Shadowed: Chapter 17, Part 2 and Chapter 18: I’m Here

As Straight is playing the stupidest spy games ever with Surgeon Sneakypants, Felicia is still sitting in her car, waiting for an answer from God.

I’m here.

Seriously, that’s what God says to Felicia.  ‘Scuse me, that’s what God “communicated directly to her heart, to her inner being.”

Funny how God didn’t see fit to communicate that little idea to her inner being before the slaughter of the firstborns.  Hell, it would’ve been convenient if God had communicated directly to the hearts of the firstborns themselves.

Felicia then has basically the same thoughts that Jae had back in Silenced

Sure, sure, Felicia gives some half-assed protestations over that little matter of murdering her son:

“You love me?  And You show me this how?  By taking my son?  By turning my boss and friend into a fugitive and leaving me on my own?  By wounding my husband until he is not the same man he once was?”

Notice the order there.  Her son, then Paul, then her husband.  Paul really, truly is the most important person on the planet, and it is only the natural mammalian maternal bond, present even in evil atheists, that causes Felicia to name her own son first.

Hell, it’s not like that son’s presence in Hell prevented his mother from working overtime these past few days.

Anyway, in response to the whole “murdering my son” thing, God has this to communicate to Felicia’s heart:

I lost a Son too.

Oh cry my a river, God.  To hear you tell it, that was the only option open to your omnipotent self to “save” the world, and you knew it would happen always, and you lost him for three whole days, and now he’s ruling the universe with your forevermore.  So forgive me if I don’t consider your “loss” as even in the same universe as Felicia’s, and Ranold’s, and Aryanna’s, and Bia’s, and every other parent and child and sibling and spouse on the planet.

Felicia actually has several similar questions to mine, which God answers directly to her heart with:

Had I prevented His death, there would have been no payment for sin.

And again.  So much for being omnipotent, if there’s only that one very specific option available to you.

But of course, Felicia is so awed by the presence of God that she feels “filthy” even when he is speaking directly to her.  Poor Felicia.  We all knew this was coming, but it makes it no less disgusting and painful to watch yet another innocent character become a mindless drone.

So she apologizes to God, because it is all Felicia’s fault because she is a filthy sinner that God struck down her son where he stood and now he is in Hell.

Properly chastened by her totally loving God, Felicia heads home to Cletus, who has been dealing with his grief in what actually seems to me to be a relatively healthy way—by throwing beer bottles against the wall.

Felicia, to give her (momentary) credit, joins in by throwing one herself.  It all ends with the couple laughing and sobbing together, and is actually one of the more real moments Jenkins has ever written.

So we know it can’t last…Felicia tries to convert her husband.  Cletus has the natural question: how can you worship the being who would do this?

“We were all warned.  You can’t legislate God out of life and then wonder where He is when everything goes wrong.”

Then again, when God is the one who makes everything go wrong in the first place…

“He offers forgiveness and life, but we—all of us—pushed Him away, made Him illegal, denied he even existed.  It’s a wonder He didn’t wipe all of us out.”

Right?  Because that would be such a forgiving, life-giving thing to do.  Just like when he murdered your son.

And on that note, there is a bizarre chapter break which I am going to ignore.

Not able to convince him via the “legislated him away” and “wasn’t it nice of him not to kill us, too?” tactics, Felicia moves on to describe how God spoke directly to her inner self and stuff.  She tells Cletus about how God reminded her that he had lost a son, too.

What could Cletus say?  That it wasn’t fair because God was God and had the power to bring His own Son back to life?  That it wasn’t fair because Danny would not be returning to them?

YES!!!  YES, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE SHOULD SAY!

And on and on Felicia goes, scolding herself and Cletus for doing crazy, God-hating things like “satisfy[ing] our wants and needs.”

Well, since God doesn’t…

Cletus again makes a solid argument, asking why God “overreacted”:

“Wasn’t there some other step in there, between drought in L.A. and slaughtering a billion men and boys and babies?”

And, just like every time a non-Christian asks a valid question, the Christian in the group is at a loss:

“I don’t know.  And I don’t guess I’ll know till I see Him face-to-face.”

“Not that I’ll ever see my son face-to-face again, since God murdered him and sent him to Hell.  Still, seeing God will be even better, won’t it?  Won’t it???”

