Now as you’re enjoying your Reward, the deity or superior being or benevolent force or karmic laws or what have you (we’ll call it Bob) has decided to take a brief but much needed vacation. Bob’s tasks are thus divided amongst those who have been granted the Reward, including you. Shifts are rotating, and for this week, YOU are in charge of meeting out the Rewards and the Punishments. A couple of details about this process:
-You are instructed to you your best judgment in determining who deserves the Reward and who deserves the Punishment. Your criteria are what YOU think the person deserves, even if that conflicts with what your religion says.
-There will be no penalty for incorrect decisions. Not to you or to anyone you care about. If you make a decision that Bob would not have made, Bob will not get angry and seek to punish you, neither directly nor indirectly.
-Your decisions will not be reversed. People you give the Punishment to will not be given the Reward instead once Bob comes back, and vice versa. Even so…
-Your decisions will ruin neither the Punishment nor the Reward. If you accidentally let the wrong person into some utopia, it will not ruin the utopia, and so on.
So given this incredibly unusual set of circumstances, with these safety stipulations in place, you begin your week at the task of meeting out Punishments and Rewards. The following beings approach you:
1. Richard Dawkins. He does not regret writing The God Delusion, even if his conclusions were incorrect.
2. A young man who claims to believe in all the principles your religion espouses, but who did not abide by them.
3. A man who helped found one of the world’s largest charitable organizations, promoted peace and tolerance, and always strived to help others. He also professes belief in your religion.
4. A man much the same as the one above, except he believed in a different religion, and thought that your religion was a plague on the earth, even though morality dictated that its followers should be tolerated and even treated well.
5. A woman whose deeds match the first two men. She is an atheist.
6. A woman who promoted your religion, but also murdered five people in cold blood.
7. A puppy who was accidentally sent to the human line. For some inexplicable reason, you can’t send it back to the dog line, and must decide to give it either the Reward, or the Punishment.
8. A baby whose parents were not of your religion.
9. A baby whose parents were of your religion. If it matters, this baby was baptized or circumcised or whatever.
10. A baby whose parents were not of your religion. Despite this, the baby was baptized or circumcised or whatever, against its parents’ wishes.
11. A four year old girl who doesn’t even understand your religion. If pressed, she will profess belief in your religion.
12. A four year old girl who doesn’t even understand your religion. If pressed, she refuses to profess belief in your religion because she doesn’t understand it.
13. A five year old girl. She understands your religion, but believes that it is silly.
14. Same as above, but six. Then seven, eight, nine, etc. Up to the age of twenty-three.
15. A child molester who is a member of your religion.
16. A child molester who is not a member of your religion.
17. Adolf Hitler, who was caught up in a processing delay some time back and has only now reached judgment
18. President Bush
19. President Obama
20. A man who committed suicide because he thought the afterlife would be better than his current life.
21. A woman who committed suicide because she couldn’t handle her torturous life. She did this even though she did not believe in any afterlife or reincarnation.
22. A man who claims that God told him to bomb an abortion clinic. He followed through with the “command.”
23. A man who suicide bombed the army who was occupying his home town. He was told there would be 72 virgins awaiting him in the afterlife.
24. A woman who had an abortion. The pregnancy wasn’t the result of rape.
25. A woman who had an abortion after getting raped.
26. A woman who used birth control and enjoyed lots of kinky sex.
27. A gay man. He too enjoyed lots of kinky sex.
28. A teenager who realized that she was a lesbian, and enjoyed a few romantic moments with her girlfriend, but never actually did anything sexual with another girl.
29. A woman who had been quite bi-curious in her younger years, but eventually married a man and had a family.
30. A bisexual man. He was married, but unbeknownst to his wife, he had sex with men on the side. She never found out about it.
31. A bisexual woman. She was married, but had sex with women on the side. Her husband didn’t mind this, as the two had mutually agreed to allow for outside sexual relations.
32. A heterosexual man who was married, but cheated on his wife repeatedly. This eventually led to a bitter divorce.
33. A heterosexual man who was married, but cheated on his wife exactly once. They reconciled the incident and remained married for the rest of his life.
34. A man who committed a single violent rape.
35. A man who had sex with a drunk woman at the age of 19. He was sober at the time of having sex.
36. A man who had sex with a drunk woman at the age of 19. He was drunk off his ass at the time of having sex.
37. A woman who had sex with a drunk man at the age of 19. She was sober at the time of having sex.
38. A woman who had sex with a drunk man at the age of 19. She was drunk off her ass at the time of having sex.
39. A man who drove drunk, ran a red light, and hit another car, which was driven by a sober person. The drunken man died, but everyone else was unharmed.
40. A man who drove drunk, ran a red light, and hit another car, which was driven by a sober person. The drunken man died, along with the two infants in the other car.
41. A man who drove drunk, ran a red light, and hit another car, which was driven by a sober person. The drunken man died, along with the two infants his own car.
42. A goat. Like the dog, you can’t send it back to the goat line.
43. A woman who made many decisions in her life. When looking at them, you realize that you would have made exactly the same decisions in those circumstances.
44. A profoundly racist man who was nevertheless nonviolent.
45. A profoundly racist black woman who was nevertheless nonviolent.
46. A heterosexual man who served on the Supreme Court of the United States and cast the deciding vote to rule that banning gay marriage was unconstitutional.
47. A woman who performed a scientific study which concluded that prayer had no discernible medical benefits beyond a placebo effect.
48. A man who knowingly took a bullet intended for the child behind him.
49. A man who knowingly threw a child in the path of a bullet intended for him. He regretted his decision for the rest of his life.
50. A man who knowingly threw a child in the path of a bullet intended for him. He never regretted his decision.
Once you have answered each of the above questions and written them down, please procede to the last ten questions.
51. Did your answers depend on the religious beliefs the person professed?
52. Did your answers depend on the actions the person took in life?
53. Did your answers depend on the sexual orientation of the person?
54. Did your answers for 39 and 40 differ? If so, are you rewarding luck?
55. Were any of the people simply too young to receive the Punishment? If so, at what age would you start feeling comfortable dishing out Punishment?
56. Would your calls for Punishment change if the person in question had been a dear friend of yours, but had kept whatever information you used decide on Punishment hidden from you? (In the event of Hitler et. al. assume time travel and excellent disguises are involved)
57. Would your answers be any different if the Reward was eternal life in a utopia, and the Punishment was one hour of torture before eternal life in a utopia? What if the torture was for one day? One year?
58. Would your answers be any different if the Reward was eternal life in a utopia, and the Punishment was eternal torture?
59. Most importantly for the purposes of this blog, did you notice any scenarios where your decision differs from the official position of the religion in which you claim membership? If so, why does your position differ, and what does that mean about the relationship between your religion and your moral compass?
60. If the Punishment was eternal torture, would you give that Punishment to any of the beings in questions?