Quick Warning on New Ageism

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I am seeing this a lot lately. A feel good platitude. A slogan. A new age, anything goes, faux-zen-enlightened bumper sticker. Upon close examination, it doesn’t hold water. I hope those who consider their salvation can think past this, and truly don’t hang their eternal souls on the slogans of new age inclusiveness. Especially since this mess of a poster violates the law of non-contradiction about six ways from Sunday. Unfortunately, most people will grab such slogans, like “the bible was just written by men”, or “God can’t make a stone so big He can’t lift it”, or “separation of church and state”, and compile them as a world view. They will then comfortably walk through life, believing wholeheartedly in a world view they spent no time investigating. H.G. Wells said this about our contemporary lives as it concerns people’s resounding inaction regarding the preciousness of life:

“But in these plethoric times, when there is too much coarse stuff for everybody and we struggle for life takes the form of competitive advertisement and the effort to fill your neighbor’s eye, there is no urgent demand either for personal courage, sound nerves or stark beauty, we find ourselves by accident. Always before these times the bulk of people did not overeat themselves, because they couldn’t, whether they wanted to or not, and all but a very few were kept “fit” by unavoidable exercise and personal danger. Now, if only he pitch his standard low enough and keep free from pride, almost anyone can achieve a sort of excess. You can go through contemporary life fudging and slacking, never really hungry nor frightened nor passionately stirred, your highest moment a mere sentimental orgasm, and your first real contact with primary and elemental necessities the sweat of your deathbed.”

If we research, even lightly, the veracity of this poster’s statement, we will find it severely lacking in truth. Without even addressing the glaringly obvious, commandment-breaking image of putting one of the million false Hindu gods on an even plane with Jesus Christ, God and Lord, creator of all things, we will ask were they all merely teachers of love? Does this discount the necessity of judgement, and offer only pleasure with no recognition of sin, and therefore render our desperate need for grace and Christ moot?  There is a flood to square with, as well as the destruction of Sodom, and the Canaanites, and the existence of hell. Does escaping the reality of a promised judgement for sin require us to simply pick a teacher/deity we like, and try to be loving?  And if you have been following along on my series, you know by now that other gods, other religions, don’t come close to the loving God of the bible. For more on that, please read through that, but one quick example for you is in the year 627; Muhammad decapitated 900 Jewish men in front of their families, and ordered troops to rape women, and enslave them. This was the last Jewish tribe in Medina. Ransoms and beheadings were common place. So judging by these actions, as well as other conquests in the name of Allah, to say nothing of polygamy, and the consummation of a marriage with a 9 year old, was Muhammad a teacher of love, like our feel-good poster suggests? Or were his actions self-serving?

What about Buddhism? Very zen and peaceful, yes? The value of human beings must be quite high in their thinking, right? An interesting story, since we are on the subject, has to do with the killing fields of Cambodia. The maimed and injured were pouring in to medical camps run by Christian missionary volunteers. The country was filled with Buddhists, but Christians were there in droves helping the wounded, ministering to the sick and dying. The Christians asked the local doctor why the Buddhists, considering their peace-filled worldview,  weren’t here helping any of the refugees, and why was it only European and American Christians. He said it was because in Buddhism, it is believed that karma determines your fate, and that these suffering people must have earned these troubles in a past life. It was their Karmic fate that brought them to this, not the sin of a fallen world. So they felt no obligation to help or “love” as our poster suggests.

Perhaps we can find love of people in a place that favors Hinduism, such as India? India, where rats swarm crops, decimating sometimes up to 50% of the food grown for the citizens there. The result of course is famine, and the poor health of India’s massive population. But in years past, they have continually chose not to exterminate these rats. Why? Because in their religion, these rats may be the reincarnated ancestors of peoples’ families, so their lives are important as well. As we zoom out and logically consider this world view, we can ascertain that these rats are being given equal consideration and worth as the human beings in Hindu culture. Even at the expense of their lives.

