|Is the sky just the sky?|
"Some people say the sky is just the sky, but I say why? Why deny the obvious child?" - Paul Simon ("The Obvious Child")I am an atheist.
I say that with neither pride nor shame. I don't feel like I've "won" something by declaring my atheism or that I'm "smarter" than you are if you're religious. I don't feel like I've moved on to some more advanced level of thought by giving up a belief in an omniscient, omnipotent creator. I will not quote The God Delusion at you. Relax. Everything's fine. I'm not about to get all Richard Dawkins on your ass. And I'm not going to link to a Ricky Gervais or David Cross monologue either. Yes, I've heard what Gervais and Cross have to say about religion, and I've found humor in their words. But there is more than a touch of "I know better" smugness to these comedians, and that's a trait I'm trying to avoid.
|A factory producing atheists.|
It's important for you to know that we were a Catholic family, but it was Catholicism with a small c. I know there are some horror stories out there, but I didn't experience any of that. I was never molested by priests or beaten by nuns. I only ever attended one year of Catholic school -- kindergarten -- and my memories of it are positive. We had a young, pretty teacher, Miss Smith, and my strongest memory is that she once played us "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen because it was the Detroit Lions' theme song that year (1980). Isn't that weird? The first time I ever heard Freddie Mercury was in Catholic school. You can't make this stuff up, folks. My older sister got as far as second grade in that institution, and she grew up to be healthy, normal, and well-adjusted. After that, we both attended public school.
|Who's down with CCD?|
But we're avoiding the bigger issue. Did I ever believe? I don't know. Maybe a little when I was very young. In fact, when I was about 8 or 9, the topic of God actually did come up in a discussion with other neighborhood kids, and one boy said something dismissive like, "Everyone knows God is just some imaginary fairy in the sky." I remember getting briefly defensive about it, but it didn't last. By the time I was an adolescent, I was a confirmed non-believer. I attended the services strictly out of obedience to my parents. My sister, somehow, managed to talk her way out of them, and I was envious of her for that. Ironically, she went through the Sacrament of Confirmation, and I didn't. I did get First Communion in, though.
|God: A class act all the way!|
There is clearly more to be said on this issue, and this is far from the last word. If there is sufficient interest among my readers, we can discuss why I feel there is no moral basis for worshiping an omnipotent deity. But I think I've said enough for now. I'll leave you with a song by Motorhead, the British heavy metal group led by avowed atheist Lemmy Kilmister. It's called "No Voices in the Sky." (Warning: LOUD!)
P.S. - The lyrics are tough to decipher, thanks to Lemmy's accent and the sheer volume of the guitars. Here they are. Keep in mind that these are Mr. Kilmister's views, not necessarily my own.
Nobody gives a damn about anybody else
Think everyone should feel the way they feel themselves
Rich men think that happiness is a million dollar bills
So how come half of them O.D. on sleeping pills?
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, you all know what I mean
What's the use of a cry for help, if no one hears the screams
No one hears the screams
No voices in the sky, confusion blinds the eye
Can't take it with you when you die
No voices in the sky
The ones who dedicate the flags to make you brave
They also consecrate the headstone on your grave
Ritual remembrance when no one knows your name
Don't help a single widow learn to fight the pain
Politicians kissing babies for good luck
T.V. preachers sell salvation for a buck
You don't need no golden cross, to tell you wrong from right
The world's worst murderers were those who saw the light