PLEASE NOTE: This is part two of the story. Part one is online here: http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-laodicians-part-1-rep...
Lev let out a long sigh, and sat down. “That’s a lot to take in, Galina,” he said.
She didn’t notice him, and just kept talking, “We’ve got a fourth epistle from John, but there’s nothing particularly substantial in it, nothing more than Third John. Oh, hey, we’ve got an early draft of John’s Gospel with John’s First Epistle attached to it as a forward! It’s been speculated that it was originally an extended introduction that broke off under its own weight, so to speak, and began to circulate independently. In any event, we’ve managed to recover the missing couple of lines at the end of First John, the stuff after “Guard yourselves from Idols, dear children,” it’s not too impressive, though. Of course we weren’t expecting much there. We’ve now got a third epistle from Peter, and a second one from Jude, and three more from James - no longer any debate about him being Jesus’ brother, by the way - and it seems there was a lot more strife between the Jewish and Gentile wings of the apostles than we suspected.”
Lev looked a little pained, a little white.
“Oh,” Galina said, “We know who wrote Hebrews!”
“Who?” Lev asked, his voice thin.
“Barnabas! Better still, we finally know who Barnabas was!”
“Who was he?”
She wasn’t even pretending to listen, she just rattled on, “We’ve got an epistle from Andrew! We’ve got an epistle that Thomas sent back James from Edesea that is obviously the root of the King Abargus legend, we’ve got Q! We’ve got the freakin’ Quelle! We’ve got the mother f-”
“Stop,” Lev whispered.
“-in’ Quelle! We’ve got…”
Lev got up, walked calmly over to her, grabbed her by the shoulders, looked her in the eye, and plaintively said, “Stop.” She stared at him quizzically. He leaned in, and put his forehead against hers, and very, very quietly, he said “Just stop.” Then he let her go, and stepped back over to the stool.
“Do you believe the Bible?” he asked.
“Of course I do. Everyone does,” she said.
“Do you believe the way you did a couple weeks ago?”
“Of course I do! Of…well…yeah, I guess so. I don’t thi…what’s your point?”
“When I was a kid, my brother took the Bible completely literally, much like our tight-assed friend Bubba does,” Lev said.
“Actually, Bubba doesn’t…”
“Shut up, please,” Lev said. “He - Steve was his name - he had some behavioral problems, and he was able to keep them in check because of his faith in God. He was kind of left brained, though, so there was an ongoing conflict between faith and reason. Eventually, he realized Evolution was true, which meant that Genesis wasn’t true, which meant there wasn’t a God and nothing he believed in was true. It was rough to watch. Rougher still when is…problems came out. He’s spent half his life in jail.”
“That’s nonsense. The Bible doesn’t have to be taken literally, when viewed as an extended series of metaphors…”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, that’s the way I read it, too, Galina, but not everybody is me. Not everybody is you, either. There’s a whole lot of Steves out there. This is going to hurt them.”
“No it’s not!”
“I promise you, it is. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.”
“But this is the truth,” she said.
“I’m not arguing that, but is it news that’s fit to print? Look, you know and I know that we evolved, yes? So why didn’t God tell Moses? Why didn’t He tell Isaiah? Why didn’t Jesus give a lecture on the Big Bang?”
She just stared at him. He continued, “Obviously because they wouldn’t understand it. It wasn’t that all that stuff wasn’t real, it’s that it wasn’t relevant to their lives, it was needlessly confusing, and it didn’t really have anything to do with their salvation. So He let it slide, or at least that’s why I assume He let it slide. I wouldn’t presume to speak for God.”
“Very humble of you,” she said.
“Yeah, unusual for a reporter, I know. I’ve been looking into it. There’s a theory that the Gospels were each written by multiple authors?”
“Yeah! Well, not really a theory anymore, and that goes for Luke, too, we’ve got a complete set of the travelogue material the author culls from whe…”
“Again: Stop,” he said. “Discussing the process whereby the Bible was written makes it a little too human, and raises the possibility that mistakes were made, which casts doubt on faith.”