Kain’s world was shattered. He smiled bitterly as he thought to himself that it was not just his world that was shattered. It was the whole world! He looked out the café window at the people scurrying down the street to avoid the rain that pelted the city. O what a beautiful city it had been, until…
Thess was truly a beautiful city, situated in a beautiful part of the country. Throughout the world, it was known for its clean, bright appearance, and its friendly acceptance of all people who found themselves within its glorious walls. More than that, the city’s greatest achievement, which gained it no small recognition from the rest of the world, was the Academy. The Academy which trained and educated the greatest scholars and followers of God. The Academy of which Kain was one of the most prodigious students.
Through this institution, Kain had learned everything he knew about God. Most specifically, that God is Light. Did not the First Article say so? Kain knew the one hundred and fifty four articles off by heart, yet the First was the foundation of everything.
That God is light means that He is always with His people. That God is light means that His presence is felt in the warm kiss of every ray of sun.
True, God is apart from His people at certain times, such as the night. But that does not matter. Even at night, there are still small lights: the moon, the stars, and thank Heaven for the invention of electric lights! God can be with us at all times.
Its not that light just reminds people of God, God really is light. For being the foundation of everything, the First Article was the shortest: “God is Light.” Everybody knew so.
That is, they did know so until yesterday.
Kain painfully thought through the paper’s headlines as if they were burned in his mind forever: ‘SCIENTIST DISCOVERS TRUE NATURE OF LIGHT’; ‘LIGHT: PARTICLE AND WAVE VS. GOD’; ‘FIRST ARTICLE: FACT OR FICTION?’
Kain reviewed the previous days’ events as if they were a dream. More like a nightmare, he thought to himself. Newspapers, news reporters, and even folks on the street were all saying the same thing: a leading scientist, Vector Alias, had scientifically proven that light was made of particles and waves.
Kain’s musings were interrupted as his friend Jason, a fellow student at the Academy, burst into the café.
“Come quick, Kain,” his friend insisted, “The Academy is calling an immediate council.”
Kain followed his friend out of the café. “What’s the council about?” Kain queried. The two friends headed in the direction of the Academy before Jason responded.
“It’s to decide how to deal with the Scientists.”
“Who?” Kain asked.
“The Scientists,” Jason explained, “those who deny the First Article in favor of that ‘scientific’ hogwash.”
The two entered the Council chamber, and Kain sought out his teacher.
“Master Caleb,” he said with reverence.
“I thought you would be here,” the aged man replied. Master Caleb’s presence always brought peace to a troubled soul, and Kain felt his fears begin to melt under his master’s kind gaze. “Come to hear the pointless bickering of learned men?”
“But Master,” Kain asked, slightly aghast, “Is not the threat that the Scientists” how quickly he had adopted the lingo, “are putting against us a danger that must be quickly remedied.”
“A threat? Yes I suppose you could see it that way. Come, it is starting. Let us find our seats”
The council commenced. A young member of the council rose, showing he wished to speak first.
“Perhaps,” the man began, “all of the articles should not be taken literally? This would lessen the threat Alias and his followers pose.”
This position was met with great applause by some, and loud boos from others.
“But what’s to say which Articles are literal, and which are not?” a middle aged Council member replied. “What’s to stop us from picking and choosing at whim?”
The Council erupted as all members gave their opinions. All, that is, but Master Caleb.
“But does it really matter.” The clear voice rang above the din, silencing it. With all eyes accusingly upon him, the young questioner mumbled something incoherent. It was obvious that the innocent question was not intended in the light it was received.
Jason was on his feet. “Of course it matters,” he shouted, though students were forbidden to speak in Council. “If light is made of particles and waves, that means that light is not the very being of God! The Articles do not say that God is particles and waves. The Articles say that God is light. Period.”
Jason sat to a thundering applause. True, Kain thought, but what about science?
It took several minutes for order to be restored.
“Perhaps the Articles are a form of Ancient reasoning?” called out a nasal voice. “Thus when the Articles were written, the best way to understand God was as light.”
