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Chapter 11: Towards the land of churches

George’s health started improving gradually, and signs of success of the operation started to be clear. The very next day he was able to get up from his bed, after they had removed the equipment, though he still had the drip and he was not allowed to eat yet. Katrina came to visit and brought the kids with her to offer support to their dad; they were glad and relieved when they saw that he was healthy. He chatted with them happily and felt comforted by them. Though he was feeling in high spirits, George did not forget to send a message to his friends who he had asked to pray for him the day before. . Perhaps the success of the operation was due to the prayers of one of them being answered…perhaps!
George began to read again and prepare for his trip to Rome by making sure he had enough information about Christianity, its denominations and its deficiencies. He wondered about being born a Protestant. It seemed that he didn›t know much about his religion, and most of what he had learned was from Katrina the Catholic, or Habib the Catholic during his stay in Jerusalem, or from his recent study during his search for the path to happiness. He hadn’t really studied his religion before, like most of the Christians who believe in a religion they do not know much about. In fact many of them were like him, not knowing anything about their religion except its name.
The reading about Christianity was very interesting, especially what he read about the radical contradictions between the different Christian denominations: the differences in the belief, behavior, worship, and also the military conflicts and war as well. He deeply pondered over why they had these differences. Was Katrina right when she told him that the problem was with the Protestants, and not the Catholics? But then he remembered that the Orthodox were actually present before Catholics in Christian history, and the principle of proximity states that the sect that was present closest to the time of Jesus (peace be upon him) should be the right one. However the Bible was neither written down nor memorized by heart in the lifetime of Jesus. He asked himself: «Then which group is the right one?» He wanted to talk with someone; so he decided to call Adam…

•George: Hello, Adam.

•Adam: Hello, thank God you’re alright.

•George: Yes, thanks, and I hope to see you soon, Adam.

•Adam: I can come and visit you tomorrow, if it’s okay?

•George: Good, but I have a question: do you think I should resume my sessions with Tom or not?

•Adam: Yes, I think you should, but why are you asking this question? And why now?

•George: I don’t know. Maybe because sometimes I feel that we do nothing new in the sessions!

•Adam: What do you mean by “nothing new”?

•George: I don’t know, just a weird feeling.

•Adam: I don’t know, but I think you should continue what you started, as long as no new reason appears for you not to do so, especially since those sessions seem to be very useful for you; and Tom has changed and has become a better person, as you say.

•George: You’re right, I don’t know why I feel at ease with him now and I treat him as a friend, not as a psychiatrist? I’ll call him tomorrow to arrange an appointment, but I’d like to talk to you before the session, if you can. Maybe we can discuss some points.

•George ended the call so that he could make an appointment with Tom as soon as possible. He asked him to have a session before his trip to Rome, and he asked him if they could have the session in the hospital. Tom agreed; he didn’t want to tire George.

•George: Can it be the day after tomorrow, in the morning? The doctor told me that I could leave in three days, in the evening.

•Tom: As you like, George.

Katrina arrived as George was engrossed in reading ... He noticed her when she entered the room. She greeted him cheerfully, and then sat down beside him and kissed him on his cheek …

•Katrina: I’m so happy, honey. You’re getting better and the doctor told me that you’ll be fine.

•George: Yes, I’m fine. What about our trip to Rome?

•Katrina: Almost everything is ready; the airline tickets, hotel reservations, and the scheduling of interviews with some individuals and tours with the tourist groups.

•George: Good, but what do you mean by “interviews with some individuals?”

•Katrina: I know what you want so I have arranged interviews for you with some of the priests, and also a visit to the Vatican.

•George: But this isn’t what I want; this is what you want.

•Katrina: Yes you’re right. But I did that because I know that this is what you really need.

•George: Perhaps you’re right. Thank you, my dear.

•Katrina: Will you sit with Doctor Tom before or after our journey?

•George: Before the trip, the appointment will be the day after tomorrow, here in the hospital … It seems that you care very much about that session?

•Katrina: Yes, you’re right. I don’t know why, but I feel that you’ve become happier since your sessions started with Tom.

•George: Just for this reason?!

•Katrina: Yes, just for this reason … or maybe because I feel that Tom is better than before. I don’t know why.

•George: And I have the same impression. But I’m afraid that he might be deceiving me.

•Katrina: Everything is possible. But I tend to believe that the change is real, though everything is possible.

•George: But if he is deceiving us, then what would be the purpose of that?

•Katrina: I don’t think that he is interested in deceiving us, so I feel that he is truthful in his claim that he has changed.

•George: I have the same opinion, but Brad, his manager, is the problem.

•Katrina: I hate that guy; I don’t know why I always find him so uncomfortable.

•George: Even Tom complains about him!

•Katrina: Perhaps, but this doesn’t make sense! He can fire him and be relieved of him, instead of complaining about him!

•George: True, but there may be another reason. I don’t know! Anyhow, I was thinking that I should stop the sessions with Tom.

•Katrina: I think it’s better to continue …It’s up to you.

•George: Your opinion is the same as Adam`s, he said to me: “You have started a path and are supposed to complete it,” and pointed out how Tom had improved. He also said: “You followed him when he was bad, will you leave him now when he has changed and improved?”

•Katrina: Logical words and a strong argument.

•George: How you always agree with each other makes me sure that he is a Catholic, not a Protestant.

•Katrina: Ha ha ha! Or maybe it’s proof that Catholicism is closer to the right path than Protestantism.

•George: Perhaps, I’ve written down many questions and comparisons. We should discuss them in Rome.

•Katrina: Great idea. We’ll be in the Center of Catholicism, actually we’ll be in the center of Christianity in all the world.

•George: Perhaps we’ll be in the center of Catholicism, but we will certainly not be in the center of Christianity; we don’t believe in the miserable papacy.

•Katrina: Don’t say such words of disrespect again; we’ll discuss these issues in Rome, as we agreed. Don’t you feel that you’re prejudiced against Catholicism? Do you want me to remind you of our criticisms about misguided Protestants?

•George: Misguided!! A beautiful description of Protestants! Didn’t you notice that I didn’t become angry, despite of what you said?!

•Katrina: Ha ha ha! Maybe, because you know that it is a realistic description of Protestantism. Don’t you compose your religion as you want, don’t you understand the Bible as you want? And this is what I meant by misguided Protestants!

•George: Maybe it is as you said, or maybe we are free from the tyranny of the Roman church and its granting of indulgences..

•Katrina: We have agreed to discuss all of this in Rome; shouldn’t we stop the debate?

•George: Ha ha ha! Okay, I’d like to make sure from the doctor if there is anything which we need for the trip. I’m very excited about the trip!

•Katrina: You mean excited to meet with the bishop!!

George sat up, smiled and said:
George: Yes; to convince him in front of you to admit his mistake concerning the religion.
Katrina: Although I know you are being sarcastic, I will really try to be unbiased on the trip. Could you help me darling?

•George: You know how to make my heart flutter darling; your victorious argument has touched my heart. I’ll do my best.

•Katrina: I love you, George. I’m going to the doctor now to inquire about the condition of your health and the tour.

When Katrina returned an hour later she found George engrossed in reading ...

•Katrina: Oh ... What you’re reading now is important to this extent?!

•George: Yes, I am reading about Martin Luther and John Calvin, the two most important personalities who left an impact on Protestantism.

•Katrina: You mean that they composed and made Protestantism.

•George: You spoke the truth, to a large extent; however, they did so to get rid of the Catholic diseases and its obsolete customs....

•Katrina: So you believe that Protestantism had been arranged or organized?!

