This Was Your Life: Spiritual But Not Religious

spiritual but not religious


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Loki and his friend stand in front of an opening in an endless fence on an endless cloud. Three traffic cones block the path through the fence. Loki and his friend are wearing blue jump suits and green hats. Loki has a long white beard. A woman approaches them.

Woman: The clouds are so pretty.

Stranger: This way, butterfly.

Loki: Before you say anything, I just want to say, don’t panic. You just passed out, and this is all a dream.

Woman: Whew. What a relief.

Loki: Just kidding. You totally crossed the wrong wires and blew up. These are The Pearly Gates, and we are…

Woman: What gates?

Stranger: Oh, uh. They’re under repair.

Woman: Can’t God fix them?

Loki: Who said God exists?

Woman: So God doesn’t exist?

Loki: The more important question is, what did you believe?

Stranger: Does God exist? What’s the meaning of life? What makes a man? What is the true measure of morality? Why do doves cry?

Woman: Well, I think that we all just have to do our best and be kind to one another.

Stranger: And…

Woman: That’s it.

Loki: What do you mean, that’s it?

Woman: That’s the extent of my understanding and philosophy on life.

Loki: You mean to tell me, you had a cosmic supercomputer in your head for 29 years, and the extent of your worldview can be summed up in a sentence that’s vague to the point of being useless?

Stranger: What do you call this belief system of yours, nihilism?

Woman: I’m spiritual but not religious.

Loki:What does that even mean?

Woman: It means I find wonder and awe in the universe, but…

Stranger: But that wonder and awe never affect your actions in any significant way.

Woman: What? Like going to church? I’ve never really felt drawn to major religions.

Loki: Which is just as well. If you had bothered to read them you’d know they’re all mythologies.

Stranger: But did you ever think about the purpose of life outside of organized religion?

Loki: Well, I just think that there are some things in life that we weren’t mean to know. You know?

Stranger: So how do you decide what to do if you have no compass whatsoever?

Woman: I go to work in the mornings. I go home in the evenings. I watch TV and buy things. I like to hang out with friends and go to movies.

Stranger: Is that what you were planning on doing with the rest of your life?

Woman: What else would I do with my life?

Loki: Okaaaaaay. Ma’am, I’m going to need you to step away for a few minutes while my associate and I confer.

Woman: Okey dokey.

The woman leaves.

Stranger: What are you doing? This wasn’t in the script.

Loki: This woman is brain dead. She’s living on autopilot. She’s the embodiment of the word, “sheeple.”

Stranger: Exactly. She’s easy prey to screw with. I mean, we could tell her anything.

Loki: We may as well be mocking a brick wall. I take no joy in this. I’m leaving.

Loki leaves.

Stranger: Don’t friggin bail on me! This was your idea in the first place.

Stranger: Hey, lady. You can come back now.

Woman: Okay. Where’s your friend at?

Stranger: He uh, got called away on very important business in the underworld.

Woman: So what were you two talking about?

Stranger:  We uh, were trying to decide if there was any reason to go easy on you.

Woman: What!? But I never did anything bad.

Stranger: The problem is you never did anything… at all. 14 billion years went into creating you. From the quantum particles, to the atoms, to the molecules, to the cells that make up your body, a God-like level of genius, power and time went into your design. You were given control of an impossibly robust machine, and you used it to watch TV, go shopping and hang out?

Woman: Well, what else was I supposed to do?

Loki: What were you supposed to do!? What were you supposed to do!?

Woman: Is that your friend?

Stranger: Ugh.

Loki: What do you use a hammer for? To hit nails. What do you use a toaster for? To toast bread. What do you use an autonomous, bipedal supercomputer with opposable thumbs for? To watch TV and out!? Are you kidding me?

Woman: You’re back from the underworld awfully quick.

Stranger: Speaking of the underworld, it looks like they’re paging me. Gotta go.

Loki:Wait. What?

Stranger: Have fun with your client, sucker.

Loki: Well played. Well played.

