Friday, November 16, 2007

Okay, I'm Out


I've tended to keep my skepticism about supreme beings quiet because I think in the United States untheism is considered to be a bit like having herpes.

When I got tired of being on my mother-in-law's email prayer chain, I was reluctantly forced into the open, telling her I was an atheist who didn't like to proselytize - which seemed to do the trick.

I always mean to be ready with a glib reply when I inevitably get the famous accusation "Well what do you believe in then?" (This is usually delivered like it's the denouement in a Perry Mason trial tinged with melodramatic pity.)

"Everything but god" generally doesn't work too well as a response.

How about this fantastic earth? How about the intricacies and scale of its natural systems. How about its spectacular geography, its mindbending beauty. The incredible diversity of animals and plants. How about its history, its geology. How about its trees alone? Literature? How about a sunrise, seasons, growth, travel, architecture, science, theater, art, people, cats - anniversaries & inventions. Galaxies, time and space travel, new worlds, quantum mechanics, nostalgia, love and families. My wife. My dog. Curiosity, wonder, excitement, ingenuity, professional baseball.

Not enough?

Well, the big advantage of being an untheist is you can get on with all religions and sects because they all put you in the same box. Untheists share 99.9% of their genes with human beings as well as chimpanzees.

Some creationist rascals try to blame us for keeping prayers and dotty intelligent design out of schools, and copies of the ten commandments out of post bellum civic buildings. This is not the case, but I'd willingly take the kudos.

Also we don't worry about whether god or man accelerated global warming, so it's been easier to accept.

When we are forced to give our full attention to an environmental evolution that we've kicked into overdrive, humans may revitalize their links to the natural world and take a greater emotional stake in it. We will need to work with those intricate and huge natural systems and prove ourselves adaptable to them.

If we don't, and it turns out to be Armageddon, you can all say I told you so . . .

. . . as I evolve into cosmic rays on their way to Alpha Centauri.

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