“But why would God tell something that was only true back then, and not true for all ages?” challenged another. “Why would God tell a lie?”
The Counil again erupted into senseless banter. Kain’s head reeled. He could see sense in all these arguments, yet none seemed to be right! Kain thought that Jason was right: you couldn’t neglect what the Articles actually said, for, at the end of the day, all that is left is the actual words on the page.
Kain left the council, determined once and for all to get to the bottom of this matter. As far as he could see, there was no middle ground. You must hold that the words of the Articles are true or that science is true, Kain thought. You can’t have both.
Or can you?
Ж Ж Ж
Kain sat, nervously drumming his fingers, in the empty waiting room outside Vector Alias’ office. Kain knew Alias and his team were wrong, and he was going to get the confession out of the man even if he had to wring it out of him.
Kain’s thoughts were distracted as the waiting room door opened and a slender girl about his own age slipped in. Kain had seen her somewhere before, but he could not remember where. The girl spoke to the woman at the desk and was told to take a seat. As there were only two chairs in the waiting room, Kain’s and one beside it, the girl sat down next to him.
The girl smiled at Kain, and he suddenly remembered where he had seen her. She had begun attending service at his temple a few weeks before, though Kain had never spoken to her.
She must be here for the same reason as me, he thought to himself, as he extended his hand and introduced himself.
“I’m Jezzie,” girl responded to his inquiry. “Actually that’s Jezebel Kirkland, but everybody calls me Jezzie.”
Kain liked this girl’s forthright manner, though he also got the sense that she was not assertive, and was very kind. He tried to think of something to say to keep himself from staring.
“I would have thought this place would be busier,” he said at last, indicating the room around them, “What with all the hype going on.”
“Oh I don’t know,” Jezzie said. She tossed her blonde hair indignantly and went on, “I think people are trying to avoid all contact with people like Dr. Alias.”
Kain had never thought of Alias as a doctor before. He had never realized that someone so learned, so smart, could come up with something so, well, stupid.
“After all,” Jezzie continued, “people shouldn’t blame a scientist for just doing his job.”
Jezzie explained in response to the quizzical look on Kain’s face. “I mean, Dr. Alias has simply discovered the physical attributes of light. Nothing more.”
Kain sat in confused silence as Jezzie’s last speech sank in.
His chair went flying as he leapt to his feet.
“You’re one of them,” he said, pointing an accusing finger at the girl. “You’re one of the Scientists and yet…”
He couldn’t finish the sentence. She attended his temple! The thought of someone mocking his temple in the way the Jezebel had left him speechless.
Jezzie looked at him in bewilderment. “But isn’t that why you’re here? To talk with Dr. Alias about his idea?”
“No,” Kain shouted. “I’m here to get that… that liar” he grated the word through clenched teeth, “to confess that he is just that: a liar.”
Kain slammed the waiting room door behind him as he left.
Ж Ж Ж
Kain walked through the streets of Thess in a turmoil of emotions. He did not know why he had shouted at Jezebel. The girl was kind, and she had said nothing that was even remotely offensive.
Perhaps that was just the problem. She was kind. All his life he had been taught that through following the Articles, one learned kindness, one learned compassion, one learned how to be a person that emanated light and not darkness. Yet here was a girl who denied the First Article, the foundation of all the other Articles. And still she was kind. She even attended his Temple.
This last thought sent Kain spiraling again into his tormented thoughts. The sun was just about to set, and the city was being plunged into darkness. Matches my thoughts, he thought bitterly.
Ж Ж Ж
Kain walked aimlessly up and down streets for nearly two hours without noticing where he was going. When he did finally stop to gain his bearings, he realized that his feet had led him to his apartment. He stared at the door without any desire to go in, for his thoughts had left him still restless, though his walk had left him exhausted.
Someone shouting his name caught his attention. He turned and saw Jason running down the street toward him. He ran to meet his friend.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” Jason said, frantically pulling his friend’s arm. “Come on. It’s finally started.” Jason’s face was ecstatic. He took off running the way he had come, not looking to see if Kain was following.
Not having any idea what was going on, Kain followed his friend down the street.
