Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Godless Saviors?

I caught an episode of The Discovery Channel's The Colony for the first time last night. Nifty show. Controlled, but nifty. But it got me thinking about the broader topic of post-disaster survival.

What would happen?

I'm willing to bet dimes to dollars that Christians will flock to churches and wail to the Magic Sky Pixie to save their lives. It's what they do when they're faced with something they can't handle, really. Almost like a reflex. But that's probably not the smartest move in the world.

Given the vast majority of the United States is Christian, flocking to churches would cause the inevitable chaos of too many people, too small a space. Hurricane Katrina showed us what FEMA does with that situation. Also, if the disaster is the result of some whackjob terrorist group or rogue state, they're looking to maximize the hurt: Churches become targets.

My guess is, any person of any faith would probably do the same thing: Jews would go to temple, Muslims to the mosques, Hindus and Bhuddists to their respective houses of worship, and Scientologists to Oprah's couch. Again, you would have massive crowd issues, and would be dealing with a fanatical people screaming and yelling about the end of the world. And with a great deal of the world claiming some form of faith or another, what's left?

Who would step up and actually do something about the situation? Who's going to think with a clear and rational mind? Who will take charge and lead the way down the road to recovery? Who will try to calm people down and get them to think less with their fears and more with their common sense?

Who will work the hardest to ensure the survival of the human race?


That's right, folks. Godless heathens.

I honestly and truly believe that we of the Atheist mindset will have a whole hell of a lot more of the will to think straight under that much pressure. We don't have any belief system that speaks of an apocalypse (and they all do) and tells us to lay down and die. Overcoming the personal desire to panic should be a little easier without that little hang-up.

No. We understand what we are. We know that - like every last one of the other animals crawling about this ball of dirt and water we call home - we have an instinctual need to survive, and to further the species as a whole. And when the chips come down, the true faith of the Atheist will shine brighter than any halo you can paint around the head of a supposed saint: We have faith in what we are, who we are, and what we're capable of. We have faith that we will grow beyond this world and out to others. We have faith that the Human Race can become something greater than slaves to false gods and superstition. And we have faith that we can all do it together.

Atheists are Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Transgendered, Black, White, Arab, Indian, Asian, Tall, Short, Differently Able, Young, Old - in short, it doesn't matter. We don't discriminate. And when the cards are dealt and it's all-in on the river, we won't discriminate when it comes to trying to overcome the so-called "end of the world." Not even against a person of faith, the people who would think us traitors.

Humanity - and yes, the World - will endure. That is the Atheist's faith. And when the time comes, we will show you all that we aren't the evil, soulless sub-humans you seem to think we are.

All because we've managed to leave fairy tales behind. All of them...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Great Escape

I know I'm ruffling a lot of feathers with all of my Atheist talk lately. Oh well. It's something I know about, seeing as how I am one and all. And it's something I'm very passionate about - hey, that'd make me an Atheism Geek! Awesome!

But I figured, why not go back into my past again and reveal some more of my early experiences as a young Atheist. Here's the general idea:

1986 (Age 6) - The things I was taught in Sunday School conflicted with what I knew of reality and, yes, morality. The 10 Commandments state that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, or commit adultry. Yet God obviously did both when he knocked Mary up. It was at this point that I first questioned the things that were being taught to me as 'fact,' and would soon make up my mind that it was all Mother Goose bullshit.

1987 (Age 7) - I begin to tell my parents that I don't want to go to church anymore. They told me that I was obligated to go until I was "a confirmed member of the church." In the Lutheran denomination, this follows similar to a Mitzva in the Hebrew culture: At age 13, the church recognizes a man or woman as an adult in their eyes. "When you're a confirmed member," they told me, "you can do whatever you want."

FAIL. They thought I wouldn't remember. They were horribly wrong.

From this point on, I played the waiting game, but not without having some fun. I began to openly question my 'teachers' as to the holes I found in their faith, much to their discomfort and, in some cases, anger. Hell, one of my youth leaders actually grabbed me by the scruff of my neck once, all because I was having fun putting sandwiches together for a fundraiser we had done. In front of my mom, no less! Joke's on them, they were run out of the church and pretty much never came back. Good riddance, honestly. Nazis...

When I finally turned 13, I dove into confirmation class with reckless abandon, determined to do anything I could to make sure that my confirmation came without a hitch, and as soon as possible. A transition in pastors for the church helped this along: The new pastor pretty much told me that, classes or not, she was going to confirm me. When I explained to her why I wanted to be confirmed so badly, she hesitated, but ultimately agreed that I needed to follow my own path. And so, from that night onward, all I did was wait again.

The day of my confirmation was actually more of a day of affirmation: I went through the ceremony, making everyone uncomfortable by refusing to say any of the mindless babble referring to asking God to help me, praising God, or anything other rubbish along those lines. And when my certificate was handed to me, I did what I had planned to do for six long years:

I turned around, said "It's been fun, everyone, but I'm of here," and walked out of the church, never to again return and watch people be crazy about some magic sky pixie. As I stepped out of the main worship hall and into the narthex to make my way to the front door, I mumbled under my breath "Fuck this shit." I don't know if anyone heard me, but I hope they did.

And that, my friends, is how I escaped the throes of the virus known as organized religion. My parents, who'd made a deal with me that they thought I would NEVER remember, found out that day that their son was not playing around when he said he no longer believed.