It isn’t easy for me to come to any firm conclusions about my Muslim students and what my experiences taught me about the intentions and fitness for American civil life of some indeterminate number of them.
I might begin with the fact that my paternal great-grandmother was married in a mosque somewhere in Uzbekistan. The small group of Mennonites of which she and her betrothed were members were residents, for a time, in a Muslim community, which, in a spirit of kindness, allowed these strangers to use their sacred space at their sacred time. Saturdays, the Muslims held services but Sundays, they allowed Great-grandmother and her group to hold their own. It was late in life that I learned that in the waning centuries of the first millennium, Muslims and Christians got along very well. (See. Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity.) Surprising, because I had been taught that Islam had been spread by the sword, and by the sword alone. And that I had been taught that Western Christianity had been the conduit through which the glories of the ancient world reached the modern world. As if Thomas Aquinas and his Christian predecessors, not the Islamic Ummah, had been the cultural heroes in the transmission of Aristotle’s teachings to us today. No. Western Europe was, in the so-called medieval period, a relative cultural backwater.
But somewhere along the line, both Christianity and Islam gave birth to bad actors. Christianity came forth with devices to deal with heretics and to take Jerusalem from Islam, and later, Islam allowed some within its folds to terrorize the infidels.
There is enough blame to go around and for Christopher Hitchens, now with god, to rail against.
One question is this: Was Wichita State University an exception among American higher education?
Here are the facts as I see them. If Mohammed Atta might have used my university’s lenient policies to get a student visa, Evad Ismoil certainly did. This might be construed as showing that WSU allowed itself, unwittingly, to become a magnet for potential terrorists. Aha! you might say; Didn’t the FBI conclude that this wasn’t the case? But according to the common understanding, in the days after 9/11, the American intelligence community was benighted where terrorism was concerned and has only in more recent times become the vigilant watchdog it should always have been. (See former Director of the National Security Agency Michael V. Hayden, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, 2016.)
It might seem, then, that WSU was something of an outlier where the Muslim population of students was concerned. But what should I do with the fact that my sources tell me that other professors in other universities have had some of the same problems I confronted with my Islamic students?
So I have a hard time believing that at least some of my experiences were out of the ordinary.
I conclude that, unless solid evidence and precise reasoning comes my way, there should be a solid vetting of immigrants from Muslim countries, though I must admit that I don’t know, and cannot know, if that vetting is already in place. Only the intelligence community knows, or should know. Or, maybe that community and the current regime, including a few Congressional committees and an apparently hapless president.
And I can't help suspecting that the mainstream media’s love affair with all things Muslim is deceitful, if not just plain naïve. And the left, either through political cunning or unbridled sentimentality, is equally at fault.
In my last weeks at Wichita State University, where I had taught Comparative Religion for a quarter of a century, I had an unnerving experience. This was in a night class, in which I typically had a scattering of Muslim students. After I had dismissed the class, a Muslim man in his thirties or early forties came up to me to discuss some matter or other. After I had answered his questions, I asked him if he was living in an off-campus apartment that was known to house a good number of Muslim students—at least, I’d say, one hundred or so. “Oh no!” he said. “The people over there hate America.”
As it happened, it was getting late, and so I suggested that we continue our conversation after our next class. He agreed, and left. And he never returned.
Because the semester had only a few weeks left and because I was in the midst of planning my very early retirement, I never tried to get in touch with this man, though in retrospect I came to regret that I’d not continued our exchange, or at least inquired about his later whereabouts.
That was six years before 9/11. I later had a conversation with a WSU assistant dean with whom I was on friendly terms. We discussed my experience and the subsequent American tragedy from which America has scarcely recovered. I had heard that one of the chief organizers of the attack was Mohammed Atta, who had supposedly entered the U.S. on a student visa to attend WSU but had never set foot on the campus. (I don’t know if this hearsay was accurate, though I have read that Evad Ismoil, the driver of the explosive-laden van used in the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, had “entered the country on a student visa to attend Wichita State University” but had subsequently dropped out. See https://www.numbersusa.com/content/news/october-21-2012/foiled-terror-plot-exposes-vulnerability-student-visa-system.html. NumbersUSA for Lower Immigration Levels.) I had also heard that when the airplanes hit the tower on that fateful morning, the apartment building in which those America-haters lived exploded with cheers.
