|Scene: The line-up outside the customâ€™s house.|
Atheist: Umm, I guess thatâ€™s me.
Peter: Hmmm. An atheist, hunh? Didnâ€™t believe in GOD at all, did you? Surprised to see me?
Atheist: Well, yeah, obviously. (Shuffles feet. Figures heâ€™s had it, so as a â€œlast great act of defianceâ€). Dammit, you all didnâ€™t make it real evident, you know? Why did you guys give me a brain, intellect, curiosity, and all that, and then set up everything around to make it look like you didnâ€™t exist? What did you expect?
Peter: Hush up. (Opens Book). Letâ€™s see. Pretty standard range of peccadillos, nothing out of the ordinary. Hmm, never harmed or cheated anyone deliberately. Raised a loving family. Played the cards you were dealt fairly. Never blamed anyone for your own faults, and mostly forgave others theirs. Worked a lot in places and with people much less fortunate than you were, at some cost to yourself, I see. Humm, hmmm. Not especially racist or xenophobic. Figured everyone was the same species, after all, and deserved respect on their own individual merits. Taught your kids your values. For what itâ€™s worth, they seem to be on the right track, by the way. Cracked a fair amount of jokes about GOD in your time I see.
Atheist (more than a little embarrassed, and more certain than ever heâ€™s a goner): Sorry about that.
Peter: Donâ€™t worry about it. I made up some of them myself and sent them around. Think GOD canâ€™t take a joke? Hmmm, I suppose your kids are all atheists?
Atheist: Well, erm, no not all of them, I guess. I taught them to look at the facts, and decide for themselves. To think on their own. Oneâ€™s a sort of vague deist, near as I can make out. Not sure what the others will end up â€“ but (again, defiantly) thatâ€™s their choice, isnâ€™t it? Thatâ€™s the way I raised them. IF you all hadnâ€™t been so gawd-awful crypticâ€¦
Peter: Yeah, yeah. I got that part. Okay, you lived a pretty good life, and positively affected those around you. Left the world incrementally better than it would have been without your presence in it. Go on through.
Atheist: What? Thatâ€™s it? I thought I was damned for eternity.
Peter: Yeah, I get that a lot. Look, think of it this way. In most ways, you lived it even if you didnâ€™t believe it. You didnâ€™t need belief. You were simply a reasonably good person â€“ and you never deviated substantially from that. You held to your values in the face of many challenges and temptations. You were pretty true to yourself and pretty much true to others. You were, by definition, a Good Person. Why do you think you wouldnâ€™t qualify?
Atheist: What about all that stuff about Hell, and all? I mean, I used to get people telling me all the time I was damned to hell because I rejected Christianity. You mean Hell doesnâ€™t exist?
Peter: Oh yeah. It exists. And itâ€™s waaay worse than anything you could imagine. However, there are waaay more non-Christians created by GOD than there are Christians. Why do you think S/He would have made somebody just to send them to Hell on the sole basis they werenâ€™t â€œChristianâ€? And a bunch of them are going to get a rather rude surprise when they get up here as well (*chuckles grimly*) Anything else?
Atheist: Okay, I guess. Ummmâ€¦?
Atheist: Umm, is my dog here? I mean, I really miss herâ€¦
Peter (exasperated): Yeah, yeah. Of course. She was a Good Dog. Check the database when you get to your room.
Atheist (flabbergasted): We have Internet?
Peter: Naturally. Who do you think invented it? Oh, by the way, donâ€™t go head to head with Judas in Alpha Centauri. Heâ€™s a killer. Now move along, youâ€™re holding up the line. Weâ€™ve only got eternity, you know.