SPOILER ALERT: If you didn’t read
and go read it now. Also, you can
of everyone’s guesses.
The three main suspects of the story were the Chief, the High Priest, and the Servant of the Volcano. Some people had some clever guesses that the villagers killed him. However, this was not a legal courtroom mystery, but a mystery of the heart. What you need to understand is that the atheist was the SECOND murder in the story.
The First Murder - Our Precious Pain
The first murder was when the atheist destroyed the life of the Servant of the Volcano. You see, our beliefs, our faith, our religion, and our philosophies on life all form a kind of foundation we build our decisions on. Where we go to college, the jobs we take, the people we form relationships with, the books we read are all choices made from a vast and complex series of beliefs and ideas about what we think the the world is.
Human beings are capable of immense self-sacrifice and self-mutilation in the name of a “greater cause.” It is one of the best, and worst, things about us. However, when we suffer, we NEED to believe we suffered for the “right” reason. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have chosen to suffer. Therefore, those who have chosen to contort and constrain their lives against their desires are the most rigid in their beliefs. There is nothing more precious to us than our own suffering.
The problem with fundamental and legalistic members of Christianity, or any religion for that matter, is that they have lived their whole lives in self-denial and constraint. Because of this, invalidating or confronting the beliefs which they have abused themselves with is threatening their own self-value. “You mean I could have been enjoying myself all this time?!?!” People would rather continue in self-sacrifice than invalidate all their suffering. The atheist in the story destroyed the life the Servant of the Volcano by making his lifelong sacrifice meaningless.
It’s the Congregation, Not the Preacher
Religious leaders have far less to lose than their congregation. Yes, in the story the Chief and the High Priest would have to suffer some embarrassment if the godless ambassador turned out to be right. However, both the Chief and the High Priest already reaped the benefits of living a lie, they already enjoyed power and prestige. The Servant of the Volcano was still WAITING for his honor.
It is easy to blame leaders, such as the High Priest, for preaching harmful and oppressive doctrine. However, we fail to realize such leaders only have a product to sell because the product is in demand. Freedom, competency, collaboration, and discernment are the things the masses want taken away. The masses do not WANT responsibility. When leaders and preachers tell people that a deity, government, higher power will take care of them in return for piety, then there is a large market willing to buy.
Christians WERE the Original Atheists
As Christianity first began, the Greeks and Romans accused them of being atheists. This is because they abandoned pagan rituals and superstitions to instead work for the needs of one another. Administration and community organizing first began in the Church. Even though they claimed belief in “The One God,” their habits of worship were unrecognizable to the pagans. Justin Martyr even had to defend Christians against the accusation of atheism to Caesar.
When Justin Martyr defended against the accusation of atheism, he called out the Greek concept of reason called “Logos.” Saying that “Logos” is who we worship, found in the person of Jesus Christ. That our God is a God of Reason, not superstition. Likewise, it is sad so much superstition and paganism has become part of Christianity. Our God calls us to deal with “Volcanoes” of our time by working together and helping one another, not by pointless rituals in hopes of appeasing Him.
...so yeah, the Servant of the Volcano killed the atheist
What have you denied yourself in life simply because you believe "it is wrong?" Do you now feel anger toward those who enjoy it without obvious penalties?
Do you choose to endure hardship because you are building something better here and now? Or because you think you will be rewarded "after life?"
Is there joy in your hardships? Or do you endure hardships out of personal pride?
Have you willingly chosen your hardships? Or do you think they were put on you "by God?"