Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte on the New Bethlehem police force. His job is to eradicate all heretical religious faiths, their practitioners, and artifacts. Murtag's got problems-one of his partners is a zealot, and he's in love with the other one. Trouble at work, trouble at home. Murtag realizes that you can rob a citizenry of almost anything, but you can't take away its faith. When a string of bombings paralyzes the city, religious fanatics are initially suspected, but startling clues point to a far more ominous perpetrator. If Murtag doesn't get things sorted out, the Divine Council will dispatch the Quints, AKA Heaven's Own Bagmen. The clock is ticking towards doomsday for the Chosen of New Bethlehem. And Jonah Murtag's got another problem, the biggest and most worrisome: he isn't a believer anymore.… (more)
"Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." - L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology
"Tired of lukewarm Christianity?" - Evangelical Tract Distributors
I dreamed of a time as a child when I saw a Muslim lit on fire.
Yes, gall, to think that some part of us, some essence, must live on, after we die. We are unique in this view that something within each of us is so valuable it must exist forever in some form, on some plane--heaven, hell. Insects, animals: their existence is finite. Ours, infinite. Why should we be so special?
The question becomes: How to make an entire species self-destruct? What is the most effective system of annihilation? Religion. It's a tool, and any tool has a right and a wrong use. And this particular tool has already been mishandled and manipulated by a thousand different masters. Fear, obedience, sacrifice, fanatic loyalty: these are the fruits religion cultivates in a nurturing hand. And the greatest part is that the nurturer doesn't need to promise anything tangible: the reward is only delivered in death. It all rests on the bones of belief. And those bones are unbreakable.