A few weeks later, I was outside, in the back garden, sitting around the pool, and I must have been daydreaming. Then all of a sudden 3 of 1 was there and handing me a Bible.
But this time as I took it, I said to him. ‘You know that I don’t believe.’
‘So, why do you keep giving me the Bible?’
‘For you to read sir. It’s good to read the Bible. As for whether you believe … that is your choice, sir. The maker doesn’t force anyone to believe.’
Then as 3 of 1 was about to go, I noticed something in his manner. He was clearly uncomfortable with what I had said.
So I said to him, ‘3 of 1.’
‘What is it? What did I say that has made you feel uncomfortable?’
‘Well, sir, whether you believe or not, that is your choice. But I am concerned for you. After all there are consequences behind a lack of belief.’
‘Yes sir. Our creator loves us. And he loves us so much that he has given us freedom to choose. Indeed, we are free to believe or not. So much so, that if we want nothing to do with him, then he is duty bound to honour that request. That’s true love, sir, no matter how much it may hurt him. And many people in this world are quite happy with that arrangement.’
Then 3 of 1 continued, ‘But what happens next, when we die? Well, he can hardly let us into his kingdom, if we’ve told him we want nothing to do with him. And that’s why I worry about you, sir. You are free to choose, but have you really thought through what lack of belief really means? After all, where do you want to go when you die?’
And with that, 3 of 1 left, leaving me mulling over his remarks. To begin with I couldn’t help wonder how an android could be concerned about death and the afterlife. And I made a mental note, to talk to 3 of 1 more about that another time. But as his remarks began to sink in, I got this horrible sinking feeling in my stomach, as I began to think about my own mortality, and where I thought I might be going.
Now to say that I was a bit rattled, would be an understatement, and for the next few days 3 of 1’s words stayed constantly in my mind. After all, where did I want to go when I died?
Like most people, I believed that when I died I would go to heaven, and no matter what I had done I believed that God would forgive me. But that was not the implication of 3 of 1’s words. No, 3 of 1 had implied that those who have no time for God in this world will not end up in heaven. 3 of 1 had not said where they would be going instead. But a picture of a place without God—without love and goodness and meaning and hope—came readily to mind. And I wondered, if that were true, how many of my family and friends had found themselves in that other place rather than with God.
Now I think at that stage I panicked. And I looked up at the sky and said to God, ‘I believe! I believe!’ But nothing happened. I was hoping for a sense of relief at least. But nothing. And deep down I knew that I still didn’t really believe. All I wanted to do was to avoid the possibility of going to the wrong place.
A few days later, I mentioned it to 3 of 1 again.
‘3 of 1,’ I said. ‘You remember that conversation about the afterlife?
‘Do you remember talking about people missing out on heaven—you know, the people who don’t believe here and now?’
‘Well, I’ve been thing about it, and it’s been worrying me. How does one make sure that they go to heaven rather than the other place? That is, if there is another place?’
‘There assuredly is, sir. A most dreadful place, full of people who did not have time for God in this word.’
‘So, how do make sure you go to the right place? What do you have to do?
‘Yes, what do you have to do?’
‘It’s not something you do, sir? Nothing that you can do will make you fit to go to heaven. You simply have to believe.’
‘Believe? But I’ve tried that. I’ve told God that I believe, but it made no difference.
‘But did you really believe, sir? After all, saying you believe is not the same thing as actually believing. You have to really believe?’
‘But how do you do that?’
‘You have to trust in Jesus, sir. You have to put your whole life in the hands of Jesus now. You have to trust him in this life, then he will see you through to the next.’
‘I don’t know that I can do that, 3 of 1.’
‘Well, that’s your choice, sir. I just hope that you can change your mind.’ And with that, he handed me the Bible to read, and left.
Posted: 15th September 2018
© 2018, Brian A Curtis