Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Christian-Like Town

In the middle of a town filled with mostly poor people, there lived a man named Gottfried, along with his wife, Mattie and his son, Junior.  Every month they threw a party for ten children of the town, with a different ten children each month, as their goal was to reach as many young ones as possible with their message.  As far back as the parents and grandparents of the town could remember, there had always been someone named Gottfried in the town, fulfilling the same important role.  Visiting Gottfried was a tradition, an accepted right of passage; a purpose for life itself.  

When the children were called to Gottfried’s house the parents faithfully but fearfully let them go.  For the most part they trusted Gottfried, because they had also gone to his house when they were small.  They knew this was a defining moment in their children’s lives.

The ten children all got along well and were excited to visit Gottfried and Junior, because they heard that Gottfried’s wife was a wonderful baker!  Their parents informed them they would get cake, ice cream and candy - delicacies that were not available in their poor town.  No one knew where Mattie got her ingredients for the sweets and they assumed it was through magic.  Gottfried’s parties seemed like the best opportunity for children to have wonderful treats, but the parents told the children they must be good and obey Gottfried or they would not be allowed to eat the treats. 

The children also wanted to see Mattie in the flesh, because they knew Gottfried was married, but although they saw Gottfried get the mail, they never noticed Mattie outside.  There was a rumor about Mattie, but the parents did not share it with the children, because they did not want the children to hear the bad parts of their town’s customs.  It was said that Mattie was once a child who came to one of Gottfried’s parties, and when she fell asleep before going home, Gottfried magically impregnated her - and Junior was the result.  The parents convinced themselves that regardless of Mattie’s situation, they were doing the right thing to send their children to the party.  After all, they themselves gained eternal life from attending the party, and since they remembered how good the cake and ice cream tasted, they wanted their kids to have such an opportunity too. 

On the day of the party, when the children arrived at Gottfried’s house, Gottfried and Junior invited them into the Front room, introduced themselves as the great, all-knowing and all-powerful Gottfried and Junior, and set out the rules for the party. Each child was assigned a number from 1 through 10, so it would be easier for Gottfried and Junior to identify them.  The ten children must profess their love for Gottfried and Junior, and once a month, they must bring whatever money they can afford to give and put it in Gottfried’s mailbox.  After telling the children these rules, Gottfried and Junior said that the children must earn the right to be allowed in the Party room and eat goodies.  Also, one year from today, Gottfried and Junior will judge the children and will award each worthy child a certificate entitling him or her a life with unlimited sweet treats after death.  Gottfried and Junior insisted that the children must believe in life after death, even if they have never heard of such a concept before.  If they do not believe in eternal life after death, they will burn eternally after they die. Gottfried made it clear that he is all-seeing and he will know if the children do not follow the rules.  Child No. 9 and Child No. 10 felt something was wrong with the idea of life after death, because they just thought people died and rotted away.  They also wondered why these men who claimed to be all knowing could not even remember the children’s names.

Child No. 10 did not like Gottfried and Junior’s personalities and was not about to pretend to love them.  Junior noticed Child No. 10’s attitude and told Child No. 10 that he had better straighten up and follow commands, or he would be punished.  Child No. 10 had a feeling he would not be able to avoid punishment for long.
Gottfried and Junior took the children into the next room, called the Test room.  All the children were required to take one test today.  A beautiful cake had been placed on a table in the middle of the Test room.  The children would be left inside the room for one hour with the cake, but no one could eat it.  Gottfried and Junior explained that if the children refrained from eating the cake for an hour, they would be led to another room with games and fun times and all the cake, ice cream, cookies and candy they wanted as their reward for abstaining from eating this forbidden cake. 

Gottfried and Junior left the room.  They sat and watched the children from a secret double mirror on the wall.  The children’s stomachs rumbled as they tried to keep from eating the cake.  It had been so long since they had eaten anything remotely sweet tasting!  Child No. 1 through Child No. 6 obeyed the commands and did not eat the cake; however, Child No. 5 and Child No. 6 talked badly about Gottfried and Junior, and said they wish they had never been told the rules.  Child No. 8 and Child No. 9 sneaked a little icing from around the edges of the cake, hoping it would not show.  Child No. 10 took a handful of the cake, saying he did not care.  He told the other children that he did not like this party and that Junior gave him the creeps!

After the hour was over, Gottfried and Junior came back into the room and divided the ten children.  Child No. 1 through Child No. 4 earned the right to enter the Reward room because they did not say anything bad and did not eat any cake. The children were shocked that Gottfried and Junior knew about the little frosting swipes and the few negative comments made in the Test room.  Most of them decided Gottfried and Junior really did have special powers.  Gottfried and Junior led Child Nos. 1-4 to the Reward room and gave each child a hug just before entering the room. 

