Thursday, March 10, 2011


I get Bill O’Reilly. That whole “the tide comes in, the tide goes out” thing makes sense to me. I don’t agree with it, but I can understand why having the universe working perfectly would make someone believe in God. It’s also one of the reasons I’m an atheist.

I started losing my vision in fourth grade. It was annoying to have to wear glasses just to see the blackboard, and I kept forgetting them at home, but eventually I got used to them. Then my vision got worse. In seventh grade, I couldn’t see my shoes any more. One day I realized I could only see a two-inch thick sliver of the world; anything closer was too close to focus on, and anything farther was blurry. On top of that, I developed astigmatism.

My glasses got thicker and more painful to wear and made my face look squashed in the middle. Part of the problem was that I insisted on a scratch-resistant lens instead of the high-index plastic that would have given me thinner lenses. I used to joke that my glasses were so thick that they made time and space warp around my head. Combine the Coke-bottle glasses with a cheap haircut and bad clothes and you can probably guess I never dated in high school.
No, worse than that.

I tried switching to metal frames, but no metal outside the stuff Wolverine’s skeleton is made of could handle lenses of that weight. One day in computer science class, the strain was too great and the bridge of the nose snapped. The lenses catapulted off of my face and flew across the room. Luckily, my teacher had a soldering iron and welded them back together for me. Unluckily, that meant the frames were ruined.

I wore my glasses until college and, even though I only spent a small fraction of my life wearing glasses, I still feel connected to them. I feel naked outside without sunglasses. I even use the smiley face that looks like it has glasses: 8)

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Bill O’Reilly. His conviction that there must be a God came from the fact that everything in the universe functioned perfectly. As I said, I can fully understand that because I can remember feeling awful that my eyes, something so fundamental to human existence, failed to work as they should. I remember thinking how, if I lived in a time before the discovery of optics, if I lost my glasses or they broke, if there was a disaster or anything at all went wrong, I would be helpless, blind. I remember how angry I was that such tiny imperfections in my cornea and eye shape could cause me to have such a profound vision problem. Most of all, I remember wondering how any God could mess up something so important as my vision.

So, yeah, I get O’Reilly. I bet he had perfect vision as a kid.


Elly said...

Reminds me of this quote from David Attenborough: My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind. And [I ask them], 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy'.

M. A. Kagle said...

I think Mr. Deity said it best: