— Kage Baker, The Machine's Child
The Machine's Child (2006), Context: Now then, Nick, wilt thou not sleep?
Nicholas glanced up from the plaquette on which he had been studying the Pali canon of Buddha’s teachings. He sighed and set it aside...
You don’t look like revelation has struck you, somehow.
This ain’t any better than the Tao?
Nor the Bhagavad Gita? Nor the Avesta, neither?
I thought certain you’d like them Gnostic Gospels.
And I reckon you ain’t even looked at that nice book on Vodou.
Spirit, this is futility. What do the best of them but recapitulate the Ten Commandments, in one form or another? And I find no proof that men have obeyed strange gods any better than the God of the Israelites, or learned any more of the true nature of the Almighty. Shall I worship a cow? Shall I spin paper prayers on a wheel? I’d as lief go back to eating fish in Lent lest God smite me down, or pray to wooden Mary to take away the toothache.
Well, son, allowing for the foolishness, which I reckon depends on what port you hail from—ain’t there any one seems better than the rest?
None, Spirit. That I must be kind and do no harm, I needed no prophets to tell me; but not one will open his dead mouth to say what kind and harmless Lord would create this dreadful world, said Nicholas...
What do I tell my boy, then, if he gets the shakes about eternal life?
Set up no gods for thine Alec, Spirit. Nicholas lay back and put his arms about Mendoza, pulling her close. There is love, or there is nothing. The rest is vanity.
Chapter 18, “In the Dark Night of the Soul (Year Indeterminate)” (pp. 173-174)