Does this reflect the same love as our Creator God? A love so great that He declares He knows every hair on your head? That He made you in His image? He came to earth to die for you? Do you sense your value as a son or daughter of the Lord, as compared to other world views? It is interesting that for all the bumper sticker slogans we have, when you get down to it, there is one God of love, and there is the harsh reality of other religions, and how much they devalue life. In these others, upon actual examination, you will find the worth of people on par with animals (Hindu), left to the fate of the universe (Buddha), solely dependent upon the whim of a conquesting god (Islam), or completely fluid based on moral relativism (New Age). The truth is much more beautiful, and hopeful, and yes, loving, then the slogan. But, this does not dismiss us from having to consider the truths of a holy God. That with perfect love, we must also examine perfect judgement. Both infinite attributes of a perfect Creator. So again we say, “determine your salvation with fear and trembling” – Phil 2:12

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Islamic Extremism Part 3

When the world’s intelligence agencies arrive at the 15-25% of Muslims who are supporters of extremist thought, we must ask ourselves what constitutes extremism. As mentioned in Part 2, to have a barometer at all in regards to extreme action, evil, and sin, we must have an objective standard of good. As a Christian this standard is derived from the Word of God. With only moral relativism as our guide to determine what is right and wrong, we would be reduced to mere opinion, and those who carry the biggest stick will ultimately determine the rules for those around them. This is precisely why America, and before that England, were founded upon common law, and God given rights.

That being said, if we use this as a basis for what is right in God’s eyes, rather than man’s eyes (Judges 17:6 In those days … every man did that which was right in his own eyes),  we can determine what is extreme, or evil. The most obvious one is of course blatant terrorist acts, such as the planes crashing in to the towers on 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting, suicide bombers, the Boston bombing, the truck crashing through pedestrians in Nice, and many others. This is out-and-out murder, and it is quite obvious this behavior should not be condoned, which most American Muslims do not. However, it is interesting to note that though most Muslims are not terrorists, terrorists garner much of their support from governments and citizens who support them. These would be people who believe in Sharia law, and condone things such as suicide bombers, and honor killings.

For reference, here are a few key rules of the legal system of Sharia:

  • Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand (above).
  • Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
  • Criticizing Muhammad or denying that he is a prophet is punishable by death.
  • Criticizing or denying Allah, the god of Islam is punishable by death.
  • A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
  • A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
  • A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
  • A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
  • Girls’ clitoris should be cut (Muhammad’s words, Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
  • A woman can have 1 husband, who can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
  • A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
  • A man can unilaterally divorce his wife; a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
  • A divorced wife loses custody of all children over 6 years of age or when they exceed it.
  • Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
  • A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
  • A woman’s testimony in court, allowed in property cases, carries ½ the weight of a man’s because she “might forget”.
  • A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
  • A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
  • A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
  • Meat to eat must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah – i.e., be “Halal”.
  • Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
  • A woman captive of jihad may be forced to have to sex with her captors (now owners).

According to latest intelligence, 50% of the 200 million Muslims in Indonesia believe in strict Sharia law. 65% of the 80 million Muslims in Egypt want strict Sharia law placed in every Muslim country. 76% of Pakistan’s 179 million Muslims wish to place Sharia law in all Muslim Countries. Bangladesh is home to 150 million Muslims. 25% of them have said that suicide bombings are sometimes justified. With as much respect to peaceful Americans I can muster, I must logically conclude that this mindset is extremist in nature. If someone disagrees, I would be curious to hear the reasons why. By the way, 82% of them want strict Sharia law, and more specifically stated that honor killings of Muslim women can sometimes be justified. There are 54 million in Nigeria for Sharia, 62 million in Iran, 23 million in Turkey. All of Afghanistan (99%). In Jordan, Hamas, the anti-Israeli terrorist organisation has a 60% approval rating. I could go on and on (video summary by Ben Shapiro, and article), doing this with each country where Muslims have a majority. If we look at facts, determine our criteria to define extremism based on freedom, love, and grace, or more specifically on an absolute moral law regarding how to treat one another, as you can see we arrive at far more than 25% of the Muslim world who adhere to extremist beliefs. We are in fact in the 100’s of millions, unless someone wishes to defend Sharia as normative behavior.

The question isn’t whether or not Islam is violent. The question is, what do its followers believe? Because, as we know from teaching creation vs evolution, what you believe determines how you behave. A much more poignant and divisive question might be, why do so many believe this way? Where does this teaching stem from. For that we must compare Islam to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and determine just how so many are being influenced by what they believe to support evil. Again, I do not mean to be insulting, and if someone wishes to defend these actions as not evil, I am all ears. But my ardent wish is that Muslims will see the love and power of Jesus Christ through the gospels, and turn from Islam to the one true savior. I know this isn’t a popular notion here in America, and is looked at with disdain, and narrow-mindedness. But truth is difficult, and I don’t follow Christ because it is easy. I follow Him because it is truth. Christ Himself stated in Luke 12:51, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.” The truth is divisive, and as stated in part 2, tolerance can be a disguise for indifference.