•George: Unfortunately yes, it aimed at decreasing the atheism that Catholicism had spread due to its secrets and papacy. Some people even used to believe that there’s a relationship between religion and backwardness! Are you sure you’d like to get into it now?

•Katrina: Oh … the speech has diverted back to Catholicism again. No, honey, let’s continue in Rome when you will be convinced that Protestantism has been composed and is a distortion of the Christian faith.

•George: True, Protestantism is a distortion of Catholicism, and that is why they deny each other and fight each other … even some Protestant denominations deny each other. Do you know how many Protestant churches and denominations there are?

•Katrina: No, has it reached two hundred yet?

•George: You’re going to be amazed by this news; it’s between twenty eight thousand to forty thousand churches and denominations.

•Katrina: Forty thousand churches and denominations?!

Loathe appeared on George`s face, his eyebrows scrunched, and he changed his sitting position, and then said:

•George: Regrettably, yes, and this reminds me of the sects of non-heavenly religions, such as those which I saw in India. And unfortunately sometimes I feel that it’s hard to be honest with myself.

•Katrina: Didn’t I tell you that Protestantism has been made-up!? Then she smiled and said: We’ll discuss it in Rome, as agreed.

•George: Why is it that every time you’ve had your say, you say that the debate will be in Rome? Then he smiled and said: No problem, dear, I will agree just for you.., what did the doctor say?

•Katrina: I love you, George. He said that your health is good, and the operation was 100% successful. And that you are ready to leave. You’ll need to rest for two or three days after coming out and that would be enough. Then you can continue in your normal everyday activities and travel without any risks.

•George: Are there any precautions for the trip?

•Katrina: He said that there weren’t any, except the general advice; such as not to strain yourself or expose yourself to danger, but this has nothing to do with the operation.

•George: Good.

•Katrina: The trip will be great, and we’ll renew the memories of our early days of marriage.

•George: How sweet were the early days of our marriage! We’ll renew our memories and be happy on our journey, but there will be something new. ...

•Katrina: And what’s that?

•George: Michael and Sally.

•Katrina: Although we’ll have to change some of our plans because of them, no doubt they’ll bring us joy and it will increase our bond as a family. I love them so much..

•George: I know that I’m not the best of fathers, and it seems that they’ve grown up suddenly.

•Katrina: We’ll do our best to make them happy in their coming life, right?

•George: Yes, I think that the best gift I can give them is to show them the path to happiness.

•Katrina: The path to happiness again!

•George: And also a third and fourth time. I don’t know why I feel I’m very close to reaching it.

•Katrina: Maybe we’ll find it together in Rome.

•George: Ha ha ha! You mean we’ll all become Catholic again?!

•Katrina: Perhaps ... or maybe something else. Who knows!? Perhaps other than that.

•George: And leave Catholicism?!

•Katrina: Or maybe you’ll leave Protestantism!

•George: Speaking hypothetically: are you able to leave Catholicism?

•Katrina: Decision making takes a long time and is a struggle for me... but now I can say yes, even though it is a difficult decision.

•George: I’m proud of you, my dear.

•Katrina: I’m more proud of you, George. You weren’t satisfied living without defining your goals, giving a meaning to your life and answering your questions.

•George: Ha ha ha! Then congratulations to you, O Protestant!

•Katrina: Ha ha ha! No, congratulations to you for being convinced and returning to the original source; to Catholicism, dear critical Protestant!

George absorbed himself in reading again when Katrina left, to complete what he was reading about Martin Luther and John Calvin, and others, as well about recent changes in the Christian religion. He did not notice the time until he heard the nurse saying to him:

•Nurse: Do you have an exam after you leave here?

•George: Yes, the exam of my fate.

•Nurse: What academic level is it?

•George: That I don’t know.

•Nurse: It seems like you don’t want to talk to me, and I apologize for interrupting you, but I came to take off the drip. You’ll be back on solids in the morning.

•George: I apologize; I didn’t mean that I don’t want to talk. But I really do feel like I’m in a test, but not an academic one.

•Nurse: I don’ understand anything you’re saying!

•George: What religion are you?

•Nurse: I’m not really interested in religion, except Protestantism ... Calvinism.

•George: So you mean you are among the followers of John Calvin?

•Nurse: Yes, although I don’t know what the new ideas he brought to the religion were. All that I do know is that it’s closer to logic and the views that the wise people who belong to the Lutheran Church agree upon.

•George: How could you know this if you don’t know the new ideas that he added to the religion?

•Nurse: I’m a nurse, not a nun. It seems that he resolved the bloody conflicts between Catholics and Protestants.

•George: Is it conceivable that the believers of one religion fight each other?! Is it conceivable that someone like Calvin comes and re-makes the religion?!

•Nurse: That’s why I told you that I don’t believe in either Protestantism or Catholicism. In fact I don’t believe in any religion. But I need some religion, that’s why I believe in Protestantism?

•George: Excuse me, but what do you mean by saying you need some religion?

•Nurse: I can’t live without religion; life without religion is torment and misery. I was an atheist, and then moved to secularism, and I was so near to committing suicide because life was so difficult. I knew that there was something wrong with me, so I decided to be a Protestant, although I don’t know anything about it. You would never understand why ... nice talking to you, but I have work to do.

•George: Are you really satisfied with being a Protestant although you do not know anything about it, as you say? I think you are running away from yourself, but to where?

The impact of George’s words appeared on the face of the nurse. She was hiding misery in her heart and emptiness in her soul:

•Nurse: Perhaps, but towards where I do not know. I’m like a feather in the wind, but perhaps one day I’ll reach what I want. Sorry, I have to go!

George woke up early in morning, after breakfast had been brought to him. He devoured it like an animal; he was very hungry and had a strong desire to eat. Afterward he began reading again, and the nurse that had come to him the day before returned to measure his temperature ...

•Nurse: Good! You’re well now.

•George: I’m sorry for yesterday.

•Nurse: No problem, thank you for your kindness and I think your words were true; that I’m aimlessly running away from myself. But what should I do if atheism and secularism is torment, and religion is only a way to escape?

•George: But religion is not a way to escape things, but you, yourself, are escaping from your religion.

•Nurse: Because this religion as you say has been composed, but not by our God. Perhaps one day someone will reform this religion so it will be better.

•George: But your religion is a divine religion; it’s from God.

•Nurse: You know religion better than me. But how can it be divine if it has been changed by Calvin or Luther, or anybody else, according to what they want?! Indeed, Jesus himself was killed before the writing of the New Testament. It was written by some students of his students.

•George: It seems as though you are a philosopher of religions!

•Nurse: No, I’m just one who is running away from herself, as you said.

•George: What is the solution then, in your point of view?

•Nurse: The solution is what I believe; to escape from myself.

•George: I don’t think escaping from the problem is the correct solution.

•Nurse: Then what is the solution, in your point of view?

•George: To study all the details of various religions and learn the truth.

•Nurse: To be priests and monks?! Even they have serious doubts, and that’s why they always change the religion.

•George: To know the path doesn’t mean that we will become priests or monks. I respect monks and priests, but I don’t want to be one. The point is that uncertainty brings misery, and certainty brings peace of mind.

•Nurse: You seem to be Catholic, as they want us to believe in whatever the priests and monks say, without discussing anything, even without us referring to the Bible by ourselves, without depending on their interpretations.

•George: I don’t want anyone to be between me and my Lord. And no, I’m a Protestant.

•Nurse: Then, on what grounds are you criticizing me when you’re like me?! Unless you are a Lutheran?

•George: Ha ha ha! In fact I don’t know if I’m a follower of Calvin, Luther or something else; in fact I don’t even know if I’m Protestant; though my father and mother were.

•Nurse: So then you’re exactly like me! How can you blame me for escaping from myself?!

