em, and rightfully so.  Well, hey, just wanted to keep you in the loop, Bob.”

“Sorry this is the first time I’ve ‘kept you in the loop’ since leaving Chicago, Bob.  And hey, that Bia, she is some incredible gal, eh?  I’m sorry for every dirty look and snide comment I ever made about or to her.  Sorry, am I speaking too softly?  Feels like I’m kinda speaking softly.  BIA BALAAM IS THE BEST.  Oh, and have I mentioned to you lately how much I love my wife?  I love her so much, I would never dream of banging some hot French chick while I’m here.  So, hey, go atheism.  Um, bye-bye, Bob.”

Paul is such an amazing covert operative.  How did Atheistopia ever suspect anything?


Posted on March 7, 2014, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. God has hardened their heads.

    As for the religion stuff, well, the obvious answer would be “we tried that before and allowing religion led to great big acts of terrorism. Like the one you’re threatening now, only with more bombs and fewer first-born. And then there was Los Angeles. We don’t negotiate with terrorists; it just encourages more people to use terrorist tactics.”

    • Is this the full text of the letter? Because I find it weird that Paul references the Old Testament, which atheists do not believe in, but not LA which, well atheists tend to put a premium on events they can see with their own eyes. Its like he wants to be ignored so he can say “Nyah nyah” when God brings on the plagues. Also, didn’t God decide which plagues to bring on. So what if “some want to skip 1-9” since they don’t get to tell God what to do.

      • That’s kinda fuzzy actually. For starters, the timing of these miracles is in the hands of the zealots. God only brings down the hammer when enough zealots pray for it, and stupidly enough they never thought to pray for anything for the first few decades of worldwide persecution.

        And with the LA miracle, god brought exactly the plague the zealots asked for. On the other hand, when Paul first had the idea of dehydrating LA he thought it was such an awesome idea it must’ve come directly from god. So god does what the zealots ask… but they happened to ask exactly what god wanted to do anway… which makes it sound like god couldn’t act himself and was exploiting a loophole… except that god already performed several miracles without any explicit requests (that we know of)…

        Look, it doesn’t matter. The point is, Paul, the zealots, god and Jenkins all want the exact same thing, namely mass murder. If Jenkins tells us that Paul wrote down that the zealots ask to skip the first 9 plagues, then god wants to get to the baby-killing ASAP too, so it’ll happen.

      • Nope, I didn’t include the full text, largely because at least a third of it is a copying of the “slaying of the firstborns” story. But there is a mention of L.A.:

        We are beseeching our God to act in judgment, should this request not be carried out within forty hours of when the decree is announced, or midnight, Bern Time, Tuesday, January 22. We believe that He will act to deliver us from you, our oppressor, as He did in Los Angeles, California, last year.

  2. Oh, yeah, and: replace “God” with “Allah”, change the Bible quote to something from the Koran, and watch Jenkins explain how that’s TOTALLY different and terrrrrism is always bad.

  3. For fuck’s sake, will someone get that keyboard away from Jerry. Is he just trying to come up with a worse ending than Soon now? “Hmm, yes, a sudden draught would mostly end up killing the weak and infirm, but a few of the people actually responsible for the crimes against the zealots might die to. I know, we’ll use the ancient Egyptian plagues. And we’ll skip the first 9 because they aren’t quite as monsterous as number 10.” Yes, because if god demonstrates his ability to launch the the earlier, less lethal, less permanent plagues, without hardening any hearts this time, Atheistopia might actually give in. And we don’t want that, now do we?

    Short of this, we fear that God may not limit this plague to the seat of government
    Oh, shut the fuck up Paul/Jenkins. You don’t get to play this “I hope it won’t come to this” card. This isn’t some prophecized event, nor a mysterious way god moves in. God didn’t do jack-shit for 3 decades. If he’s murdering the children of innocents, it’s because the righteous zealots are specifically praying for this, and why aren’t you fuckers praying for just supernatural protection from Atheistapo violence and AAAARRRRRGGGGHHH!

    • Given that this is supposed to be a modernized retelling of the story of St. Paul (although I’m afraid I’ve never heard of the original Paul sending heavy judgements of this caliber against Rome…), I’m wondering if the idea is that Christianity was somehow feeble and ineffective against pagan machinations UNTIL Saul was converted. Stepola needs to be The Great Insuperable Awakener here, because St. Paul was the original Great Insuperable Awakener.

      Essentially, until Stepola roused them, the oppressed Christians were so focused on surviving Balaam’s reign of execution that they never thought to conjure God’s judgement. He’s rousing them from timid defensive to glorious counter-offensive. I suppose it helps that RTCs probably regard the Apocalypse of St. John as describing God’s ultimate counter-offensive. So, in this setup, why should Christians be ashamed of going on the counter-offensive?

