Wednesday Night Reading

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 § 2

(Perhaps I should've saved this for Sunday ...)

I'd like to steer gentle readers towards An Angel's Guide To Bureaucracy, a hilarious and profound short story by Pei Yi.  Set in an afterlife where each religion has its own department to handle the souls of the dearly departed, the story takes the reader through the hijinks that ensue between the Taoism and Christianity branches when it's discovered that a soul has made a last-minute religious conversion.

"A deathbed conversion?" she echoed, skeptical. "But it wasn't captured by the system at all. How did you get this data? Are you sure it wasn't a mistake on your side?"

"Oh, I'm pretty sure it isn't. Deathbed conversions can be easy to miss, so we have special receptors for that. Maybe the universal system missed it?"

"But the funeral rites?" She paused. "Oh, the Final Act."

"Right, funeral rites can be overridden by prior religious affiliations at the soul's own discretion," he quipped. After a long history of souls complaining when they'd been ignored and given the wrong religious rites by family members, enough consensus had finally been reached for the revision seventy years back. It was still recent enough to be the last act listed under the universal post-mortem processing laws - and it would probably take two more inter-religion wars before any new laws got close to approved.


The rest of the story can be read here!

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§ 2 Response to “Wednesday Night Reading”

  • I think we should have a sense of humor when dealing with religion. It's much better than the alternative -- which we've seen play out far too often over the course of history. "Universal post-mortem processing laws" made me smile.

  • Kara says:

    I completely agree :D And I love Pei Yi's story for its deft touch on just that.

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