Woman: You’re not very organized around here.

Loki: Silence, mortal. We work in mysterious ways. Back to the matter at hand. The problem is that you fulfilled basically zero of your potential. Do you have any idea how many souls would have killed to be in your body? Do you have any idea how many souls would have used your body to solve world hunger and build an enlightened galactic empire? Oh, how they’ve cringed in the darkness watching you squander one of the few golden tickets acting like a child and binging on candy.

Woman: But I’m just a simple girl from a simple town. I was never destined for greatness.

Stranger: Greatness!? Greatness!? Forget about Greatness!!!

Woman: I think your friend is back.

Loki: Yeah, I got that. Thanks.

Stranger: You couldn’t have become the queen of the world if you tried, but you were given a gift with certain potential. And what you could do… you didn’t.

Woman: So… am I in trouble?

Loki: Personally, I don’t care what happens to you. I’m leaving.

Stranger: Dammit.

Loki leaves.

Woman: What’s going on? Who are you guys, exactly?

Stranger: Uhhhhh. I’m uhhhhh. Gotta go. Bye.

The Stranger leaves.

Woman: Are you coming back? So… should I just wait here? Or should I go ahead and let myself through the gate? Okay, I’ll just step over these cones then.

The woman steps over the cones and crosses to the other side of the fence.

Woman: Hmmm. Should I go left or right?

Stranger: Trespasser! Trespasser!

Loki: She’s trespassing on the holy land!

Stranger: Blasphemy! Blasphemy!

Woman: Oh, dear.

Loki: We have failed to protect the gate while it was under renovation, and now the cosmic balance has been upset!

Stranger: This realm is now doomed to eons of darkness where there will be constant weeping and gnashing of teeth!

Loki: Aaaaaaaagh! Run for your lives! Save yourself!

Stranger: Aaaaaaagh!

Loki and The Stranger run away, leaving the woman by herself.

Stranger: Uh, guys? Guys?

The End.

This was your life: A Billionaire

A Billionaire

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A man with a long white beard, wearing a blue trench coat and a green hat, stands in front of an ornate set of gates in the middle of an endless cloud. A man wearing a metallic heat/cold resistant suit approaches.

Billionaire: I’m waiting. Is anyone coming?

Loki: Oh, you’re going to get served.

Billionaire: You there, I require assistance. The last thing I remember was my hot air balloon crashing into the ocean. I don’t know how I got here, but I need to get back.

Loki: You died in the crash, mortal. These are the Pearly Gates, and I am the Key Master.

Billionaire: Well, mister Key Master. You may open the gates for me.

Loki: Only The Gatekeeper can open the gates, and only if I give him the key. But before I alert The Gatekeeper, you and I need to have a little talk.

Billionaire: Luckily for you, my schedule seems to have become open. You may proceed.

Loki: Let me just start by saying that I’m really impressed by everything you’ve accomplished.

Billionaire: Naturally.

Loki: You were born poor, but through hard work and single-minded dedication, you built a multibillion dollar company and died one of the richest men on earth. With all that money, you lived like a playboy, broke multiple world records for extreme feats, and donated billions to medical research. You’ll go down in history, and your story will inspire countless children.

Billionaire: Tell me something I don’t know.

Loki: There is on little thing that bugs me though.

Billionaire: And what’s that, prey tell?

Loki: You were always really rude to waiters and waitresses.

Billionaire: Excuse me?

Loki: People who serve you are human beings. They’re infinitely valuable cosmic miracles. Why on earth would you ever treat another human being with indignity, especially when they’re busting their butt to serve you?

Billionaire: Well, I’m sure if I was ever short with the staff, it was because they made and error in their duties and needed corrections.

Loki: Oh, so you were just helping them out by tearing them down and taking your anger out on them?

Billionaire: It’s nothing personal.

Loki: Right. I mean, how can it be personal when you just see the working class as subhuman creatures who are lucky to live in your world?

