Dream of: 06 August 1996 "Lie Down And Die"

I had just gone into a house, where I thought there was going to be a party, when someone rushed in and said that some cars were being stolen out on the street. Knowing that I had parked my car on the street, I hurried back outside to see what was going on. I immediately saw someone driving away in a car, but I couldn't tell if the car was being stolen. Besides, I knew I wasn't going to actually run up and challenge someone if they were taking a car; that would be too dangerous.

I looked down the dark residential street and saw my bright red car sitting about a block away. It looked all right, and I was just about to go back inside, when a young woman also walked out of the house and stood beside me. I struck up a conversation with her, and I told her that I used to come to a "party house" in this neighborhood many years ago. She and I had walked a little ways from the house where we had been, and we were now standing on a vacant lot which seemed to cover the whole block. I told her there used to be houses on this lot but they had all been torn down. (However I noticed that a long red-brick building which looked like an old factory was still all along the other side of the street.)

***

I was once again inside the house, in a large living room where a meeting was taking place. Perhaps ten people were sitting around the room, and a man probably in his 50s (who might have been in a wheel chair) was in the front of the room, giving a sort of speech.

I now remembered why I had come to this meeting, and what the man was talking about. The people in this room were planning to protest against a religious group which had been passing out graphic tracts in the neighborhood. I had seen the tracts myself and had found then disconcerting. I knew I normally didn't get involved in this kind of controversy, and I wasn't planning to actually become a part of this group. But the tracts had prompted me to at least come to this meeting and voice my opinion.

The tracts which I had seen had conveyed a central message: many children were going to burn in hell. I couldn't exactly remember the pictures on the tracts, but I had vague images of red and fire and perhaps some grotesque devil-like figure in the background. It was clear that the purpose of the tracts was to frighten people, to frighten them so much that they would become a part of the religion in hopes of avoiding this horrible punishment. Although it was normally conceded by organized religion that children were never sent to hell, this religion was taking the stance that children would be sent to hell. It seemed that the purpose of this wasn't so much to punish the children, but to punish the parents of the children, because the parents would suffer immensely if they knew their children were in hell.

The man in the front droned on and on. More than ever I knew I didn't want to be a part of this group; I just wanted to say my piece and leave. I had something in particular I wanted to say, and when the man paused for a moment, I raised my hand, earnestly trying to get his attention. I could tell that he saw me, but he seemed rather full of himself and not inclined to break off his little speech. Finally he couldn't avoid me any longer, and looked at me as if to ask me my name. I said that my name was Steve and then I began talking.

I first explained that I was as opposed to this religious group as much as, if not more than, anyone here. I even tried to explain my strong dislike for organized religion and what it stood for, making myself out to have strong feelings against organized religion.

I then launched into my main message by opening with, "If I'm the king of the opposition ...." I opened this way because I was trying to point out that I was a major foe of organized religion, right at the forefront of the opposition. But the point I was trying to make, was that even though I was a leader in this opposition, I still wanted to bring up a point which I didn't think was being considered here: fear.

I wanted to point out that although I didn't believe in hell, and I said, "I don't even believe in hell per se," (I immediately wondered to myself why I had said "per se." Did that mean that I actually did believe in some kind of hell?) I continued that even though I didn't believe in hell, still, when I saw those tracts, I couldn't help but feel some sense of fear. And it was precisely this sense of fear which I thought the group needed to think more about. Why, if I didn't believe in the kind of thing which was being shown in the tracts, did I still have this undeniable sense of fear of such a place? Was it just the atrocity of the idea that little children were being sent to hell? My last words, word for word, were, "When I hear about those children in hell, and the heart burning, it just makes you want to lie down and die."

As soon as I spoke I thought to myself that my choice of words had been rather curious. Indeed, it would seem that to "lie down and die" would be exactly what I wouldn't want to do if I were afraid of going to hell.

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