AJ and I have a busy weekend planned. There is a party tomorrow that will start after lunch and last well into the night. Sunday, we hope to meet with another author who lives here in the cities, and Monday, I’m treating AJ to lunch at a fabulous place in Lake Elmo. He could afford to pay for this a hundred times over without batting an eye, but this time, I’m paying. Once in a while, one must, ya know?
It doesn’t bother me that he has so much more than me, but I won’t lie; I wish I’d inherited that chunk of change. But it’s only money, and I’m sort of used to only ever having enough.
Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to the book I’m currently reading. It’s another Jordan Castillo Price entitled, Zero Hour. It’s set in a far distant future of clones and slavery that, frighteningly enough, makes sense as a possible variation of our future.
Given the current political climate, financial instability, and resource wars, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
SPOILER ALERT (and if you are vehemently religious, please read no further)
I’m only halfway through the book, but I’ve gotten to a point where I had to stop and think about it. I love stories that make me think.
First, it’s a variation on Logan’s Run, the old movie from, what, the ’70s? It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if that was the author’s jumping off point for creating her own story. I’ll remind everyone that there’s nothing new under the sun, but Price always manages to give her stories a wonderful twist that makes them her own. And because she’s an excellent writer, one who knows how to tell a story that involves the reader, I was immediately enthralled.
There’s no money, only credits. People aren’t born anymore, they’re cloned from vats and trained to work and told it’s to attain the glory of Reclaim, which is just another way to say, “Heaven’s waiting for you when you die.” And just like many people on earth, these future people absolutely believe they are doing a good thing and will be justly rewarded when their soul flies free.
Their last month of life is retirement. During that time, they are sort of free to do whatever they want to do (which ain’t much, given that the ruling class keeps a close eye on everyone), even as they are artificially aged during that final month through a biofuel cocktail. When their retirement is over, they are thirty, ancient, and ready to die.
The author vividly relates the anxiety and uncertainty our hero feels when he begins to learn this is all bullshit. “You mean we don’t have to die at thirty + thirty? We can live for many years yet?” And when he realizes Reclaim is the biggest lie of all, well, I haven’t read that far yet, but I can’t wait to get there.
Some of you know I’m an atheist. I used to keep quiet about this, because there are so many that still believe, and some of them, violently so, but I think it’s important to realize that religion is a lie. It was and is used by the ruling class to keep the slaves in line, and that’s what we are: debt slaves.
Think about it. There are no unicorns, and there is no god. The simile is apt; people have to believe in a unicorn or a god to give them form and substance, because they don’t exist. “Having faith” in something makes you part of a group, and therefore more easily kept tabs on, because omg, if everyone actually thought for themselves, it would be a lot harder to make them do what you wanted them to.
If you haven’t asked yourself hard questions about what you believe or why your religion is important to you, then it’s time to start. The GOP is using religion as a tool to stir up hate and bigotry. It’s a divisive tactic that’s been proven to work over and over again (and I suspect it’s day is coming to an end as humanity finally begins to grow up and look beyond childhood fairy tales).
I’ve been told I can’t be a moral person because I don’t believe in god. Bullshit. I am one of the most moral people you’ll ever meet, and what’s more, I accept people for what and who they are. I know clearly right from wrong, and I live by the IDIC (that’s “infinite diversity in infinite combinations” to you non-Star Trek readers). In other words, if you like wearing women’s panties under your male suit, I don’t give a shit. If you are a female trapped in a man’s body and want to transgender, I’m good with that. If you want to love and have sex with someone of the same gender, hey, more power to you.
But if you lie to hurt, if you steal from others, if you are mean and cruel…I’m not down with that. Society can teach its citizens the proper way to act toward others without couching it in religious dogma. That’s what religion is: a teaching tool, and like any tool, it can be misused and abused.
If you’ve read this far, I’m pleased, and I have one more thing to say. If you believe in a god, and those teachings make you loving toward your fellow man, no matter what their sexual orientation or personal kinks, I’m okay with that, too. Believers tell me their god gives them comfort. One can never have enough comfort in a harsh world.
BUT, if you harm others while spouting the words of your god and thumping on a bible, I will know you are a liar and a hater without moral compass, and I won’t give you the time of day.