Here's something you should know about me.  I'm an atheist.

Basically, here's what I believe.  There is, in fact, a power out there greater than all of us.  I think it's gravity, or the earth's rotation on its axis, or Aurora Borealis.

I don't think that the greater power takes the form of one or multiple Gods.    I think that Gods were the invention of Man, and that Man invented God(s) to explain things that had no explanation.  I believe that God also acted as a behavior modifier, a la Elf on the Shelf.  The dietary restrictions in Leviticus are there because people were getting sick, and following these rules kept them healthier.

I believe that Jesus believed in his God, and thought that he was the son of said deity.  And I think he talked a good game, and I think he talked other people into believing.  Basically, I think he may have had delusions of grandeur and he used that to found an extremely successful cult.

So you can imagine how popular I was growing up in the Bible Belt.

I remember the first time I said something that really rattled cages.  I was 13, in 7th grade.  It was before class and someone said something about heaven.  I said contemptuously, "There's no such thing as heaven."  And this girl, who we'll call Molly (not her real name), burst into tears.  See, I had forgotten that Molly's father had died the year before, and that she was probably counting on a celestial family reunion... some time in the distant future.

And everyone looked at me like I was a monster.  Which, to be fair... I was.

Wrong Monster...

Because, let's face it - it's more important to be nice than it is to be right.

I feel that the statue of limitations on this particular transgression has probably expired, but Molly, wherever you are, I'm sorry.  I was an asshole.

So, the thing is - I respect people and their religion.  In a way, I'm jealous of Christians who find comfort in their practice.  I wish I had something like that in my life.

Especially now that Dad is gone.  When he died, many people told me he was in heaven, and I honestly think, you know,  thank you, but you're wrong.  I think when you die, you die - and that you live on in the things you did - good or bad - and in the people whose lives you touched, for better or worse.  So, no.  I don't believe my father is in heaven, and I don't think I'll see him again on the other side.  I do believe that he lives on others.  In me, for starters.  So I take comfort in that.  In what he taught me, in times we spent together.

That said... sometimes, it would be easier if I felt assured that if I behaved and was kind, and/or didn't eat pork, or didn't work on the Sabbath, or whatever... I'd get to see my father again.

For now, I'll just appreciate the time I had.



We atheists aren't so popular with the heavenly lot, are we? But then we can also give them the comfort that they don't have to fear ending upin hell either. Personally,I'm fine with the knowledge that when I die I'll puff out like a fused bulb. Better by far that than being recycled in some postmortem junkyard.