The culture of Guardon, a planet severe in its religious beliefs, faces upheaval due to a corps of rebels, who believe that the planet's religion simply masks the corruption and self-interest of those in power.
"You are told Guardonians are a miraculous creation of our God," came the voice of Brisko Lemtig, the Glorbot speaker. Six of his people had helped gather a crowd and now stood on the crowd’s periphery on watch for the palazi.
"But where, I ask, is the miracle? If we are creations of this all-powerful God, who reigns in His heaven and waits eagerly for our return to lavish heavenly bliss on us, then there is no miracle involved. None at all. We are the products of a master-magician, who merely flexes His mind and produces an interesting trick. There is nothing miraculous about it at all. This Almighty Being, supposedly eager for our return, could simply wave His hand and surround Himself with whatever and whomever He wants. And He could do it whenever He wants without the need for Heavenly Departure Points. The Camtores would have you believe that the only reason to live is to die—and quickly—but only after amassing goods and money, which the Camtores claim a share of when you depart for heaven."
The speaker’s eyes traveled over the fifty-plus Guardonians who had congregated. He rushed on.
"What is the real miracle you may ask? The real miracle is this. There is no God." He waited for the usual sputtering that went through a crowd when he made his blasphemous declaration to subside. He went on. "Somehow in the great darkness of space, forces and elements have come together here and elsewhere to create what we see; to create what we have; to create us. This is the true, inexplicable miracle, and this miracle demands that we spend all of our energy concentrating on this life, loving each other; helping each other; making this life worth living because it is all there is; it is all we have. It is all we will ever have."