In the final Part, we will examine why these beliefs are prevalent. Does Islam and the Quran promote such extremist thinking?

 

Islamic Extremism Part 2

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and over 8 million in the United States of America. To marginalize their numbers, or their hearts and beliefs, especially in a democratic republic that touts the civil liberty of freedom of religion, would be to fail in our mission to be the light of the world, a beacon on a hill. Prejudices, intolerance, hate, these are characteristics of fallen man, and are present throughout all of human history. This is why living in a republic can alleviate some of the failures of man, since governance is dictated by law, not by mob rule, public opinion, or dictatorial fiat.

Regardless of how well we have traditionally achieved following it, the law states that we do indeed have a freedom to practice religion, regardless of who agrees with it, as long as that religion is not infringing on the rights of others. It is this author’s opinion that the vast majority of Muslim Americans think this way, respect this approach, and the insinuation that all Muslims are prone to terrorism is a hurtful insult. In speaking with friends, or to the public, there is always tension between those who presume Muslims are all violent,  and those who may know some personally, fully realizing that the family or friends they know do not fit an extremist reputation. So do we… should we… have the uncomfortable conversation about where this reputation comes from?

The reputation comes from the same place that America’s reputation comes from when Europeans are asked about us. Known as silly, rude, debaucherous, self-entitled, America’s reputation comes from the loudest of us. Those that make the most noise, make the most ruckus, and in turn are highlighted most in the media and on-line. In a most similar fashion, the reputation of Muslim extremism comes from those acting out, in obviously horrible ways, according to their interpretation of Quran, their holy book they revere and follow. Only the events that spawn from these extremist individuals and groups are more than loud bravado. They are terrorist events.

Now, it is argued over how many of the 1.6 million Muslims could be considered extreme. If you listen to Hollywood, those who choose to terrorize wouldn’t fill a AAA baseball stadium. But latest intelligence reports suggest that between 15-25% of the Muslim community is extreme in its thinking. This means that between 240,000,000 and 400,000,000 people exist in the world that are dedicated in though and action towards the destruction of the Western World, i.e. those who are not Muslims, infidels, such as Christians, Jews, and others. In many cases, extremism is directed towards other Muslims who do not share the same brand of thinking, who do desire peace, but who are not spared.

400,000,000 people. I dare say this is more than can fit in a stadium. It is in fact more people than all of those who currently reside in the United States. So yes, I agree that this does not reflect the silent majority. But as always, we must look back through history and honestly discuss the reality of silent majorities. For example: Germany’s peaceful majority were not able to prevent the deaths of 60 million in WWII, 14 million of whom died in concentration camps (over 6 million Jews); Communist Russia’s peaceful majority were not able to stop Russia from killing 20 million of its own people; Communist China’s peaceful majority were not able to stop the killing of 70 million people; Japan prior to WWII had a peaceful majority that were not able to stop the slaughter across south eastern Asia of 12 million souls; Korea 3 million, Iraq 900,000, and Cuba, Syria, and so on, and so on…

But what criteria do I decide as an individual, or we as a country, that a certain mindset is “extremist” in nature. An excellent question. The answer if you are an atheist is, absolutely none! There is no logical means to determine an objective moral law in regards to anyone’s behavior if there is no standard. This is the true danger of moral relativism. Those who are in charge determine what is right and wrong. And depending on who is in charge, and how they feel about various issues, right and wrong can sway with the times, with mob rule, with the desires of the human heart, until even suggesting a society base its laws upon an objective morality would be an exercise in futility. Do you care for an example? In Turkey, this very week, a new bill proposed by the Turkish parliament will allow those who rape underage children to be pardoned for the crime as long as they marry the victim after the act.

Without a moral standard, who can clearly state that this is wrong? That this isn’t just how a certain pocket of people evolved, and within the borders of that sovereign nation, they have the freedom to conduct their society as they see fit? If this disturbs you, that means you have the sense of an objective moral law written on your heart. It is there, and according to the bible, it is written there by God. He has given us a standard, through His word.

