Newsyflashy! I finally got WordPress working again, so I can finally update this damn thing.
Let’s get started with a quickie (because I know you love those, baby).
I am so late to the game, that all I can watch is replays. I’m finally getting down to watching Battlestar Galactica and am currently in the final episodes of season 1. I had always heard that this show addresses some fascinating questions and topics such as monotheism vs. polytheism. What I didn’t expect were quotes like this:
Cylon Number Six: “It’s important that you form a personal relationship with God. Only you can give yourself over to his eternal love. … I’m trying to save your immortal soul, Gaius.”
Gaius Baltar: “No, what you are doing darling is boring me to death with your superstitious drivel, your metaphysical nonsense which–to be fair–actually appeals to the half-educated dullards that make up most of human society, but–which I hasten to add–no rational, intelligent, freethinking human being truly believes.”
Shit yeah. Bring on all the atheistic things!
Also known as, “GET ON MY BOOKSHELF RIGHT NOW.”
What do you fear? Do you fear death?
I appreciate Mira’s question because it always forces me to consider my priorities and do a little self-examination which, to be honest, I don’t do often enough.
My Past Panic
I recall viewing the life of an atheist to be like the journey of a tightrope walker without a net. Should she tumble, there would be no salvation from the tragic drop. Jesus was to me like a safety net that kept me from falling to my doom. If anything unpleasant could happen in the future, I had the hope that it would all work out for my good and that someone loved and cared for me enough to have a good plan for my life. Oh, and of course I would go to Heaven later, so really, shouldn’t that guard me from all fear? Sadly, this ideal didn’t work out well in practice.
As a believer who valued my faith as my most prized possession, I still feared just about everything: sinning, caring what others thought of me, conflict, loss, disappointing God by not fulfilling his will for my life, and the list goes on. Let’s take a tiny glimpse into my thoughts back in the day:
Does God want me to major in Communications or Marketing? How far is too far with my boyfriend? Is lying to save someone’s life a sin? Oh no, I missed church again! My sexuality is shameful, but I can’t stop desiring physical affection. Should I be Catholic or Messianic? If I die without repenting my sins, will I be shamed in front of God? Please God, tell me what to do! Am I sinning by feeling a call to the mission field and then not pursuing it? I don’t pray as much as she does; does that mean I’m a bad Christian? What if I choose the wrong Bible translation to read? How do I know when I’ve met “the one?” What if I don’t believe in Hell anymore? What job should I apply for? I feel so ashamed that I dislike evangelism so much. What if I’m not praying hard enough for my father to be healed? Could he die because I didn’t have enough faith? What if…? Which one…? Help!
One reason for all this anxiety was a lack of self-confidence. Because I could only trust God and not myself to be strong, capable, or to make the right choices, I was constantly doubting my own abilities and decisions. Not having a true freedom of choice, I was left to rely on guesswork about God’s will. If things went wrong, it was probably my fault. I was a fearful Christian, despite having a hope of salvation and love from God.
My Present Peace
Mira, I’m not going to lie and say I don’t fear anything. Here’s a nice list:
- I have a phobia of large ships.
- I’m afraid of someone I love dying suddenly. Because that’s terribly sad and difficult, and I don’t enjoy grief.
- I become anxious when confronted with something difficult I have to do for the first time–especially when I don’t know how to do it.
- I fear (or rather, I try to avoid) the emotions of embarrassment, shame, loneliness, and sadness.
- I do fear failure.
- I fear violence upon my person.
Do I also fear death? Not in the sense that I fear what comes after death, because I do not think anything happens except body decay and a recycling of my physical self back into the earth and thus the universe of which I am such a tiny part. I think the only times I fear death are when I consider the many horrific ways there are to die. My morbid mind has watched too much news and too much dramatic television. I don’t want to be scared, in pain, or to die without my loved ones around me. Other than that, I don’t fear death. I have one life, and that is all; that is fine.
Being an atheist certainly is living life on a wire. Instead of fearing a fall to the ground, I train harder, try to make better decisions, and concentrate on building myself and my confidence so I can make it across. No one–and no net–is going to save me.
Is this scary? I don’t think so. In fact, I am happier about who I am and what value I hold even more than when I claimed the Creator of the Universe loved me and spoke to me on a personal basis. My ego has shrunk, and reality has helped me live a better life.
No one has a plan for my life but me. My choices are my own. My mistakes don’t have eternal consequences and rewards; they have real consequences, and I need to care about them. I don’t have to guess what some other person thinks is right or wrong; I am responsible unto myself and the law of the land.