•George: Because I’m also escaping from myself.

•Nurse: But to where?

•George: To the path to happiness.

•Nurse: Ha ha ha! And where is it, O philosopher!?

•George: I don’t know, but I’ll find it, wherever it may be.

•Nurse: You seem to have philosophical ideologies, and although I enjoy your speech, I’m in a hurry and I have to go. And by the way, I’m sure you’ll find it because you are determined to find it. And if you find it, please let me know.

•George: What is that?!

•Nurse: The path to happiness!

Shortly after the nurse left, the doctor came into the room. He assured him of his good health, and told him that he could leave the following evening.

•George: Thank you.

•Doctor: Your wife told me that you’re going to travel to Rome. Congratulations, it`s a nice country.

•George: Yes, we’re going with the children. Is there any advice concerning my health, after the operation?

•Doctor: No, all is well.

George once again occupied himself completely in his books. He was unaware of his surroundings, so he was startled by the voice of Adam when he greeted him:

•Adam: You seem to be reading something very important, so much that you’re totally unware of what’s happening around you!

•George: Adam! Hello, when did you arrive? I was reading the ancient history of Christianity.

•Adam: Well, what did you find?

•George: When you read the old and new history of Christianity, you find very strange and confusing things!

•Adam: Don’t you think that you’re a bit quick in criticizing Catholicism, even before you travel to Rome?

•George: I’m not criticizing Catholicism.

•Adam: I don’t understand. What do you mean?

•George: I’m criticizing Catholicism, Protestantism, and all Christian denominations.

•Adam: You’re going to Rome, and things will be clearer to you after you travel. Don’t be quick to attack Christianity; it seems that what you are thinking may not be the reality.

•George: That’s what I want to consult you about.

•Adam: I don’t get it; what is that you want to consult me about it?

•George: I also contacted Tom and made an appointment for tomorrow, and I know what he’s going to say to me.

•Adam: Good, continue. What’s he going to say to you?

•George: He’ll tell me to study Christianity and learn it well during my trip to Rome, but I feel as though I already know Christianity well. Perhaps, through the books I have read or my trip to Jerusalem, or maybe through the course of my life. I’m a Protestant, and I don’t feel I’ll find anything new about Christianity on my trip.

•Adam: How old are you, George?

•George: Thirty eight or thirty nine. Why do you ask?

•Adam: You’ve already tolerated thirty-eight years, why don’t you wait until you travel to Rome, and then return and make certain you are sure of your decision. Don’t you think you’re in a hurry?

•George: Perhaps, but as my knowledge increases about the different denominations of Protestantism, I more inclined to abstain from it.

•Adam: Then, perhaps you’ll convert to Catholicism or the Orthodox religion?

•George: Didn’t I say that you’re a Catholic? But believe me my mind refuses Catholicism papacy, even more than it refuses Protestantism.

•Adam: Your mind may change after the trip. And it’s nice to deal with ideas openly, without having any previous convictions.

•George: I don’t have any previous convictions; I’ve read the literature of the Catholics and Protestants, their history and what they have done, but I’m not convinced about anything.

•Adam: Good, try to open up more and meditate more, but don’t be in a hurry; after the tour you’ll be surer and also satisfied with your decision.

•George: But could religion contradict reason or science?

•Adam: Absolutely not … if the religion is really from God.

•George: If the religion is against reason or fact or science; is this not evidence that it’s not the true religion?

•Adam: Yes, but you must remember that you cannot understand everything in the world, and if you cannot understand something that doesn’t mean that it necessarily contradicts reason or science. It could be only due to our human limitations.

•George: How, please explain more?

•Adam: We cannot understand, with our minds, how we have been created, but it does not mean that God does not exist or is not true; it means our failure to understand is just due to our human limitations.

•George: Despite my efforts, I can’t understand that God is one but is still composed of three persons. Is it a secret of the Catholic church that you want me to believe without questioning it at all?

•Adam: There is a big difference between what you cannot understand and what is contrary to reason. Which one do you mean here?

•George: I mean the second one, this is inconsistent with reason, and I can’t interpret it.

•Adam: Something which is inconsistent with the sound, unadulterated mind, can’t be true and can’t be the true religion.

•George: And for this reason, we’re going to ignore Orthodox, Catholicism and Protestantism.

•Adam: Why don’t you wait until you return from Rome?

•George: If I come back having this view, it means I’ll be an atheist or secularist.

•Adam: Aren’t atheism and secularism against your mind?

•George: They are in great conflict with my mind, and that’s why I fled to religion, and then ran away from non-divine religions to divine religions. But then I hated Judaism as it is now, and I started to hate Christianity, so it seems that all that is left is to be a terrorist Muslim.

•Adam: Do not make the decision until your return from Rome, you may understand and be convinced about Christianity.

•George: But what if I’m not convinced?

•Adam: Study Islam. Perhaps, it’ll be the path to happiness!

•George: Why don’t you study Islam, then? And become a reactionary womanizing terrorist.

•Adam: Right now we’re studying Christianity, and I’ll tell you about me when you return from Rome.

•George: I don’t know why you and Katrina keep speaking as though Rome will convince me to go against my mind and believe in what’s contrary to logic!

•Adam : I didn’t say you’re going against logic, I said that you shouldn’t rush, and you are wise. If you aren’t convinced, then do what you want. I only came as you asked me to, and I haven’t imposed anything on you. So why are you attacking me?

•George: Sorry! Adam, I’m hothead by nature, but believe me, I just want to find happiness quickly. The thing that scared me the most before the operation was to die before ever reaching that happiness.

•Adam: You will reach it by the grace of God almighty, and getting there later is better than not getting there at all. Actually, you haven’t delayed your search at all, rather you are going very fast.

•George: I repeat my apologies to you Adam. Maybe I am in a hurry, or maybe I am bored of these topics.

•Adam: If you’re in a hurry in order to achieve this goal, there is no problem in that. But boredom means you will stop your search and not complete it, which would be a real disaster.

•George: Disaster! Don’t you think you’re exaggerating?!

•Adam: Without being persistent, man would not reach anything, nor achieve any success. To be apathetic means not to be persistent, but then this isn’t consistent with the character of one who is in a hurry like you.

•George: I agree with you, but you’re motivated quickly too. Haven’t you noticed that?

•Adam: Perhaps, but haven’t you noticed that you tend to provoke me?

•George: Ha ha ha! Sometimes … but you’re just irritable.

At that moment Katrina entered, along with Michael and Sally. They ran to their father’s bed. He embraced them eagerly … and became preoccupied in talking with them instead of Adam … Adam waited for a few minutes, then decided to leave ...

•Adam: I`m happy that you’re fine. Can I leave now?

Katrina smiled at Adam, and said:

•Katrina: I’m sorry. Michael and Sally haven’t seen their father since the operation, and haven’t sat with him for a long time because he was traveling before then.

•Adam: What are you apologizing for?! We’ve completed our talk and I’m now satisfied that my friend is fine. I have work so I wish to leave.

•George: I’m grateful to you Adam; will I see you before my trip?

•Adam: If I don’t, we should at least call each other. Good-bye for now!

After Adam left, Katrina said:

•Katrina: The only time I see your friend is in the hospital. Anyhow, he is a wonderful person, very polite, and I feel very much at ease with him, but I don’t know why?

•George: Maybe he’s Catholic like you!

•Katrina: Maybe, as all the Catholics are polite and wonderful. But you’ve already told me that you don’t know what denomination he is.

•George: Yes, until now I’m not sure, but his eagerness on my trip to Rome, and my awareness about Catholicism, and how he always agrees with you in your way of thinking assures me that he is a Catholic. Imagine today, he wanted to convince me to be open-minded about Catholicism?!

