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Goodbye Jesus



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From one of my favorite authors, John Dolan:




The other absence, of any notion whatsoever of going to a better place, one of those bus station heavens—that was just an unspoken premise in our house. You could believe in the Church because it was there, it existed. And served a purpose: for the slave class of the British Empire, it was a counter-hierarchy, a way of reinventing oneself as something more than despised vermin infesting the lawn. And they maintained that belief as long as they needed it, until convinced that America, for all its alarming Anglo echoes, wasn’t going to do that to them again. Then they very sensibly dropped it and dove into the money pit. Sane behavior. But the God part? As far as I know, no one of us was pitiful enough to believe in that.


So they died in terror. Not a hint of consolation, that I ever saw. Fear tempered with the hope of oblivion. That’s my hope too: oblivion, absolute. It’s a difficult discipline, summoning that oblivion, though the old tricks help (eg How did you feel the year Charlemagne was crowned? That’s how you’ll feel when you’re dead.).


I even thought about trying that bit of spiritual discipline on somebody I know who’s dying now. But you have to watch your mouth around the dying. It’s not a good time to let your tongue go traipsing among the daisies as it is all too wont to do. “Don’t worry! Hey, here’s a question for ya: how did you feel when Pizarro conquered the Inca? Moribund quaver from the soon-to-be-lump asking a question. “Oh, when, exactly? I think…actually I don’t quite remember, something like 1520? Anyway I mean before you were born, it could be any year…heh heh….” Oh yes, that would go over great.

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