My friend concluded with the observation that subsequent to 9/11, the FBI had come to campus to investigate and had found (apparently) nothing.
I should say more about my earlier experiences with Muslim students. It was not uncommon to have Muslims in my daytime introductory courses; in one class, I recall that out of the group of thirty to forty students, five or six bore the name of Mohammed. I had initially designed the course with no mention of Islam but was forced to add a short section on Islam by the fervid requests of my Muslim students. I was never comfortable with this arrangement, because it was clear to me that many of them wished to have me treat their religion as The Truth, not as one alternative among many, as I always treated the other religions. Incidentally, I’ve learned that even non-Islamic professors with a specialty in Islam have to be very careful about how and what they say in their specialized courses that treat Islam and only Islam.
Of course one shouldn’t paint all the members of a group with the same brush. There are always differences. Some of my Muslim students were fervid believers—I recall the time one of them opined, in class, that Salman Rushdie deserved to die because his Satanic Verses dishonored The Prophet. Others were apparently quite secular—the image of a young, beautiful, burka-less woman in a tight blouse openly flirted with a series of young Muslim men as I was preparing to lecture.
Next blog. What I conclude from my experiences with Muslim students over a period of ten years.
The futurists at NASA are working on flying cars.
Who would not want to escape the traffic jams that beleaguer the 50-mile daily commute by hopping aboard a private vehicle at 7:30 a.m. and arrive at work, fresh and friendly, at 8:00?
That is the vision of the personal air vehicle division of the vehicle systems program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
The IQ-laden brains at Langley are quick to acknowledge, however, that their dream will not assume material shape for at least another generation—or, put differently, until they have been burned, deposited in an urn, and placed on the mantle of a house of the future.
We at MJTT modestly suggest that the Langley lads and lasses spend their waning years observing their children and/or grandchildren prepare for the next Olympics. We have a better idea.
Our premise is that Langley has not sufficiently considered the implications of its dream: air congestion, air vehicle crashes, the cost of pilot training, and of course pollution.
Our own solution to the commuter problem cuts to the chase. We propose nothing more than the total re-engineering of the subway system.
This simple but brilliant solution is built on the old-fashioned idea of gravity, which was first noticed and formulated by Isaac Newton, who was rewarded for his discovery by a knighthood and a long life, bestowed on him respectively by a British king and a Christian God.
Consider this. Upon going to work, one descends into what appears to be an ordinary subway station. One enters the train car in the usual manner. The train takes off—downhill! In twenty minutes, one exits the car, enters an elevator, and soon finds oneself at street level.
Then, after work, one serenely descends into the subway station from which one had emerged nine hours and change ago. One enters the car in the usual manner. The train takes off—downhill! Again! And in twenty minutes, one exits the car, enters an elevator, and soon finds oneself at street level, at exactly the spot from which one had left at 7:30 a.m.
How is this possible?
By what might be called the Myles Junior Principle (MJP). Imagine the common playground piece of equipment, the see-saw. Image two children of similar weight, perched on each end of that see-saw. Now imagine the two playing a game using a single marble, shuttling it back and forth by raising and lowering themselves.
The analogy is exact: the marble represents the subway car; the legs of the two children represent the power agents.
Details of this down-to-earth but masterful idea will or will not be considered in my next blog.
If you’re on Facebook, you couldn’t miss it. Friends, relatives, acquaintances, and hangers-on were celebrating The March. And of course the pictures and the general acclamation by the media made it the top story of the week, eclipsing the fuss about the inauguration of possibly the most controversial president in the history of the Republic. Well, maybe not possibly. Andy Jackson, with his miserable hordes of the discarded, might have played Mr. Trump a close game.
But behind the news is the meta-news. Who were these people, anyway? Who were their leaders? What was the whole point of this gala gathering?
I should first spell out my experience as a gawker and analyst of things political. Maybe “confessions” would be a truer word. During my junior year in a small denominational college in the interior of Kansas, three of my friends and I distributed a petition complaining about the (college) President and his unstated policies. Though I wrote it, I don’t recall the points we made, except that there were three: one on academic standards, one on the religious life on campus, and a third on . . . I don’t remember. We got about a third of the student body to sign it, and soon were invited into the President’s office to account for our very public act. It was not a pretty scene; he made some veiled threats, and we did not back down. Instead, we took our case to the Chair of the Board of Directors, who assured us he would cover our behinds. Result: next school year, we had a new president. One of my cohorts had been a senior and so was off to Indonesia; two others transferred to other colleges; and in that year I was rewarded by being nominated for a prestigious national fellowship, which I got. (Forgive and forget my modesty.)