•Katrina: Ha ha ha! Good, as you may have become closed-minded concerning it, and perhaps you would be able to take advantage of your companion rather than your wife ... I told the kids today that we are definitely traveling to Rome. They are with you now, so you can talk to them about it.

•George: Talk to me, I’m all ears.

•Children: Did you forget Dad!?

•George: Forget what?

•Michael: I asked you if we could see the castle of St. Angelo, and Sally asked to see the Trevi Fountain.

•George: Oh yes. Sorry, I forgot.

•Katrina: I fear that this trip will entail just sitting in the hotel, reading and searching on the computer and discussing all the time.

•George: I promise you that there will be special time for you two.

•Children: Promise, Dad?

•George: Promise, and your Mom’s your witness.

•Katrina: And I also promise you, and your Dad’s your witness.

The family meeting was intimate until lunch time came and Katrina said to the children:

•Katrina: What do you say if we leave now to have the meal in the Italian restaurant?

•Children: Fantastic!

•Katrina: Let’s go, then.

Katrina took the kids and left for lunch while George had his lunch at the hospital and then returned to his reading again. He started reviewing what he had read in depth since he had entered the hospital, so became worried. The more he read, the more contradictions he saw, especially regarding idol worship in Christianity and the plurality of gods, and also the idea that the pope and clergymen are similar to gods!
He asked himself: “Could it be possible to get rid of these doubts in just one trip! Perhaps then I would see that the pope`s religion is true, and I would become a Catholic like Katrina and Adam!”
The next day George woke up early, and after breakfast he began reading again, as usual. He had got his hands on an important book that he wanted to read “Forbidden Tales in the Torah” by Jonathan Kirsch. He read the comments of the Washington Post on the book “the author tells us in this amazing book that the Old Testament is filled with some of the most harrowing stories present in Western literature … They had been intentionally hidden after the passage of time as they are shocking stories.” He wondered to himself: “Is it possible for priests and monks to know better than God according to what is better for man to know and what is not? What are the stories that are not known in the Old Testament (Torah)? Why were they hidden? And how? Could they be more bloody or violent than what Levvi told me earlier?” He decided to read some of it before Tom came for his appointment that day..
The book was full of manipulations of translations to hide certain specific topics, even by cutting and deleting from the original Hebrew text to please the readers, arguing that how could we let our children read stories of immorality, nudity and violence? Sometimes the Rabbis claimed that the Bible does not mean what it says. All of these were just attempts to conceal, falsify or change the original text. The same question returned to the mind: does this mean that they know more than God? Or that it is not from God? Or has it been edited and changed so it is other then what came from God?
George continued to read in a state of shock and astonishment; if this is the Bible (the Old Testament) in which all the divine religions believe (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), it negates Christianity and may even negates all heavenly religions! He read in the book; the story of a drunk and naked Noah, and the story of sex between Lot and his two daughters, and what happened between Reuben, son of Jacob, and between Bilhah secretly behind his father’s back or … George abhorred to read those stories of incest. He asked himself: “How could this be the case with the prophets and messengers of God?” George found it very difficult to complete the tales... until he reached to very special part about God, and it read: “God is (described as) moody and ill-natured, and His presence is more destructive than fruitful for the life.” He considered them all false descriptions, and he could not worship this god at all! Is it convincible to say such horrible things about God?! The cow worshipers respect the cow more than those who follow the Bible respect God.
George laughed and lay on his back as he read the story of the Holy prostitute Thamara, and how adultery became sacred in the temple! Some scholars said that she may have been a nun, then some of them disagreed and said that she may be a wife of Judah`s son who committed adultery . At that point George was disgusted and felt that he could not continue reading these stories and accounts, and he remembered the scandals of catholic monks and nuns that had spread in the media.
He closed the book and opened the computer, entered into YouTube and wrote “sex scandals of the church”. He found a large quantity of videos about sex scandals, so he asked himself: “Should I make the trip to Rome knowing how bad Catholicism is, and should I continue as Katrina and Adam suggested to me? Or I should travel just for enjoyment, and forget the path to happiness?” He knew that if he were to forget the path to happiness, he would return to the path of misery and uncertainty in which he had lived, or he would head to atheism, the destroyer of man just as it destroys the mind and science. He felt that the ideologies were fighting each other in his mind; each ideology even fought itself and its soul first before it fought with the other ideologies, and it reminded him of all his questions he kept asking himself. All this was going on in his head when he heard a voice: it was the doctor who was speaking to him:

•Doctor: George... George.. Can you hear me?

•George: Huh ... yes, sorry!

•Doctor: I have been speaking to you but you were in another world, what are you thinking about?!

•George: I’m thinking about something that I hate very much.

•Doctor: What’s that?!

•George: I hate contradictions and violations of logic and reason.

•Doctor: What do you mean?

•George: Did you hear about the scandals of the monks?!

•Doctor: Oh ... yes.

•George: How’s it possible that people devote themselves to the worship of God but rape children?!

•Doctor: It`s like the doctor who drinks alcohol or takes drugs and he knows the danger and harm!

•George: But what do you think about a doctor who is a heroin dealer?

•Doctor: A useless doctor, he should be expelled from the profession, and his condition should be made known!

•George: But what if the concerning authority doesn’t take any action against them and is just un-functional, and what if it promotes them and facilitates them, and even teaches them the techniques in this regard, or if the system urges that?!

•Doctor: Impossible, but just to complete our analysis, the authority in that case would be in bad hands, and the people should then be warned about the doctors, hospitals and medicine as a whole.

•George: Don’t the sacred teachings include sex, adultery, debauchery and rape?! And don’t the monks know that?! And aren’t the scriptures full of such things, even about the prophets?! Then why don’t we deal with all this as we should?

•Doctor: I don’t understand a word of what you are saying, but I’d prefer not to understand anything from you; do you want us to be atheists and be away from God?! In the field of medicine we know very well that many distinguished doctors are atheists and even closer to psychopaths, or let me say: they’re not happy with their lives. If you want my advice, try to run away from yourself and such thoughts that you have, even if you believe in them. Try to escape by any way ... by playing, by drinking wine, by women or anything.

•George: Is it possible to escape from ourselves and feel happy?!

•Doctor: Unfortunately, this is impossible, but this misery is a blessing compared to the misery of atheism and running away from God ... Sorry for not continuing with this amazing conversation, but I have come to answer your questions regarding your medical condition. You will be discharged this evening and it is recommended that you check your temperature the next two days. Do you have any questions, but only medical questions?!

•George: No thanks... But do I need to check my temperature after these first two days?

•Doctor: No….you’re fine; you need to check your temperature for the coming two days just to make sure that everything is under control. If your temperature is normal, that means you’ve become completely healthy.

Tom entered and greeted the doctor and George. The doctor stood up to leave for work, and George turned towards him …

•George: I have a non-medical question, if you allow me to ask you?

•Doctor: Fine, but be quick, please!

•George: Since you know that escaping does not bring happiness, then why do you escape?

•Doctor: Fearing atheism, since it is really a misery, in my point of view at least.

•George: Either atheism or escape?! No third option?!

•Doctor: There may be a third option, but I haven’t found it yet. If you find it, inform me, I would be grateful ... I`m leaving now, if you have any medical questions before leaving, you can ask the nurse to call me, bye.

Tom looked at the doctor briefly after he had left, and then turned to George ...

•Tom: George! I don’t know what was going on in the dialogue between you two, but I know the misery of atheism; worry and distress, and no one knows them like me.

•George: Why is atheism misery, as you say?

