I am a devout atheist. This is not to say that I am not religious. On the contrary; I am more religious than most God fearing people that I know. Why do I say this? I say this because I live by a strong code of ethics and I do so with no hopes of Godly rewards, personal gain or a membership in a post life heavenly resort. I don’t really think I need a book to tell me how to be a good person and I don’t really think I need a book to tell me who I should hate. I try to be good for the sole reason of being good.
I am a big boy now and I have pretty good parents and I think they did a good job in making me a decent person. I learned a lot about character from being around them. My dad worked very hard his entire life. He never took bribes from salesman when he was buying materials for the low paying slave driving mens clothings company that he worked for in the 60’s and 70’s. As a matter of fact he never even accepted the usual holiday gifts like bottles of liquor or the tickets to sporting events that were offered to him throughout the years (and you have no idea how mad I was when I found this out after missing all of those boxing matches at the Garden as well as Yankee, Met, Knick, Giant and Jet games!!!) My mom was a school teacher who never wanted to be promoted because even though promotions would have increased her income they would have taken her away from the classroom, where she felt that she could do the most good for the children of our society. My sister, as much as I joke around about her being the Loch Ness Monster (or Big Foot, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon), is so kind that she actually puts her fear of insects aside to rescue the odd spider from her home and place it safely outside as opposed to killing one of natures living creatures. Of course she tortures me, but that’s another story:-)
So you see, I believe that even though I don’t follow an instruction book, I had some good teachers around me and I developed my personal religion based on their influence. My religion: Do the Right Thing and Just Don’t Harm Others. Pretty simple. It’s not exactly a tax shelter, and I don’t have any special holidays or fancy garments, but I’m happy.
That being said, there are times that I wish my hyper logical mind could make room for some illogic. I sometimes wish my hyper critical thinking could be suspended for just one thing. That one thing would be to believe in some God based religion. I did the religion thing when I was a kid but my critical thinking kicked in as an adult and my brain would have none of that. I don’t think it is a conscious decision, it is just something I can’t relate to. Religion stands less of a chance surviving in my mind when I see all of the real life examples of the vile and deplorable conduct of so called religious people around the world. Religious people murder, start wars, support wars, molest children, cheat on their spouses, rob, lie, you name it. So I say to myself, what’s the point? Why not just be a good person? This way if I do stray from my code of ethics at least I won’t be a hypocrite! Because let me tell you there is no bigger hypocrite than one who hides behind a holy book!
Now about Cheney and Bush…here is the thing…when I see people like Cheney and Bush, and just about all men and women of their ilk, Democrat, Republican, Nazi, whatever, I really and truly wish (I know…who am I wishing to…I DON’T KNOW:-), that there was a Hell. I truly wish that retribution was guaranteed in life. I picture a place where people like Bush and Cheney have to spend the rest of eternity facing all the people who have been harmed by their actions. I have a difficult time living in a world where evil people with power get free passes, so in the back of my mind I hope one day to find out that I am wrong about religion.
I think I would make it into Heaven based on my conduct during this life. I surly have a lot of apologies to make, but to be honest I try to make it a habit to apologize for my wrongdoing while I am alive. I don’t know if that cleans my slate, but I would think that it counts for something.
In the movie Slingblade the main character, Karl, is speaking to a good man who happens to be a homosexual. In other words this man is considered a sinner according to Christianity, and Karl is a bible reading Christian. But after getting to know this man Karl uses his critical thinking and eventually professes to this man â€œBut I don’t reckon the Good Lord would send anybody like you to Hades.â€ By this he meant that by committing the so called sin of homosexuality the man really did not harm anyone and he feels that a â€œgoodâ€ lord would not look upon that man as a bad man and want to punish him for eternity by sending him to Hell. I guess like Karl, I believe that if that of there is a God and a Heaven and a Hell, that a â€œgood lordâ€ would not send anyone like me to Hades just because I never believed in him. I may have to write some things on a blackboard over and over a few hundred times however.
So let me publicly apologize to my sister for all of the monster jokes, and let me say that even though my weird little brain won’t let me believe in a religion in the conventional sense of the word, I kind of hope to find out some day that I am wrong. And I hope Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and all people of their ilk also eventually find out that some odd guy from Brooklyn named Jesse was very, very wrong! Think about it!