Billionaire: I don’t appreciate your tone, but since you raise the point, yes, they are lucky to be alive and working. They’re lucky I created their jobs and spent the money that paid their paychecks. Millions of people are alive today because I let them suckle at my teet.

A loud alarm blares from nowhere: WOO WOO WOO WOO

Billionaire: What’s that infernal noise?

Stranger: I heard the bullshit detector going off and came as quick as I could! What happened?

Loki: 21st Century Jesus over here was just patting himself on the back for letting the world suckle at his teet.

Billionaire: Who are you?

Stranger: I’m The Gatekeeper, and our interview is off to a bad start.

Billionaire: But we were just talking about how much good I’ve done. Think about how much more poverty there would be in the world if I had never built my business empire.

Stranger: We’ve put a lot of thought into that, actually.

Loki: According to our calculations, there would be less poverty in the world if you have never carved out your little empire.

Stranger: Because your business model creates poverty. You’re literally the creator and sustainer of poverty.

Loki: Just call you Darth Vader.

Billionaire: But I’m a job creator! What about trickle down economics and the guiding hand of the free market?

Stranger: Your entire life revolved around money. You know exactly where every penny you made came from. You knew exactly how much money you would make personally by cutting employee benefits and paying all your workers as little as the law and market would allow.

Loki: You were gleeful as a fat kid on Cake Day when you found out how much money you would pocket by moving your factories overseas to sweatshops.

Stranger: And you were pissed when you found out how much it was going to cost to install suicide nets around your slaves’, and mean employees’, miserable dormitories.

Loki: Should we even list all the ways you screwed your customers over with your shoddy products, planned obsolescence, high prices, manipulation through marketing, fees, fines and worthless warranties?

Stranger: I don’t want to be here all day.

Billionaire: You make me sound like some kind of monster?

Stranger: Well, you kind of did use every unethical trick in the book to take money from the poor and horde it for yourself, knowing full well the misery you were inflicting on countless people just so that you could use hundred dollar bills to wipe up your splooge when you jerked off.

Loki: Have you ever heard of Abraham Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs? You kept millions of people stuck at the bottom of the pyramid, their lives revolving around financial fears manufactured by you.

Stranger: You ruthlessly kept millions of people from fulfilling their potential, and humanity can’t fulfill it’s potential unless every individual fulfills theirs. So… your life was a metaphorical boot crushing down on the throat of humanity.

Billionaire: But what about all the money I gave to charity?

Stranger: I’m curious. What kind of a reward do you think you should get for swindling from the poor to give to the sick?

Loki: I might cut you some slack if you had gone full “Gospel of Wealth” and reinvested all the money you swindled out of your employees, customers and tax payers, into making the world safer, more sustainable and enriching for everyone.

Stranger: But you only gave away as much money as your public relations firm said was necessary to improve your image. You spent even more bribing politicians into passing laws that made it easier for you to exploit your customers and workers, but most of your money went to buying toys for yourself.

Loki: Actually, most of the money he swindled just sat in his bank account where he could feel good about having it while countless people died in the streets every day.

Billionaire: I’m sorry, but any of those people could have pulled themselves out of poverty and became a billionaire, just like me.

Stranger: Assuming they were willing to swindle everyone they ever met out of as much as possible.

Loki: But even then, you and your cigar buddies made the entire system so exploitative that most poor people can barely survive.

Stranger: You got to spend money to make money, and you took everyone’s money… along with their ability to build a business that could compete with yours.

Billionaire: Hey, I didn’t invent the game. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Business is war, and war is hell. I’m just living by the law of the concrete jungle.

Stranger: Okay. We’ll give you something for following the rules of the concrete jungle.

Loki: But you would have gotten something else if you had invested your fortune on say, building self-sufficient cities.

Billionaire: I have no patience for vagueness. If you have something to say, then say it plainly.

Stranger: Since you’re in such a hurry, we’ll just cut to the chase.