I was in graduate school when the Civil Rights movement hit America hard. I got involved, but only for a time: I participated in an event convened by several student leaders, who had a small battalion of us underlings dress in sackcloth to attend a protest over Chicago’s racial educational policies. As we turned in our gunny sacks to our leaders, they stood there and joked about our appearance. I, and others, felt we had been used by our leaders. And that was my last demonstration. I believed in the cause, and still do, but this was too much. I realized that I had served them for a higher purpose, but as a useful idiot.
After graduate school, I found myself being a professor at a basketball-crazed university in Kansas. For a time, I served as my department’s chair, where I learned that victory does not always go to the just. In fact, a happy ending is seldom secured. And the problems always seemed to come from my higher-ups, one of whom, in the midst of a shake-up with which I had nothing to do, noised it about that he was to be interviewed for a similar job at a more prestigious North Carolina university. Sensing that he was angling for the presidency of our own university, I phoned a friend at that other institution to discover what I could about our man. He checked around, then called back to tell me that our man was twelfth on the search committee’s list and was not even being considered for the position. That committee then wrote our higher-ups to inform them of this fact. In the meantime, our man was bruiting it about that he was going to Carolina for an interview. Fact checkers then showed that he had indeed bought a ticket, but had then gone to Kansas City to chill out, or whatever men of his stripe do when they are gaming their way through the academic mazes. The higher-ups in our town got wind of these facts and voila, our man left town. But alas, as they used to say, though I came to be seen as the power underneath the throne that got our man in a parlous state, I also came to be considered armed and dangerous, as a result of which I was badgered by our man’s successor and the other powers that be, forcing me to take early retirement and begin writing humorous novels.
This background provides my bona fides, I think, for making a few critical remarks about The March.
Looking closely at the signs held aloft, one can see that the participants represented the usual panoply of progressive causes—abortion rights, human rights, Muslim rights, LGBTQ rights, Indian rights, disability rights—with the encompassing theme of justice for all, which of course everyone should desire even though philosophers from Plato to John Rawls have had difficulty agreeing on a definition.
The honorary co-chairs were voices from the distant past, including Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, and Harry Belafonte. Speakers included Michael Moore. The national co-chairs included Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist who in the presidential election had endorsed Bernie Sanders, the mirthless socialist from Vermont.
Who were the foot soldiers, both in D.C. and other venues? Those, including men, who champion one or another—or all—of the abovementioned causes and use the language of conflict to describe both their own end and their means. Those who use the NYT as their alternative Bible. And of course those who voted for Saint Hillary or Wise Bernie and, more importantly, against Donald.
The Donald. Yes. He of the unclean mouth and the ready Tweet. The vulgarian. The man who is neither a Republican nor a conservative but is now the duly-elected President of these Divided States of America.
Now, I hold no brief for the man. As an Independent in search of the vanishing center, I voted against him, as well as against the woman. But he is now our leader, and some of his ideas might actually work. Some will certainly not: another reset with Vladimir will not; the return of tariffs will probably not. His cabinet picks were, with significant exceptions, good; even Warren Buffett thought so and thinks, incidentally, that all will be well. Corporate tax cuts could benefit all who have or will have pensions whose coffers are replete with investments in stocks—that is, the majority of Americans. And what if this highly-flawed man is able to bring quality, full-time jobs back to his small army of electors?
At the request of Ms. Talia la Musa, we at MJTT completed the daunting task of determining God’s IQ before taking up the even more daunting task of determining the IQ of Jesus (J).
This is, to be sure, a project that is as difficult as it is controversial. Indeed, it is so difficult that, to my knowledge, few if any theologians have had the courage to tackle the question. To be sure, there are a few wags who have put their irreverent, deficient senses of “humor” before the internet-surfing public by concerning themselves with this issue. Their “findings” can be ignored.
The difficulties of the task are, in the main, two. First, there is the issue of the metaphysical status of Jesus: that is, was he the Son of God (SOG) and thus a coequal, or was he merely a nice man who offered thoughtful ideas concerning how one might consider living one’s life? If the latter, one must determine which of the many accounts of Jesus’s life and teachings can be considered historically accurate. There are, after all, four gospels in the orthodox canon, and numerous others that have been uncovered in and around the Ancient Near East (ANE).
