Because, man, if it’s the second one, that would suck. Say you invite Jesus over for a barbecue, and serve him up a nice juicy breast or leg off the grill — the instant he touches it, bam! You’ve got a live chicken at the party. And then what?
Oh, by the way, there ARE atheists in foxholes. It’s where some of them get their start. Besides, I’ll bet when they’re diving out of the way of a hail of bullets, soldiers scream “Fuck!” at least as often as “Jesus!” The number of confirmed Jesuschristians in foxholes is probably just about equal to the number of devout Fuckitarians.
We all want to think we’re right. I mean, I get that part. Being human, we couldn’t feel pride, we couldn’t move forward in our lives, probably we couldn’t even go on living, if we didn’t think we were right about things.
The problem we all have is that, traditionally, religious people have thought they were righter than everybody else — so right that if the rest of us weren’t willing to agree with them, they’d imprison us, torture us, maybe even kill us. Some places in the world, it still happens.
Sure, I think I’m right. But would I torture or kill someone to get them to agree with me? Am I so right that I would send little girls back into a burning building to die because they weren’t following my beliefs?
Nope. Not just because it wouldn’t work — you can’t force people to be rational — but because it wouldn’t be a good thing. People have a right to be left alone, to make their own mistakes.
Radical religious people in the U.S. don’t want to allow others that right. A friend telling me about his Jehovah’s Witness mother said she really seemed to believe that if you didn’t totally accept her religious beliefs, you were committing an assault against her.
All that business about putting the Ten Commandments in courthouses? There’s nothing at all in that about reverence for history. It’s an in-your-face scream: “Screw you, bitch! We’re righter than everybody else, and you’re not stopping us!”
THAT is the kind of thing that really scares me. If simply wanting to defend your right to think your own thoughts, live your own life, is an assault against somebody in power, you’re going to end up either their slave or dead.
Once you get religion out of your head, it’s amazing what starts to happen. You start to see relationships between things that religious people simply don’t see. Having goddy stuff in your head is like having a really bad head cold and being unable to smell a meadow full of spring flowers. Or in the case of religion, a leaking sewer.
I learned long ago not to use shareware in my computer. When I got my first computer, I downloaded all kinds of free stuff off the web, but pretty soon I was having a dozen crashes a day.
You’ve got to be real careful what you load into your computer. That goes double for your brain, and the brains of your kids. You have to get the GOOD software — you know, science and reason? — the stuff that’s been tested and proven to work well in real-world conditions.
Plenty of people get the bad software — cheap, shitty shareware they pick up at tent revivals.
Sure, it’s free. But it’s buggy as hell. It never works as promised. And it takes up space that could be filled with the good stuff.
The important thing to know is that you only get one life. It’s better if you DO something with it, your own self, rather than running all your life on someone else’s little hamster wheel.
Population, pollution, global warming, environmental degradation, on and on. Large numbers of god-believers sit back and do nothing, or even actively work against understanding the problem, and things get worse. Faster.
Picture getting everything you want for nothing, like the stereotypical spoiled rich kid. It makes you insufferable — lazy, insensitive and snobbish.
In the intellectual range, that’s exactly what fundamentalist religion is. All the answers handed to you in absolute certainty. And what happens to you, mentally? You become lazy, insensitive and snobbish.
As an atheist, I just ignore all the holy book nonsense. My theory is: Hug a puppy every chance you get, and go out and see rainbows whenever you can. That’s better than sitting in church.
I was thinking about writing a story where the Christians are all raptured up to heaven. In less than 20 years, the remaining humans solve all the world’s problems, save the ecosystem, halt runaway population growth, cure every disease and create a world of plenty.
Then the Christians want to return … but nobody wants them back.
The Christian at the Party (a short, one-act play):
Scene Opens: A group of bright, funny, articulate people are having a pleasant evening together, talking and laughing on a redwood deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean, discussing politics, art, music, science and film while gentle music plays in the background and dolphins frolic in the surf.
A Christian enters and says in a loud voice “Have you heard the Good News of Jesus Christ?”
Suddenly, everyone is looking at their watches and saying “Oh, would you look at the time! I have to get up in the morning.” Soon, all is silence.
A dolphin rises in the ocean and surveys the empty deck.