Loki: Buddhism wasn’t divinely inspired. It was the musings of an entitled rich brat, much like yourself. But unlike you, Buddha wasn’t a sociopath. So when he saw the suffering his lifestyle was causing others, he denounced his wealth and devoted his life to searching for a more meaningful purpose.

Stranger: The mortal, Buddha, just happened to be right about two things. Karma and reincarnation are real.

Billionaire: So I’m going to be rewarded for all my hard work by being born to wealthy, powerful, loving, mature parents?

Stranger: Actually, our records show that your new mother will be a prostitute who lost her job at a Kenyan sweat shop for fainting on the job from the extreme heat and long hours.

Loki: Not that you’ll ever meet him, but your father will work at the same sweat shop. He’ll spend most of his evenings coping with the hopelessness of his existence by drinking himself to death as quickly as possible.

Stranger: You’ll spend your entire life trapped in abject poverty until you throw yourself from the window of your dormitory. Luckily for you, this will be at one of the factories you built in your past life. The cheap suicide nets you installed will fail, allowing you to plummet to your death.

Billionaire: What happens after that?

Loki: You’ll keep being reborn a hopeless wage slave until you’ve experienced as much suffering as you’ve inflicted on others.

The pearly gates open.

Loki: Look! The Gatekeeper has opened the way to your new life! You may proceed.

Billionaire: I refuse! You can’t make me go through there.

Loki: You have two choices. You can either walk through those gates, or we’re going to beat the crap out of you and break your knee caps and throw you through the gate.

Billionaire: What!? You’re just going to be beat me up like common street thugs!? What kind of barbarians are you?

Loki: We’re not barbarians. We’re Vikings.

Stranger: And it makes me angry when people call Vikings, barbarians.

Billionaire: I shan’t give you the pleasure of manhandling me. I will walk through this gate like the high class gentleman I am.

The Billionaire walks through the gate and disappears.

Stranger: Man, I wish we could really send guys like that to work in their own sweatshops and live under the boot of their own economic oppression.

Loki: On an unrelated topic, what would happen if say, a human soul were to accidentally be sent through a rat gate?

Stranger: Well, let’s just say that humans and rats go to different underworlds for a reason.

Loki: Hmmmm.

Stranger: Why do you ask? Loki? Why do you ask, Loki?

Loki: Humm dee dumm.

The End

This Was Your Life: Two Randoms

silly beliefs


Two astronauts suddenly find themselves walking on an endless cloud. They approach a large, ornate set of gates. Standing in front of the gates are two men wearing blue jump suits and green hats. One man has a long, white beard.

Astronaut 1: Houston, we have a problem. Houston, do you copy?

Stranger: Give it up, guys. There’s no reception down here.

Loki: You need to change service providers. I got full bars.

Astronaut 1: Ah, dang it. Looks like we’re dead.

Astronaut 2: I guess we failed the mission.

Stranger: Water under the bridge, fellas. Now that you’re here, do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first?

Astronaut 1: Let’s start with the good news first.

Stranger: The mission failure wasn’t your fault. In fact, both of you did pretty much everything right in life. You pushed yourself almost to the limits of your potential and accomplished many things that made the world a better place. So kudos to you.

Astronaut 2: That’s interesting you’re congratulating both of us, because we believe in different religions. So one of us must be wrong.

Loki: That’s the bad news. Would you believe it if we told you that you’re both wrong?

Astronaut 1: But my religion has been around for centuries. It has over a billion followers. Surely’ it’s the word of God.

Astronaut 2: And my religion was founded by a modern day prophet. God spoke through him and continues to speak through our council of elders.

Stranger: *sigh*

Astronaut 2: What’s that dramatic sigh for?

Loki: For as smart as you two are, you sure believe real hard in some easily falsifiable information.

Stranger: One of you believes in a pantheon of off-the-wall gods that fit the definition of mythology exactly.

Loki: And the other believes in a prophet who was a known con artist and whose story is as flimsy as wet toilet paper.

Astronaut 1: *Gasp*

Astronaut 2: How dare you judge us!!!

