Looking down at the grave stone, Pete’s heart became stone hard as he tried to repress his sorrow. Alex Howard was such a nice guy. He didn’t deserve to die. It wasn’t fair.
“He was killed by Christian Fundamentalist terrorist bastards,” Pete said, “Fucking bastards. They didn’t have to – Alex Howard wasn’t doing anything! Nothing, just nothing…”
Katie was of course, very confused. Alex Howard was a Christian – and yet he was killed by Christian terrorists. What had happened?
The answer itself was very simple indeed. Alex Howard had lost faith in God, in Christianity, and in religion. He could not stand how preposterous some of the teachings were becoming, how false the majority of the ‘believers’ were or how intolerant the Christian community becoming towards minority groups such as homosexuals. Over the years, he continued to preach, although this salmon of doubt forever tormented Alex Howard’s mind. He prayed hard for God to guide him back to the enlightened path. He tried to see what God’s will was for him.
However, Alex Howard was an Alice in wonderland – there was no God. Religion was a sham, an imaginations of a small child made more systematic and universal. First, his family disowned him, his girlfriend left him, and many of his friends took to him as a lost soul. His whole life changed and he began to view life in a very cynical way. He also felt such sympathy for his religious fellow friends – all this freedom and the richness of life they were missing! The narrow-mindedness of Christianity had kept him confined to the small chambers of a well-kept bedroom, yes, but now he had the choice looking into other places of taboo and incorrect without any sense of guilt. Wonderfully enjoying his life, Alex Howard gradually stopped preaching (which he had to continue as it was his only available job).
“I was at first very shocked as well,” Pete told Katie, “I went up to him and asked timidly, ‘why?’ but Alex Howard only shook his head, saying that I was too young to understand.”
It was very complicated. Alex Howard himself sometimes became very confused about why he lost faith. However, it all came down to one thing – Christianity was not the only one. Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism – they were all the same thing. One did not need to commit oneself to one. There was no obligation. Why should he? There was nothing in the end that put one religion superior to others. In essence, religion itself became so useless. Alex Howard asked himself, do I really need religion to live?
“Think about this,” Alex Howard had told Pete, “Have you asked yourself the question, why am I so bullied in school? And what is your answer?”
“Well, that, those people are misguided in their ways.” Pete answered.
“What if they’re not? What if we’re misguided? What if our God is actually evil – and that being God-less is actually good? Have you ever, in your entire life, thought about that?”
“Alex! What heresy are you talking about? Our God is good, and what he does is always intended to be good!” Pete replied back, shocked.
“That’s what I’m talking about! The only reason that what I am talking about is heresy is because God says so. We’ve blindly taken in God’s word, the bible, as the unspoken truth! We’ve got no evidence, there is nothing that can prove the existence of God. One can’t explain a word by using that word in the sentence, and that is what Christianity has done. God’s goodness is good due to God’s word – don’t you see what’s wrong with that?”
“But God is good…” Pete said, “But God is good…”
“My child,” Alex Howard had said excitedly, “We’ve been duped. We have been completely brainwashed – “
“What’s happened to you?” Pete asked frantically, “What could have possibly made you doubt God?”
“The reasonable man conforms with the world, but the unreasonable progresses it. Don’t be so reasonable, my young man. All those reasons you have come up with every time some problem arises against your faith – it consoles you. Stupid excuses! You are good, according to the bible, but you are not happy at all, I know, Pete. Whatever you do, there is something that you lack, so God does not allow you to be happy. Your school mates – they are happy, but they are not good at all. Is this God a fair God?”
“But I am happy…God knows I’m happy…” Pete trailed off.
“Pete.” Alex Howard said heavily, “We only see black and white through Christianity. What about the reds, yellows, greens, blues! All those colours, so beautiful – but so sinful! It is not fair.”
If only Pete could explain all of this to Katie in a nice concise way – would she understand fully his equivocal change of mind. Katie grabbed his hand and whispered, “How can people be so cruel?” Pete shook his head, meaning he didn’t know the answer to that question. But he also said, “People would do anything for what they believe. Kill, or die for it.” Which was rather ironic.