Dear Moms and Dads, I Am an Atheist

More talks on religion with myself and the late Christipher Hitchens lead me to a conclusion. I have to apologize to my parents, because if their God is the one true God, I am certainly going to their version of Hell. That’s not something I can console them for, or even help them to reconcile with me. I don’t know that they believe in my being a good person to absolve me of my sins, or if the priest must first forgive me of my minor transgressions against mankind in order to be saved. That’s just an odd thought though, isn’t it?

Imagine reaching some giant gates where a saint in emanating robes tells you “look, you didn’t do a bad job. Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d let you in and let you join everyone. The fact of the matter is, you didn’t sing about God or tell people how amazing he is, so we’re going to have to torture your soul for all eternity in the depths of hell. You should’ve learned to be grateful to the almighty and given praise where praise is due”

I would hope it’s easier for my parents to reconcile that idea rather than condemn me as “dark-sided”, but it’s just the way they had been raised. I’m not certain that it’s fair to condemn people when the texts themselves all state in one way or another that only God has the power to judge us, worse still that there is no greater conceivable God than the God they follow… Yet, I’d like to offer you an example. What about a God that doesn’t want to be worshipped endlessly for what it has done, and instead looks to us as a hero does to the people they saved?

I’ve never heard of Superman or Spider-man zooming in to save the day and then stating “Now, you’d all better sing and offer up symbols of how grateful you are, otherwise I’m coming back and I’ll make sure you pay for it with your eternal soul.” Can you imagine what sort of God it must take to be so conceited or insecure that it needs to receive such constant praise for actions it committed ages ago? I’m only 30, and if anyone were to praise me for the kindness I’d served them last year alone, I’d be worried for their health. Imagine a God that wants constant recognition for the fact that it created everything at the beginning of time? Doesn’t sound like too good of an individual. This is why I don’t consider myself a part of these religions. They aren’t healthy for the individuals, and it doesn’t exactly bring comfort or joy to those involved. It’s a nice way of falling back when all is lost and saying “it will all work out somehow”.

I’d like to propose an alternative; instead of letting God be the reason you say “it will all work out somehow”, just let it all work out somehow. It always has before, better or worse. Whenever things went south and the worst came to light in the past, you kept moving forward. Why should the future be any different in that regard? Granted, you might Die. That would in fact be worse than anything that’s happened before, because that means you’re done and the story isn’t being written anymore.

I used to scare Joel back in Brooklyn when we’d smoke and talk about existence; “your window is open right now, but someday it closes. Someday that window closes and—” he’d yell at me and tell me to just enjoy myself. I was enjoying myself, and it just wasn’t the same way he always would. Sometimes the truth is terrifying, so we’d rather keep going with the lies. I like to think that I’ve done pretty well with the truth so far and can’t foresee a time when I’ll prefer lies to it. So moms, dads, and everyone else, I want you all to know now and forever, that I’m an atheist.

I don’t believe in a God, or some magical being that did it all for us. I think we’re hurtling forth through the void of all existence towards more existence, and there is no warmth waiting for us when we die. I think the tragic loss of losing loved ones is more tragic than we’ll ever be able to comprehend, definitely more so than your religions let you believe because they’ve told you that someday you’ll see them again. You’ve told yourself too. That’s too big a lie for me. I spent years distraught over my dead brother who I’ll never get to know. You were all so worried about me, but you all gave me the same lies that other people gave you, so i couldn’t trust your answers. I like the truth that you can’t stand better, because at the end of the day while it breaks my heart again and again, I’d rather have my heart broken and know that it’s mine for the 100 years I get here. I am the only Me, and I might have you to thank for that, and the pantheon (the inconceivably long list of chance happenings!) of choices that all my, your, and their, ancestors made all the way back throughout time and space, that allowed me to exist. THAT is so much greater than the cookie cutter response of “thank god”.

I believe the future is always better than the past in some small, inconceivably better way. If all the human race ends, it is because that serves all of existence better for having sacrificed humanity. ”So it goes”. We cannot let ourselves just be for our own sake, we have to live for each other. I can’t and never could live for a “God”. I love you guys, and I’m sorry if you think this is a sad moment. I’ll gladly tell you why it isn’t in another post if you want to know.

