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On Top of Everything Else
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On top of everything else, I am informed by one of my coworkers that I am going straight to hell (no purgatory enroute) to burn eternally in the lake of fire and brimstone.

Another coworker and I, who have been friends for years, thought she had gone home and were openly discussing the mythologies of religion and the rigid social practices (one of which being the institution of lifelong marriage) that have been cemented into place as a result. We were saying that they seemed to be, essentially, arbitrary, not as a fiat from on high, nor determined by biology or historical necessity.

Uh-oh. Up from the cubicle across the room rose the wrath of religion incarnate. How could we question the word, the divine word, as given by the bible? It holds the answer to everything and is the literal and ultimate truth. Everything you ever need to know is right here, she said, thumping her ever-present bible.

We were stupid--we tried to placate her by saying that each religion has its own set of beliefs, and cultures have developed their own ways of expressing and interpreting what they accept as the ultimate truth. We tried to point out inconsistences in the book itself.

Now we were twice damned. We shut up. She ranted and preached and prayed over us. She's a lovely, caring, generous person, but "out there" on the subject of religion. We shut down our computers (the modern day equivalent of folding up our tents) and fled the scene.

Next time we want to talk, my friend and I, we'll go to our nearby Starbuck's. Or wait till we're sure the preacher has gone home.

My ears are still ringing.

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