This is the difference between freedom adjudicated via our God given rights,  versus freedoms granted to us by leaders, or by false teachings. We’d better be sure of whose morality we are approving. I would reiterate that the reputation of some does not give us the right to paint all with the same brush. But is it fair to ask tough questions? To point to obvious truths? To existing deviations from an objective moral standard? Some would declare this to be bigoted. Racist. But how long can the malignant growth of evil continue to not be challenged under the guise of kindness, before the voices of the suffering, and the dead will be heard? If your cry of tolerance keeps you from acknowledging evil, then your tolerance is simply disguised indifference.

In the next part, we will discuss, using an objective moral standard, what behaviors are extreme, and where they stem from.

For the Islamic Conflict Part 1,   click here. 

For Islamic Terror in Nice,  click here.

For “There is only One Race” is Racist, Click Here.

For God vs god (Biblical vs Quran), Click Here.

Islamic Extremism Part 1

This hot-button topic is an issue close to my heart for several reasons, and I feel should be studied by Christians, though it is difficult  for westerners to get their arms around. I am not a historian, I am a Biblicist, and a writer, so there isn’t any historical expertise that I can add to the already dense volumes of geopolitical commentary that exist. But today we will take a look at the strained relationship between Islam and Israel, and try to determine a Christian mindset in regards to the matter. Antisemitism seems rampant as of late, and springs up furiously, without warning far too often. The bible does say,

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs [along with Israelites] according to the promise.” – Galatians 3:26–29

and

” But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,  do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.  Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”  That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.” – Romans 11: 17-21

and of course, the well known

“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:3

We as Christians are grafted into the root of Israel as believers. It is interesting to note that the olive tree does very well taking grafts and incorporating them into the original plant. In this way we are heirs of what was promised to Israel, to Abraham. Not only this, but in studying and revering God’s word, we would be remiss to not acknowledge that these scriptures we hold so dear, both Old and New Testament, were delivered to us from the Holy Spirit through His chosen people. Israel, its profits, and apostles are the very people God used to write the Bible and love the world. The reverence we should have for that alone is beyond measure, in my thinking.

Now, these articles are not political in nature, though often, political actions very much have theological implications. That being said, it is evident to anyone paying attention that the current administration of the West, along with the actions of the U.N. have as of late been extremely biased against Israel. There are 193 countries that belong to the United Nations, and time and time again, despite Israel’s democratic processes, free press, women’s rights,  food innovations, incorporation of other cultures besides Judaism (one fifth of Israel is Muslim), and a military that goes to lengths beyond any the world has known to prevent unnecessary deaths while acting in its defense, Israel is continually reported on as an offender of human freedom. Reported on 5 times more than Syria, 16 times more than Iran, and when compared to China, and their denying of basic freedoms to over 1 billion people, China has never been reported on once by the U.N.

The U.S.A. sends $440 million  to the Palestinian Authority Unity Government, which includes Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two state sponsored terrorist organizations, and who broadcast on television and radio how Allah wants the Jews to be killed, a typical broadcast in that area.

And in the midst of all this, we have bad people on both sides, as war tends to bring out aggression, the worst of people, and creates a basis for rationalizing violence. I don’t think anyone, even Israel herself, would deny that atrocities occur from there citizens too, and not just Palestinians.

So let us look at one. A Jewish extremist group kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian boy recently. It was in the papers. The reaction of the citizens of Israel was telling, as they were mortified that this injustice happened. No one is vying to name streets after this group. They are to be rounded up and prosecuted for their crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Some have already been arrested as the horrified Jewish citizens looked on.

As a reaction, a Palestinian group kidnapped and killed three Jewish boys. The reaction was telling. Hamas celebrated the heroes who committed the crime. They ran ads in their paper with pictures of the three boys, and called them rats that had been exterminated. The crowds cheered at the murders.

We fund them.

Not just in the Middle East, but in various places in the western world, college campuses, New York streets, on line, mentioning Israel as our democratic ally, supporting their defense, and loving them as brothers under the one true creator God, garners a caustic backlash of hate, a deep-seeded anger, and is often followed with shouts of ridicule such as “%&$@ Israel!”

But Israel does not practice convert-or-kill policies. They do not stand behind the mantra of “No Recognition, No negotiations, and No Peace” from the 1967 Sudanese meeting. The motto of Hamas is, “We love death as much as the Jews love life.” In Mosul, in July 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group gave Mosul’s Christians 48 hours to decide to flee or die. As a method of governance, Homosexuals are beheaded, hanged and stoned in modern Saudi Arabia and Iran, where Muhammad’s laws are applied most strictly.

