Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Beliefs: Atheism

I’m spending three days posting about my religious beliefs.  Yesterday: Judaism.  Today: Atheism.  Tomorrow: nude pictures of hot women.
Well, that’s almost a religion for me. 
I don’t like putting “atheism” down as a faith or religion, since atheism is the absence of belief.  Calling atheism a religion is kind of like calling “clear” a color or “bald” a hairstyle.  Sure, you can make a point for it, but it’s silly.
Also, the symbol is totally crazy to try to draw.
As I said yesterday, my identity and culture is Jewish, but I’m also atheist (what some call “Secular Jew”).  I wasn’t always atheist.  One of my more embarrassing memories (and, believe me, I have a ton of those) is from history class in junior high.  I asked my teacher why we were ranking the most important people in history, since God was more important than them all.

My “awakening” as an atheist came from testing that faith.  When I was young, my parents took me to temple.  I didn’t know what to pray for, so I prayed for proof.  I prayed for God to lift me up an inch or so in the air.  I didn’t need anyone else to see, I just wanted to know.

As I rose into the air, I was filled with a sense of absolute panic.  I realized that God was a horrible, malignant force that I needed to destroy.  I swore my loyalty to secular humanism and began the war on Christmas.
Take that you red-suited fatass!
Or, I would have if anything had happened.  I just sat their and prayed and hoped with every fiber of my will.  When nothing happened, something changed in me.  However, it wasn’t until more than a decade later I realized what it was, exactly.

In college, I visited a girlfriend’s house between semesters.  As I watched her cats knock over their family’s nativity scenes one by one I was honestly shocked.  I suddenly remembered the time my school showed us a movie of Rabbit Hill.  At the end, the animals gather under the statue of Christ (“the good saint” as the animals called him) and know that everything is going to be all right.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but Rabbit Hill had secretly made me think animals were Christians.  When those cats showed me they didn’t give a crap about God, I felt my brain screech to a halt.
Or maybe it was St. Francis.  Same diff.
For the next few years, I was pretty cranky about all theology.  If I found myself falling into a religious mode of thinking (feeling I was being judged for my actions, grouping people by faith, worrying about “energy” or “toxins”) I got mad at myself.  I felt that way until, one day that same girlfriend died, and I went to her service.  Sitting in a pew at her church, I felt strange, like a tingling, and I began to float into the air.

Nah.  Kidding.  Still atheist.

I just can’t wrap my head around God, the afterlife, or the efficacy of prayer.  It just all seems silly.  I can’t say I’m comfortable with my atheism, but that’s kinda the point.  An atheist is someone who has to constantly re-evaluate what is true based on new evidence and experience.  I just haven’t had any spiritual experiences.
And the bumper stickers are funnier.

That’s the funny part for me.  Should God finally lift me up in the air, should He decide to prove His existence to me, I’d still be an atheist.  I’d just be an atheist who has proof of the existence of God.

Wrap your head around that one.

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