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.

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