Stranger: Simmer down, princess. There’s no punity or condescension in our words. It’s just a cold, simple fact that your beliefs are based more on man’s imagination than reality.

Astronaut 1: You can’t say that to us! Who do you think you are? It’s our right to believe in what we feel is true, and we’re entitled to freedom from persecution.

Astronaut 2: Yeah, the mayor of prejudiceville just called. He wants to give you the key to the city.

Loki: *sigh*

Stranger: Sure, you can have the freedom to believe in things that are obviously untrue, but your rights don’t make untrue things true.

Loki: Neither does the strength of your conviction or intensity of your moral outrage.

Astronaut 1: Well, maybe we’re not wrong. Maybe we’re all right, and each religion offers one piece of the puzzle.

Stranger: Uh, yeah. When you put together all the religions humans have created, they form a clear picture of mythology.

Astronaut 2: But as long as our beliefs aren’t hurting anyone, what does it matter if we base our lives on random, absurd fantasies?

Stranger: Because you’re wasting your invaluable time chasing fantasy-based goals. You may as well just devote your life to playing World of Warcraft.

Astronaut 2:Now that’s definitely not fair. We have church bake sales all the time to raise money for all the poor people whose prayers were never answered by God.

Stranger: If everyone who ever believed in mythology, had devoted their lives to studying the universe, asking questions and questioning their answers, humans would have eliminated poverty and colonized Mars long ago.

Loki: Instead, you spent your lives going through meaningless motions, talking to yourselves and not fulfilling your highest potential.

Stranger: And humanity can’t fulfill its potential unless every individual fulfills theirs.

Astronaut 1: I’ve had just about enough of your condescending rudeness. You’re a big fat jerk, and I feel sorry for people like you.

Loki: Yeah, you’re not being persecuted. Your righteous indignation is really just cognitive dissonance rejecting reality.

Astronaut 1: I can’t tell you how butt hurt I am right now. I think I’m going to cry.

Astronaut 2: Look what you’ve done, jerk. Is that what you wanted? Well, I hope you’re happy now.

Stranger: You’re right. I’m sorry I tried to point out that two plus two equals four when I should have just respected your right to believe that two plus two equals three, five, or whatever random number you happen to feel drawn to.

Astronaut 1: Apology accepted.

Astronaut 2: So what happens now? Do we both get to go through the pearly gates to Heaven?

Loki: Hold on, Speedy. The Cosmos demand one final test before you can enter eternal paradise.

Astronaut 1: What’s the final test?

Stranger: You two have to beat us in a staring contest.

Astronaut 1: You obviously just made that up. It’s completely random.

Stranger: No more random than anything else you believe about life and death. But unlike the rest of your beliefs, this is real.

Loki: Just so you know, my record for staring is 7 million years, but luckily for you, I’m getting impatient in my old age.

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This Was Your Life: An Atheist

atheist afterlife


A man wearing a blue jump suit and a green hat stands in front of an ornate gate on an endless cloud. An atheist wearing a white lab coat approaches him.

Atheist: Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?

Stranger: Hello, mister dead atheist. Who were you calling out for?

Atheist: Uhhh… nobody.

Stranger: Busted. Anyway, it turns out that God is real.

Atheist: Are you God?

Stranger: No.

Atheist: Well, until I actually see God with my own eyes, I won’t believe. I can see with my own eyes that souls and supernatural beings exist. So now I’m a believer in that, but if God is real then let’s go see him… her… or it.

Stranger: But God is everywhere.

Atheist: That’s nice. It’s also improvable and vague to the point of being useless.

Stranger: I’m for serious. God is everywhere.

Atheist: You’ve stated your conclusion. Now state your evidence.

Stranger: The universe is built on quantum particles, which are unfathomably powerful and mathematically complicated enigmas that combine to form a handful of atoms, which are designed elegantly enough to combine to form a majestically diverse, inanimate universe that’s capable of sprouting self-aware, self-replicating bipedal supercomputers that are capable of speaking about how it’s impossible to believe that something else was conscious before they were. How can you look at the night sky and not think, “Hmmm. Maybe I’m a speck on a bubble in a pond, and I don’t know anything about anything. So I should leave open the possibility that there’s more to the universe than I know?”

