Silenced: Chapter 29: Pre-Tragedy…er, Justice
As we saw, Paul took his sweet time getting back to the wife he swears he is more devoted to than ever before (not that that’s saying much) but he is finally there.
Tired as he was, he was through playing games.
So, what, if he was less tired, he would continue playing games?
Jae was going to get it all, both barrels.
Perhaps not the best metaphor to use when thinking of the wife you’re abused for the last decade, Paul. Just a bit of advice.
Probably also not the best metaphor to use mere hours before your god (at your behest) murders millions.
She could turn him in, leave him, or whatever…
Gee, I can see how much he really cares about this relationship.
…but he was no longer going to live a lie with her.
What a stand-up Christian guy. Only took him seven months of living a lie to come to this conclusion.
Inexplicably, Jae immediately asks for an explanation—not of Paul’s religious views, but of the sting of Magnor. Exciting though that was(n’t), this just doesn’t seem like the hot issue to me. Nor, indeed, to Jae, who said a mere fifteen pages ago:
As soon as he walked through that door, she would put it to him. She wanted to know [whether he was a Christian]. He had to tell her.
But hey, what’s the life and death of her family when she could hear an exciting adventure story that she’s already heard twenty times on the news?
But, to give Jae just a bit of credit, she finally calls Paul on it. Directly!
“I know, you know,” she said.
She pulled back and nodded. “You’re a good mole, Paul. Maybe the best there ever was.”
“But you’re not that good. You’re turned, changed, flipped, haven’t you? You’re a believer.”
Nice work, Jae. Only took you 333 pages to say it to him. What an open and loving and trusting marriage you have.
“I know a different man when I see one.”
Not that different, c’mon. He’s not actually cheating on you anymore. Physically, at least. That’s it. He still wants Angela, he still thinks you don’t deserve honesty, and he’s still scared shitless of you.
Oh, and he carried the luggage once.
And because we all know that women are always more at fault than men, Jae apologizes to Paul for showing his dad’s letter to Ranold.
Forgive her? Paul nodded. Sure, he’d forgive her, but did she realize what that could mean for him?
Sure, he’d forgive her, but not really. But he’d kinda forgive her, since women do silly, stupid things sometimes. And don’t even realize what those silly, stupid things could mean for the important men.
But they quickly move on to the even more important issue: Jae wants to understand how Paul became a believer. So he tells her a totally untrue story, retconning Soon.
…the more [Paul] was exposed to [underground Christians], the more he persecuted and yes, even killed some of them, the more he wondered what was so wrong about wanting to believe in something beyond one’s self.
Actually, I remember Paul cheering on the beating-to-death of St. Stephen mere moments before he was blinded. After that, his only exposure to underground believers was Straight. So this was hardly a case of the beauty of Christianity slowly working on Paul. Indeed, the only conflict he felt was the discomfort that whole time was knowing his own lionized dad was one of those loser freaks.
Jae was amazed when Paul began quoting verses about salvation by grace through faith, and that it couldn’t be earned by works so no one could boast. The same verses had jumped out at her.
Ah, those verses about people being judged by the thoughts in their heads, and not their deeds? Yeah, those jump out at me, too. Probably not for the same reasons.
And Jae gets Paul to admit that he authored the manifesto.
And one of Jae’s last few sparks of compassion and reason flickers, as they discuss the upcoming mass murder that’s being prayed for by good Christians around the world.
“I need to tell you, Paul, that this alone is enough to make me doubt the existence of God. … I mean, besides sounding ludicrous, does it sound like a loving God?”
“I’m no expert, Jae. I’m new to this, and I don’t want to sound glib, but it sounds like a just God who has finally lost patience with a disbelieving and mocking world.”
You don’t sound glib, Paul. (And I’m not even sure if “glib” is even what you mean.) You sound like a hypocritical, narcissistic asshole.
Once again, let us remember that Paul had a personal medical miracle, plus unfettered access to the forbidden Bible, plus a Christian mentor who devoted himself entirely to Paul’s conversion. Three things the rest of the citizens of the planet have not had.
But it’s all okay, because with less than a day left until God’s threat is carried out, Paul tells Jae that he’s going to tell Ball Dangler that the threat wasn’t Magnor’s, but God’s. Because that is just the kind of guy Paul is. Much like when he gave L.A. less than a day to overthrow the Army before unleashing dessication on innocent citizens.
Oh, and he’s going to wait till the next day, so it’ll actually be much less than 24 hours.
They stayed up most of the night, reading, discussing, arguing. Jae was unable to get past the unloving, spiteful (her word) nature of the plague some believers were asking God to mete out to His enemies.
Ha! Gotta love that Jenkins gives us that parenthetical. Because only a silly, untutored atheist would ever think God spiteful. Just because he’s going to commit mass murder. Silly Jae!
And I find it hard to think of people who have never been exposed to Christianity as anyone’s “enemies.” Let alone the babies and small children who will die. (Though I can only assume that Jenkins thinks anyone under the age of twelve will go to Heaven.)
Next time, the very belated warning to Ball Dangler plus the actual plague/mass murder! All in one final chapter!