Where to begin.
I think I’ve always been an atheist. I think I’ve always known I am one.
The questions that naturally occurred to me — even as a kid — made any sort of theistic belief impossible. For whatever reason, my brain needs to know WHY — not the ‘Here’s an explanation & we know it sounds ludicrous but — just eat it and shut up’ WHY (religion), but the REAL Why. The core reason at the very core of it all.
The First Cause Why.
Turns out, when you do that? When you ask questions and demand REAL answers? Religion falls to pieces almost immediately (and I’m being kind there).
This is not a ‘Revelation’. Religion is — by its Nature — Magical Thinking. And Magical Thinking — by its Nature — is BULLSHIT. The rest of the math is pretty obvious.
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Looking back — and genuinely trying to be honest — I can’t recall a moment when I ever genuinely bought into the ‘Real World Existence’ of the character I grew up ‘knowing’ as ‘Adonai’ — ‘Eloah’ — ‘Hashem’ — ‘YiYeh’.
There was a cartoon character I saw once in a Fleischer Studios cartoon — I don’t know if this is actually from it but the character recurred constantly — The Bearded Old Man.
In my young mind, THAT GUY became ‘god’: ‘Big Daddy In The Sky’. And nothing about him ever passed the smell test — even remotely…
Have I mentioned (I have) that I’m grateful to Hebrew School for making me the atheist I am today?
And when I say I’m grateful – I mean that. I am truly glad I went to Hebrew School (I consider myself a cultural Jew) and I learned some truly important and worthwhile things from the experience. But one of them was the religious aspect of my culture was and is absolute bullshit.
Because it all comes down to buying in to accepting the fact of this poorly thought-out character’s actual existence here in the Real World… And the ‘proof’ the people ‘selling’ this character wanted to use as Primary Source Material — as in, ‘He said those things, put em inside goddamned quotation marks!’ — is a text written thousands of years ago.
Even reading the OT texts I was supposed to be using as ‘proof’ of this character’s existence and generosity (especiall y to ‘my People’) and ‘wisdom’ — made me think (somewhere down deep) that I was being had.
For starters, that Yiyeh (one of his ‘names’, his ‘real name’ being ‘unprintable’) was flat out unlikeable. He was pushy and mean and insistent and (surprisingly) insecure (for a creature who CREATED THE WHOLE FUCKING COSMOS).
But what finished it for me — and convinced me that the religious part of my culture was absolute rubbish — was the Abraham Almost Sacrifices Isaac story.
You all know what that story is, how it goes — so I won’t bother recounting it.
But, c’mon — Abe’s supposed to be the PARAGON of Early Hebrew Virtue. He’s the guy you’re supposed to emulate above all (even Moses). And he was perfectly willing to take his son — who he loved more than life itself and waited practically forever to ‘have’ — and SACRIFICE HIM because the VOICE IN HIS HEAD was telling him to.
Even if you DO believe in god and see this as god’s voice in Abraham’s head — telling him TO KILL HIS BELOVED SON — what the flying fuck is wrong with you?
If anyone did that right here, right now? We’d call Child Services and rightly so. Anyone who’d do that is fucking psychotic — I don’t give a fuck who they are.
And it doesn’t fill my heart with the kind of warm n fuzzy feelings you’d kinda have to feel to think — ‘Yeah, I want to dedicate my spiritual life to THAT guy…’
I HAD all these thoughts. I honestly did. I think I was seven at the time…
If I recall the story of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ correctly — the kid doing the pointing-out that the Emperor is starkers — was about that age. It doesn’t make me bright, it just makes me ordinary — and I GOT it (being ordinary): Theism was based on the thinnest of premises that you could poke holes in just by thinking.
And the character they wanted me to ‘swear fealty to’ — to accept as real (without presenting any REAL evidence) — to bow down to — to pray to — to make the Ultimate Answer to All Things As Yet Unknown — is this guy…
— A PETTY TYRANT — not an ounce of Democratic Spirit in him — who runs alternately volcanically hot or frozen-solid cold, sometimes begrudgingly benevolent, more often vain, psychopathic and unhinged — like a serial killer jonesing for his meds or some blood.
He’s the creator of All Things That Are — The Alpha & Omega — The Answer to All Questions — and yet…
HE (we’re quite clear — quite, quite, quite, QUITE clear that this character — ethereal and formless as ‘he’ is has XY chromosomal sex characteristics — IOW he’s a GUY) though having CREATED everything seems completely ignorant of all science that’s been sussed out since these texts were written…
This Yiyeh cat acts like none of that stuff ever happened or got written or even got thought.
Which begs the question — WHAT IF the MEN who wrote the texts we now call ‘The Old Testament’ (the NT is a whole other kettle of ‘Not What People Think’) had KNOWN all the science we now TAKE FOR GRANTED. In other words, what if the scribe who imagined the Book of Genesis had KNOWN — as he sat down to write that day — that we DO NOT live in a geo-centric universe? What if that scribe had known about germ theory and how Gravity works? What if they had been aware of WHY humans behave the way they do — because of brain chemistry? What if the scribe/scribes had been as knowledgable about the Natural World as we are today. Would they have written the texts they wrote in the exact same way?
It’s a Trick Question. Of course they wouldn’t have.
And that’s a problem when you have an inquiring mind that wants to REALLY know.
Religions — faiths — belief in deities (without any real proof that such a deity really is) are all stuck in time. They reflect (to a degree) the Real World Knowledge available at the moment the faith was invented — because, in part, the faith being invented is being invented to explain where that Real World Knowledge apparently ends — and ‘The As Yet Unknown’ begins.
How you look at — and deal with — that unknown — defines who you are. Are you willing to accept the unfounded, illogical explanation of a petulant, uninformed misanthrope as ‘how things might be’ or are you determined to FIND those answers for yourself and apply those hard-earned Life Lessons to your Life as needed?
Yeah, yeah — another Trick Question.