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Wednesday 13 April 2011

Excerpt from Fifth Gospel - A Novel

Lea gave me her quiet, patient attention.‘You should know that when an army enters into a city, faith soon leads to murder.’  
‘Should I? Why should it be so…I have no idea!’
‘Think of it pairé, what you call faith is not really faith at all, it is only religion. Religion is only a short step from zeal, and zeal only a margin away from fervour, which is only a hair’s breadth from frenzy–the cradle of hate and murder. The truth is, pairé, that evil and good share the same small space in the soul.’ 
‘What makes one man evil and one good, then?’
‘How close he is to the good gods or to the evil gods.’
‘And what is the compensation for the atrocities committed against innocent people…children!’ I said with vehemence, for the memory of Bezier’s had come unbidden and was stirring up an anger I had not let myself feel all these years.  
She turned towards me and fixed her steady gaze on my face. ‘There is another way to look at it, pairé. It could be that destiny has brought these souls together to a place where they can suffer in order that in the future they can return again, together, for a good cause…’
This did not ease my heart. ‘I know we are told to forgive our enemies their sins…but what of God? Has he turned away from the innocent?’
‘God is just,’ she said.
‘But is that all he is? What of love?’
‘God is Love, and his wrath is also his love.’
‘How can wrath be love?’
‘Do you remember, what Buddha said to Jesus? Suffering leads to Compassion. When God spills out his wrath it causes suffering. But suffering gives us wisdom, it allows us to recognise the suffering of others, isn’t that so?’
‘So, the memory of our own suffering is what allows us to understand and to forgive those who have done some wrong to us…this is true love pairé. Wrath seen from the other side, is true love; a Love that cancels out sin.’
I looked out of the window to the hard snow falling over the crests and peaks and valleys and chasms of our mountains. I realised more than ever how far I was from perfection. 

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