Dante: Excuse me, that man’s body is being used as a bridge.
Hypocrite: Yes, everyone who comes by here walks on his writhing back.
Dante: What did he do?
Hypocrite: He sentenced a good man to death.
Dante: What about those men over there? What’s their problem?
Hypocrite: Religion took them to a dark place. So now they wear heavy robes.
I mean, their robes are made out of lead.
Dante: Is there another way out of here? We don’t want to deal with those black angels again.
Hypocrite: Sure, you can just walk on the wall, it goes all the way across the valley.
Dante: That’s not what the devil said.
Hypocrite: The devil is not just a liar. He is the daddy of all liars.
–Dante’s Inferno, Canto XXIII
One guy believes in an afterlife, heaven and hell. He believes there is a divine judgement in place even before we die; this judgement is based on how we behave while we are alive. This guy believes in something called “sin,” which plays a big part in where we go, up or down.
Right next door to him, in the very next apartment, separated only by an old plaster wall, lives another man. This man does not believe in heaven or hell, in god or the devil. When you die, he says, guess what happens? Nothing at all. You die. Your soul (whatevs) is buried in the same hole as your lifeless body, never to be seen or heard from again. Sin is a made-up word, which doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes, which doesn’t mean we don’t suck.
These two men have the same zip code. They hear the same pigeons roosting on the eaves. They have the same mailman.