Why I Refuse to Believe in God

I know this is a taboo subject, but I’ll engage it anyway. I intend this to be an explanation of my thinking, not something designed to persuade anyone else to believe the same.

THE PROBLEM OF EVIL

My reason for choosing not to believe in God is rooted in this morsel of knowledge from intro philosophy. If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, then why is there evil in the world? Is it some sort of sick experiment in which some are controls and others are tested by horrible experiences or just plain wiped out? No. I refuse to believe that life is any type of test. If it were, it would beg the question, a test towards what end? Deciding the fate of one’s afterlife?

THE VANITY OF THE CONCEPT OF THE AFTERLIFE

Look, I would love to play a harp on a cushy cloud with beautiful angels and kids playing and laughing once I’ve expired, or really have almost any experience at all–Hell notwithstanding. I would love for my consciousness to continue, however there is no reason for me to believe that it will, in fact all evidence points to the contrary. Some people will wonder what happens to the electricity in one’s heart and brain once they die, but this is no mystery. The energy simply dissipates as there is nothing to maintain it in the place of the body anymore. That’s not metaphysical, it’s physics.

PRIVILEGED OR PRIMAL SUPERSTITION

Of course believing in something more powerful than what people generally conceive of is totally rational. Believing in gravity is a very practical mindset. However, to believe that an intelligent being or sentient entity dictates the way certain things go is ridiculous. It all sounds rather like the tale of the Tooth Fairy when you think about it, doesn’t it? There is no Tooth Fairy, but there are loving parents and guardians, and there is love and generosity for that matter. These forces are quite powerful in themselves, and require no explanation for existing–this is another crucial tenant of my beliefs–nothing needs a reason to exist, it simply does or does not. No purpose? Sounds disturbing and existentialist, huh? The cool thing about rejecting the idea of one purpose for humanity is that each individual is then allowed to decide what their purpose and what they think the purpose of life is for themselves. Also, I do not believe that people are inherently good or bad, they have experiences, genes, and choices which impact their decisions and actions.

RELIGION IS NOT WORTHLESS TO ME, JUST A BIT MISGUIDED

I went to church this Sunday and the preacher said, “What we do reveals what we believe is true.” I loved this. It is a profound and concise statement–the best kind of statement. Religion does have a lot of beneficial philosophy to offer, love thy neighbor for instance. But here’s the thing. People go through things and need help coping. I believe that psychotherapy is better suited to help people cope with problems and losses than religion, because it’s real. Real changes to one’s behavior helps change their thinking to be more positive and more useful to themselves and others. Me, I’ll pass on the opiate of the idea that the most powerful being imaginable cares about me–especially in light of what this supposed being, if it were to exist, has put people through–and good and innocent people at that. That God is not worth worshipping, even if it were to exist–no thank you. Another boon of religion is the way it brings people together to form communities. Communities are magical things, forgive the pun, and leave everyone better off so long as they don’t decide to hate, damage or destroy another community or individual for that matter. A problem with religion is its focus on faith. Faith in goodness is not unimportant, but acting through that faith is infinitely more so. Acting through faith is being of service to others. This is what religious institutions need to focus on. I’m not saying they completely neglect this duty, but that it needs to be the focus and not the secondary duty it seems to be in most religious institutions that I’m familiar with. The focus on faith in a too-good-to-be-true being minimizes human love and goodness that is seen as cooperation and philanthropy and service.

FAITH AND MISCONCEPTIONS OF ATHEISM

Faith in the human spirit is the only faith I need. It is a tangible, beneficent thing. I don’t need to be intellectually lazy and give up on rational and scientific thought as to why things occur in order to have a working faith. I don’t need the threat of Hell or the reward of Heaven to know to try to do the morally right thing. Atheists don’t necessarily just do what they want when no one is looking, most people are instilled with moral values from their life experiences derived from living in society. To think of an insecure God that needs people to believe in it for it to help them is another absurd thought. Even if there were a God, if it were worthy of belief or worship, it would not care whether a person believed in it or not. Atheists are not faithless people, they just put their faith in more tangible things–atheists are practical people. Also not all atheists scoff at others’ beliefs, they simply choose not to share them. Love thy neighbor, be of service, and don’t worry so much about what a hypothetical being may want from you. Worry about what you want from you and ensuring that what that is is humble and reasonable.