  4. I felt the above need a post of its own. So here’s two smaller tidbits: Paul realizes he’s bugged, so he first makes a call to Straight that would be suicidally incriminating if anyone is listening in, and then makes a suck-up call that has no use unless someone is listening in? The fuck? Even if he, based on Jae’s advice, goes back to the same spot where Bia complained he was out of range for the first call, it’s still incredibly dangerous. Because Bia has now established that Paul goes to places outside of the transmitter range (how that is even a problem in a highly advanced society that builds skullphones with perfect worldwide reception, I don’t know) she’s going to have someone with a relay follow him from now on.

    And secondly, Ruby, this is what you meant when you said you guessed why Jae’s brother was suddenly introduced? You immediately guessed the zealots would start slaughtering firstborns? Pretty good guess. I didn’t guess it, even after your comment. Partly because the previous miracle/massacre/murder-spree (murdracle? muracle? massacle? mirder-spree? miracre?) wasn’t a bible rip-off, and partly because I foolishly assumed even Jenkins’ black shriveled excuse for a soul would at least know better than to rip off this particular murdracle, one of the worst ones in the bible (and that’s saying something).

    And when Jae finds out Paul is directly responsible for her big brother’s death, she’s just going to shrug and accept it, isn’t she? So sad. So very sad.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I felt the above need a post of its own. So here’s two smaller tidbits: Paul realizes he’s bugged, so he first makes a call to Straight that would be suicidally incriminating if anyone is listening in, and then makes a suck-up call that has no use unless someone is listening in? The fuck?

      Author Self-Insert Script Immunity.

      From a hack who thinks of himself as the reincarnation of Ian Fleming.
      “Stepola. Paul Stepola.”
      (cue James Bond theme)

      If Jenkins was into Ponyfic, he’d self-insert as a Studly Alicorn Stallion who not only overwhelms but gets to clop Celly, Luna, AND the Mane Six as he Saves Not Only Equestria But the Universe Again and Again and Again.

    • Yep, I actually guessed this! I was shocked when I was proved right because I very, very rarely guess the murderer/plot twist/etc. But I figured that Jenkins wouldn’t introduce a spare atheist unless he planned for the character to come to a bad end. And with the emphasis on Berlitz being the older brother…

  5. Robo-Jae: “Gee whillikers, it’s a shame my brother had to die to show God’s glory, but them’s the breaks. Now I’ll just dust the house again and get a cocktail ready for my master.”

    • A cocktail made of grape JUICE, donchaknow, because RTC would never sully their sanctified lips with something as sinful as ALCOHOL.

  6. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Jenkins “Soon” trilogy was supposed to be a retelling of the Book of Acts in a near-future setting, right? (“Paul Stepola — ‘Apostle’ spelled sideways, get it?”)


    This isn’t just fanservice, it’s giving the target audience a revenge-fantasy hand job.
    “Just like you, Dear Reader…
    Just like you, Dear Reader…
    Just like you, Dear Reader…”

    • Which must have backfired spectacularly with any RTCs who DIDN’T have revenge fantasies, at least none beyond simply frustrating the bad guys’ machinations. (Can’t redeem the dead, for starters.)

      That said, I get the feeling the dispensationalist conceit is that EVERYTHING needs to be seen in light of the Apocalypse of St. John. Since the cataclysm in question is “clearly” righteous, so must mini-cataclysms that get conjured upon the spiteful infidels. (Now that I think about it…Paul was performing constant [i]infidel[/i]ity against Jae…Another example of Jenkins trying to be subtle/clever?) Likewise, all the prophets from Adam onwards (yes, really; in “The Secret on Ararat”, there’s an allusion to an old idea of Adam preaching to his first few descendants that God had two cataclysms ready, one of water and one of fire) would be anticipating this Final Battle against Belial and all his followers, explicit and implicit alike. And with all the chatter about Spiritual Warfare, I’m thinking Jenkins sees Christianity SPECIFICALLY as being part of God’s counter-offensive against Belial. So…what’s the point of shirking from righteous imprecation? Even if the way God is beseeched starts looking like conjuring some grimoire spirit?

  7. In order to prevent his underground group of thousands from having to sign a piece of paper they disagree with, Paul is calling down the uncontrollable wrath of God to murder potentially millions, or even billions, of first-born innocent bystanders.

    Our hero, Paul Stepola: world’s greatest mass murderer.

