Envious of the myriad meanings that the religious extract from their holy books and disappointed by the logical clarity and lack of allegory in atheistic writings – making it impossible to come up with original interpretations of what secularist authors really meant to say –, Daniel Ramalho decided it was time atheists had something akin to a scripture of their own, where their exegetical imaginations could find a worthy challenge.
In the span of 100 texts of exactly 100 words, One Hundred Sins inaugurates an entirely new kind of atheistic literature. Deploying a wide array of literary devices and touching on a plethora of philosophical questions stemming from atheism, it is a treasure trove of thought-provoking, funny, complex, and potentially offensive ideas.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Perhaps ironically, the idea that would become this book came to me when browsing through the Catholic Cathecism. Reading about Heaven, Hell, baptism, saints, the Eucharist and whatnot, I am usually just struck by how wild and unfettered the confabulations of meaning from bible verses one finds there really are, but at that time I realised for the first time that as an atheist, I felt somewhat envious of theologians. Whatever else you might say about what they do, the process of allowing reason to be guided by unbridled imagination into entirely new mental territories must be one of the most intellectually stimulating enterprises in which one can engage.
And so I set out to write a book that would hopefully allow atheists to experience something akin to that. A collection of texts, not entirely independent from one another, each focusing on a specific idea not to explain it, but to open a territory of reflection about it.
The Sacrificial Lamb
‘One of you will betray me.’
The words set the disciples astir. The time had come at last. Jesus would name the traitor in their number.
As He sat pensively in silence, an anxious disciple prompted Him. ‘Lord, who is it?’
‘The one to whom I give this dipped piece of bread,’ He answered.
Overwhelmed, Judas stood up holding the sop. He had not dared dream of such an honor.
‘Do it quickly,’ Jesus commanded.
Judas bowed to the Lord, filled with gratitude. ‘I shall kiss you before the end,’ he thought.
Opening the door, he stepped into the darkness.
Damned in Heaven
How long had he been in Heaven? He couldn’t tell, yet its glory hadn’t waned. Joyful countenances sheened the indwelling peace of the blessed, and angels, the Virgin and God were ever present.
His daughter had died with him in the car crash. That was the last time he ever saw her. He knew she was in Hell but the beatific vision compelled him to happiness and blunted all desire to save her.
Shackled to the eternal horror of living in perfect bliss while his sweet daughter burned, he would forever be damned to wish he could wish for damnation.
Blessed in Hell
Dark flames seared her skin as crook-taloned demons tore at her flesh, mocking her in unknown languages. The motley mob of the damned curdled at the bottom of a skyless canyon whose ground burned red as embers. She knew no solace but knowing her wife was in Heaven.
Until she saw her there, screaming in agony.
They fought to reach one another, kissed with charred lips, and smiled. Eternity in Hell now had a purpose. Entwined in an embrace that would span the ages, each lover’s breasts and belly would forever shield the other’s and could never again be scorched.
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