•Tom: The hardest thing is not to have anyone you can kneel down to, to whom you can leave all your affairs and problems, or whom can guide you to the right path.

•George: How do I find the guidance to the right path from Him?

•Tom: Through His messengers and books which He sent to us.

•George: Do you expect that He will guide me through a prostitute nun or a rapist monk?

•Tom: I don’t understand.

•George: Or through a drunken prophet, or a pornographic sacred book?

•Tom: What`s the matter with you? Why are you speaking like this today?

•George: I`m fed up, Tom! I’m thinking seriously about not going to Rome, or just traveling as a tourist, for enjoyment.

•Tom: Why ... what’s new?

•George: There’s nothing new. But I’ve just read and noticed stories about sex and violence in the Torah and the Gospel.

•Tom: Do you think this is something specific about Catholicism?!

•George: What do you mean?

•Tom: Isn’t Protestant’s violence like this, or even more than this?! You know who killed Catholic people in Germany and elsewhere in the biggest massacres in history.

•George: Yes! The Protestants. But I’m tired, maybe even from Protestantism!

•Tom: George! Be strong, as you usually are, and beware of being weak. If you persist, you’ll reach happiness. But if you don’t, you’ll be defeated and weakened by the misery of worry and grief.

•George: What should I do?

•Tom: I don’t know, but all that I know is that it isn’t possible that God hides the path towards Him.

•George: Where`s the path? Don’t Christians and Muslims believe in the Old Testament? This book is full of sex and violence; at first I didn’t believe what Levvi said about this, but now I’m convinced with what she said. Do you want me to give you some evidence from the Old Testament?!

•Tom: I don’t need any evidence at all, but if you want I can give you some evidence from the New Testament.

•George: So why are we searching in Christianity and Islam when they both are in the same direction?

•Tom: We agreed from the start that we would walk on the path and that we would learn, and I don’t know why, but I feel that we are getting close to the right path. So don’t give up at the end of the race ... George, you’re not searching and looking for only yourself, I’m also reading and studying with you, and I’m sure we’ll get there, but don’t ask me how.

•George: I have the same feeling, but I often feel that I’m probably manipulating myself and my soul, as all evidence indicates that I’m wandering and lost on the path, although internally I feel that I’m closer to it.

•Tom: Travel to Rome and study about the Catholics and Protestants well, and see and discuss about what you’ve read. But don’t make any decision until you have checked all the divine religions.

•George: Are we going to look into Islam too?!

•Tom: Sure, there’s no doubt about that. Looking into something doesn’t mean believing in it. Haven’t you searched and read about Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism? So what’s the difference? Didn’t we agree previously to wait until we finish studying all divine religions?!

•George: So I will continue, though I don’t see anything in front of me but a well of superstitions, violence, pornography and corruption in all that I have read about religions, and even in all the ideas and religions that I haven’t read about yet. In spite of this, I’m sure internally that I’ll reach the path to happiness.

•Tom: Keep reminding yourself that you’ll reach the path to happiness. And remember, if finding the path was clear and easy, we wouldn’t need to even search for it!

•George: I’ll reach it. Perhaps the solution is next to me, easy and clear, but I can’t see it.

•Tom: Maybe the way is Catholicism or Protestantism ... or Islam.

•George: Despite my view that all these ways are full of superstitions, hypocrisy, the exploitation of religion to get power, sex and money, we should continue searching. What do you suggest I do?

•Tom: Have you read a lot?

•George: Yes, all I do is read. By the way, Catholicism doesn’t allow us to even read the Bible, except if it is explained by the pope. Why? Do we have to understand what is in the Bible only as the Pope understands it?! Do they want to take over our minds?

•Tom: That’s true! But the Protestant makes the religion as he wants it to be, and understands it in the way he likes; for this reason it has split and divided into a lot of groups.

•George: But the New Testament seems to be full of distortions. So whether we understand it as the Pope wants us to or in our own way, it has been distorted. Didn’t I tell you that all these religions are useless, and that they are myths?

•Tom: Read more, learn more, discuss more, and open up your mind more, then you will definitely find the path.

•George: But Catholicism is based on sacraments that we are not allowed to discuss; the seven secrets of the church that are only understood by the monks!! Discussing and thinking about them is considered disbelief, although they are contrary to reason and logic!

•Tom: Even Protestants believe in two of these sacraments.

•George: Haven’t you noticed that whenever I tell you something, you tell me that the Protestants have the same problem? Are you now a Catholic because you went to a Catholic church with Katrina? I know what you said very well, but I’m talking about Catholicism now.

•Tom: But I don’t want you to be prejudiced against any religion without having knowledge or reason to support your views. Say what you want with knowledge and logic; say what you want without being prejudice.

•George: What I said is based on knowledge and reason

•Tom: And what I said is also based on knowledge and reason, I just want you to be more impartial.

•George: Ah ... agreed. Perhaps I’m more biased against Catholics, as what I’ve said about them also exists in Judaism and Protestantism; and I expect in Islam as well.

•Tom: So let’s complete our exploratory trip as calmly as we started, until things become clear to us ... Aren’t you the one who said to me: “simply and without complexity”?

•George: Yes, this is one of Adam`s known catch phrases.

•Tom: If a person is calm, he is more balanced and wiser. I also invite you, as I told you at the beginning, to search and not make any decision until things become clear; perhaps you’ll choose Judaism, so don’t be in a hurry?

•George: To be straight to the point, I don’t think it could be Judaism at all; I hate violence, and the Torah is full of it. Can you imagine that in the Old Testament “cursed is he that keeps back his sword from blood,” and the God of Israel says: “Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor,” what kind of maliciousness and terrorism is this?!

•Tom: Don’t Christians and Muslims also believe in the Old Testament?! Be easy, and don’t make any decision until all things are clear. I’m sure you’ll reach the path to happiness.

•George: This is the biggest problem I have. Christians believe that the New Testament complements the Old Testament, and I think the Muslims think the same, so they all are religions of violence and terror.

•Tom: Here are two points: first, it’s not reasonable to rely on conjecture in such topics; you must build your opinion on knowledge. Second: I wish you would be more precise. What do you mean by saying that the New Testament complements the Old Testament? Does this mean that they believe in it, or not?

•George: I agree with what you said. Guessing is different from having facts and knowledge, and also checking and proving facts are very important matters, but unfortunately the Christians didn’t exert any effort to write clear, authentic expressions that complement each other. And I am not the one who is allowed to analyze; as the Catholics, for example, prevent their followers from understanding even the New Testament, and believe that it should be understood by the monks and then the monks can explain it to the public, like you and me, otherwise you may come across some texts in the New Testament like “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword”, or “ But those my enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, bring here, and slay them before me..”

•Tom: You know that there are Christian interpretations for these words.

•George: Yes, we have different interpretations, and we have texts opposite to this which encourage mercy and love. And whether they are logical interpretations or not, they are still only interpretations, and these interpretations are not consistent with the views that are written in the Old Testament which is full of phrases similar to what I have just mentioned. And also unfortunately our actions are proof of the violence mentioned in the Old Testament, not just with others, but between ourselves as well. Do you want some examples to remind you of our brutality?!

•Tom: This is not the topic we are studying now; let’s keep things in their correct place, and look at things as a whole. While looking at any religion, it is appropriate to focus on God, the messengers, books, beliefs, its rules, its history, and its implementation, and it’s better to study these foundations without looking into small details.

•George: Good, but how?

•Tom: Instead of focusing on certain statements in the Old or New Testament and their interpretations, have a general look at the Bible in terms of its authenticity, how it reached us, and who wrote it. Study its teachings and beliefs in God and the prophets, and use the remaining small details as evidence to prove the main points.

