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Breed: Forty-two

12/27/15

  11:10:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 899 words  
Categories: Breed

Breed: Forty-two

?They're fighting,? Pete said, shaking his head. The lab was dark, lit only by the emergency lighting. They'd been meaning to leave for a half hour. ?It certainly calls into question the idea that we're the next stage in human evolution when our favorite pastime seems to be rolling around in the mud. Did I ever tell you that when I was growing up, we used to do that? Except it was essentially football, only everyone had to tackle the person with the ball. But they didn't turn it over merely by falling. You had to take it from them. So long as they held on, they maintained possession. I was a stubborn little bastard, so I was pretty damn good at it- which made me think it was a pretty good game. Only we called it 'smear the queer.'
?None of us knew what homosexuals were. I knew I didn't like girls, even had an inkling that maybe I liked men, but 'queer' was not a part of our vocabulary. Yet somehow, almost through osmosis, we knew that we had to punish people for being different. I think maybe we understood it to mean nerds, not that I think any of us had really ever seen a nerd like they had in movies like Revenge of the Nerds.?
?I'm not sure they're wrong,? Cris said. ?What the humans did to Mayumi-?
?We're human, too,? Pete interrupted. ?People do awful things to each other without needing arbitrary differences.?
?Maybe. But don't you think the differences make it easier? I got beat up when I was just a little kid. He called me a faggot. I'd never so much as held hands with another man who wasn't an adult using it like a leash. But somehow he knew, and somehow that was threatening enough for him to blacken my eyes, nearly break my nose. I don't think he would have done it if he didn't think I was different.?
?You're right,? Pete said. ?But I still don't agree that the solution to people who want to hurt us should be us preparing to hurt them; even trying to 'defend' ourselves, that's fraught. The history of militias isn't exactly stellar; they're not dissimilar to guns, in that having one makes violence more likely, not less.?
?I don't know that I know the answer,? Cris said, sliding closer to Peter.
?I don't either,? he admitted. ?I think I might just be frustrated at how often it seems like we aren't even really trying to ask the questions, we're in such a rush to get to the solutions. And this isn't helping,? he gestured at the room filled with petri dishes and microscopes.
?The problem really has become that I'm too smart for my own good,? he continued. ?A lot of scientists are religious. They can either compartmentalize, so there are things they know about the physical world, and then things they suspect about the metaphysical one. Or they just specialize to the point where even though there are aspects of dogma that might not gel with the physical sciences, everything else is fair game for their God to control. I can't do either anymore. The more I learn- and I can't seem to stop from learning more and more and more- the less room there is for God in my world. The less space there is for reasonable doubt, or even faith.?
?So?? Cris asked. ?I knew I was gay by the time my first pastor told our church that we ought to stone gays, despite what the laws said. The church can be wrong; it has been, demonstrably, in the past. And even if you believe in an infallible scripture, that doesn't mean that any given interpretation is perfect.?
?My church didn't even accept that the Bible was interpreted. Every passage was to be taken literally.?
?But even taking scripture literally, there's plenty of things that are at best ambiguous. There has to be interpretation, even if you choose to ignore it.?
?We did,? Peter said with a smile.
?But faith, at its purest, isn't about truth, or proof. Who cares if whole passages of the Bible are made up, or forgeries, or whatever-?
?Which, paying even a little attention to the actual history of the Bible is all but a given.?
?Right? It was essentially religious politicians who decided what made the cut; it's really hard to pretend that at every step of that multi-century process there was divine intervention at every turn. But my point was, who cares if the Bible is fallible? Who cares if there are bits of dogma that don't work stood up next to science? The only thing that says you can't believe in science and religion at the same time is a voice in your head- and I can say from experience that that isn't the voice of God. And I know you're smart enough to know that you don't want to be in the company of people who hold science and religion to be fundamentally incompatible.
?And for me, the only faith you really need is that there's a reason to be good, to try your damnedest to be better than you would be otherwise, to make a positive impact on your fellow man. To care for your fellow man, and to love.? He brushed his hand across Peter's cheek, and kissed him.

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