Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Immoral Minority

It’s hard being the minority, especially since one often finds oneself outnumbered. This is no less true in the sphere of religion; and when it comes to the flock of God, atheists are clearly the black sheep. But I haven’t always been a member of the god-hating atheist minority. On the contrary, I was actually quite religious as a child. When I was only six years old I decided to enter the priesthood. Of course my parents assumed that it was just a childish phase I was going through, especially when I began holding mass for my Lego blocks and G.I. Joe action figures. But I approached my ministerial aspirations with the determination of a wine stain on a silk blouse. At once I implemented a strict spiritual dietary regimen consisting of the Old and New Testament scriptures, the writings of the church fathers and Veggie Tale videos. My bedroom wall boasted a signed pin-up poster of Mother Theresa and next to my closet stood a life-size cut-out of the pope. Each morning the sun peeked over the eastern horizon I could be found at my desk, wrapped in earnest prayer, bible study and mediation. I became so well known for my piety that in my school yearbook I was voted most likely to move to the Midwest, found an ascension cult and die in a shootout during an FBI raid of the cult compound.

However, things took a turn for the worse when I began asking sceptical questions for which I could find no satisfactory answer. Questions like: if God is benevolent, why is there so much suffering in the world? Or, if we believe there must be a God because everything must have a cause, then who caused God? And most perplexing of all, how could a merciful God allow Madonna to put out another album? I grew disillusioned. Unable to find the answers I was looking for I turned to a life of debauchery. Soon I was experimenting with drugs, imbibing copious amounts of alcohol and waking up each morning next to a different woman. Then I turned seven years old and I decided that enough was enough. There must be some intellectually honest way of relating to the world, a way of living that does not involve telling yourself lies like there is a life after death and Jared really did lose all that weight by just eating Subway sandwiches. It was then that I discovered atheism—a faithless belief system that emphasized personal responsibility, open rational inquiry and the eating of the raw flesh of Christian babies. (Of course I’m only kidding about the last bit; we atheists prefer our Christian babies steamed with asparagus in a light vinaigrette.) Ever since my conversion (or is that unconversion?) to atheism, I have grown to appreciate that the world really is as fucked up as it appears. No more cheerful fairytales about Baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Big Foot and the other fanciful characters of Christian folklore. Now it was just nature red in tooth and claw, or sometimes white depending on who’s your manicurist. Now, thanks to atheism, I have no problem admitting that life is unfair: that sometimes good people do suffer, sometimes wicked people do prosper and yes, video really did kill the radio star.


Charlie said...

Obviously you're not interested now,
but if you ever are--
Case For Faith by Lee Strobel is an excellent book (Case for Christ I think is even better, but it addresses other issues).
It's written by a former atheist.
I couldn't be a Christian if those questions weren't answered for me. Mind and soul go hand in hand, I think.
That is not to say I love intellectual debate, so don't see me as a fresh target for argument. I'm happy to discuss issues but I'm not passionate about philosophical frays.
I'm a quiet researcher.
And a complete believer in God.
(not Catholic though ;) )

Nubian Nerd said...

I’m happy to say I’m not Catholic either (wow, glad we got that one out of the way!). Furthermore, I totally meant this post as a joke, I swear! (Though I am more than happy to go along with the bit about getting laid by the age of seven.) But since it does so happen that I am an unbeliever (though I generally don’t call myself an atheist) I suppose you could view my jocularity as sprinkled with some sincerity. But in general, I try to save all the serious thoughtful stuff for the essay section of my 'Songs In the Night' Web site. The stuff on my blog is, as we say in Tobago, a diarrhea of words accompanied by a constipation of thoughts.