Sunday, December 26, 2010

If I’m Lucky

If I’m lucky, I have 30 years left on this planet. That’s not very long.

I spend a lot of time wondering how, as a species, the thought of our own mortality doesn’t have otherwise reasonable human beings running down the street screaming hysterically. I would understand if I saw it, I really would. Aaahhh……there’s a hysterical person shouting and flailing wildly in the street….must have just realized that life is finite. Poor bastard.

Not that realization necessarily stops the flailing and the screaming. No, I suppose we have to go a step or two further. For the Believers out there, I guess the next step is pretty obvious. The Christians get to wrap themselves up in the warm assurance that there’s a better place waiting for them. Life after death. Heaven and a loving God. Eternal existence on a cloudy Utopia. If you were a good little human in this whole life-on-earth-is-a-test-of-your-faith-do-good-and-be-rewarded-in-the-after-life thing, that is.

If you were a naughty little homo sapien….let’s just say if you lived your life to the best of your ability, you loved your fellow man, you did good unto others, you lead a moral and upstanding life, but you didn’t check “accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour” off of your to do list, you are heading to the hot- burny place. But I suppose, if you didn’t tick that particular box, chances are you don’t believe in the hot-burny place anyway, so it’s kind of irrelevant.

Apparently, and this is one of the big places where Christianity and I part ways, if you do everything right and you live an exemplary life…I mean you give the Pope a run for his money…you do all that and you still don’t accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour…you are in big trouble when you get up to those famous gates. There’s no reward for you, sister! Do not pass go, do not collect eternal salvation. You are toast. Note the reference to the hot-burny place.

So where does that leave me? I have made mistakes in my life, that is for certain. No doubt about it. Honey, some of my fondest memories are of the bigger mistakes that I’ve made (said in my best Mae West drawl). But I’ve never knowingly or intentionally hurt another human being. Well, not one that didn’t deserve it anyway. Not even in my darkest moments.

I don’t cheat. I am honest to a fault. If I don’t get by on my own achievements, I will not have accomplished anything.

I can’t lie, unless you ask me something that will hurt you if I answer honestly. Seriously, I wish people would stop asking me things if they don’t want to know my answer! Sorry, just a little aside.

I don’t steal. If you undercharge me at the store, I’m one of those annoying types that goes back and pays what I owe. If I find your wallet, I return it to you. I’m your garden variety nice person.

But according to Christians, unless I accept Jesus Christ as my saviour here on earth, I won’t get a chance to do so at those big, shiny old gates. And down, down, down I will go. Apparently there’s some sort of rule against hedging your bets. You can’t show up on the big night and hope to buy your ticket at the door. You have to buy it in advance. They call it faith.

Now, being a non-Believer, it’s not particularly relevant for me. Just like most things, I’m pretty sure I’m right about this too. I believe that when my time on earth is done, the lights go out and I will cease to exist. Reincarnation, as a philosophy, holds no appeal to me either. What’s the point of having this fabulous new life if you have no memory of your past lives? Reincarnation has the same effect as the lights going out, in my humble opinion.

So how do I stop myself from running screaming down the street? Well, I don’t actually. It does happen every now and then. And I really don’t understand why it doesn’t happen more. Why there isn’t a secret society of street-screamers? I’d love to hear from other atheists to see how they come to terms with the whole cease-to-exist thing.

A healthy dose of denial combined with loving well, living life as honestly and as truly as I can, avoiding regret, and surrounding myself with as much happiness as possible is my current battle plan. If I’m lucky, I have 30 years left on this planet. And then, for me, there’s nothing more. I guess I better make the most of them, hadn’t I?

And if I’m wrong, I won’t need to pack a sweater.


  1. I think so long as you accept that this is it and try living it as best you can, the need for street-screaming ebbs a little. We all go out alone in the end and that, to me, is the more frightening part. The god followers hold onto something to soften the edge. Each to their own. Having just sat through a full christian funeral service, I came to realize even going through the motions for the benefit of others holds zero appeal. The belief gave my loved one peace though, so I'm grateful for that even if I don't share it.
    Saving up for the end game can backfire on you. "I'll do (fill in the blank) when I'm retired/make more money/have more time/get the kids out the door" is all well and good until one day you find out you maybe aren't going to make it that far, or ARE but can't do shit because something goes wrong along the way.
    So long as we don't let the fear of the end prevent us from living in the now, banking a little fun in dribs and drabs to cover the bases isn't such a bad idea.
    So, yeah you've maybe got 30yrs left 'til you can't do the run down the street and only scream in your head, but there's a bigger question. What good memories are you going to reflect on then from those 10/20/30yrs when you know the gig is up? Build 'em up now so that you don't have the regrets later.
    And if you feel like running screaming down the street sometime, just let me know. We can do it while streaking and have something to grin at in 30 years!

  2. Going out alone used to scare me more than it does now. In fact, I used to believe that I needed to procreate in order to not be alone at...the end.

    I think when I came to terms with the fact that I will not be having children, I kind of automatically came to terms with that one as well.

    I definitely do not believe in saving it up for the end game. But, I believe that this is a luxury that I can indulge myself in because I don't have kids. I can do pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want. Not so when responsible for the lives of other, smaller people.

    And so, I could indulge myself gloriously in my mid-life crisis, thus pursuing many dreams over the space of a few years, and eliminating the possibility of quite a few regrets.

    I'm liking the idea of combining my greatest fear with my love of streaking. You may be on to something there. Perhaps I'll put that image in my head next time I'm frightened. It just might help...:)

  3. As you know sis, I don't believe there is a god either, but if there is one, he's a hypocrite. God is allegedly perfect, well, you can't prove it by me.
    It is also said that god loves his warriors and that there is a special place for them. I consider myself a warrior and have the battle scars to prove it.

  4. The understanding of what god may be to the human race, when you think about it, is ridiculous. Basically you are saying a Human being, who moves threw 4 - 5 dimensions (space & time) can define, with accuracy, a being that created the universe.

    I would have to say this is the reason why Socrates in his day was called a wise man because he understood in that what humans know is nothing in comparison to such a being / beings.

    As for "taking Jesus into your heart". I would say this is a case of broken telephone. As they say emulation is the best form of flatter, then why not try to emulate such a person who back then was one of two things. A mortal trying to do good for others. The story does say he was the son of God and came back from the dead but he was born the mortal way and did try to do good so if Jesus was doing it then why today is it not good for people to try to emulate?

    Take Jesus into your heart in my opinion is something along these lines. Jesus tried to do good so I am going to try to do good. As for the hey your going to hell I have actually asked the guys that go door to door that exact question and I quote "If you do everything your suppose to do, are all about God and yes Jesus, finally your time comes and you go up to the big man/woman/chicken/unicorn and are told sorry down you go, then would you still do it?". I was told by the person No. At that point I pointed out to them that what you do in life should not be for a reward but instead because you believe it's right and good. Of course this is just a personal way of looking at it.

    My biggest problem with religion is that the people talking about usually want two things from you. Money and obedience. God doesn't need my money and if he just wanted me to obey then I would not have been give free will correct?.

    In the end I would say Chris rock in the movie Dogma said it best "Jesus Christ had a good idea.....Humanity fucked it up".