Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Atheism

Written as an essay for my podcast ("Well, That's That" with Mama A); you can find a link to my podcast and other interesting links here: https://linktr.ee/MamaAPodcast.

New year, who dis? Hello 2022! Our chests are still barred, but unwilling, for a new year to take a giant dump on them. 2020, and 2021 left steaming hot ones still nesting stinkily on our pectorals. Why  not add to the pile? I don’t care anymore. I feel nothing. What are your new year’s resolutions? Last year I kept ONE of my resolutions: to produce & publish one podcast episode per month. I also resolved to complete my second book of poetry and get a real grasp on my online shopping issues. I did NOT complete my second book of poetry but I did improve my online shopping addiction. Researching corruption within capitalism and how factory workers overseas are treated really helped reign things in for me. But, I still have room for improvement. This year I’d like to continue regularly producing my podcast BUT I’m not resolving to a particular number per month or what have you because I’m having another baby at the end of June. That’s right folks. I resolve to have another healthy baby girl by July 4. This resolution is in nature’s hands though. I also resolve to cook at least one dinner per week for my family. I suck at cooking, mostly because it’s such a laborious chore and I’m not very good at it. Also because I can’t just cook. There’s kids and animals parading around, beating on drums, my husband hanging over my shoulder and back seat cooking which all causes me to cut the tip of my finger off. This should be interesting this year since I can’t drink. Bummer. But, I’d rather have a baby than a beer. Ok so three resolutions: baby, podcast and cook. I think I can handle that. Alright so… enough yapping. On with this episode. 

So, last YEAR (haha) in the last episode, I talked about my personal political views. So today, to kick off the new year… let’s talk about my religious views! Or lack thereof, more accurately. Disclaimer, trigger warning… whatever you need to hear that lets you know: in the following episode will be personal points of view I hold that may offend you. Please, if you are religious to a devout degree and do not like listening to opposing or questioning view points, I’ll see you next episode! Or, I’m about to lose 1 of the 5 listeners I have. Oh well, sorry not sorry. 

I am an atheist. Or a non-theist. Whatever term describes someone who does not believe in any magical, mythical, mysterious, omnipotent, impotent higher power. Alright, I’ve lost some people here. Let’s share some atheist fun facts and quotes that I hold dear to my black heart. Then we’ll delve into  why I’m a heathen. It’s quite simple. But first, Wikipedia states: Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is a rejection of the belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. The etymological root for the word atheism originated before the 5th century BCE from the ancient Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god(s)". Wikipedia also shares a pie chart of world religions by percentage (from about 2007). Muslims win at 21.01% of the world’s population, Catholics, 16.99%, Hindus at 13.26%, Other religions (what?) at 11.78%, Non- religious at 11.77%, Buddhists at 5.84%, Protestants at 5.78%, other Christians at 5.77%, Orthodox (orthodox what, there could be a bunch of those) at 3.53%, Anglicans (which technically is a type of Protestant) at 1.25%, Jews at 0.23%, Sikhs at 0.35% and Bahai’s at 0.12%. Oh! And our beloved neighborhood Atheists at 2.32%. Another source, within Wikipedia mind you (maybe it’s a more current statistic) states that 7% of the world’s population are atheists with China having the most. So, on the American Atheists website (atheists,org) they state: “Atheism is not a belief system nor is it a religion. While there are some religions that are atheistic (certain sects of Buddhism, for example), that does not mean that atheism is a religion. To put it in a more humorous way: If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.” They, we,  just don’t believe in any gods. Not one, not many… none. Who started atheism? Well, it’s not really who started it officially but maybe who was the person who was first recorded as rejecting religion. According to the McGill School of Computer Science (why they have anything to say about atheism is a mystery…maybe a divine mystery): “The 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher Diagoras is known as the "first atheist", and strongly criticized religion and mysticism. Epicurus was an early philosopher to dispute many religious beliefs, including the existence of an afterlife or a personal deity.” If you want to research this further, please look up Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the asshole Christopher Hitchens. He’s a real condescending jerk towards religious folk which I don’t agree with BUT he’s got points. Maybe save him for last. Sam Harris is a nice gentle start. 