The method we at MJTT chose to follow was to work out the implications of each and every possibility.
If J was indeed the SOG, the obvious answer to Ms. Mews’ question is that, being a coequal with G, J had an IQ of 107.364. (See my previous piece.)
But, as one of our devil’s advocates pointed out, we were being much too hasty. For human experience teaches us that, though “the apple never falls far from the tree,” said fruit does indeed fall. Or, in the language of the common man or woman, the intelligence of a son may be either superior to or inferior to that of his father. Much if not everything depends, insisted our skeptic, on the IQ of the mother, in this case, presumably, Mary (M). What is more, that skeptic pointed out quite tellingly that the Catholic Church has already determined that M was the Mother of God (MOG).
At this point we at the MJTT came to realize that we were faced with a “can of worms.” For we knew of no formula that could determine the probability of genetic mutation in the complex situation of a mother being both the mother of the father and of the son, let alone of the indeterminate “holy spirit.”
Thus it came about that what had earlier been considered a daunting task (a “slam dunk,” in the idiom of our basketball-crazed nation) was now on the brink of becoming insuperable (a “tough cookie”).
As for the problem of determining whether the latter assumption was correct, we were one in assenting to the proposition that there is no extant theory accepted by all participants in the discussion of this question. Thus we joined the crowd down at the Hôtel Adios Watering Hole, in search of inspiration that would lead us to a precise version of the aforementioned theory.
This has not been a lackluster summer at Myles Junior Think Tank. At the suggestion of a colleague, we have been working on the problem of God’s intelligence.
This is a difficult problem, not least because to our knowledge no thinker, be he or she a philosopher or a scientist, has been able to solve it. A quick click through Google will confirm our initial guess that many have seen fit to tackle this conundrum, but the most elementary logic dictates that there is a vast difference between tackling a problem and solving it.
The initial phase of our solution, which the regulars at the Hôtel Adiós Watering Hole have come to call Myles’ Theory of Ultimate Intelligence, consisted of creating a two-column table. Column A contains a list of facts that redound to God’s credit as creator and sustainer of the universe—for example, Yosemite Valley, the Mud Pots in Yellowstone National Park, the sunsets at the Grand Canyon, and the healthy, hearty orgasms a young married couple are wont to enjoy before that activity has borne fruit. Column B contains a list of negative facts that are attributable to God’s activity as creator and sustainer of the universe—for example, war, poverty, illiteracy, social injustice, and child pornography.
Having finished this relatively awesome task, we considered the problem of choosing a post-two-column step in the construction of my theory. This step consists of determining a method for working with our data.
After a thorough discussion we determined, a priori, that we should divide God’s credit by his or her negative results. We then agreed, again a priori, that we would assign an IQ score to the result of this mathematical calculation, taking an IQ of 100 as our base. In other words, we determined that if the result of our calculation were >1, God’s IQ would be over 100, and by a factor the complexity of which is inappropriate for discussion in a short piece. Contrarily, if the result were <1, God’s IQ would be less than 100, etc.
The discerning reader will immediately recognize that I have omitted the question of variables. That is to say, I have not mentioned the values that must be assigned to the items in both God’s credits and his/her negative facts.
We at MJTT were not unaware of this sub-problem. We solved it in the fairest, most accurate way we could: we polled the audience at the Hôtel Adiós Watering Hole, asking such questions as whether and to what degree the plus (+) of a Grand Canyon sunset overrode the minus (–) of the wars in which the World (W) has recently been embroiled.
But to the results of our labor. According to my theory, God’s IQ is 107.364.
The Bible as a whole is a marvelous collection of books. I have no doubt that many of its parts are divinely-inspired and that the whopping majority of its verses were written when “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,” including the verse somewhere in the New Testament that informs us of this fact. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable” for a wide variety of benefits, but a high percentage of Scripture certainly qualifies as being inspired and helpful to those who have God’s stamp of approval.
There are exceptions to every rule. Even the law of gravity doesn’t always work. For instance, I once “shot an arrow into the air,” as one of Author Unknown’s poem reports, but, rather than “falling to earth I knew not where,” it kept right on going. The reason I’m sure of this is because I spent half an hour looking for it. This was out in a sandy desert, where fallen arrows are easy to spot. I conclude that my arrow is now either in orbit or has just kept going right on up. Another example, this one from the Bible: Jesus ascended into heaven. I don’t think Sir Isaac Newton could explain that one without having to admit my point, that there are exceptions to every rule, including his law of gravity.