I guess it will, since Felicia seems to have all but forgotten about said son.  Like Paul, who never spares a thought for his mother (who loved him and raised him all by herself) who is in hell, and Jae, who hasn’t spared a thought about Berlitz burning in Hell, Felicia simply concludes that “He did what he had to do.”

Yeah, I guess that’s the natural conclusion when someone murders someone you love.

So long, Felicia.  Another one bites the dust.

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Posted on March 15, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. You know…sometimes, like when Felicia says “I don’t know” here, I wonder if even LaHaye knows what he’s writing is monstrous, if he wasn’t so terrified that even letting himself form that thought would result in him being tortured for eternity.

  2. “Wasn’t there some other step in there, between drought in L.A. and slaughtering a billion men and boys and babies?”

    Maybe a press conference. Or a personal visit. You know, the sorts of things that people who aren’t omnipotent manage to pull off every day.

    • My opinion exactly. That whole “hidden authority figure” might have worked in ancient times, when people were ruled by some emperor or pharaoh living in a distant palace and practically never seen by the common people.

      But these days, when we place someone in a position of power above us, be it president, prime minister or anything else, we expect that person to give regular televised speeches. The reclusive ruler act doesn’t cut it anymore.

    • Yeah it’s such a shame that God isn’t omnipotent or anything like that. Otherwise he could just rearrange the stars to spell “Jesus is Lord” or something.

      • Or just hit the reset button. The human race, the world, the universe, the whole shebang, is supposed to be entirely His creation. If any of it isn’t working out the way He wants it, why doesn’t He just wipe it all out in a instant and start over?
        But no, he instead does all kinds of clumsy, dickish, doltish tinkering that just brings untold pain and suffering to the creatures that he made. It reminds me of a small child angrily throwing around toys that won’t work properly.

        • Anyone might think that the whole “ultimate power” thing had been invented and retrofitted to an existing religion.

  3. “He offers forgiveness and life, but we—all of us—pushed Him away, made Him illegal, denied he even existed. It’s a wonder He didn’t wipe all of us out.”

    Anyone stupid enough to bet 5 bucks that Jenkins feels exactly the same about atheists today?

    “I lost a Son too. Had I prevented His death, there would have been no payment for sin.”
    This kind of crap sorta works in a polytheistic worldview of powerful but limited gods, where Jehova and Jesus are just two dieties who arrived and an already created world with a fallen humanity bound for a terrible afterlife, and having find a loophole in the existing metaphysical rules to save them. But it doesn’t work with an all-powerful monotheistic deity (Yeah, trinity, blablabla, whatever, all three entities work together anyway).
    Now you have god creating humans and putting them in a paradise with a doom-tree made by god, with a rule made by god that they aren’t allowed to eat from it, even though the allknowing god must have forseen that god’s rebelling servant would trick them into eating it anyway to spite god. So some polution deemed “sin” by god spreads all over god’s work, dooming every human life that god keeps creating to an afterlife of eternal torment made by god, because those humans are no longer able to satisfy the standards that god made. Only after thousands of years does god introduce an escape in the form of god comming to earth, dying as god predicted so god can be assured that god’s death makes up for god’s creations not meeting god’s standards and not getting into the afterlife that god wants the humans to go. Only god knows that most of god’s creations won’t accept god’s sacrifice to god, and will still suffer the horrible punishment god made.
    If the previous paragraph sounds clunky and confusing, with the repetition of the word god, then you see the problem. God’s fantastic gift to humans is that a solution to something he decided is a problem, which he also caused himself.

  4. Well, this is depressing. As a palate-cleanser, I offer a completely ridiculous no-budget action movie from Uganda, Who Killed Captain Alex? You may notice if you watch it that the movie seems to be MST3K’ing itself – apparently it is a thing in Uganda to have movies accompanied by a “Video Joker”, sort of a combination of sports announcer and MST3K commenter.

  5. This has been seriously bugging me for several chapters now: What was it that convinced these atheists that God is real? Felicia hasn’t believed in God since childhood. Now she’s suddenly having long conversations with him? And it’s not like she is hearing God’s voice booming from the heavens or anything. God is just sending messages to her inner being, a method of communication that is practically indistinguishable from one’s own thoughts.

