Reflections of a Cranky Atheist

Written by Matt Birkenhauer

Sunday, 16 April 2017

There are times when I wish that more Christians, especially of the Social Conservative stripe, were more neighbor loving and less God fearing. I also suspect this would have the added effect of making them happier, more balanced people.

Republicans have rewritten the Establishment Clause, "Congress shall make no law respecting the practice of Islam but shall make one prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

I can tell Christmas is on its way. Every day my mailbox is full of the glossy remains of dead trees that have given up their lives to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I think I'll just stop at the Buddha's First Noble Truth (an inductive observation, really) that all life is suffering.

The idea of an "after" life has always struck me as something on the verge of being an oxymoron. To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, "Life is meant to be lived." And I'd rather live life, in the present, than have to spend my life worrying about whether or not I "made the grade" for entry into someone's imaginary reward system.

The last thing you want in life is to be the guest of honor at a funeral home.

A marquee in front of a local church announced, "Free Pig Roast!"

No doubt, for the hungry attendees of the Pig Roast, the event is free. The pig himself, however, will pay dearly for the event.

I'm watching Finding Jesus on CNN for the umpteenth time (where the Jesus looks whiter than a Georgia country club). CNN shows this schmaltz every year to prime credulous Christians for the gory spectacle (Easter) that is so central to belief "system."

And I'm thinking, about Finding Jesus, "Why doesn't someone just get this poor, confused man a compass?"

Some days I wake up and think that God, if he does exist (and I'm pretty sure he doesn't), drank his way through a third-rate community college before getting his degree in Organizational Mismanagement.

"The Lord doesn't give us more than we can handle." I overheard this old adage from an elderly man at the gym I go to who had been asked how his week went. After talking about how his daughter and his son-in-law were having marital problems, his wife might have to have surgery due to her diabetes, and his own arthritis was giving him trouble, he summed it all up with shopworn adage "The Lord doesn't give us more than we can handle!"

A puzzling statement, which reveals something about the Omnipotent Sadist that many Christians believe is in charge of their lives. Here is a transcendent being, with complete charge over their lives, who parcels out pain and suffering only to the brink of what someone can bear, and then pulls back. Would you really want a calculating, sadistic prick like this running your life? I have to wonder if "adage," etymologically, derives from "addled." (It doesn't, in fact. "Adage," through Middle French, comes from the Latin "adagium.")

That Donald Trump did so well among Evangelicals is not surprising, since their Old Testament God, like Trump, is an Omnipotent Prick who doesn't mind knocking around a few heads to get things done.

Like moths to a flame, weak-minded people are drawn to fire, even if they get burned.

Every time I see the bloody, gruesome symbol of a crucifix hanging in a house of worship or in someone's private residence, I think to myself, Thank God He wasn't drawn and quartered.

The Bible is a great religious text, with many individual books (Ecclesiastes, the Gospels, Psalms, Proverbs, Genesis, etc.) that I have read and reread over the years. As an atheist, I'd be the first to admit that (and what would include in the category of great religious texts the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Upanishads, etc.) But to use the Bible as a template for how marriage should be modeled in the twenty-first century is a little like using Homer's The Iliad (another great, inspiring text) as a template for how to fight a war in the twenty-first century.

Why Atheists Don't Blow Themselves Up

How often do you see atheists strap themselves to a bomb and then blow themselves and others up? That particular pathology seems to be one of the symptoms of theism, not atheism. Atheists are much too fond of this world than to end it for themselves and other living beings through such a self-destructive act.

Instead, we write essays, or post angry or ironic memes and messages on Facebook. They make the point well enough, without killing our fellow human beings.

For the Gorification of Christ

It's Easter and again, there is heightened security all over the world as the three Abrahamic religions threaten to maim and kill each other.

I wonder if at least one of these three religions might consider replacing, as the symbol of their religion, the image of a man maimed, mutilated, and hanging from the cross. Maybe it sends the wrong signal?

An Atheist's Heaven

Overheard in conversation: "In a dream Mom said she talked to Aunt Cheryl last night. She said that heaven was a lot like here but without the problems."

The people there would, like most atheists
I know, be kind and reasonable, sipping
their hot tea or toddies, and imbibing
each other's company and conversation.

An atheist's heaven would be wired to the hilt,
for the younger among them. But for the older
Elect there'd be typewriters and abacuses,
levers and oil paint, and all the other inspired
gifts from minds of humankind.

There would be no poverty, war, or hunger there,
of course. And at C-stores, you wouldn't have to wait
long in line as addicts buy lottery tickets
while family members struggle.

In the center of this heaven there'd
be, enthroned, no hairy white guy with absolute
control over life, death, and the universe.
Instead, there'd be a group sculpture
called the Family of Gaia: husbands and wives
of diverse cultures and nationalities, twin lesbian sisters,
healthy infants and octogenarians of all stripes
---all occupied with the toys and inventions
of their own godly minds.

What would give this heaven poignancy
(because you would expect that, in an
atheist heaven), would be the realization,
by its inhabitants, that they are all
insubstantial, a projection, as Feuerbach
so eloquently argued, of the
apotheosis of humanity.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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