  8. I’m not sure I have words for how absolutely monstrous I find this. This is horrifying. It’s like… it’s like… There’s this variety of atheist argument that amounts to pointing to divine atrocities in the Bible like the killing of the firstborn followed by the atheist declaring, “And that’s supposed to be good?” It’s simplistic and straightforward to the point that it’s not-wholly-unfairly considered to be an atheist setting up a Christian strawman to take down with that kind of argument. Except here Jerry Jenkins is being the strawman. And anyone who reads this book and cheers for the ideas is making the man of straw into something real and it’s not a strawman anymore and good fucking gods this is so poisonous and horrifying that I’m starting to think ripping Christianity out of our society by the roots would be a good thing!

    • You’re not alone. Unfortunately, making God/Jesus monstrous is pretty much a Jenkins trademark.

      I’ve heard real-life RTCs defend the 10th plague with the argument that because humans are God’s creation, God has every right to do whatever he wishes to humans. And we are terrible, wrong-minded heathens if we see anything horrible in that. X(

      • This is really worse than all that. Worse than the apathetic acceptance and sick cheerleading of TurboJesus in LB, or trying to make excuses for God being a malevolent dick. At least in those cases it’s really God being a disaster inflicted upon the world and they’re really just sucking up to the biggest bully to avoid more danger. It’s not admirable but it’s comprehensible.

        This? This is them setting off the cataclysms themselves and then patting themselves on the back for how moral they are. These guys are literally Call of Cthulhu cultists performing the ritual to awaken the Old Ones and despoil the world. In a more sensible narrative they’d be getting gunned down right about now by plucky investigators and the police and everyone would be cheering.

        • Or at the very least be killed first when Cthulhu makes it clear they mean nothing to him.

          • From the webshow “Calls for Cthulhu”
            “All right, who’s our next caller? [Cheering on the line] Cut the mike! I hate asskissers. You know I’m still going to devour your soul, right? Why would you suck up to me? How would you feel if your chicken dinner tried to suck up to you? The whole Cthulhu-cult think creeps me out.”

  9. If the authorities in Atheistopia had any sense (and if these books were written by a competent author), they should take this threat of worldwide mass murder seriously, and start thinking up ways to kill these terrorist believers and the evil entity they call “God”. Especially after what happened in Los Angeles earlier. Perhaps invest in some iron chariots?

  10. Glad they put this non-writer in charge of the statement.

    But Paul isn’t in charge of it; he’s obviously just taking dictation from God, channeling the Spirit. So, apparently, God is the non-writer who can’t manage to make sense.

    FORTY HOURS??? Less than two days?

    Life of Brian:
    Reg: Right. Now, uh, item four: attainment of world supremacy within the next five years. Uh, Francis, you’ve been doing some work on this.
    Francis: Yeah. Thank you, Reg. Well, quite frankly, siblings, I think five years is optimistic, unless we can smash the Roman empire within the next twelve months.
    Reg: Twelve months?
    Francis: Yeah, twelve months. And, let’s face it. As empires go, this is the big one, so we’ve got to get up off our arses and stop just talking about it!

  11. …seriously?

    This is how he intends to sell more books: by rubbing salt in the psychological wounds of his firstborn readers? Come on, I can’t possibly have been the only eldest child who learned to fear death from Exodus.

    (Would something else have done it if I hadn’t been exposed to Passover? Yes. Nevertheless, those were dark times, times I never quite fully recovered from. Even if I’d somehow managed to like Jenkins previously, I would not continue to give money to someone who took such pains to remind me of…well, such pains.)

  12. I just realized:
    Wait, so the practice of religion would be fine by people of no faith?
    Actually, yeah, pretty much.
    We believe the blood of Christ has already been shed on your behalf and that God knows his own.
    The zealots are unleashing a plague on the world, allegedly as punishment for the atheist forbidding the practice of religion… but that plague is going to hit adherents of all other religions just as much as it will hit the atheists. So as far as the RTCs are concerned, other religions can suck it. And we all know that no one except RTCs really have faith in their silly religions.

    • And even for their allies, that’s not showing a lot of concern for their safety.

      “We believe the blood of Christ has already been shed on your behalf and that God knows his own.”

      In other words, we are planning to unleash a world-spanning catastrophe of unknown proportions, but we are fairly certain you will be safe. Our interpretation of scripture indicates that the sprinkling of blood safety measure probably won’t be necessary. So just sit back, relax, and have a nice afternoon. Everyone in your family should be ok. And if someone does die, look at the bright side: Now you have direct confirmation that you weren’t believing in God the right way.

  13. Horrendously genocidal and evil doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    No, I hadn’t guessed even Paul Stepola would think of this. Just WTF!

    And that’s before you recall that Paul Stepola has two kids of his own who are unsaved .. so who dies? Brie (older but y’know feee-male /ferengi) or Connor (younger but importantly male and named for the future saviour child of Terminator)? The Greatest Asshat of All Time really does -literally? – forget all about his own children doesn’t he?

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, March 14th, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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