Child Nos. 1-4 were busy eating massive amounts of sweets and having a wonderful party.  They did not ask about the other children out of fear they would taken back out of the Reward room.  Meanwhile, the other children were escorted back to the Front room, where the six “left-behind” children were punished by being pinched as hard as possible by Junior, but just in places where pinch marks would not show.  They were told not to tell their parents anything about being pinched, but to insist that they loved Gottfried and his son and had a great time at the party.

Gottfried and Junior said they had one more activity for the children to witness.  Junior would be whipped in front of the children by Gottfried to demonstrate how Junior was willing to go through pain for the children’s sakes.  Gottfried and Junior insisted the children watch so they will understand the love Junior has for them.  Gottfried whipped his son, Junior, ten times - once for each child.  With each stroke of the whip, Junior yelled in pain, and Gottfried proclaimed, “Listen to how much he is sacrificing for you!  He is saving you!  All you have to do is love him!”  Child Nos. 1 through 4 truly thought Junior was sacrificing himself for the sake of the children; Child Nos. 5, 6 and 8 did not want to see it and tried to keep their heads turned, Child No. 7 tried looking through Gottfried with her x-ray vision, but was not successful and figured it was due to his hardened core, and Child Nos. 9 and 10 could not figure out how beating a person will help any of the children.

After the beating, Junior had his wounds attended to by Mattie, and then stood in front of the children and talked about eternity.  Child Nos. 1-4 could “feel eternity” and it felt good.  Child No. 1 and Child No. 2 wanted to be in eternity right now!  Child Nos. 5 and 6 had mixed feelings.

To close the party Gottfried and Junior told the children that all of them still had a chance to have eternal life.  In one year, there will be another party that all ten children will be required to attend.  Each child will again be judged individually.  Junior added that their punishment for failing next year will be harsher than pinching; it will be more of a taste of what will come in the afterlife! 

Gottfried and Junior’s last gifts were rule books for each child – reminders of what behavior they must have for the next year, and what date to return to Gottfried’s house.  Gottfried and Junior lined up by the front door and passed out the rule books along with a hug for each child as the children left.

The rule book made it clear that the children must: (1) Have pure hearts and pray each night to Gottfried and Junior; (2) Behave, because Gottfried and Junior are watching them all the time; (3) Bring Gottfried money once a month.  (4) Return in one year.  The children will have another chance to pass tests, and eat cake, cookies, ice cream and all manner of desserts.  At that point those who pass will be rewarded with a certificate that entitles them to receive a life after death with eternal sweets.

After the children got to the end of the walk, Child No. 10 pointed out to the other children that they never actually saw Gottfried or Junior do any magic.  He also said that Gottfried and Junior would have no way of knowing whether the children were praying to them or not.  

Child No. 1 told the children not to listen to Child No. 10, because he would lead them down the wrong path, and Child No. 2 nodded in agreement.  Child Nos. 1 and 2 could not wait to read their new books!  Child Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6 realized that Child No. 10 might be right, but just in case, they decided to believe in Gottfried and Junior. 

Child No. 7 ignored the controversies, because she was not really there; she was just an illusion in a lovely dream.  She believed she would not feel pain if she were burned, and did not worry about an eternal punishment because she was going to live as a fairy in the Matrix when she passed, shooting out sparkles from her fingertips. 

Child No. 8 was keeping a secret that he knew he would reveal sooner or later. 

Child No. 9 agreed with Child No. 10, but kept quiet.

The children went to their respective homes and thought about the new rules and how their lives had changed since earlier that morning.  They no longer felt like children, and there was division in the group.  Where all the children used to play together, they now were frustrated, fearful, and talked about each other.  Junior had told the children that they would feel good about themselves because of their new beliefs, but only Child No. 1 and Child No. 2 felt good; all the others felt worse.

One day, Child No. 10 saw Gottfried out collecting some money from his mailbox.  It started to rain and Gottfried got quite angry and ran for the house.  Child No. 10 thought about this and realized that Gottfried did not control everything, or he would not have allowed any rain to come down on himself – he would have turned off the rain.  He realized Gottfried did not have special powers, but was telling the children he did, so that he could control them and receive their money.

