This book is terrifying me. To be honest, I've always been scared by religion. All of it. The subconscious act of abandoning reason, abandoning skepticism, to some man in a pulpit talking about a sky-man who created the world. To attribute the words of a man, or of men, or of a two-thousand year old book, with infallable correctness seems ridiculous to me, but then I remember that billions of people the world over live with that as their worldview. I'm experiencing it more and more now that we're in America - more where we were, but still here in Salem, what with the bloody hand of zealotry still remembered here.
There was no scarier sight than me, for a long time, than seeing people coming out of a church and knowing that they were no longer rational people like me, but slaves to the words of a book written by genocidal shepards, and the men who tell them what it says. There was no scarier thought than the thought of the bus I was riding on being destroyed by a bomber inspired by his religion, vindicated by his religion. Convinced, as he gazed upon the faces of the people he was about to incinerate, people with families and loves and dreams, that he was righteous. The IRA, the Taliban. People like that.
The scariest thing I ever listened to was an audio recording of the Jamestown suicides.
I once tried to imagine how my perception of the world would change if, just for a second, I put aside my reason and tried to believe in the Christian God. And up until my life was changed for the worse, I'd never been more scared. Above me, a constant critic, scrutinizing humanity from up high, condemning anyone who doesn't live up to his standards to...Hell. I'd never lived with that fear before, so actually thinking about endless, unrelenting suffering as a plausible thing was beyond any stretch of terror I'd ever experienced. A prison created to punish His own traitorous right-hand man, and there's a spot there for you too.
This is a long-standing fear of mine, but eventually it was replaced with the fear of our assailant and his followers.
But imagine seeing Him - the slender man - and feeling unmitigated adoration. Or worse, imagine everyone around you smiling, laughing, maybe even shedding a tear or two, as you watch, realising that these people aren't seeing what you're seeing.
I can barely put it into words. When the proxies do it, we call it madness. This isn't madness. This is faith. And that scares me so much, because it could happen to anyone.
Dealing with the deaths is beginning to get easier. We're getting past that. It's confronting the fact that they probably won't be the last that's killing us.