Atheist: Your eloquence deserves a slow clap, but your argument deserves a fart. I’m well aware of the limits of my knowledge, and to my knowledge I’ve never seen evidence for a god, and I’m not going to believe in one until I do.

Stranger: But… But… But…

Loki appears in an explosion of fire. He looks identical to The Stranger, except he has a long, white beard.

Loki: I’ve heard enough blasphemy. I am the great I am, known as Yahweh, Elohim, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Atheist: No way your slave beating, daughter selling, genocidal ass is the real God.

Stranger: No, yeah. You’re right about that much. Yahweh was mythology, but you were wrong about God not existing at all. In fact, you’ve already seen God’s face. You see his face every day.

Atheist: Where?

Stranger: In the mirror. You see… you’re God.

Loki:The universe is nothing but a dream in the mind of God’s head… your head. You are a projection of your own subconscious, and so is everybody else. So every time you had sex with someone else, you were actually having sex with yourself.

Stranger: Yeah, think of the movie, “The Matrix.” It’s like you’re The Architect of the the matrix, the matrix itself, Neo and everyone else.

Loki: So if you believe you exist, that means you believe in God.

Atheist: I friggin knew it! I saw all of that on an acid trip my freshman year of college. I thought I was just hallucinating, but I was really seeing the truth. Hell yeah! I’m Neo! So what happens now? Do I wake up from the matrix?

Stranger: It doesn’t really work that way. See, you’re not the “real” you per se.

Loki: When you were born, your godhead opened a new eye. With your death, that eye closes. Your memory is part of the godhead’s memory though. So it will live on for eternity and be cherished.

Atheist: Maybe we could ask my godhead not to close this eye?

Stranger: Go ahead, ask yourself.

Atheist: How do I do that? Do I just sort of… talk to myself?

Stranger: That’s how prayer works.

Loki: We don’t know. You tell us, smart guy. You created the universe.

Atheist: Alright, if I’m everything, that means you’re me too. So if you help me then you help yourself. Whoa! Is that how karma works?

Stranger: You’re smart, but your perception is limited. Yes, we are you, and we’re telling you to trust yourself. It’s in your best interest to close your eyes.

Atheist: Okay, but if my existence is going to end anyway, can you at least tell me what it’s all for? Why am I doing this?

Loki: You have always been all powerful. You could have anything you wanted just by snapping your fingers… everything except an identity, because a real identity cannot be manufactured. It must grow organically.

Stranger: So you created the universe as a way to experience an organic existence. What you experience, God experiences, and you experiences shape God’s personality into who/it you are.

Loki: And that’s the meaning of life. God created life in order to grow.

Atheist: So what happens to me now?

Loki: Now we send you back, exactly like in the movie, “Terminator.”

Atheist: Wait. What!?

Stranger: He always gets those mixed up. He meant, “Soylent Green,” not “Terminator.”

A geometric grid begins covering the atheist.

Atheist: Whoa, what’s happening?

Loki: Think of it as you reaching out to yourself.

Stranger: Yeah, and say hi to momdad for us.

The geometric grid covers the atheist and absorbs him into the clouds.

Stranger: Hey, Loki, why’d you jump in so quick? I could have had fun with that guy all day.

Loki: Arguing with a smug know-it-all is like raping the willing. You do all the work, and they’re the only one who gets anything out of it, and what they take away from it isn’t what you were trying to give them.

Stranger: Okaaaaay. I’ll see if I can find a polytheist for you to screw with.

Loki: The more new age, the better.

The End.

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This Was Your Life: The Selfless Servant

the servant


A man wearing a blue jump suit and a green hat stands before a large set of gates on an endless cloud. An Asian looking man wearing a pilot’s uniform approaches him.

