Fire and Brimstone


I have a problem with Christianity.

It’s not a huge problem, you know, like a life altering one. But it’s not a small problem either – not really one I’m gonna get over.

My problem with Christianity is this: It’s coercive.

The reason I’m not going to be able to get over my problem is that coercion – being pressured into doing what someone else wants you to do – is something I’ve never really been tolerant of.

Which is an irony because Christianity is, for the most part, intolerant of non-believers like me.

So apparently I’m intolerant of intolerance.

If I don’t live my life the way Christianity says I’m supposed to then, according its edicts, I go to hell. I don’t pass go, I don’t collect $200 – I just go straight to Hell.

And why’s that scary enough to coerce me into acquiescing? Well I guess because Hell is an eternity spent in fire and brimstone. Though I can’t really comprehend an eternity spent in fire – actually I can’t really comprehend “an eternity” period, fire or no fire.

And “brimstone”? What is brimstone, please? It doesn’t sound all that scary – in fact it sounds like, well, a village in England – you know, one with cobblestone streets and a little ice cream shop in the square. And maybe a pub or two where you can hoist a pint of beer.

Which is good, because a cold beer’s gonna come in pretty handy during my eternity in Hell.



God and Country


I was in the Air Force at the time, stationed in Washington, D.C. I served as part of a security detail that stood guard for the Secretary of Defense. At the time the SecDef was Caspar Weinberger, and my job was to stand at the entrance to his office and only allow in those I recognized or those who had correct ID.

The chances of unauthorized personnel being that deep in the Pentagon and trying to enter the SecDef’s office were pretty slim, so, in reality, my position was largely ceremonial. I was basically a tall guy in a dark uniform wearing a gun. I think this was meant mostly to convey that the office you were about to walk into belonged to a very important fellow. Continue reading →