TPD pp244-249: The nature of evil

ETA: WTF? Apparently I suck at dates lately. Enjoy your post a day early. 

A short one this week, I’ve been pretty swamped and want to treat the end of ch 27 with the care it deserves. We open with yet another visit to Professor Langstrat’s point of view as she mentors Shawn and Sandy.

The quiet, restful excursions into other levels of consciousness were like opening a whole new door to a higher reality […] The metronome on the coffee table ticked, a slow, restful, steady rhythm, breathing in, breathing out, relax, relax, relax.

Honestly, I think that’s the worst part of this slanderous anti-Pagan worldview. Sandy isn’t hurting anyone. In fact, she feels calmer, more at peace with herself, better than she has in years. Evil doesn’t have to be active malice; it also includes passively trying to better yourself in the wrong way.

I mean, if that’s not enough to give someone a complex…

Sandy visualized herself opening the elevator door and stepping into a beautiful green meadow bordered by trees covered with pink and white blossoms. The air was warm, and a playful breeze wafted across the meadow like gentle caresses. […] Sandy could see the girl coming toward hr, a beautiful young lady with cascading blond hair, all dressed in shimmering white linen. Her face glowed with happiness.

Evil is beautiful. You can’t trust beauty, or peace, or happiness, or anything generally valued as good in our society; you can only trust the specific leaders of your specific denomination to tell you what to stay away from or you’ll be damned forever.

Except… what if they’re wrong too? Without any objective rubric, how can you trust any specific religion? I used to lay awake at night afraid that I was wrong, that Christianity was true and I was going to burn in hell forever… how does that not happen to the intended audience of this book?

Anyway, Sandy’s new friend Madeline is secretly a demon.

***

Meanwhile, the paper hasn’t come from the printer, which is a big enough deal that everyone has been calling to see where it is. I wouldn’t notice if my local paper wasn’t delivered. But this was written quite a few years ago, before the decline of newspapers, so maybe it’s a bigger deal back then.

Carmen’s made off with Marshall’s files, and poor Tom “the paste-up man” is totally lost as to why Bernice is in the hospital and nobody’s answering his calls. For all his frantic work while he’s the only man in the office in a crisis, this is the thanks he gets:

Tom’s mouth dropped open. “Bernice! Is she in the hospital? What happened?”

Marshall exploded, “Just do it, Tom!”

On the bright side, Marshall does apologize for this particular blowup. He then gives Tom the rest of the day off since there’s no point busting his ass over a paper that won’t be printed.

Eldon’s alive! He was out of town. He gets filled in.

Meanwhile, Bernice is at home, and has vomited, which is a bad sign when a head injury was sustained but they did release her so I guess she’s okay? She gets a call from Kevin and agrees to meet him and I’m just sitting here going “WTF, NO, so very no, you can’t even get off the couch…. WTF.”

Forcing yourself to do the impossible despite physical limitations: Good.

Taking time to rest and be good to yourself: Evil.

What a world to live in.

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3 Responses to TPD pp244-249: The nature of evil

  1. Jarred H says:

    xcept… what if they’re wrong too? Without any objective rubric, how can you trust any specific religion? I used to lay awake at night afraid that I was wrong, that Christianity was true and I was going to burn in hell forever… how does that not happen to the intended audience of this book?

    For some of us, it did happen.

  2. Firedrake says:

    I think that this uncertainty of world-view is nearly universal among RTCs, actually – and deliberately so on the part of their leaders.

    “Once saved, always saved” is the starting point. But then it meets the real world: people who were church members leave it and start doing other things with their lives, pastors get caught with their hands in the till or in someone else’s underwear, and all that needs an explanation. The one that seems to have been settled on is “that person wasn’t really saved, he just thought he was”.

    Which means that “you, dear congregant” might be similarly deluded. Better make quite sure – come up to every altar call, give money and time to the church, pretend that you still believe it’s all faith-not-works but keep going at those works anyway because they’re the outer sign of someone who isn’t going to get eternally consciously tortured. The more doubts you have, the louder you need to shout to drown them out. Explains quite a lot, really.

  3. I went to two different christian schools from 8th grade all the way through 12th grade. One of the things I noticed and laughed at was that the same people were always going up for every alter call. Back then I thought it was just because they were immature. Fast forward many many years. I worked at a huge 3000+ person mega church for two years, what do I see? The same people going up for every alter call, the same people raising their hands. Then being on the executive staff of the church I hear the numbers: x number of people got saved this week. I think (and at least once commented) shouldn’t that be x people saved or rededicated their lives, that would be at least being honest about the metric? I soon realized all the numbers were inflated like this. Just so at the end of the year they could say “in 20xx 1000+ people were saved” Even the 3000+ number was heavily inflated. That number was arrived at by counting everyone in the sancuary and all the volunteers at each service, with 6 services running, and 100+ volunteers all working all six services that means the volunteers were counted 6 times contributing 600+ to the 3000 per weekend number. And 3000 was the average, the normal number was closer to 2500, except on easter and christmas eve where they would spike to 5000.

    The reason: for a bank to loan a church they look at three values, weekly giving, average attendance, and attendance growth week to week.

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