“What’s finally started?” Kain called.
But Jason didn’t answer, and it was all Kain could do to keep up with this more nimble friend that he left off the questioning for later.
Kain realized that he was been led toward the city’s central square, which was Thess’s largest open space, directly in the center of the city. As they neared the square, Kain could hear the throb of thousands of people shouting. He could also see a yellow glow emanating from the square.
As they rounded the last corner and entered the square, Kain stopped. The square was full of thousands upon thousands of people, all shouting angrily. The roar was deafening. The square was also brightly lit, so bright it seemed like day, in an eerie yellow light produced from thousands of spotlights illuminating the scene.
“We won’t have any darkness tonight,” Jason yelled in his ear. “Come on.”
Jason led the way through the throng of people towards the center of the square. When they arrived, Kain saw a sight that filled him with disgust, and fear. In the center of the square, huddled together amidst the violent mob that was oppressing them was a group of people. As if to counteract the deafening noise, these people sat or stood in perfect silence.
“It’s them,” Jason shouted, again in Kain’s ear.
“Who?” Kains shouted back, slow to pick up on the situation that was unfolding before him.
Jason looked as his friend as if he were dense. “Why, it’s them. The Scientists. Those who deny the First Article. See there is Vector Alias himself.”
Kain followed Jason’s finger to see a man, covered in filth that had been flung at him by the mobs that pressed in on every side. Kain stared at Alias. He was mesmerized by the look on Alias’ face, but he could not understand why. He looked around at the other oppressed people, and he found the same look on all their faces. What was it?
Then he realized. They were not afraid. Surrounded by all of this, and they were still unmoved.
Kain searched the crowd until he found one face he had been looking for since he entered the square.
“Jezzie,” he called, but his voice was drowned out but the thundering noise. He started working his way towards her, calling her name. When he reached her, he grabbed her shoulders. She looked intensely into his eyes, but he could not hold her gaze. He was too ashamed. How could his people do this?
Jason came up beside him and demanded to know what he was doing.
“We’re leaving, Jason. This isn’t right.” Kain started leading the girl out of the mass, but the people surrounding him hemmed them in on all sides.
“Leave the girl, Kain,” Jason ordered, and he shoved Jezzie back. “And you stay where you belong.”
Kain’s left hook caught Jason square in the jaw and laid him out on the street. Things began to take on heat, and the angry crowd surged against Kain and the ‘Scientists.’
The riot police arrived in the nick of time.
Ж Ж Ж
Kain and Jezzie walked hand in hand toward the Academy. They had managed to slip passed the riot police, and they had clasped hands to avoid being separated amidst the confusion. They just hadn’t let go.
Kain was not sure why they had headed for the Academy, but the moment he entered the room of Master Caleb he was glad they had. The peace of the old man’s office immediately let them know they were safe. The two young people sank into unoccupied chairs, while the Master went to prepare them tea. Jezzie was asleep from exhaustion before he returned.
The sun was just rising while Master Caleb and his young student drank their tea. They drank in silence, sharing the warm light that was slowly filling the room.
“Master,” Kain finally pleaded, his emotions spilling out, “how can I? I, who have believed all my life, how can I act like this? These people,” he motioned at Jezebel,” are destroying everything we have believed. Everything God has taught us in the Articles. Yet I cannot fight them. I cannot oppress them. Somehow, I feel as if they are right.”
Master Caleb studied the young man for a minute before he answered. “It is not really a matter of who is right. If we knew who was right, we would not need faith in God.”
“Who told us that God is light?” the old man questioned after a moment. When Kain did not respond, Caleb went on.
“God did! Because we do not have proof that this is true, we can have faith that God is, indeed, light. Is it not true, that no matter how dark the night, it is the hope of Light that gets us through to the dawn. You saw this yourself this evening. All that matters is that we have this hope. Whether God actually shines through in every ray of light or not does not matter. We must ask ourselves; do we really care about being right more than we care about God? Should we really care if God is truly light?”
The old man smiled into the rising sun, and said, almost to himself, “Does He really care?”