I do not pretend that all Muslims are violent. In fact, I have a great love for the Muslim people, and wish greatly for their conversion to Christianity, and the one true savior, Jesus Christ. This is happening in great numbers, by the way, despite the constant threats of violence. But the world’s hate towards Israel, I will continue to not understand. It is so obviously misplaced, overreaching, and pervasive, I have to wonder if  this is not due to spiritual forces, rather than any intellectual argument. But as a Christian, I will continue to speak on their behalf, in love, and continue to stand with Israel and the Jewish nation, for whom I have a tremendous love and respect. If I am hated by my friends and acquaintances for this, then so be it.

___________

UPDATE: At the zero hour of his departure from the White House, it was discovered that Obama funneled an additional 221 million to Palestinian Authorities as he was leaving, furthering the support of known terrorist supporters. A global survey of Muslims by the Pew Research Center has found that Palestinian Arab Muslims polled the highest in favor of suicide bombings as a justifiable means “to defend Islam.” The poll also found that 89 percent of Palestinian Muslims favored sharia becoming “the official law of the land.”

While women in the U.S. lament his departure, praise his actions for civil rights, and march in the streets for the cause of women, he has chosen to further fund the oppression of Muslim women. Irony abounds.

Islamic Extremism Part 2

Islamic Extremism Part 3

Islamic Extremism Part 4

 

 

Introduction- The Last Saint

the-last-saint      The off-duty soldier finished the note, quickly shoving it
between the pages of a diary. A true paper journal, not
the holographic Sky-pad that left nothing sacred. Walking from the coffee shop, he noticed the pursuers for the second time
that day. When coupled with the recurring presence of the drone,
just a shimmer in the sky, it was obvious that this was not
random. Though he exemplified a casual stroll, his heart raced
nonetheless. Gaining distance without being conspicuous wasn’t
easy. They looked so strange, he thought. They were singularly
focused on him. They chose not to break cover in the crowd,
showing some semblance of logic and restraint, however
anything longer than a glance would prove that the twisted
creatures following Lincoln were not mere commuters. The
sporadic, twitchy movements and dead eyes challenged the
camouflage of normalcy. These two were off.
He slipped into the local post office. Waiting in line was a
toe-tapping, knuckle-cracking nightmare; each second felt like
days, but at least there was cover. He kept checking the
windows—glancing, watching for their status to change. Yet the
two followers were content to mill around outside and not draw
attention as they surveilled the building. Lincoln wondered what
type of confrontation they had in mind. If this was base he’d have
a 10 mm XM17 on his hip, and if running an op, full tactical gear,
Armor Survivability Kit, and Rail Rifle. But protocol in Jerusalem
during peacetime dictated foreign soldiers be unarmed within
the city. All that was left, then, was a mind no longer trustworthy.
The world had come loose from its moorings. Was the beginning
of the end imminent? The book had conjecture, yes. Supposition,
even. But it couldn’t possibly be the upstart this attention
suggested, could it? Unless he was onto something, and the diary
was striking too close to the truth for the powers that be to
ignore. The sluggish line finally ended at a counter where he
forced the diary into an envelope. Addressed to his wife, Olivia, it
T he off-duty soldier finished the note, quickly shoving it
between the pages of a diary. A true paper journal, not
the holographic Sky-pad that left nothing sacred. Walking
would ship out to their small condo in the states. She would not
understand it.

Olivia never believed as Lincoln did. He would come home
from church or from a class and start pouring out facts and bits
of trivia, only to see his wife’s eyes glaze over as if to say, “Here
he goes again.” She would almost roll them, but after many years
of eye rolls and witnessing the disappointment that followed, a
practiced gaze of empathy had been perfected. They found this
city, and uncovered that temple, and it all fits with the Bible… he
would explain, with Olivia counting down the seconds until
Lincoln jacked into the home’s office-hub to pour it all into his
book—his diary. The end of these enthusiastic monologues were
always met with a great sigh. Now, after seven years of marriage
broken up by three military tours, there was palpable spiritual
distance between the two. To feel emotional oneness and
physical compatibility only to be denied the spiritual closeness
he yearned for was frustrating. But he did love her. They kept
putting off the possibility of kids. She didn’t want to force God on
a child. Instead, did a child not deserve to grow up without the
mindset of the parents? To be free to think as he or she pleases?
Lincoln, conversely, passed all of his views and opinions through
a biblical filter, and there was no separating them. As time went
on, they had found it tougher to joke and be playful; tougher to
make financial decisions; tougher to agree on the social issues of
the day. Olivia always considered the Bible just a bunch of
stories, and it was baffling to her how an intelligent man like
Lincoln could buy into such ludicrous tales. But he was in love
with a fantasy, so she chose to navigate around it as if it were
merely an obsessive hobby. But it was changing him. Changing
them. There was enmity now, an invisible chasm that neither
could stitch together.