•George: Very nice. Though I have read a lot about it, maybe I should change the view I have about the Bible until I read more and discuss it more.

•Tom: To explain, let’s presume that you’ve finished the subject of Judaism, as you say. So what are the books of the Old Testament, what are its teachings and view of God’s prophets?

•Tom: And let`s suppose it`s from God.

•Tom: Then was it written by God? Or was it written by Prophet Moses, or by Aaron? Do you know the writer?

•George: And I think one can say the same about the New Testament, isn’t that so?

•Tom: Without any doubt, otherwise I would be biased. This way of thinking is closer to finding the path to happiness, if we don’t engage ourselves in details.

•George: Good idea, and I agree with you.

•Tom: When you return from Rome, we’ll be able to assess the two most important religions among the divine religions, leaving only one left to study until everything will be clear to us, and then our exploratory trip in the search for happiness will end.

•George: But what if we find them all to be false, useless and fake?!

•Tom: If I was now like what I used to be, I would have told you to return to atheism, as I did not encourage you to follow this path but to make you return to atheism. But now I say to you that if it appears that all of them are not suitable, then we should return to repeat our search once again, from the beginning. We would start once more with the question: Is religion important? Then how can we choose a religion? And so on until we get to where we are now, but things would be clearer to us.

•George: A very long way to go?

•Tom: I expect we will not return to the beginning again, and I hope that will be the case, but the issue is related to knowledge, which means that whenever our knowledge increases, our understanding will increase, and vice versa; whenever ignorance increases, our ability to find answers to our questions becomes less, and this would make us farther from the path to happiness; but I’m sure you’ll reach it, just be patient for a little while longer.

•George: I have to reach it. Then he smiled and said: What could tire me more than not finding the way to the path to happiness?

•Tom: The way that should be taken to reach the path to happiness is clear, but what you are still not able to see is the path itself. Many people think that the way taken to reach the path to happiness is the actual path they are searching for, but they do not see the path itself.

•George: Beautiful philosophy, but explain to me how we can see the way to reach the road to happiness clearly.

•Tom: Don’t you know that at the beginning you refused the way of atheism and secularism? Then you refused man-made religions? Then you started to differentiate between the different divine religions. Isn’t that so?

•George: I agree with you completely, but what is not clear to me is how we’ll reach our goal?

•Tom: That’s what I told you, what is not clear to you is the path itself, and not how to reach the path to happiness;

•George: Ha ha ha! Nice, but putting this aside.. What advice do you have for me for my trip?

•Tom: First: enjoy the trip and relax with your children; you need to relieve your mind, and to sort out and make use of the large amount of information that you have collected from what you have read and from your discussions. Second: continue reading and having discussions, but with an open mind, and pay attention to the core issues, not the outward formalities. Third: meditation will help you to sort out and arrange your information, and will help you to focus on the core issues.

•George: I think this is important advice, and I will try my best to follow it. Although I am only searching for answers to my questions, I find that I have become more irritable.

•Tom: Irritability is caused by the pressure on your mind, pressure is caused by knowing too much information, and also the pressure from those around you, so the load on your mind has increased. Decrease it by taking my advice.

•George: Yes I shall. I’ve also promised my children this too.

•Tom: Have a happy trip, and I’ll meet you after your return, when you’ll be more relaxed and have more information, and be more open-minded.

•George: What’s the latest about Brad?

•Tom: It seems that the problem is getting worse; he has started to openly threaten me with some pictures and recordings that he has.

•George: He threatened you?!

•Tom: Yes, he has old unethical pictures of me with some patients, and has recordings of some of the sessions, and has started bargaining with me about them, saying he’s going to present them to the medical committees and medical unions if I don’t do what he wants.

•George: What harm can happen to you if he presents them to the unions?

•Tom: It’ll cause the withdrawal of my professional license, and it will be considered as a public scandal.

•George: What is he bargaining for?

•Tom: For me to work with him.

•George: What work?

•Tom: Ha ha ha! Selling drugs, and carrying out his orders.

•George: It is better that he informs the union than you become a drug dealer.

•Tom: Your’re right ... but if I’m dismissed from the profession, it’s also a major disaster.

•George: What will you do?

•Tom: I don’t know, I’ll have to think hard about it. I’m leaving now, bye!

George began to read again. He was very happy that he had meet Tom. He felt reassured and relaxed after the meeting; he accepted his words and decided to do what Tom suggested, as much as he could. But his mind became busy thinking how he could help Tom with his problem with Brad. He was convinced that Tom had changed, and he did not want to leave him alone, but what could he do?
While he was thinking about the problem, he checked his e-mail and found two letters from Habib and Levvi, inquiring about his health. He replied:
“Dear Habib, The operation was successful, and I can give you the good news that I’m fine, healthy and well. I will be traveling to Rome in two days, and how much I wish you were with me so you could explain to me, with your knowledge and your open mind, some of the problems I have found in Catholicism. Your friend, George” Dear Levvi, The operation was successful, and I can give you the good news that I’m fine, healthy and well. I will be traveling to Rome in two days, and how much I wish you were with me so you could explain to me, with your knowledge and your open mind, some of the problems I have found in the Torah and Judaism. Your friend George”
While he was browsing the messages, Katrina entered...

•Katrina: The procedures of your discharge will start shortly, God willing.

•George: I miss the house, and the people and the cars in the street a lot.

•Katrina: Your absence was very difficult for me and the children ... But you were busy reading and having dialogues. Did Tom come today?

•George: Yes, and the session was great.

•Katrina: I knew it would be.

•George: When will I leave the hospital?

•Katrina: In a short while, there is still some paperwork that has to be completed. I’m going to complete them now and then I’ll come back so we can leave, and you can tell me on the way what was discussed between you and Tom today.

The family left for the airport two hours before the flight. They boarded the plane to fly to ancient Rome. After they landed they went straight to their lodging. Katrina planned everything for this trip very carefully; she reserved the rooms in Hotel Raphael, one street away from Piazza Navona, and from where there was a panoramic view of the city of Rome, from the Church of St. Peter’s until the Pantheon temple. Ravel Hotel bus lines were also near, and most places of historical attractions in the city of Rome were within walking distance... George: Katrina! Your choice is wonderful.

•Michael: Thanks, Mum. I feel that I’m right beside the castle that I wanted to see.

•Katrina: We’re not far away from the fountain which you wanted to see either, Sally! George: It`s 7 o`clock, what do you think about exploring the hotel now, then we can eat dinner and take a rest in order to start our schedule tomorrow morning refreshed?

•Children: Alright Dad, as you like.

The family woke up early the next morning and ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Then they went out with a tourist guide to an area close by which was full of historical places. The family was very happy when they were looking at the ancient Roman buildings and magnificent statues. The churches were excellent structures, which left a feeling of grandeur and a fragrance of history. At dinner time they went to a modern Italian restaurant in Rome...

•Michael: Dad, I never thought that the Roman civilization was so strong and beautiful!

•George: The ancient Roman civilization is very great, Michael. It’s considered to be one of the greatest civilizations of Europe, after the Greek civilization; it extended its control over all the peninsula of Italy in 275 BC, and during the following two centuries Rome managed to build an empire that included all of Europe and North Africa, and the Greek culture also integrated in it.

•Sally: But what makes it special is this delicious pizza, not the statues that are outside.

•Katrina: Do you like these statues, Michael?

•Michael: They’re beautifully constructed.

Katrina, with a delightful smile:

•Katrina: What beautiful statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary!

•George: I don’t know why these sculptures and statues of Jesus remind me of the statues of Buddha and other idols in India. I feel that they’re all the same.

•Katrina: Let’s leave this point now, if we have finished our lunch we’ll head to the other part of our tour.

