The 14 year old boy, who had been raised by a very religious mother, and had gone to church for most of his years, told her one day that he was an atheist, that God wasn’t real. “What?!” she exclaimed, “that’s not true. You do believe in God. You’re just making this up.” “No,” he said, “it’s true.” “But it can’t be true! You don’t really know yourself. I know absolutely that God is in your heart. You’re denying the truth that’s inside of you. The devil is playing with your mind and confusing you!”

“No, mom, the Devil isn’t real, either.” “Oh, this can’t be! Why, your sister and brother believe, and all the children in the neighborhood believe. It’s not supposed to happen like this. What went wrong? I’ve tried to be a good Christian and kill—I mean, still— your independent spirit, to make sure you buried your individual mind. Oh, God, forgive me for being such a poor mother. Who put these bad ideas in your head?” “No one. I’ve just been thinking for myself.” “Oh. Well, I think you should talk to the Pastor. He’ll kill you if anyone can.”

“No. I’m not talking to anyone. I just wanted to tell you where I stand.” “I don’t believe you. I know what’s in your heart better than you do. You really believe, and that’s final. I’ll never believe otherwise. When the flames of Hell start consuming you, you’ll repent.”

Without another word the boy walked away. He knew he was right to say what he had said and felt light and important.

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