Sunday, January 24, 2010

oh my godlessness

how can i help people to understand that my atheism is as beautiful, mysterious, inspiring, and heartfelt as any form or practice of any religion could be.  the complex wonder that is nature, the universe, human existence is so rich, that i feel my heart will just about burst with the love of it all.  the fact that on out of all the planets in all the galaxies, evolution led to my two parents combining their dna to make me, little old ordinary me, is just amazing.  the drake eqaution works out how rare it is that intelligent life would exist on any given planet (and there is a hilarious use of the drake equation used to calculate one nerdy guys likelihood of finding a girlfriend here), but that doesnt take into account the chance of my parents meeting, and their parents.  the comedienne julia sweeney goes further, talking about the likelihood of even the one egg out of hundreds, and the one sperm out of millions coming together to make exactly this one person. she quotes richard dawkins, saying certainly those unborn ghosts include poets greater than keats, scientists greater than newton, but in the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and i in our ordinariness that are here.  it really does boggle the mind when thinking about it, and makes me want to take advantage of every minute all the more.  i have been given the most rare and wondrous gift imaginable, and although i may be full of ordinariness, i am determined to appreciate it as much as any person possibly could.

i never find disappointment in my atheism, like my dad does when he wishes so much that he could believe in another life after this one.  when facing his mortality, it is very difficult for him, and he never believes me when i tell him that i truly do not wish for life after death.  its like twain says, i do not fear death.  i had been dead for billions and billions of years before i was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.  of course i am one of the lucky ones.  i can be contented with the years i have spent on this earth, because i have had more opportunities than most just by the chance of being born in america.  i have lived more experiences because i have had options, choices that so few ever get to make.  the children that die without yet living, those that suffer at the hands of others, it does not seem fair that their one chance has been so spoiled.  but of course nature is not about fairness, and i can only appreciate my life and do my best to help others have the opportunities that i have had.

but there is one instance where my atheism does make me feel sad.  again, julia sweeney presents it so perfectly in her program letting go of god.  she talks about how when she finally came to terms with the fact that there is no god, she had to go through the deaths of those loved ones that had passed all over again.  it was especially heartbreaking to hear her talk about her brother, who died a painful death from cancer, and whom she always thought she would see again in heaven.  but she had to admit that his suffering was nothing more than a fact of being a human animal, and that it was not a part of a grand plan, and she would never see him again, he is dead.  just dead.  so its really not for myself that i feel heartsick, but for those that deserve a heaven where they can make up for time lost on earth.  in a more trivial way, its like a really tragic scene in a book or movie where a character dies in their lovers arms, and the only way you can keep from blubbering is to tell yourself that they will be together again in heaven.  without that caveat, it is depressing sometimes.  but at least the bittersweetness means that the life was well lived, because the person was well loved.  and i do consider myself fortunate here as well, because i have never believed in heaven, and i imagine it would be very difficult to let go of the idea that your loved ones are waiting for you, if you had been banking on that your whole life.  the regrets will be stronger, the pains more hurtful, because there is no taking anything back, never a second chance.  of course its impossible to always be loving and kind and just and free from all judgement of others (at least it is for me), but it is so important to give it your best shot, because there will never be another opportunity like this one.

i could write all night about my love for my atheism (and i truly do love it, if i may be anthropomorphic), but for now i'll sign off with a video from one of my favorite atheist explainers(?), qualiasoup on youtube.


  1. We need to believe in something Divine without the need for God...

  2. Religion seems mainly to bring hope to the hopeless.

    The largest periods of religious fervour are during times of war, when people need hope.

    And some people are just born into it.

    I think the idea of god isn't bad, but religion itself, or the way god is "organised" by human beings isn't good.