George understood that Katrina did not want to debate in front of the children. He agreed with her, but his mind did not stop linking the statues of Jesus with Buddha, and also the beliefs of the idol worshiper and Catholic beliefs.

The family completed the tour and returned to the hotel shortly after sunset. They ate dinner in the hotel, and went up to the room ... George checked his e-mail to review the messages, and found a message from Habib:

“Dear George, This letter is from both Levvi and I. We have read your message and we are very happy about the success of the operation, and hope we will celebrate the success of your operation with you soon. Concerning the problems you have found in Catholicism and Judaism, we would be happy to talk with you about it. We would even be happy to discuss with you about Protestantism and Islam, so we are waiting to have a dialogue with you on these issues. Habib & Levvi” Note from Habib: do not forget to visit the Pope at mass on the Sabbath.
So he replied to them:
“Hello Habib and Levvi, I am now in Rome, the country of Catholics, and close to the Catholic Vatican . And I am pleased that you are happy. For the problems that I have, I will send them to you in a text, and I will wait for your brief comments on them ... I will quote a paragraph from the book “Forbidden Tales in the Torah” by Jonathan Kerech, and this paragraph talks about the Torah as follows: From the beginning to the end of the book, according to Michel Ventura a journalist, whose mind was totally boggled by what exactly he found in the Torah, scenes of wild destructive behavior are portrayed,. “Women marry snakes, brothers kill each other, people are slaughtered en masse, tribes wander aimlessly in the desert, infants are snatched from their mothers, and criminals become prophets, and prophets become criminals, and dancers demand the heads of the prophets,” then Ventura reaches a conclusion, saying: “Any society which raises the Torah to the level of a sacred book could face insanity.” And this is something funny which he adds, “We expect the civilization which is based on such a book to be nothing but a community which is wild and vandalous.” Do you agree with Ventura or not? Note that all divine religions believe in this sacred book! Greetings and best wishes to you two. George”
He decided to also send the text to Adam and Tom, in a single message. Then he sat, thinking: “Do I agree with what Ventura said?!” He wanted to discuss this idea the following day with those whom Katrina had made an appointment with...
After breakfast in the morning, Katrina went out with the children to the market while George sat waiting for the arrival of Janolka Francoa, according to Katrina`s arrangements. Janolka was an Italian journalist and all his research was about Catholicism and Protestantism, according to Katrina. He arrived exactly at 11 am at the hotel; George welcomed him, and he replied tactfully, saying:

•Janolka: According to what I received from one of my friends who are priests: you are searching for answers to your major questions, and your wife who is a nun called my friend, the Rev. Luigi Stiavnoa, and told him this. So let me introduce myself.

•George: Yes that’s partly true, but my wife is not a nun, and she’ll be here soon. Pleased to meet you.

•Janolka: I’m an Italian journalist. I studied philosophy at university and loved it very much, as it included the most important philosophical questions. Then he smiled and said: Of course, concerning the major questions in life; I’ve spent years searching for answers to those questions.

•George: That’s why the priest that Katrina contacted talked to you.

•Janolka: Yes!

•George: And what is the result of those years of searching?

•Janolka: I reached important results and specific points.

•George: Wonderful! What are they?!

•Janolka: Simply ... nothing! Because all that I have is just criticism of the shameful reality of religions, but not anything to build on or any complete idea.

•George: Than how can you guide me, as the result of your research is nothing?!

•Janolka: I actually have very useful experiences that may be useful for you, just as I may be able to benefit from your experience too. But with regards to the result of my search for an answer to questions, unfortunately there is nothing!

•George: Do you think that nothing could be the answer of something?

•Janolka: Wonderful! You are deep and simple at the same time, please continue!

•George: Continue what? I’m supposed to be asking and you are supposed to be answering me.

•Janolka: The answer is clear, and that’s why I didn’t answer. Surely it is not possible for nothing to be the answer. Please continue.

•George: So that means there is an answer, but you haven’t reached it yet.

•Janolka: Mental logic indicates that there may be an answer, or may be no answer.

•George: I don’t think that the mind supports the idea that there isn’t any answer, as this symbolizes that humanity is floating around in a loss. And this generates absurd, frivolous and negative theories.

•Janolka: You’re an excellent philosopher. This is the same view that I have, but I said what I said to see what you would say ... but in your opinion, where can I find the answer to my questions?

•George: I’m looking and up to now I haven’t found anything, so what is your opinion?

•Janolka: A large number of my friends are atheists, and they wanted to convince me that life has nothing to do with God, and that the answer to my questions has to be explained according to an empirical scientific basis, or by pure coincidence.

•George: Well, did they answer all your questions?

•Janolka: Atheism is a trivial philosophy. It is nothing but superstitious stories and mythical legends, even if it pretends to be scientific and rely on knowledge. Believe me; I know atheism well, and I have discussed it with many people.

•George: It looks as though you are prejudiced against atheism and secular thought.

•Janolka: I’m afraid that you’re an atheist, and that’s why you defend them. But I’ll speak frankly with you, and let me speak in detail. All the atheists know inside themselves that they’re wrong. I was an atheist, and I lived a period of time in atheism. Atheism is only a type of escape from the problems of religion, and it doesn’t possess any philosophy, theory or evidence, either logical or scientific. As for secularism, they believe in religion, but they want to expel religion from life for the same reason as atheists.

•George: How?

•Janolka: The problem of the conflict between religion and science is an old, chronic problem. When religion contradicts science, people consider the credibility of science to be higher than the credibility of religion.

•George: Can our knowledge be better than the knowledge that comes from God?

•Janolka: Of course not, but can that which is wrong or impossible come from God?!

•George: What do you mean?

•Janolka: When people hear or read the commandments in the Bible ordering them- for example- to commit murder or adultery, or drink alcohol, and they are sure of the harm of these things, according to reason, recorded facts and science, what are they supposed to do?

•George: So you turned to secularism to relieve yourself from answering the major questions?

•Janolka: Yes, but unfortunately secularism doesn’t relieve anything at all. But I’m talking about one who embraces secularism; he tries to solve the problem of incompatibility between religion and science, and tries to solve the problem seen throughout history. But if you want the truth; secularism is very similar to Christianity.

•George: Beautiful ... but explain the last point to me.

•Janolka: The papacy permits you to do what you want; they sell you forgiveness, and the problem is finished; and therefore you can do what you want even if it is prohibited in the religion, just to buy forgiveness once again. George: But Protestants don’t believe in this, isn’t that so?!

•Janolka: Yes, perhaps because they are less religious, but it is not because they don’t separate the religion from life, as they actually separate it officially. I think the church is the biggest motivator for secularization and even atheism!

•George: What do you believe?! Which religion do you profess?! One time you defended atheism, another time secularism, and a third time Catholicism! Janolka: I’m nothing, didn’t I tell you that before? And what about you?

•George: Protestant because my father and mother were, and then nothing!

•Janolka: Ha ha ha! ... so we’re like each other.

•George: Are you happy to have reached nothing? Do you feel that you have reached something?

•Janolka: Nothing can never lead to anything. No one can consider it an achievement! Perhaps this is because of the emergence, development and diversity of sects as well as useless movements in the West.

•George: Useless movements?

•Janolka: Ha ha ha! Yes, the movements which build their religion on the basis of nothing or are based on a trivial matter are far away from the true religion.

•George: Then this is the disaster of not having anything?

•Janolka: But the real disaster is that the questions of life are not answered.

•George: So why don’t you just forget them and escape from them?

•Janolka: I can’t and I don’t think that any intelligent or wise person could.

•George: Do you mean that the majority of the people are crazy and stupid?