So, now that you have a little history (the rest of the research I’ll leave up to you), let’s talk about me. Me me me meeee. I’m an atheist so that’s all I care about, right? I’m just one opportunity away from being a murdering rapist who stampedes about the country side plundering and stealing because I’m a godless heathen. False. But, unfortunately, that’s the wrap atheists typically get. When I told my parents I didn’t believe in god, my dad’s initial response was: “Well, if you don’t believe in god, what’s stopping you from killing people?” to which I replied (calmly): “If the only thing stopping you from killing people is the threat of eternal damnation, then isn’t that worse?”. He hesitated and turned to mom and said “Gah we shouldn’t have put her through Catholic school”. I disagree, I value the education I received but anyways. I’ve got lots of smart ass answers. The reason I’m an atheist is because I don’t believe in god. Done. Thanks for tuning in! But really, that is the only reason. I can’t force myself to believe in this omnipotent, punishing but somehow loving puppet master. A dude, or whatever it is, in the sky, heavens, stratosphere… floating around watching us. And helping us when we need him… because honestly: he never does. Where I’m at today is because of my own hard work, my family’s love and support and my husband. Science and education saved Ella’s life when she was being choked out in utero. Technology allows me to relax, pursue hobbies and help my family. Compassion, love, determination, courage… all HUMAN characteristics. All things that have helped me thrive. No god helped me do that. No god gave me all those things. They were part of my brain chemistry… chemistry = science. My husband is more agnostic because he says he can’t prove 100% there is no god. I can’t either but I’m confident in saying, there is no god. What do you think happens when we die? Please stop listening if you don’t want to hear what I’m about to say. It’s going to hurt and be scary… nothing. Nothing happens. We cease to continue on, we rot and our energy is transferred to the bugs and earth that consume us. Unless we’re buried in a concrete box then we just become a ball of gas trapped forever. Unless we’re cremated, then our energy is transferred into a flame. Unless you receive a viking burial and the archer misses, then your boat will float along until a humpback whale capsizes the boat with their tale and your body is ripped to shreds by sharks, the pieces sinking to the bottom where lantern fish stalk your lovely lady lumps through the dark. And then consume them. Wow. I want that to happen to me. I just can’t force myself to believe in anything fanciful, extraterrestrial, supernatural (though I love a good haunted house, or ghost story), or holy. I can’t do it. I’ve tried for YEARS. I tried going to different churches to see if something awoke, burning hot in my non-existent soul. Nothing did. Because I have no soul. 

So what makes me a good person? How do I have ethics and morals? Honestly, Catholic school planted the seed. My parents helped it grow. And when I realized I don’t need a creepy dude in the sky to exact punishment if I don’t obey, or offer eternal reward if I do… I continued being a good person without the threat of risk or promise of reward. Because that’s the ONLY reason we’re here. Why are we so stupid and self-absorbed to think we’re here for anyother reason? It’s not all about ourselves, it’s about each other. We’re here for each other. Help, love and nurture. Do your reasonable best day to day. You don’t need to do anything huge. You don’t need to change the world or be a saint. Those that loved you will remember you and that’s all that matters. And when they die, eventually we’ll all be forgotten. Who cares?! I’m just going to enjoy the time I’ve got and do the best I can to be a decent person. And when I die, throw my naked body in a dirt hole. No casket, no cremation. Easy! Then my family can take my money and have fun. Eat good food at my funeral, laugh and cry and then move the fuck on. 

My last statement is, if you need or love or want your religion. Keep it! I’m never going to shit on your faith. I’m impressed and sometimes jealous that you have it. I wish I had something so comforting. I do believe I’m part of something bigger, but I’m an insignificant piece. For some reason, my insignificance gives me peace. I know that no matter what I do, it won’t matter in the big cosmic picture. If you need religion to be a good person, or feel loved or needed: keep it! I will drive you to church. I will stand outside your church and protect your right to worship. I will be the only atheist at a religious equality march but I’ll march with Muslims, Christians, Jews…everyone. Not scientologists. Sorry, you’re a cult. 


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