It's like this: I told my friend Kyle about my other friend Derek, who I've always thought was quite an amazing dude. Derek knows almost every living human language and a couple dead ones. He made a killing in investment banking after getting a Harvard MBA, but then spent his entire fortune to bring access to medical care for poor Haitians. In his spare time, he wrote the code underlying most internet applications. And he's like my friend, you know?

Anyway, Kyle refused to believe Derek existed. He thought Derek was my "imaginary friend," as he put it. Imagine my delight when Derek visited me and I got to introduce him to Kyle. Kyle admitted that he found the stories I had been telling improbable, but there Derek was in the flesh. We then sat at my laptop. Derek googled himself and proved everything I had said to be true. Kyle looked embarrassed, but I thought we would all just have a good laugh about it and go out to play a few holes of golf. But to my shock, Derek pulled a Desert Eagle from his inside suit pocket and shot Kyle in the left knee. Kyle tried to crawl away, but it was useless. Derek shot him in the right thigh. There was blood everywhere. Then Derek planted his foot on Kyle's shattered knee as Kyle screamed in agony and horror. I begged him to stop as he continued to shoot off Kyle's fingers and toes, but he turned to me with the coldest expression I had ever seen, and said, "That's what he gets for not believing in me." A neighbor, hearing the din, called the police, but it turned out Derek couldn't be arrested because of my state's "stand your ground" law. They apologized to Derek for his trouble. Then, the burly police sergeant forced Kyle to apologize to Derek for his lack of faith.

Anyway, I thought Derek was so great, and I knew he had a bit of a temper, but now I'm having doubts. I dared to question him, but he explained that Kyle made a free choice to have Derek cripple him for life. I had a hard time answering that one!

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wow,... that story is deeply disturbing....
So sad that that's how people view the world...

Your parable sounds so familiar too another one I read but I just can't remember where.

Well, I posted the early version of this under another name in the Religion section of Yahoo! Answers a couple days ago to see how the Yahoo!s would react. It's my reflection on the absurd role belief plays in the religious mindset. This was actually the crucial thing that made me ditch religion. Your "eternal destiny" really depends on your ability to hold a static set of beliefs in your head? Mind bogglingly ridiculous, unless you're so used to it you've never bothered to reflect. And yet billions accept this as given.

I realize this parable could also illustrate an argument for universalism, the idea that all will be saved.

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