He practically flung the diary at the open mouth of the
mail-bot when departing the post office. The two unusual men
wasted no time reestablishing the tail, following Lincoln north
into the marketplace. They did a decent job blending with the
crowd, but their intensity escalated proportionately with
Lincoln’s speed. And adrenaline will certainly quicken the feet.

“I need my pistol.” As he spoke the words aloud, the gravity
of the situation bubbled over into fear. Deciding it was time to
take the chance, he blasted into a run like a bolt from a crossbow,
ducking through the shopkeepers’ alleyways and corridors. The
tail followed suit, and between breaths he heard their snarling.
Those wet, grotesque mouths. And did they file their teeth? Why
are they so pale? Another joined the chase, forcing the footrace
into a sprint that slipped past clothes racks and knocked over the
local street vendors’ food pyramids. The pretense was fully shed.
They were coming.

The army reserves had inspired an athleticism in Lincoln
that never left. So many miles logged—both running and
marching—so many iron plates lifted. He and Olivia excelled in
physical fitness and agility. On the spiritual battlefield things
weren’t always eye to eye, but their training had always been
magical. Olivia ran and kick boxed; Lincoln preferred climbing
and cycling. When they’d lift weights together, the healthy
competition was fierce. So, why were these pursuers gaining? He
was fit, strong, and able to perform at a moment’s notice. How
were these pale, wheezing figures closing ground? Digging for
every iota of physical prowess created no extra space. All speed
and screaming, like rabid animals, the creatures hurdled the
same carts and threaded the same lines of bystanders. Their
body types were not fit, but after blocks of running, none tired,
save Lincoln. And through it all, they howled the whole way.

Tight corridors in this sprawling mess of an ancient city
were almost impossible to navigate, even if one wasn’t in a
panicked dead run. For Lincoln, the decision to cut left down an
alley proved the last one he would ever make and brought a swift
end to his growing ministry. The old stone wall demised the alley
halfway down, preventing any chance of escape. The frothing
men that plowed beyond physical capability were immediately at
his back, celebrating the hopeless dead-end with fury through
burning lungs. Scanning the grounds for a weapon proved
fruitless, as the rooftops began to fill with more manic, pale
bodies. What had he uncovered? Lincoln turned to face the first
three, sweating and breathing through his mouth. Swimming
through his mind were hundreds of things he would never get to
do. Kiss Olivia again. Drive that Ford Scythe that he had his eye
on. Be a dad.

The possessed men got close, throwing their arms open
and spreading across the width of the alley while intermittently
rifling off shrill, piercing screams. It was like the sound of a train
grinding on its rails to stop. He could see their eyes now. Grayed
out. Dull, but focused. On him. Cracked lips pursed in savagery,
revealing teeth that were certainly formed for scaring, or tearing,
or both. A shriek descended almost on top of him, followed by
another, preventing focus in any one direction. They threw
themselves down from the roofs. The first body landed to his
right with a thud. The flat smack against the stone jarred and
severely winded it. It clawed the ground with great gasps, too
damaged to rise up. The second hit behind Lincoln with the
snapping sound of a large branch. That was its leg, no doubt.
Another jumped from a roof, landing behind the three in the
alley. The ones that had fallen were frenzied and bleeding. The
closest was a convulsing, writhing mess attempting to close the
gap by standing on its shattered leg. Lincoln smelled its rage and
frustration. The other wheezed and clawed along on its belly,
desperate despite how badly its body had been impacted. Lincoln
looked up as the rooftops filled. The drone had called in his
position. So many converging. Some were women. Some barely
more than children.

Lincoln harbored no delusions as the mob circled. This was
where his story ended. He fought the good fight, but was
overpowered in that lonely alley by sheer numbers and surreal
strength. Teeth sank in, elbows and fists rained down, damage
hailed from every direction. A torrent of strikes landed with
maddening force, taking his consciousness and filling his every
sense with thick destruction. His last thought before all went
black was of Olivia. But not in fondness. In worry. He muttered
his last words, “Please God, count her among your sheep.”

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