Moving to Wisconsin/Parents/Honesty

Turns out that if you leave me to my own devices and don’t giv me a deadline the only thing that ends up happening is I drink and watch TV with the love of my life. Happiness has a problem, folks. It breeds complacency. I have to start actually looking for the things that piss me off now that life has been upgraded. Despite all the new stressors that renting a home comes with, I do firmly believe that they are all worth the struggle and by far better than the struggles of living at home with parents. While it took me quite a long while to reach this point, I do not feel I should’ve done things differently. Here at 30, I was able to undertake all the alternatives and understand what a life of parental dependency might look like, which provides the joys of this alternative: living on your own with someone you chose far outweighs the difficulties of living with the people you couldn’t choose.

I want to draw the distinction between loving my parents and not wanting them as room-mates. My parents have always held me close and kept me as their own. The difficulty with this is I couldn’t establish myself as someone who deserves a voice (let alone actually deserving a voice) in matters of the household. No one should be able to dictate what their parents do in their own household, and I can state from experience that things grow worse if you try to. Being given parental control on your parents is a terrible scenario to be in, because you will start to resent them for their shortcomings, instead of accepting them for who they are. It’s a very shitty feeling, and I don’t wish it on anyone, but I’m certain that anyone who has parents that have lived to an older age can speak to it. It becomes a very frustrating situation when you start to understand people’s behaviors better than they do. This isn’t to say my parents aren’t good people, because on their own and without my impositions, they really are. They’re fascinating individuals that give their children everything they can, and that’s all anyone can ask. There is some tragedy to that, and i’ll cover that in a bit.

It took leaving NY to understand that everyone would be okay once i stepped away and let them all get on with their lives. This is an issue i’ve always had; control is my natural setting, and Kailey might be the only person on Earth that i fully love enough to get things done. That’s a harsh statement for the people i love to read, but it’s the truth. I don’t accept my parents flaws because I’ve seen them as Gods in my childhood, thinking they’e capable of so much more than they do now. I have a perceptive flaw that leads me to believe they can do so much more, but i forget that the things they did when i was a kid were just as much happy accidents and seat-of-their-pants decision making as I do today. They didn’t let me see movies above my age-range because they were cool, they did it because they didn’t know I shouldn’t be watching any of them. They didn’t tell me what they felt about each other because they thought i should understand their internal conflicts, they did it because they were pissed and had no one to vent to. That’s a really important distinction; it made them less human in my eyes to think that they could and should share their thoughts with their loved ones. The problem there arises in how I came to understand honesty. People usually lie. People don’t often think their feelings over and give exact reasons for what they’re feeling. This means when I tell my parents how i’m feeling, they expect it’s something i’m saying to butter them up or make them feel good; It’s not. They really are amazing individuals who did their best, and I know that. The shitty thing is, that also means they have to accept that however I turned out is their “best” effort. That’s not an easy pill to swallow. I know this because i’ve undergone it to some degree, and can’t imagine what the full effect must be. 

Few things hurt worse than giving it your best and still falling short of your goals. The caveat is, if you never did it at all, you’d carry that regret your entire life through. Worse still is knowing that you can’t face the part of you that makes you do it, and knowing you’ll have that come up again and again. It is a widely used idea of hell; repeating your worst mistakes over and over without any power to correct them. 

I say this because I’m certain that moving to Wisconsin was the right choice. It wasn’t some idea I tossed around. My partner joked that I might have cold feet in the moments leading up to our moving in together. She joked because she knew there was no chance in all reality that I would. I can say for certain that I made the right move because no part of me doubted moving in with her, and it’s one of the only things i’ve ever done in my life that i can say that about. That’s what heaven really is, by the way. It’s committing acts so pure and free that no harm comes from it whatsoever. These are very rare things, I might add. In all our joys and sorrows, we should strive to commit truly harmless acts and avoid repetitious harms. Couldn’t help but plug some moral philosophy, but you’ll come to know that’s just how I work. 

To anyone reading, thanks for taking the time. I’m going to try to be more consistent with this, but for the time being I can’t guarantee my next post date. Erratic posting will be a thing for at least the next month or so, until a solid schedule becomes routine. I appreciate any and all support, and home you’re all well. Frustrations and honest attacks are welcomed.