Child No. 10 contacted the other children, and asked that they meet in secret.  Fortunately, eight out of ten children decided to attend the meeting.  Child Nos. 1 and 2 stayed home.  Child No. 10 said that he had a lot to talk about and they needed privacy, so he suggested the children bike to the next town to talk.  At first, there was resistance, because nearly all the children’s parents had warned them that all other towns were bad, and that they must remain in their own town.  But the adventure of being in a different town and the curiosity of what Child No. 10 would tell them was too big a temptation.  The eight children got their scooters and bicycles and rode to the next town.  As they approached, the children stopped in fear.  What if the townspeople hated them?   Child No. 8 helped ease their nerves by finally opening up and telling them that he moved to their town from a different town and most towns look similar.  He assured them everything would be all right.

One huge surprise was that this town had shops with ice cream, cake, cookies and candy in the windows!  The children asked the townspeople about the rules for eating sweets and found out they had no rules.  There was no guilt and anyone could eat sweets.  Child No. 10 wondered if Mattie made secret trips to this town to buy her ingredients. 

Child Nos. 3 and 4 had come along in order to convince the other children that they needed to obey Gottfried and Junior, because they felt it was the only way they would be saved from torture.  They tried to convince the rest of the children not to partake in of any of the free samples of ice cream, and to go back home.  The townspeople were so delighted to see children from another town they brought out free samples of all the sweets from the stores.   Child No. 3 and Child No. 4 were too frightened to be free from the rules that Gottfried and Junior imposed and realized that believing in Gottfried and Junior was the only way there was a chance for eternal life, so they ran from the temptation of ice cream and cookies and rode back to their own town ahead of the others, praying all the way and quite fearful that Gottfried and Junior would find out about the bicycle trip.   

Feeling secure in an environment without oppression, Child No. 8 finally confessed that his family worshiped another person named Mohobbit, and he was not going to switch his beliefs.  Child No. 10 assured Child No. 8 and the other children that Gottfried and Junior did not have any special powers.  He pointed out that Gottfried and Junior were not very powerful if other towns did not know about them, and found it odd that Mohobbit was situated in one specific town and Gottfried in another, as if these leaders only had control over a very few people in their own town.  He told the other children about how Gottfried ran angrily to get out of the rain, and how Gottfried and Junior had to number everyone because they couldn’t remember names.  Child No. 10 was making sense, and he hoped Child Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 would not be fooled by Gottfried anymore.  The children thanked the people of the new town for the wonderful sweets, and, feeling stronger and less fearful, each made his and her own decisions about their relationships with Gottfried and Junior.

A year passed quickly, and most of the children knew they had not followed all of Gottfried and Junior’s rules.   

Child No. 1 and Child No. 2 were the first to arrive at Gottfried’s house on their one year anniversary.  They were upset that the other children had thoughts that were different from theirs and they just thought Child Nos. 3-10 should change.  They said that Gottfried and Junior gave them unconditional love, and that the children should choose to accept the unconditional love so they would not get burned.  Child Nos. 1 and 2 could not wait to receive their certificates and show the others how the righteous are rewarded!

Child Nos. 3, 4 and 5 also returned to Gottfried and Junior’s house.  They were not as confident that they would be safe from the wrath of Gottfried, although Child Nos. 3 and 4 knew they had done better than most of the other children.  Child No. 5 had not tithed to Gottfried and Junior because she could not afford it, but she had prayed for forgiveness and hoped that would allow her to enter a good eternal life after death.  Child No. 10 also returned to Gottfried and Junior, to face them.

When Gottfried and Junior saw Child No. 10 return, they demanded the child apologize for his rebellious ways, and Child No. 10 refused.  Gottfried and Junior became very angry and commanded Child No. 10 to obey.  Child No. 10 stood up to Gottfried and Junior and said he knew they were frauds.  He also told Gottfried and Junior that all the children were friends until they came to Gottfried and Junior’s house, and now they were all broken up, and he wished they had never come to the party.

Gottfried attempted to grab Child No. 10 to torture him as he had done to other disobedient and defiant children in the past, but Child No. 10 was a slippery kid and ran toward the front door.  He yelled to the others, “Run!  They cannot catch us all!  Child No. 4 and Child No. 5 made a bolt toward the door.  Junior managed to catch Child No. 4, but Child No. 5 escaped to freedom, along with Child No. 10. 

Junior said he felt such sadness that Child No. 4 had tried to escape and now would be condemned to burn for eternity after he died.  Child No. 4 screamed in terror.  He thought he was one of the good children, and just one mistake and he was going to be burned! 

“Junior and I must decide which children from this group need to have a taste of what they have earned in eternity by their bad behavior, and which children will get their certificate and desserts.  Child Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 will all burn after death and we will decide of any of you will burn eternally! 

