tisdag 14 augusti 2012
God is dead but my hair is perfect
I'm not sure what caused me to cease to believe, but at the age of 8, I became an atheist. My father, a devout christian, had urged me to pray twice times a day since I could talk, and one day I just woke up and didn't see the logic in believing in something which existence there was no scientific evidence in support of. And this came from the girl who the very same year ate three snails on a dare. It should also be mentioned that I didn't stop believing in Santa Claus until I was ten. You know, he at least brought me gift - that's a deity I could believe in. However, the very day I stopped believing in God, I discovered my own and my family's mortality, so that was a bummer. The years went on and I became a very angry Richard Dawkins/Marilyn Manson-loving teenager who loved to bash any Christian person I could get my hands on, until I met a friend who believed in God and still was one of the smartest people I had ever met - a person who made me realize that I had been trying to convert religious people to atheism more than they had tried to convert me. Since then, I am still a firm believer in the non-existence of any form of deity, but I have realized that religion is just a way of coping with death and questions regarding the meaning of life, and if it helps some people, religion could actually have a place in a society without being that fundamentalist cult I have always perceived it as. I for one know that I would love to believe in an afterlife in order not to be so afraid of death, but I just can't believe, and I have seen too much of the horrible effects of organized religion to be able to stand religion in anything but on an individual level, and sometimes not even that. However, atheists aren't always much better: atheist like to be the voice of science and rationality, but some of them, including teenage me, are just condescending assholes.
So, here's the pros and cons of being an atheist according to me.
- No harsh moral constraints or rules; you can have awesome gay divorce-whiskey-evolution-abortion-picnics and no one will judge you. OK, a little. I'm judging you already.
- You feel in control of your life by defining your own set of moral values and purpose in life. The meaning of life? Eating onion rings and watching 30 Rock? All right then!
- You get to respond to your Christian friend yelling from the bathroom that the toilet paper is out by screaming "WHERE'S YOUR GOD NOW?!"
- You share a trait with Stephen Fry. Nuff said.
- The lack of an afterlife. For atheists, I believe death is even more terrifying than for believers, because our entire belief-system is based on the belief that there is no such thing as heaven or hell, and that all that awaits us after death is soil and silence. Atheist death consoling is really the worst: "Don't cry, I'm sure he's rotting away peacefully in his coffin! He'll always be present in your life, in the form of that unpaid student loan! Please stop crying, it'll be your turn soon to enter the eternal darkness!".
- The lack of cool religious rituals and decadence. Come on, Pope Borgia's orgies wouldn't be half as indulgent if he didn't justify it by referring to the protection of an all-mighty deity. Catholicism has done a lot of terrible things, but man, the bling and the shame-sex is to die for.
- Free will. Because sometimes it would be great to have a God who could decide all the trivial things - not whom I should marry or what I can or can't do with my body, but things like deciding what laundry detergent to buy or if I really should eat that sixteenth cookie.
I have met many Christians who refuse to interpret the bible literally and instead propose a religion based on actual love and understanding, and I have met atheists who quote Richard Dawkins as their bible - fundamentalists exist everywhere, no matter what religion or anti-religion. In the end, it's really all about what moral rules you let guide your life - your own, or guidance from a two thousand year old book (or in the Dawkins-case, a six year old book)? We all have that moral voice of conscience, the question is just whether it is your own voice or someone else's. My problem is that my conscience mostly consists of a urine-drenched hobo rummaging around my brain yelling "WHERE ARE MY FECKING MOZZARELLA STICKS??". But you know, you can't have it all.