Notes from An Alien

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How In The World Can Religion Be Rational?


Friday again. Time for another in the continuing series of Behind The Scenes of Notes from An Alien.

If you haven’t read it, you can grab a free copy of my short novel and more than likely finish it over a weekend.

The prime reason to read it before you jump into these Friday posts is the presence of Spoilers :-)

— — —

There are three main, inhabited Worlds in the story: Anga, Anla, and Angla.

Anga was the Corporate World, Anla the Religious World, and Angla the World that resolved the Conflict

Once a semblance of political peace was established amongst the Worlds, the Angi System embarked on a building project—creating six manufactured Worlds—domains of Research, Exploration, Service, and Commerce.

Today’s Behind The Scenes peers into two folks’ visits to those Worlds—visiting their relationship as well

~~~~~~~~~

They were approaching the first Created World. The woman was from Anla, the man from Anga.

Their small light-sail ship began decelerating as the woman broke her awed silence:

“So large, so imposing Alphra, what’s the readout on surface temperature?”

“15,000 degrees.”

“Looks so cool with its blue shimmer—deadly, eh?”

“Well, Sheln, only if we break docking protocol and land on the surface.”

Sheln chuckled out: “We won’t do that then.”

They guided the ship through the docking portal and brought it to relative-stop. The magnetic grapples silently captured them. Plasma shields were deactivated, internal systems linked to the Created World’s, shut-down procedures completed before they spoke again.

“Let’s review our orders for the visit, Alphra.”

“Again?”

“Can’t be too careful—don’t want to upset these Worlders.”

“I think they’d be hard to upset if we act with proper courtesy?”

“You and your courtesy

“You and your rule-worship

They shared a warm laugh.

After a brief review of their orders from the Worlds’ Council, Sheln and Alphra debarked into the reception area of the Agricultural Created World. Clear orders—visit the various regions, chat-up the supervisors, query the workers, meet with the recently elected Territorial representatives to Worlds’ Council Convention, brief them on protocols.

The Agricultural World was a prime location in the regenerating Angi System—much land on Anga and Anla still not ready for crop growth. The representatives from this World would be considered more influential at the Worlds’ Council election then they actually were.

Alphra and Sheln’s prime task was to impress the representatives with the need for a lack of persuasion activity during the election proceedings.

“We must ram it home to them, Alphra.”

“Sheln, I think if I’d told you we were absolutely forbidden to land on the surface of this World, you’d entertain the idea with more desire?”

“Ridiculous.”

“Try this analogy—tell a child they must never step over a line in the dirt

“Alphra, we’re dealing with adults here.”

“Sheln, most Angians still have adult bodies with adolescent cravings.”

They’d had this discussion before but with more subtle distinctions.

“Well, you reveal your true colors, eh? You think we’re all children and you’re the wise religious man.”

“Sheln, you know I’m not here trying to preach religion. I just stated what I consider an obvious observation

“I don’t see how in the Worlds you can separate your religion from your duties?”

“You don’t believe what I’ve told you?”

“More like find it extremely improbable

“Did you ever visit the Unholy Lands?”

“Never wanted to.”

“Were your parents religious?”

“They belonged, didn’t practice.”

“Perhaps that’s the difference then—we Aklans work hard to practice our Faith in all our activities—still, we’re applying principles that include others, bring people together on common ground

“How can you say your not here because of your religion, then?”

“Well, first because the Worlds’ Council issued a request for my presence. When I said I’m not trying to preach I didn’t mean I’m suddenly not practicing my Faith.”

“Why not just be your kind, courteous self and drop the act?”

Alphra was silent—nearly brooding.

Sheln fiddled with the audio pickup on her Comm tablet.

“Sheln It’s not an act I worry I’ve harmed our association

“Gods! You’re so damned sensitive!”

“Yes

Mutual engulfing silence

“Sheln, I asked about the Unholy Lands because the Aklans there had the benefit of the Prophet’s Presence to give them strength in their moral struggles. On Anga, I had the influence, all through my youth, of the corporate culture and its materialistic drives. Just because the Corporation itself was gone didn’t mean its effects had vanished. I had a hell of a time facing up to my inner demons, purging myself of actions and motivations I’d absorbed before I could even think about them.”

“Why does life have to be a struggle?”

“I think I have to leave it up to you to answer that one, Sheln

“We’re behind schedule Discuss this later?”

“Sure.”

They continued on their appointed rounds, wrapped up their visit to the Agricultural World, visited the Created Worlds devoted to Art, Pure Research, Applied Technology, and General Exploration and Learning—not returning to their discussion of religion.

They approached the Created World for Cultural and Spiritual Advancement, entered the docking portal, and secured their ship.

“Alphra, can we talk before we egress?”

“Sure

“I’m sorry I got on you so much back there

Alphra smiled, said: “So, why is life such a struggle?”

“You know, for a religious man, you sure can reach right in and hit home.”

“Sheln, we’ve been months out here. Plenty of time to get to know you.”

“I always thought religious people were shallow irrational

“Anla

“Yes.

“Too bad you never got to the Unholy Lands.”

“You know, they don’t call them that anymore.”

“Yes, I’ve only really known about them from the stories of Akla and the early colonies—called Aklana now

“Yes. Maybe I’ll visit when I get back

“Maybe you’d let me accompany you?”

“Maybe

Glowing silence

“Alphra You reached right inside me found my soft spot

“Denying life’s a struggle?”

“Covering it up. Staying busy with learning and action. Never slowing down enough to see how hard it all was

“Avoiding the tough questions?”

“Yes.”

A voice interrupted them:

“This is Beru Faz, Administrator for this Created World. Is there a problem?”

Sheln answered: “Nothing we can’t resolve later, Administrator. We’re debarking now.”

~~~

Sheln and Alphra did visit Aklana together.

Married near the place of Akla’s physical death.

Sheln never became an Aklan.

Alphra never ceased in his loving devotion to her happiness
~~~~~~~~~
Read more Behind the Scenes posts…
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2 responses to “How In The World Can Religion Be Rational?

  1. Jane Watson October 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    What impressed me about this piece is the way you interwove the contradictions in personality between both Sheln and Alphra and at the same time, used them to show that they could still be bonded together. I found the ending very touching…and in displaying this gradual bonding you illustrated global peace in a microcosm – what could happen If we all put aside our differences:-)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai October 27, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      Yes, Jane, concentrate on the unity of deep similarities and celebrate the differences as a manifestation of diversity

      Also, as we noted in our face-to-face on this scene, there’s the “contradiction” of the religious man from the Corporate World and the “secular” woman from the Religious World

      Like

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