    A few chapters ago Ball Dangler did the same thing. In the wake of a global disaster this life-long atheist decides to take a walk and wonder what it was that forced God to do this. What convinced him that this entity even exists?!

    The death of the firstborn is a massive tragedy, but it’s not really much of a miracle. Death, by itself, is not a supernatural event. People can die for all kinds of reasons. Granted, a terrorist organization using an untraceable poison to murder millions around the world simultaneously would be a massive undertaking, but it’s not inconceivable.

    The desiccation of LA was a much more supernatural event. Whatever force removed all the water, it could tell the difference between moisture contain in a food item and moisture contained in a human body, removing one but not the other. Furthermore, the desiccation is an ongoing effect, meaning it can be replicated, observed and tested.

    But if this obvious break in the laws of physics did not convince anyone of God’s existence, then how is it that a less miraculous event suddenly did? Yeah, never mind providing any evidence, just torture people until they give up and bow down to you.

    “You can’t legislate God out of life and then wonder where He is when everything goes wrong.”

    Wait a minute… Are we saying that if you legislate God out of life, he will actually go away? At least for a few decades, until he comes back and starts killing people? How would such God-out-of-life legislation look like? “All supernatural entities of angelic level and higher are ordered to vacate the Earth effective immediately. All divine activity is punishable by fines and imprisonment of no less than seventy years.”

    I’m pretty sure Atheistopia never legislated God out of anything. They legislated religion. And aren’t the fundamentalist types fond of saying that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship with God? A ban on religion might prevent humans from telling other humans about God, but it would do nothing to prevent God from having relationships with as many humans as he chooses. Of course, that would require God to actually reveal himself to people, which he seems loath to do, but that’s his problem.

    “[We] pushed Him away, made Him illegal, denied he even existed. It’s a wonder He didn’t wipe all of us out.”

    So basically, God has all the morality of Marvin the Martian, but with none of the cuteness. In the classic scenario Bugs Bunny casually asks Marvin what he is doing. Marvin equally casually tells that he is going to destroy the Earth. Bugs accepts this explanation and starts walking away until… Whaa-aat? He does the double take and runs back to steal the Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

    In these books, no-one ever does that double take. Everyone accepts that if God feels Earth is blocking his view of Venus, then he is just doing what he has to do. And stealing Explosive Space Modulators would be a sin. We should all just be grateful that there hasn’t been an earth-shattering kaboom yet.

    • Remember, Jenkins doesn’t actually accept the idea that a person can legitimately not believe in Christianity. According to him and a lot of other Christians like him, everyone secretly knows this particular flavor of Christianity to be true, but most of us pretend to deny it for various perverse reasons.

      • I know. Expecting the characters to make any sense here is fruitless. This story about a world ruled by atheists does not contain any actual atheists.

        It does make me think of an alternative interpretation though. Everyone knows that god exists, but most people are tired of living under an omnipotent psychopath. So a few decades ago they figure maybe this is a God Needs Prayer Badly -type situation. If everyone will just pretend not to believe, then the lack of worship will cause god to shrivel up and vanish.

        This explains all the napalm-barrelling. For this plan of starving god to death to work, nobody can be allowed to offer any devotion that might sustain god. But then the deadly miracles start and everyone thinks: “Damn it, it didn’t work. The bastard’s still around. I guess there’s no choice but to make some half-assed apology about having been a selfish sinner. Maybe throw in some flattery about how merciful he is.”

  6. Felicia has been brought up in Atheistopia, and is an educated woman. So she knows that voices in the head are often a sign of paranoid schizophrenia. But she doesn’t even have time to think “oh dear, I should get myself checked out”. Still, I suppose it’s better to descend so quickly into major mental illness than you don’t realise what you’ve lost than to feel your mind going bit by bit.

  7. Patrick Phelan

    “I lost a Son, too.”

    “So, knowing this all-consuming pain, you STILL thought it would be fine to visit it on others? MILLIONS of others? To multiply pain a billionfold and then assume it’s okay because at least you hurt first? You monster. At least I can feel some small comfort that even the worst humans can’t be nearly so bad as you.”

    • In an attempt to provide some levity and post one of my favorite clips from YouTube, I imagine when God in this book delivers that line, he does it the same way M. Bison delivers his line in this video. Or in other words, “I killed my son, too, and you don’t see me whining about it!”

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for April 3, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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