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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Microstory 1012: Edith

Death is such a horrific topic, I don’t want to talk about that. Let’s talk about life; specifically Viola’s beautiful, but tragic, one. I spoke with her dozens of times over the years, and the last one was a couple weeks before it happened. I was walking by her in the library, and noticed that she was doing tons of research on religion, which is a subject I know quite a bit about. I was going to leave her alone with it, but she stopped me, since she knew I was an authority. She wanted to know the difference between a religion and a cult. I know the difference, but it’s something I never think about, so I struggled to articulate my truths. We ended up skipping seventh period to discuss it more thoroughly together. She argued that all religious institutions brainwash their members into believing something, but that’s not true. Cults isolate vulnerable people from their support systems, demand unyielding loyalty from them, and do so under the rule of a single individual. A religion is a network of people who have chosen to believe in the same things, through complete free will, and independently of each other. She pointed out that many children born into a given religion end up remaining there, suggesting some level of repression. I noted that this happens a lot, true, but there are probably more people who reject the beliefs of their parents than she realizes. Or realized, rather. Unfortunately, we never really came to an understanding. My faith is so important to me, but I had never really been in a position to defend it. Honestly, this town is so predominantly Christian that I don’t hear much questioning. I had always assumed she was Christian too, but this incident showed quite a bit of doubt in her heart. I didn’t want to push it, but she was starting to make me think she was actually an atheist. It may sound intolerant of me, but I don’t know of anything that would be worse than that. How terrible it would be to go through life not believing in anything? How lonely and sad would it be, not having anything to look forward to? All religions have some form of the eternal soul, but atheists believe that at the end of your life, you’ll just stop existing. They don’t even believe in some perpetual darkness. They think you won’t be at all. I can’t fathom it. It’s the scariest thought I’ve even almost thought. I’ve been praying for her every night since she died. I pray that she found solace, and that she didn’t leave this world thinking there was no other beyond it. Like I said, our final debate was a couple weeks prior, which was plenty of time to see the light. I will continue to pray that she ultimately found herself being welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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