One major exception to the amazing spiritual material you read in the Bible is the Book of Leviticus. I noticed this recently after I ran into a traveling Bible salesman, who gave me a special two-for-the-price-of-one deal: I gave him 75 bucks for a leather-covered, gilt-edged Bible (with Helps), and he threw in a bonus—a schedule for reading the entire Bible in exactly one year.
Genesis, I believe all right-thinking critics would agree, is a fine read. It has everything the reader looks for in a book: explanations (e.g., how we got the world), romance (Adam and his wife chasing each other around in the buff), tragic flaws (Abraham pimping for his wife Sarah), moral examples (Joseph turning down a great chance with Potiphar’s wife), and a surprise but happy ending (Joseph getting even with his big brothers for selling him into slavery and then being able to see his father and kid brother before he dies, full of years).
I got through all of Genesis in two evenings, way ahead of schedule. Exodus started out the same way. The first evening I stormed through the story of Moses and how he led his and God’s people into the Wilderness and ended up with the Ten Commandments. Again, a great read, by and large. I say “by and large” because those commandments were mostly negative. Don’t do this, don’t do that. Fine advice, of course, but where’s the positive attitude? I went to bed expecting that the next evening I would run across what had so far been missing.
Wrong! Six weeks later, I was a month behind schedule. Exodus had been excellent reading, up to a point, specifically to the end of Chapter 20 (I’d give the book as a whole about a C+, maybe a B-), but by the time I’d finished Leviticus I could see that the Bible salesman’s two-for-one deal had been a scam.
Immediately after the Ten Commandments, Exodus launches into what it calls “the ordinances.” In other words, the fine print. Interesting rules, anyone would have to agree, but in my humble, humanly-inspired opinion, quite unnecessary. Take the first rule: “When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing.” This ordinance is followed by contingency plans. For instance, if you give your slave a wife and she bears him children and he comes to love her and them and he decides to remain your slave, you’re required to bore his ear with an awl and he must serve you for life.
Many of us might find all of this offensive, but if you keep reading you’re in for a real shock. Next ordinance: “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.” Followed by additional legal explanations. God must have had a lawyer on call.
Ready for more? Let’s move to the Book of Leviticus, which starts off with the laws governing the burnt offerings (cattle, sheep) that God will find acceptable. This raises all kinds of questions: Does God eat animals? Don’t animals have rights? If you’re a vegetarian, do these laws apply to you?
Later: “You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind.” No reason is given; besides, cattle might have their own ideas. “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” We are not told if this applies to women.
Then: “If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is wickedness; they shall be burned with fire.” One could, I suppose, make a case for this punishment. But then: “If a man lies with a beast, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the beast.” (The same with woman and beast.) This seems to assume that animals have a moral sense. (There is, of course, food for thought in the inconsistency between the ideas that animals have no rights but that they have a moral sense.)
One last ordinance caught my attention. It seems that the Lord told Moses to tell his brother Aaron, who was apparently in charge of priests, that no one could practice priestcraft if he had a blemish. No blind priests, no lame priests, no priests with mutilated faces or arms or legs, no hunchback priests, no dwarf priests, no priests with scabs or crushed testicles.
And what if one doesn’t give a fig about these ordinances? Then the Lord says he “will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.”
Leviticus: a book to avoid.
It was a mere thirteen years ago that God seems to have had a word with His People. The news went largely unreported in the secular media, though it contained a story of His wonder-working powers and strong evidence that He exists and has kept up with modern technology.
On a July Sunday back in 2003, “Strange News” had this headline: “LIGHTNING STRIKES PREACHER WHO ASKED FOR SIGN.” Though the subject of the relation between meteorology and religion is beyond my area of expertise—I rely on the learnéd opinions of my colleague Talia la Musa for such items—my curiosity made me click this headline. I came across the following news story, which I emailed to Ms. Musa, who emailed back that she is currently busy working on the problem of purgatory and urged me to form my own opinion of the story.
