Shadowed: Chapter 36, Part 1: There’s No Crying in the NPO
This is why I don’t allow crying in the break room: it erodes morale. There’s a place to do that, like your apartment.
-Joan Holloway, Mad Men
Jerry Jenkins actually does something pretty cute here: Bia Balaam, for the first time in her life, is looking for a place to be alone and take a break at work. So she asks her secretary. And the secretary rather shame-facedly says she goes to her car, the implication being that she has had to flee there more than once from the unfeminine workaholism of Bia.
Kinda weird that the most realistic exchange in this book is that one.
Anyway, Bia heads to her car to have her Come to Jesus moment. Based on Paul’s notes and the skullphone tag he cruelly played with her when she was at her lowest and most vulnerable, of course.
Paul made a lot of sense.
Okay, Bia is obviously still reeling from the tragedy.
Bia talks to God, and makes a very good case for why killing the firstborns was a rotten thing to do: she, like most people in Atheistopia, genuinely thought that Bible stories were “fairy tale[s]” and that the dessication of L.A. was terrorism at the hands of the zealots (which it was, but she thought it was the zealots’ own scientific expertise, not their prayers to their
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying Jenkins ever intended to make a good case for the atheists. But Bia is about to Make the Transaction, so we know she’s telling the truth as she sees it, and her truth is that she never believed…genuinely never believed. Not reveling in her hedonism and pretending God didn’t exist or any of the other lies RTCs tell about why atheists are atheists—she really and truly and simply did not believe.
So it once again raises the question: why would a just and loving god rain down death and hell on millions of people who were nothing more than mistaken?
Bia says to God:
“You’re the one who took [my son], so am I supposed to ask You to make it better, to give him back, or to promise me he somehow made it to heaven?”
Ha! An atheist making it to heaven, even if he was raised by an atheist in Atheistopia, with no access to a Bible? Not with this god, Bia.
“…it seems I should have been able to recognize You long before something this awful had to happen. But I know myself, and I doubt anything short of that would have gotten my attention.”
Well, except you’re talking to an omniscient, omnipotent god, who knows exactly, and better than you do, exactly what it would have taken to make you believe. But instead of projecting himself into your mind or writing in the sky everything that would happen to you in the day ahead, or something, he chose to murder millions. Nice god. Nice, omniscient god.
Bia starts crying. Not because she misses her son, mind you, but because she feels unworthy in the sight of God. And then God lets her fall asleep peacefully, there in her car.
What sweet mercy this represented!
Yeah, it totally makes up for the murder of your son.