Gottfried held Child No. 4 in front of the children as an example.  “You, Child No. 4, will be punished today because you tried to run away. But if you ask me for forgiveness, you can still receive your certificate and have eternal life with unlimited sweets.”  Child No. 4 immediately asked for forgiveness and Gottfried said he was forgiven, but it was time to punish him for running away. 

Just then, Gottfried nodded a secret nod, and Junior swiftly grabbed up Child No. 2.  “You think you are so perfect,” said Junior.  “But we are angry and someone must pay!  I love you all, but I am disgusted with those who ran away and those who never showed up.  I must punish someone innocent.  It is the only way I can forgive the bad children, so I choose you, Child No. 2, to be punished in the name of the other children.”  Child No. 2 begged Junior for mercy, tearfully explaining that he was good all year!  “Of course I know that,” said Junior, and you will be rewarded after this punishment and will get to pass into the other room to have cake and ice cream and receive a certificate for eternal life with unlimited sweets, along with Child No. 4.”

Junior handed Child No. 2 over to Gottfried, who pulled Child No. 2 and Child No. 4 toward the kitchen.  Junior stood guard to make sure Child Nos. 1 and 3 did not escape.  Mattie had been preparing a pot of boiling water in the kitchen.  Gottfried held the struggling children up and forced their right arms straight out over the sink.  He did not want water spilling on their floor.  Mattie poured boiling water over Child No. 2 and Child No. 4’s right arms as they screamed and cried.  Gottfried signaled he had enjoyed their pain enough, so she poured cool water on their arms to soothe them.  As she gently applied some salve she whispered in each child’s ear, “Sorry.”  

Gottfried took Child No. 2 and Child No. 4 to the front room where Child Nos. 1 and 3 were being held and demanded that all the children ask for forgiveness once more.  Through tears of pain and fear, they complied, even though they did not know why they had to ask for forgiveness again.  Child Nos. 3 and 4 knew that something was wrong with these two men at this point, but realized it was safer to play along.  Child Nos. 1 and 2 were too far into the Gottfried and Junior cult and were not rational.

Gottfried stood in front of the party room announced that all four children would be awarded their certificates of eternal life with unlimited sweets, and hugged Child Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 after handing them their certificates.  Gottfried had to shuffle through 10 certificates, one for each child, to find Certificates Nos. 1-4, and that was further proof that he had no superpowers because he did not know which child would pass beforehand.  The children enjoyed their reward of cakes, cookies, candy, and were allowed to leave with their certificates to show their parents.

What happened to the children after the last visit at Gottfried’s house was over?  Several days after leaving Gottfried’s house, Child Nos. 6 and 8, and 9 convinced their parents to move to a different town.  Child No. 7 was unaffected, and began making a huge aluminum foil welcome sign, so it reflected into space for friendly aliens to see.

Child Nos. 1 and 2 continued studying their rule book and putting money in Gottfried’s mailbox, because they wanted to make sure they maintained their connection with Gottfried and Junior so they would be assured to have eternal life.  They separated themselves from the rest of the children, because they did not want to be influenced to lose their faith in Gottfried and Junior.

Child Nos, 3, 4, 5 and 10 met regularly as a group with the goal of stopping further generations of children from ever going to Gottfried’s house.  As they were still children, they went back to playing together, and convinced their parents to take occasional drives to the next town for sweets!


1.  Which children were more moral, Child Nos. 1 and 2 or Child Nos. 9 and 10?
2.  If this was a trick and Child No. 10 was rewarded, would that be fair to Child No. 9 who felt the same but did not speak up?
3.  Why did Child Nos. 1 and 2 believe in Gottfried and Junior?  Were they just not smart enough to figure things out?  Was it the rewards after death?  Did they feel they were right because they had been commanded to believe? 
4.  Should Child No. 2 have been punished as a scapegoat?  Do scapegoats make sense, are they just a way for a person to let out his/her frustrations or an inadequate way to “make things right?”
5.  Was it fair that Child Nos. 5 and 6 were too poor to be able to tithe and were punished with eternal burning? 
6.  Should Child No. 7 and 8 get eternal life simply because they were being true to themselves and following their own beliefs?  
7.  Wouldn’t it be nice for all of the children to receive an eternally good life after death, without being coerced and forced to change anything about themselves?
8.  Does it seem like Gottfried and Junior are good people and loving? 
9.  Does it seem like Gottfried and Junior have supernatural powers? 
10.  Does Mattie seem oppressed? 
11.  Did any of the children deserve punishment, or were Gottfried and Junior wrong in what they were doing?
12.  Can you relate this story to the story of Christianity and see that it does not make sense?