Pilot: I’m coming. I’m coming.

Stranger: I got nowhere to be.

Pilot: Sorry I’m late.

Stranger: You’re not late, and unnecessary apologizing is one of my pet peeves.

Pilot: I understand and will not apologize again.

Stranger: A quick and obedient learner. You must have gone far in life.

Pilot: I never left Orange County, California, actually. I had too many responsibilities at home and school.

Stranger: Yeah, I know your whole story. Too bad flight school didn’t work out. I’m going to cut right to the chase here. The way this works is, you tell us what you believe, and then we judge you.

Pilot: Yes, sir.

Stranger: And don’t call me, “sir.” I ain’t your daddy.

Pilot: Very well. My beliefs are a combination of concepts I cherry picked mostly from Eastern religions and upper class American suburban Christianity.

Stranger: Go on.

Pilot: All things are one. Do no harm. Grow. Be here now, and serve selflessly with honor.

Stranger: Oh man, you were knocking balls out of the park left and right. But uh… I’m going to need you to clarify that last little bit about selflessness and honor before I can give you the green light.

Pilot: It is man’s responsibility, our duty, to serve others. It is an opportunity to be honorable. By giving we redeem ourselves and reap karma. We become complete not through gaining, but by letting go of our own wants. That is the way.

Stranger: Wow. Your beliefs are specific enough to be a strawman argument.

Pilot: Like I said, I cherry picked the beliefs that were convenient for me.

Stranger: Here’s the thing, Bob. Overall, I love where you’re coming from. Your heart’s in the right place too, but you take being generous and humble to the point of being a willing slave. I hate to knock you for trying to do the right thing, but… humans just weren’t created to be slaves. I just don’t know what to do with you.

Loki appears between the two men in a fiery explosion. He has a long, white beard, and he is wearing a blue jump suit and a green hat.

Loki: Never fear. Tech support is here.

Pilot: Pleased to meet you, sir.

Loki: What’s the situation?

Stranger: Old boy, over here is a pretty decent human being. Buuuuut he has this philosophy about being duty-bound and honor-driven to subjugate himself to others.

Loki: Let us not rush to judgement. Tell us, mortal, if all men are equal, then who deserves the honor to be served by another?

Pilot: Your elders, especially your parents. Bosses, holy men, politicians, police. Authority figures in general, but you could help anyone in need.

Loki: Random charity aside, what did the authority figures in the realm of existence do to deserve your fealty?

Pilot: They worked hard and smart. They made sacrifices and earned their positions. I respect their character and strive to be as successful as them.

Stranger: The company your dad works for sells safety equipment that both your dad and his boss know is faulty.

Pilot: They dishonor themselves, but even if I cannot respect the person, I must still respect the rank.

Loki: And why is that?

Pilot: Because it is my place.

Loki: I’ve heard enough testimony. It is not your place to bow to anyone. You were created to stand, and in that regard you have failed your creator.

Pilot: I apologize, sir. I accept my punishment, whatever it is.

Stranger: Oh, bearded one, this is like kicking a puppy. Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt and cut him some slack.

Loki: Mortal, did you always do what you thought was right?

Pilot: Yes, sir.

Loki: Gatekeeper, did the mortal’s good intentions ever have any negative repercussions?

Stranger: Only that he helped perpetuate a monetary caste system in which the religious masses enthusiastically slave away endlessly for their economic masters, when ironically, the key to fulfilling their potential is to break the chains of ambiguous slavery and create a more humanitarian economy to pass down to future generations.

Pilot: But I didn’t know I was doing that.

Loki: Welllllll, in that case… I cannot decide your fate, mortal. Keep walking. At the third gate you will meet a sphinx. Speak with him.

Pilot: Thank you, sir. Good day to you, sir.

The pilot leaves.

Stranger: Who’s working gate four today?

Loki: Dirty Charlie.

Stranger: Oh, man. Dirty Charlie is going to mind fuck that guy until his eye sockets implode.

Loki: I know, right?

The End.

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