--Marilynne Robinson, Home
But when the thing that is scaring you is already Jesus, who are you supposed to pray to?
--Lynda Barry, Cruddy
“You will, Judas, my brother. God will give you the strength, as much as you lack, because it is necessary—it is necessary for me to be killed and for you to betray me. We two must save the world. Help me."
Judas bowed his head. After a moment he asked, "If you had to betray your master, would you do it?"
Jesus reflected for a long time. Finally he said, "No, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to. That is why God pitied me and gave me the easier task: to be crucified.”
--Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation Of Christ
This is how sudden things happened that haunted forever.
--Daniel Woodrell, Winter's Bone
The query: "At Auschwitz, tell me, where was God?"
And the answer: "Where was man?
--William Styron, Sophie's Choice
What broke in a man when he could bring himself to kill another? What broke when he could bring himself to thrust down the knife into the warm flesh, to bring down the axe on the living head, to cleave down between the seeing eyes, to shoot the gun that would drive death into the beating heart?
--Alan Paton, Cry, The Beloved Country
Shot? so quick, so clean an ending?
Oh that was right, lad, that was brave:
Yours was not an ill for mending,
'Twas best to take it to the grave.
Oh you had forethought, you could reason,
And saw your road and where it led,
And early wise and brave in season
Put the pistol to your head.
Oh soon, and better so than later
After long disgrace and scorn,
You shot dead the household traitor,
The soul that should not have been born.
Right you guessed the rising morrow
And scorned to tread the mire you must:
Dust's your wages, son of sorrow,
But men may come to worse than dust.
Souls undone, undoing others,---
Long time since the tale began.
You would not live to wrong your brothers:
Oh lad, you died as fits a man.
Now to your grave shall friend and stranger
With ruth and some with envy come:
Undishonoured, clear of danger,
Clean of guilt, pass hence and home.
Turn safe to rest, no dreams, no waking;
And here, man, here's the wreath I've made:
'Tis not a gift that's worth the taking,
But wear it and it will not fade.
--A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad