Hey there. How’s stuff? Good, I hope.
So, listen, Atheism. I know we haven’t been speaking much lately. And even though you and I were never an “official” thing, after all that time we spent hanging out – at lunch at work, or late at night when my fears were getting me pretty good – you probably thought that it wouldn’t be long before I was telling everyone that I was with you. And to be fair, I thought I probably would, too. Now I haven’t spoken to you in, what? Two months? So I guess you might be wondering – what’s up with that?
I feel kind of bad about the whole thing, to be honest. I mean, I’m sure you never needed me, but I vaguely thought I might need you. People talk about you all the time. You’re always on the news, and all over YouTube – you have a ton of admirers. And there’s a lot about you that it’s easy to admire. After all, you’re so simple. . . I don’t have to worry about what I’m doing all the time, when I’m with you. You make everything seem so simple – even a bit predictable. Not predictable enough to make me gamble, don’t get me wrong. . . but there is some amount of safety knowing that things in this world happen just because. You say that there isn’t anyone above us who has control over what happens, and that frees me from the idea of asking someone above me for anything. It also explains why I got cancer before I was thirty, and why Teaghan was born ten weeks early, and why my metabolism sucks so much. . . the list goes on and on!
Also, there is something to be said for your rationality. Atheism, you are so logical, and I love that about you. I’ve read C.S. Lewis, and bless his heart, he tries so hard to use reason to make a case for Christianity. Let’s not forget the folks who thought of “intelligent design,” “irreducible complexity,” and other attempts to marry science and Jesus. I’ve followed both, and even when I wanted to believe in intelligent design, I had to admit that you really did have the edge when arguments were laid down. In fact, any time someone who believed in God tried to make science take their side over your side, science was always like, “Girl, why you trippin’?” and he always stayed loyal to you. And you know that everyone wants science on their side.
Now, in the spirit of honesty, Atheism, you did scare me a little. Not because you were saying that I was basically alone in the universe, which I was more-or-less alright with, but because you basically implied that after I died, my consciousness would just puff out of existence. Some people dig that about you, but it was never really my thing, you know? I mean, I miss my mom, and you were basically saying that I would never see her again.
But isn’t that something that I’ve been suspecting my entire life? Isn’t that something that everyone suspects, at least once in a while? And here is where you shine. Someone will say, “Oh, I’ve read about these near-death experiences, those sound comforting, maybe there is a God!” and you would instantly respond with, “Oh, that’s just a side-effect of having a brain in your head, buddy! Anyone can experience that without dying – in fact, the feeling can be reproduced in a laboratory.” And sure enough, it could.
You know what else I love about you, Atheism? You excuse – nay, encourage – intellectual snobbery. And let’s face it, intellectual snobbery is the only snobbery I can justify! I’m not handsome enough to be vain; I’m not rich enough to be opulent; I’m not popular enough to shun. If there is anything I do better than some people, it’s think. You loved that about me. You told me that the world could be understood, given time. Maybe you didn’t have all the answers to the mysteries of the universe, but you told me that with the powers of my rational, skeptical mind, I could flat-out deny thousands of commonly believed things. Heaven? Something for poor, downtrodden people to believe in. Hell? A way to keep the ignorant in line. Religion? The opiate for the masses. You created a new, higher order of mankind – the Skeptical Man. You promised a world where, some day, the Skeptical Man would rule the Buffoon, would eventually replace it like the Cro-Magnon to the Neanderthal, and you gave me hope that some day I would be part of that elite ruling class – a noble of Reason, a gentleman of the Mind.
So here we are, me telling you how great you are. . . and by now, you’re clearly wondering why I’m telling you goodbye.
Don’t take this the wrong way – because you know how highly I regard you. But the fact is that you really don’t have much value to me. . . or to anyone who wants to live outside of a life of distant, emotionless speculation. Your arguments are so good, so nearly-perfect, so rationally sound, that the only flaw I can find in them is that they are, turns out, wrong. Inaccurate. See, the difference between theory and fact is that theory never leaves the drawing board, but facts live in reality. The first time I decided to explore my options – to see if you were wrong about God, first and foremost – God responded right away. And thankfully, He didn’t leave much room for misinterpretation. Seriously, He made the heavens and the earth, created light from darkness. . . dude isn’t subtle when He doesn’t feel like being subtle. Now, your friends are going to say that I’ve just given up the use of my rational mind, and that’s fine. I expect that – it’s what I would have said. But when a big old rock falls onto my foot, it seems silly to listen to the crowd of people who are listing off the logical reasons why I would be stupid to believe in that rock. No matter how good their logic is, my toes are still going to hurt.
And yeah, the arguments supporting theism over atheism are weak, but that’s okay. God isn’t an argument. God isn’t a cleverly turned phrase or a well-written theorem. And if God presents an irrational argument, well, that’s alright. I’ve learned that lots of real things are irrational. Check out the platypus. Or the fact that the speed of light is constant, regardless of the speed of the moving object that is giving off the light. Or the comedic stylings of Emo Phillips. God is a conundrum, the universe is a mystery, and like it or not, things don’t always make sense.
I guess the easiest answer is that I was willing to hook up with you when I thought that you were the truth. Or better yet, the “Truth.” I was willing to put up with you, and your lack of comfort, and the way you make people give up hope, and how boring you make life, because I always said that I would rather believe in a horrible truth than a comforting lie. And you – prepare yourself, this may sting a little bit – you don’t qualify as either.
So I suppose this is it, Atheism. I appreciate the time you spent with me, and I know that you won’t be lonely. In fact, for every schmuck like me who decides that you just aren’t for him, there are hundreds more waiting to take you to the dance. And while I don’t think that you’re good for those people (truly, I don’t think you’re good for anybody, but I don’t want to take this mean) I’m certainly not going to poo-poo on anyone’s right to hang out with you. So chin up, stiff upper lip, and all that.
Let’s still be friends, okay?