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You’ve Heard of the Power-Lunch But. . .

Welcome. I’m here to introduce to you, today an idea that will change your business irrevocably. I’m talking about increased productivity, increased profits, increased company morale, increased fairy dust. Okay, so that last one is a joke, but I assure you, this mind-blowing concept is not. Are you ready? Are you sure? I can’t hear you! Everyone in business should be familiar with the power-lunch. It was a revolutionary idea developed in the mind of Donald Trump’s first employee that he fired. Of course he was canned because if he was going to keep having ideas like that and trying to take credit for them, needless to say that’s bad for business. I woulda done the same thing, Don. Now, the power-lunch was ingenious because it drilled into the minds of those pesky employees– who I suppose do all the work to make us fat-cats rich, but anyway screw ’em–that they needed to be not just thinking about work while scrambling to eat something to have the energy to continue that work, but to actually work through their lunches as well. I don’t just mean answering or sending off an email or two. I mean that the lunch hour (Jeez, are they really getting an hour!? That’s too much…) should be the most productive hour of the day. Of course this idea was wonderful, but it lacked in one crucial area–it didn’t go far enough. In America we have to beat the best to be the best, we cannot settle for half-measures, we must always strive to take things up to the next level, like Tetris. Close your eyes for a minute, take a deep, controlled breath. . . . . .Introducing the Power-Dump! That’s right, if you’re anything like me, it sickens you to think of the valuable company time those slackers you employ waste by relieving themselves of their bodily waste. When one bears down to pass a bowel movement, it lowers their blood pressure. Employers must seize this moment so that employees don’t become too relaxed that it hurts their productivity. This is why my company has installed automatic hypodermic caffeine injectors in the restrooms.  My company has also put laptops on adjustable arms in each toilet stall, and the door of the stalls lock from the inside until they complete a legitimate work task. Or, if they take too long to do so, a trap door opens to a garbage chute leading to a dumpster full of “You’re Terminated” form letters. Imagine what we can accomplish using this valuable time. If you take just one thing away from this presentation remember these words, dump-time is crunch-time!

Is Anyone Else Out of Work?

The Idle Class

Image via Wikipedia

I have to take a post to just vent. I’ve been without work for a few months after being fired from a restaurant where I was washing dishes. Talk about humbling. I want to work. I’m ready to work. I just can’t find anything. Everyone says, “Try us in the spring.” Am I supposed to tell my landlord, “Try me for rent money in the spring?” I’m getting sick of the routine of filling out applications, calling managers, and being told the position has already been filled. I could do anything that I’m given a chance and the training to do. Therein lies the problem, there are less chances out there and once you find one, chances are it has less training and less compensation than what you’ve been doing for the last 10 years. It isn’t just ‘bums’ like me who are feeling like lemons being squeezed for Corporate Profit™ brand lemonade, people with bachelor’s degrees cannot find work and are not getting the raises they want to uphold the standard of living they’re accustomed to. For goodness’ sake, I even heard that Mexican migrant fruit pickers are going back across the border.

We must not follow Charlie’s → example (Chaplin, not Sheen, you darned kids) and give up hope. Through voting, protesting, striking, and clamoring for change; we can beat Boehner, the big banksters, and all the other brain-dead, boisterous bullies. It worked for the Vietnam protestors in the 70s. It worked during the Civil Rights movement in the 60s. It worked during the Robber Baron era of the early 20th century. It wasn’t easy, sacrifices were made, noses bloodied, trousers dirtied, spirits exhausted; fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters’ lives lost, but it worked. And it will once again. Not if, when we work together, and disassemble the ‘us versus them’ mentality and help those around us to see as well that it is very much ‘us versus us,’ we will shake the Earth. We will impact our political and economic surface as an asteroid. And when the dust rests and the smoke and fire subside, a new lake bed will take shape. And we will fill this lake bed with positive, equal voiced, righteous ideas. The persecutors and the persecuted will bathe together and bask in the gentle glorious sunlight of redemption. We will re-forge our hearts from iron and rose petals, and have strength and compassion, toughness and empathy, cold judicious wisdom and mother like concern. When this movement, call it Occupy, call it the Tea Party, call it dumb, call it smart, call it good or evil; is found by its leader, the dawn will come. This self-centered hellscape will forever perish from the planet, and Love will rule supreme.