“Bolt Hits Steeple, Travels Through Guest Evangelist’s Microphone,” reported a journalist at 1:35 p.m. EDT. The journalist’s source was a member of the First Baptist Church of Forest, Ohio. This anonymous member told the reporter that a guest evangelist was speaking on the subject of repentance when, apparently to make a strident point, he asked God for a sign. Soon thereafter, the steeple of the church was struck by lightning, which proceeded to travel through the microphone, blowing out the sound system and “enveloping” the preacher, who (perhaps miraculously) escaped unharmed.
The evangelistic service then resumed for some 20 minutes, at which point some perceptive member of the congregation noticed that the First Baptist Church was on fire. The building was evacuated, apparently without further incident, except for the $20,000 damage.
When asked to report his impressions of this incident, the member in question is said to have called it “Awesome, just awesome!” He declined to elaborate.
Several of the religions I’ve test-driven put a big emphasis on the idea that Jesus is coming again. They get this idea from the Bible, which says somewhere that we should be prepared for Him. This is probably in the New Testament, which would account for the fact that the Second Coming doesn’t play a big part in the Jewish religion. At least during my five-month stint as a born-again Jew, the subject never came up. The belief seems to be that the Messiah hasn’t even shown up the first time, so why worry about something like the second? There’s some good thinking behind that view.
Anyway, there are these religions based on the belief in a Second Coming. The believers are very Christian, of course, and they spend their lives being good so when Jesus arrives they won’t be caught with their pants down, so to speak.
Maybe you’ve seen these bumper stickers that say things like “In case of rapture, this car will have no driver.” I used to own one of those cars. But I got a lot of satirical comments from agnostics, so I traded that car in for a car that expressed other opinions, like “Save the whales” and “Have you hugged your kid today?” I felt a little guilty about this last one, I have to admit, because I was young at the time and didn’t have any children. Complete disclosure: still don’t, never did.
I talked to my preacher about this guilt thing. He said, “Don’t worry, God will provide,” but by the twinkle in his eye I could tell that what he had in mind in the way of my having kids had more to do with him than with God. If he’d have been better-looking and had a more substantial take-home pay and wasn’t already married I might have bit, but I did the moral thing and quit his church. I was still a believer in the Second Coming, so I didn’t convert to another religion. I just transferred to another church down the block with pretty much the same beliefs.
This new church looked reasonably safe. The preacher must have been about eighty. What impressed me about him was the fact that even at that age he was practically certain that he’d still be around when Jesus came back. You have to admire somebody with those convictions, which he expressed every Sunday morning. In fact, my admiration took me to the point where I figured I’d stick with his church for ten years. If he died before the big event, of course, I’d have to convert to another religion, but that was a chance I was willing to take.
Three months after I made this decision, Jesus hadn’t come back. Questions were beginning to form in my mind. I decided to go have a talk with the reverend.
I asked the old guy about that first bumper sticker. “If Jesus came when I was driving down a residential street at maybe 40 miles per and I got raptured, wouldn’t this be dangerous for the kids on the block?”
I guess he’d never thought about this possibility, because he hemmed and hawed and finally came up with the idea that I couldn’t possibly be charged with manslaughter because I’d be on my way to heaven with Jesus and his entourage.
“But what about the kids?”
“If they’re saved,” he said, “they’ll be rising with you.”
“And if they’re not?”
“Then they’ll be getting what they deserve.”
There’s a certain logic to that argument, I had to admit. Then I went on to some other questions that had been bugging me. What do you say to Jesus when you meet him in the air? “I’m Talia la Musa and I’m pleased to meet you”? “Where are we going?” “Do you provide oxygen masks?” “What’s going to happen to my Jewish friends?” “Is it true that we’ll be having caviar for breakfast?”
I also wanted to know, Will Jesus be giving us quizzes to check our knowledge of Bible verses? What if you don’t speak Hebrew or Greek, will he be able to speak English? Would it be worth my while to learn the sacred languages, I mean would I get extra credit? But what good would extra credit do you if you’ve already made the cut?
I was going to ask the minister another question, but I was too embarrassed: What if you have a fear of heights? It didn’t really matter, though. He’d been having a hard time with my questions and by this time he was fast asleep. Not dead, because he was still breathing. About this time I got to thinking, what if he does die? I might be held responsible by the authorities. Besides, his death would only prove that the Second Coming is a long, long way off, so I’d better get out of this religion and go check out some others.
In my opinion, joining a religion based on the idea that Jesus is about to show up again will only make you a nervous wreck.