Shadowed: Chapter 22: Now an Agnostic

Felicia and Cletus read the newspaper to each other over dinner.  This seems a tad odd as Felicia clearly has purchased an actual paper newspaper, when in the first book, Soon, a character expresses surprise that a younger man would even know what a book is.  Hell, nowadays, plenty of big cities have reduced their print editions to a couple of days of the week, the rest available via online subscription.

Anywho, the scene has nothing to do with Felicia and Cletus and how they’re coping.  It just has to do with how Trudy was right and the world is coming to see that it is best to capitulate to terrorists.  As several of you pointed out last time, that’s exactly what happened after 9/11, right?

Jenkins, surprisingly, gives credit where it’s due to the atheists-no-more:

“I was an atheist who is now an agnostic.  But that sounds foolish even to me when the promise of a curse, a plague, has been carried out before my eyes.  Hear me: I will not worship this vengeful God.  But neither will I ever again pretend He doesn’t exist and has not the power to squash me like a bug.”

Well, on second thought: this guy does confirm that atheists are only pretending not to believe in God.

Jenkins also makes sure to point out that Christians are “the new minority, the new oppressed.”

When I have the power to call down death from the skies, I’m sure I will feel, if nothing else, really oppressed.

Also, I wonder how these now-agnostics would react if they knew that even as they spoke of conciliation,the Christians were brainstorming even more ways to slaughter them all.

Still, Felicia feels bad for the poor widdle RTCs, because the atheists’ reactions are focused only on God’s wrath, not his love and mercy.

Go figure.

***

Meanwhile, Ranold is a bit of his own oppressed minority: one of the few people who actually wants to get some shit done, even if it is the apocalypse and all.  And he’s ready to head to Switzerland to see the leader of the free world in person, to either “talk sense to the man or muscle him out of the way.”  And when it becomes clear that Ball Dangler has only one issue on his mind (talking to Paul), it’s kinda hard to blame Ranold.

***

Meanwhile meanwhile, Paul has been noodling (GORRAM, I hate when the word “noodle” is used as a verb) the idea of contacting Bia Balaam.  After extensive praying about it, he…decides to play games with her.  He decides to “leave the burden on her,” which translates to her calling him again and again and again, and he never actually answering.  So finally, she reveals that she knows exactly where the underground is and who all is there, and that an attack is planned.

Well, hell, I’m glad someone besides poor Ranold is interested in taking some actual action beyond writing letters to the editor.

But that’s not the most exciting part.  Felicia is so upset that the atheists didn’t see God’s infinite compassion when he killed every firstborn son on the planet, that she enlists Hector Hernandez to send Paul’s instructions on how to switch teams receive Christ as their savior to every computer on the planet.  And I dunno, didn’t a bunch of Atheistopians just say that they had no intention of ever worshipping such a god?

Weird chick since she converted, Felicia is.

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Posted on May 12, 2015, in Shadowed, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I know he’s probably doomed to fail, but I still can’t help but root for Ranold. He’s doing exactly what I’d be doing if I were in this situation, where it turns out there actually is a god and he’s a genocidal monster like the Old Testament god- trying to fight and, if possible, kill that evil god.

    • So god reveals himself in a display of merciless wrath and now newly minted borg drone felicia is a sad panda cause mean old atheists only want to talk about god’s wrath and not about his mercy? Oh Jenkins, don’t ever change.

      No wait, wrote that wrong: For the love of all that’s good and holy, CHANGE! Whatever you become, it can’t possibly be worse. Even a neo nazi berating Auswitz-survivors that they just go on and on about Hitler’s cruelty and never mention his great infrastructural projects would merely be as bad. (Screw Godwin, when you glorify genocide like this the comparison is fair.)

  2. There’s where Osama bin Laden went wrong. If only he’d infected everyone’s computers with a virus telling them how great his brand of Islam is and how to convert to it the week after September 11, there would have been a huge influx of new Muslims!

  3. Suck air, grab clusters, and hear the last holy observation of our history:
    “Looking about us, we can say with pardonable pride that we have been about as thoroughly liberated as it is possible for a race and a planet to be!”

    It’s fascinating to see the blank spot in Jenkins’ mind: he really cannot conceive of a person who doesn’t believe in his God.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      “Suck air, grab clusters” — Firedrake, you HAVE to be an Old School SF litfan to remember “Liberation”.

  4. It would be so easy to turn this into an action movie where Ranold is the hero – just change the zealots’ focus to some Cthulhu-esque alien thing, drop some hints that they’re spreading mind-control drugs or a logic-override meme or whatever to forcibly convert people, and add the possibility that the Thing can be defeated by human ingenuity.

    • With a little squinting, that probably already exists. Check out the opening for the game Rengade Ops:

      That whole game is pure, unappologetic B-movie-style camp, but it’s a pretty good fit for this book’s plot. (Tell me Bryant doesn’t look a thing like tha old hard-ass commander that Ranold is meant to be. The names even sound vaguely simmilar.) The only thing missing is that Paul wouldn’t do a deliberately evil laugh like Inferno in public… but the zealots high-fiving each other in their hideout is close enough.

      The fun thing is of course that this kind of plot would be right up Jenkins alley at all other times. The tough macho military commander telling the spineless politicians in a UN-esque forum to stuff their appeasment up the bodypart he’s going to kick on his own to show that evil terrorist what for. Yet Jenkins is too caught up in his evangelical bubble and martyr complex to notice that he’s cheering for the other side here.

  5. “I was an atheist who is now an agnostic. But that sounds foolish even to me when the promise of a curse, a plague, has been carried out before my eyes.”

    Yeah, it sounds foolish to me too: “I used to be an atheist. Then I saw direct evidence that god exists, which made me an agnostic.” And I thought agnosticism was precisely about the lack of evidence!

    “I believe god exists” and “I believe god is worthy of worship” are two separate concepts. In this book’s universe accepting them both makes you a believer, accepting neither makes you an atheist. So clearly accepting one but not the other must make you an agnostic. Because agnosticism is like a diet version of atheism: All the hating of god, but only half the calories!

    She enlists Hector Hernandez to send Paul’s instructions on how to “switch teams“ receive Christ as their savior to every computer on the planet.

    So Felicia’s great plan for converting the world is… spam? “Congralations and happy wishing! Your email address is chooseing to winning great international salvation! I am dying of cancer and need your help to transfer Christ to world. Send personal details before delay for big mercy!”

    If Paul’s instructions for switching teams are so effective, why didn’t Paul just append them to his manifesto? Oh, right. When asking god to slay some infidels, the last thing you want to do is give the infidels pointers on how to stop being infidels. Fewer murder targets would mean less glory for god.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Yeah, it sounds foolish to me too: “I used to be an atheist. Then I saw direct evidence that god exists, which made me an agnostic.”

      That sounds like the common phone-in intro on Christianese talk radio in the Eighties:
      “I used to be Catholic but now I’m CHRISTIAN(TM).”

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for May 15, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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