C’mon Just a Quicky

eye's eye view

Image by 5imon via Flickr

Alright, fine. I can’t help myself when I get around that beautiful keyboard. Ooh and those sounds it makes grrrrrrrowl.

“Rabbi: Elaine, often times in life there are problems, and just as often  there are solutions.
Elaine: Yeah, I suppose.” -Seinfeld “The Postponement

A token of advice, don’t let the small things bother you. Sure, you could worry and pout and cry and lose it, but in the end, does that really give you any more control over the situation? No. It doesn’t. After you let go, you realize you had very little control to none to begin with. For the luxury problems that lots of us are blessed with here in America, remember that there are people with bigger ones. So take a breath and communicate. That makes the chore of compromise less arduous. Little phrases like, “It is what it is,” or, “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” or, “It either will work out or it won’t,” may appear meaningless, foolish, and a waste of words, however they maintain a noble thought. The thought is an aknowledgement of reality, an acceptance of a given set of circumstances, as ugly as they sound, their intent is elegant.

Although we may argue about the presence of a God, or which particular God is true, we all can agree that there is good on our planet. Greater goods can be created by people working together. Who is to say that religion has created any more good or bad than the lack thereof? Let us be open-minded to ambiguity and grayness. One of my favorite quotes is, “There are two sides to every coin.” Now, I’m not a mathematician or a geometry major, but that statement has always given me peace.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a beautiful thing. People are standing up, shouting, “Hey let’s all act civil and do right by each other!” If you find something wrong with that, then perhaps you should look in your ideological mirror before you speak. Because the truth is, it’s never us versus them. That’s just what some of us (not they) want us to believe so we may be controlled and utilized for profit or power. Divide and conquer. It’s us versus us. We’re all here together. It would be nice if we found a way to get along. And persecuting the rich or the banksters of corrupt politicians won’t help. Removing them from power will, but we must not alienate our confused and misguided brothers. Oh, did I leave women out? I’m sorry I’m just like society, aren’t I? It wasn’t an accident, I did it because women aren’t the o.nes taking advantage of others. They know better. Look at 2012 Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. She fights for the working family, the common man, woman, child, dog. I don’t know about Spike, but you get the idea. Thanks for reading, and be well. ¡Poder a la gente!

Me, Myself, and Ice Cream

[who you lookin at?]

Image by RHiNO NEAL via Flickr

and a hot tub… yeah. Haven’t had time to write or watch/criticize television. The Broncos lost–again. They really get smashed by good teams. Things have been rough, rough as eating an entire package of pretzels without water rough. However, everyone has to deal with life’s good days and bad days. I never criticize someone for dealing with a bad day gracelessly. Although you have to pull it together eventually. That’s why I want to talk about superficial topics like sports, I’m just plain exhausted. The news is as dissappointing as usual now; the Occupy movement in various locations is being bullied by policemen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqTbcL5C3Ko&feature=player_embedded Regardless of how you feel about Mr. Olbermann, the footage is real.

It appears we are going to have revolution on our hands (Finally!). You have to ask yourself, as my philosophy professor suggested, “What would it take to make you revolt against your country?” You’d better be willing to do it under some conditions, or at least willing to leave. I wanted to keep this one light, but I still need to keep you all thinking.

Now back to the ice cream, because who can think when they’re hungry? The food in this country makes me nervous. Is the ice cream made from milk of cows shot up with antibiotics, sardine-packed in a 10,000 square foot facility? Probably. The FDA and USDA are run by the previous food company executives, so they don’t care. The meat of the issue, however, is how is this lack of oversight, gratuity of chemicals, and monopolization of the food sources affecting the world? Why is agriculture more productive per acre than it has ever been, yet people are still starving all over? What is being done to the feed animals and crops and is it giving us all cancer?

I’d like to plant my own garden and hunt for my own meat ideally, not to mention have a well dug. That all takes a lot of energy and money, but it would certainly feel good to be self-sufficient and carry all my food from the soil or the field to my plate. So everyone out there: keep questioning, keep complaining, but also, enjoy the little things, life is short.