•Janolka: I mean that the majority of the people can’t forget these questions, and their lives have been spoiled and they are far from being happy.

•George: You’re a philosopher, but a pessimistic one. But you don’t have anything and you haven’t reached anything but nothingness. So what is the solution then?

•Janolka: My solution is to continue until we find answers to the questions ... and what solution do you have?

•George: It is what you have just said, but I disagree with you in that I feel that I’ll reach the answer very soon.

•Janolka: Optimism is a blessing from God, and I hope that your optimism is appropriate, but one has to have a reason to be optimistic.

•George: The reason is that we are travelling on the path to happiness, without being pessimistic, or hesitating, and without any doubt.

•Janolka: Excellent ... great, so where are you on this path?

•George: I have finished atheism and man-made religions. They do not benefit us, as you have mentioned, and then I began examining the divine religions. And now, I’ve reached Christianity.

•Janolka: My ancestors were Catholics. However, I’m telling you that I don’t believe in anything in Catholicism; it is a bunch of superstitions, mysteries and contradictions.

•George: Why don’t you become a Protestant?

•Janolka: I apologize to you, O Protestant; I started with my religion first, as Protestantism is just an attempt to escape from the superstitions of Catholicism, but it is a failed attempt because of the lack of religiosity it has. The Protestants just gathered some superstitions of Catholicism and their mysteries, but lack religiosity.

•George: Explain more, sometimes you seem ambiguous.

•Janolka: Aren’t both of them, I mean Catholics and Protestants, dependent on the Bible, including the Old and New Testament. But these are the source of myths and superstitions.

•George: How can you say that about the Bible which has been revealed by God?!

Janolka: You are just like my friend who is a priest, but I will answer you as I answered him. Answer me honestly; can you prove that what exists in our hands has been revealed from God? I can prove that at least some parts are not from God.

•George: How can you prove that?

•Janolka: There is so much proof. –For example, you can read, if you wish, the history of how the Bible was compiled. Even historical facts are against one who says it has been revealed from God. Look at the contradictions it has, and even various versions and different translations contradict each other. Or read, if you like, the contradictions in just one version. If you read about some incidents which are mentioned you will see that they are not from God at all; if you read, you find that this Lord is evil, do you want other proof? Do you want me to elaborate on any proof?

•George: I agree with you, though I would like to discuss it with a priest or someone else; to hear their opinion.

•Janolka: You’re strange, then why are you disputing with me about this?

•George: If the situation is as you said, then what is the solution?

•Janolka: I told you that my result is nothing.

•George: Sorry, but nothing means a lack of information, and I want someone who has knowledge and is aware.

•Janolka: What you say is true, but I don’t have knowledge.

•George: In your opinion, who has the answer?

•Janolka: If I knew him, I would have gotten rid of my problem which I have been facing for a long time.

•George: I’d like to meet one of the priests if possible, because I want to hear his response to these arguments and others.

•Janolka: So many priests are my friends. Do you want fanatical scholars or open-minded ones? Do you want scholars or students?

•George: If I could choose, the open-minded is better than one who is closed-minded, but what is more important, I want the one who has more knowledge, whether he is open-minded or closed.

•Janolka: Don’t worry, the more knowledgeable one is more open-minded. I’ll arrange an appointment with my friend the Rev. Luigi Stiavnoa, the one whom your wife talked to. He is the most knowledgeable and open-minded among all the priests, in my opinion. The meeting may be tomorrow or the day after, I’ll let you know.

•George: Thanks a lot!

•Janolka: I can understand what you said and I am happy to help you.

George smiled and said:

•George: I feel that I might have tired you out, but I have a question: did you study Islam?

•Janolka: No ... I only read some brief notes and had a few discussions about it.

•George: Why?

•Janolka: Islam is a religion of violence and jihad, the oppression of women and backwardness, and many other things like this.

•George: And how do you know all this when you haven’t studied Islam?

•Janolka: The owner of the restaurant next door to my house is a Muslim from Egypt, and I discuss with him sometimes.

•George: Does he say this about himself?

•Janolka: No one says this about himself, but he says he is a civilized Muslim, not like extremist Muslims. And when I asked him about the reason of the backwardness of the Muslims, he said: “The reason is the Islamic religion, as it promotes strict views, the killing of those who have different views to them, and the imprisonment of women, even hitting her.”

•George: Very strange. Is it possible for me to see him too.

•Janolka: You are very strange! What do you want from him? Any way, we can eat lunch or dinner in his restaurant near my house any time, and then you can talk with him.

•George: Good, but I have another question, if you allow me.

•Janolka: Sure!

•George: Why did the priest send you to me and he knows your opinion about Catholicism?

•Janolka: Didn’t I tell you before that he is open-minded? I often feel that he’s convinced with what I have said, but he doesn’t know which way is the perfect choice!

•George: Excellent opinion, as if we don’t know how to answer our questions, then it is better to stay as we are than to be lost, having nothing.

•Janolka: True, but please don’t consider me to be lost or having nothing, because I’m still searching.

•George: Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you at all.

•Janolka: I know.

Katrina returned with Michael and Sally. They met Janolka and Katrina shook hands with him and welcomed him ...

•Katrina: Thank God, I reached before you left. Weren’t you sent by Rev. Luigi Stiavnoa?

•Janolka: Yes, and you’re George`s wife. The priest says that you are among the most religious Catholics in Britain, although you aren’t a nun.

•Katrina: Thank you very much. And Luigi is my teacher, as I listen to his lectures and sermons.

•Janolka: I’ll arrange for you a meeting with him tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

•Katrina: Wonderful ... if George agrees.

•Janolka: George is the one who asked for this. And you will have a meal in a luxurious restaurant.

•Katrina: Great, I’ll see my teacher ...but why this particular restaurant?

•George: Please tell her, Janolka ...

•Janolka: Just to meet a Muslim.

•Katrina: Why?

•Janolka: I don’t know, but he wants to hear from him about the backwardness and savageness of Islam.

•Katrina: I’ll tell you what that Muslim won’t tell you; you can look at their underdeveloped countries to understand the backwardness of their religion.

•Janolka: This is my card, and I will be happy if you ring me to ask about any information concerning religion or tourism. I’ll call you to confirm the meeting with my friend Rev. Luigi Stiavnoa. See you!

Janolka left, and Katrina smiled and turned to George and said:

•Katrina: How was the meeting? I wished I could’ve come back earlier to have joined you.

•George: Very good! Thank you.

•Katrina: Of course ... the priest will never send anyone except a person who is a religious Catholic scholar.

•George: Yes ... he is a philosopher and a scholar, but he is not a religious Catholic, as you say.

•Katrina: This is weird! He told me that he is his friend.

•George: Yes, he is his friend.

•Katrina: Is it possible that the priest has friends who are not religious?! Anyway, it is important to arrange our meeting with the priest so that we may benefit from him.

•George: It is good to benefit from everybody, even the priest. Any way, what did you do in the market?

•Katrina: The picnic was enjoyable. The children played in the amusement park in the market, then we took a quick tour of the market and bought some things we needed. We were late because of the traffic

•George: What landmarks of city will we visit today?

•Katrina: The castle of St. Angelo, because Michael wants to see it. It’s a wonderful castle and also nearby, and we can spend all the day there.

•George: Let’s go now. Where are Michael and Sally?

•Katrina: They are putting on their new shoes in their room, so we can go now.

The family left to see Saint Angelo’s Castle. George decided to take Tom’s advice, which was to lessen his concerns and worries, and devote himself to the picnic and keeping himself busy with his children, trying not to think too much about the path to happiness, or to worry and complain. In order to reach to the answer to his questions he should look for them quietly and calmly...