An Allegory

A book is on the ground in the middle of a lush green meadow. It is leather bound and although it has been sitting on the ground it seems relatively unscathed. It doesn’t have a title, but the artwork on the front is spectacular. It’s the most beautiful piece of art you’ve ever seen. You, our observer, see a few people walk up to this book and pick it up. They begin reading the book and they are all enthralled by the stories, promises, and lessons encased in it. The passages blow their minds and make them think about the Universe in its entirety, and they finally realize where they belong in the world. But one of them isn’t too impressed. They think the book is contrived, it’s idiotic, the plot doesn’t hold together well, it’s not believable, and some of the characters aren’t that great. Well, in the back of the book there is a provision that reads, “If anyone you come across in your travels doesn’t recognize the wonder that is this tome, you must whip them until they die, or else I will not keep my promises of riches and paradise to you.”

A whip mysteriously pops out of the book, and the person who likes the book the most begins whipping the dissenter. One person originally in the group runs away in fear and disgust. But the rest stay. They watch the whipping take place. Occasionally they will wince and ask the whipper politely not to whip the poor innocent man so hard. The whipper turns to them and says, “Don’t you want all of those wonderful things in the book?” They reluctantly agree, and watch this nightmare go on. With every lash the man suffering this travesty begins to look less like a human and more like a corpse. Blood flies off of the whip, and they’ve been standing there for so long that the grass beneath their feet begins dying. Every drop of blood that hits a blade of grass in the meadow acts like a poison. Although, with every twenty lashes the man receives, one of the believers standing behind the whipping gets hit by the backlash.

A stranger passes by and sees the horror that is taking place in this formerly green pasture and begins shouting at the person delivering the blows. This stranger begs this man to stop. This stranger calls the person doing the whipping an awful human being. The stranger then gets shouted at by the other book believers. They scream, “Why do you hate us?” “our book is peaceful” “you just don’t understand,” and “not all of us are doing this.” Then, they get hit by the backlash and scream “Do you see what you’ve done? This is what happens when you hate us like that. We get hurt.” The stranger desperately tries to explain that he doesn’t hate them, he just wants the whipping to stop. But as soon as those words leak from his lips the man being whipped draws his final breath. His back looks like it has been stripped of all of its skin, the grass has died around him, and the arc that the blood was flying in created a semi-circle of death.

The man with the whip then slowly turns to the stranger, with blood speckled on his face and asks, “Do you like our book?”

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