Friday, February 10, 2006


Believers believe without question. Any suggestion that faith is not enough is met with rough rejection. God is the one and only Almighty. To say that he might be wrong on occasion is regarded as an evasion of the truth as told in the Old Testament, in the Torah and Koran and the holy writ that can be traced to early man before civilization even began.

Masses regarded God in many ways. Some prayed to Sun gods that controlled the seasons of their lives. Others worshiped for various reasons but the underlying belief in what they could not comprehend brought relief from every day stress and strain. "Don't try to explain my faith to me," the True Believers say. "I will be right, you will be wrong on Judgment Day."

"What's the date of Judgment Day?" the skeptic wanted to know. "Will it be a legal holiday when we will have more time to shop and play? If I have to work on Judgment Day must my employer pay me time and a half?"

"You don't get extra pay on Judgment Day On that special day you go to your Church, your Synagogue or Mosque. And you pray."

"To who? For what? How much will it cost? Will inflation raise the amount of my donation? Will it reduce my income taxes? The fact is, I'm not sure I can pay. And, anyway, I think I gave at the office. Does that count? Will that affect the amount? I'll have to discuss this with my accountant. He's a CPA and can advise me how to pay it through my IRA and, in the process, give less to the IRS."

"You don't understand," said the man of faith. "Judgment Day is not the same as Christmas or Thanksgiving or other seasons when there's reasons to be giving. You don't have to pay, you just go and pray, to thank your Maker."

"That old faker, the one who calls himself the creator? That phony can loan me a buck or two to drop in the collection plate if It gets me a cheaper rate if and when I meet St. Pete at the Golden Gate."

"Aha! Then you do believe. You're not the true nonbeliever I perceived you to be."

The skeptic then became caustic under the collar. He started to holler. "I NEVER SAID I WAS AN ATHEIST," he did insist. "I'm just a bit agnostic. I want to play it safe. I don't believe or disbelieve. I doubt, but don't want to be counted out if I die and find out God's no fraud. But if he is I'll level with the devil."

"You can't have it both ways," the believer said.

"But you can on Judgment Day. Pray, don't pay. That sounds OK by me. And, by the way, if I decide to pray, what am I supposed to pray about?"

"Whether God forgives you of your sins."

"Maybe I lose. Maybe I win. That begins to sound pretty nifty. Chances are, fifty-fitty, that old grifter's pretty thrifty. I'll slip him some dough on the sly and he'll let me get by. A sexy angel will satisfy. So don't judge me as there go I to that heaven in the sky. I'm beginning to like that Judgment Day. It's OK by me. And it's all free."

The believer threw up his hands. "That nonbeliever will never understand," he said. That night when he went to bed he prayed: "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray to God, my dough to keep. If I die before I spend it I'll lend it out at ten percent. Is that what Judgment's all about?"


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