“Huh. Hello? Who.. is… this?” Dr. Richmond struggled to shake off the vestiges of deep sleep that he was in. He strained his eyes to read the time on his nightstand clock. After a very long pause, a voice spoke on the other end of the phone.
“My apologies for calling you so early, Joe. This is Martin.” When there was no immediate response to his vague introduction, the Doctor elected to further clarify his identity.
“It’s Martin Harris from the University research center. I have something very exciting that I need to show you immediately. I realize it’s very early and we barely know each other academically but it’s of the utmost importance. I did some checking around with our mutual colleagues and they recommended that I share my research data with you. They said that you could help me take it to the next level.”
“Huh? Take WHAT to the next level?”; Dr Richmond stammered.
“I’ve made a huge breakthrough in mapping brain chemistry and human cognition that will shape mankind for the foreseeable future. My research could bring about world peac…”
Dr. Richmond cut off his overly excited colleague. “Whoa! Whoa there. Whatever you discovered can wait until daylight. I’d be happy to take a look at your data and research findings as soon as my 9 AM lecture is over. Until then I…”
This time Dr. Harris impatiently cut him off. “No! No. You don’t understand how big this is. It’s monumental and could save literally millions of lives. I am not exaggerating here! Time is of the essence. The sooner that you and I could confer and develop a worldwide strategy, the sooner we could save countless lives across the world! Please come to my office now. I promise that you will understand my sense of urgency, once you’ve seen my data and empirical research.”
By this time, Joe was wide awake from hearing the fantastic claims and boastful ravings made by Dr. Harris. He reluctantly agreed to get dressed and meet him at his research lab in a few minutes. Quietly he cursed his misfortune for allowing his number to be published in the phone directory. however He also had to admit that he was modestly curious about the nature of his colleague’s ‘huge’ finding.
Before he could rap on Dr. Harris’s office door, it flew open and he was hurried inside without so much as a pleasantry or greeting. Still slightly asleep, Dr. Richmond was startled by the veracity of his agitated colleague. He was then escorted into an inner office and offered a seat and coffee.
Sensing his predawn level of unpreparedness, Dr. Harris allowed a few moments for the coffee to perform its solemn duty before bombarding his hapless associate with information. Once he appeared more alert, he went immediately for the ‘big guns’.
“What is your opinion of organized religion, if I may ask? May I call you Joe?”; He added.
Dr. Richmond nodded an affirmative to the second question and hesitantly approached answering the first. Then he deflected to the pressing questions he had himself about the bizarre nature of his being there at 5AM.
“What is this all about, anyway? I thought you had some life-changing discovery that you were desperate to share with me! These philosophical questions could have certainly waited a few more hours….”
Dr. Harris held up his hands to beg for some much needed patience. “Joe, I do have a life changing discovery but before I get you involved in my research, I need to make sure that you and I are in complete agreement about some crucial things. Otherwise I’d be wasting your time and mine. Please hear me out. What are your thoughts about organized religion? Please be frank, ok? The more candid you are, the faster I can determine if you are the right person to help with my project.”
Dr. Richmond chaffed a bit at the idea that he had been dragged out of bed before 5AM on a ‘hunch’ that he ‘might’ be a good research partner. He was also annoyed at being pinned down about his thoughts on such a touchy subject, by a virtual stranger in predawn hours. Finally he blurted out: “I believe it’s well know among my close colleagues and associates that I do not think highly of any organized religion. I’ve written a few well received academic papers and essays on the subject, so I’m not sure why you would need to ask me. My position is pretty well known in the scientific community.”
Dr. Harris smiled and thanked him for personally clarifying his position. He explained that he had read his academic papers with great interest but the secretive nature of his research required an extra level of verification. Then he admitted that they were in complete agreement about the worldwide harm it brought to warring factions across the globe.
“This is all fine and good that we agree about the destructive nature of ‘faith’ but what does that have to do with your research, Martin?”
“What if I told you that I found a way to erase all faith based religions as a believable, ideological construct from the human mind?”; Dr. Harris deadpanned.