My 911 Epiphany

The outrage of 9/11 had a profound effect on me.  Soon there were news reports of a resurgence of people attending church and returning to prayer for solace.  Everyone, including the President, was clamoring to claim Islam was the “Religion of Peace.”  Incensed, I wrote the following in late Sept. 2001:

Prayer is not the solution – it is the problem

Thankfully, I was born an American long enough ago to have developed the capacity and passion for independent thought.  Notice that I did not say thank God.  I am ready to stand up and proudly proclaim that I am godless.  Given the events of late, it is abundantly clear that any gods there may be could care less about the lives of individual human beings, and deserve no thanks.  Indeed, a case can be made that the world would be safer if we could eradicate the very concept of god.

As horrendous as the latest religious carnage and shameful destruction of the proud edifices of man were, unconscionable atrocities committed by religious fanatics, in the name of one god or another, littered the history of civilization long before 9/11.  How can we break the cycle of hatred as long as children continue to be indoctrinated in childhood to believe in various gods and devils?  Each is taught, long before they can think for themselves or even know there is an alternative, to love and worship their father’s god.  Then, as they mature, they are required by their “holy book” to either hate and vanquish, or at least try to convert, those who happen to be programmed to worship a different one.

As an independent thinker, no longer encumbered by religious dogma, I am allowed to honestly ponder the very existence of gods and what, if any, man’s relationship to them might be.  It appears to me that one of the following must be true:


The evidence appears overwhelming that if there is just one god, He/She/It does not care a whit about what humans do to one another.  Obviously, an omnipotent god could have cleared up man’s stupidity and penchant for committing atrocities against each other centuries ago.  Further, it seems implausible that such an all-powerful god would be encumbered with frail human emotions like jealousy or anger, and couldn’t possibly give a damn one way or another whether individuals “worship,” or even “believe” in, It.  Alas, Earth would probably just be an insignificant anthill to this character, and human vicissitudes simply beyond Its concern or awareness.  In any case, wasting one’s human life arguing or fighting over Its name, or how best to worship It, or whether It prefers to be worshiped on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, makes no sense whatever.


Certainly no less likely, there could be competing multiple gods (and/or devils/demons), possessing anthropomorphic egos and emotions, which use humans as cannon fodder in their ceaseless “celestial” battles with each other.  If this is so, it is obvious that humans can simply opt out of their petty wars.  Regardless of belief, worship, prayer, and good works, undeserved suffering continues to happen to pious and innocent people, and evil people continue to get away with unspeakable acts with impunity.  If the “good” gods can’t or won’t protect their followers, and the “bad” gods (or devils/demons) are equally ineffective, why not just ignore them and refuse to join the battles?


More likely, there is no such thing as a god, and man invented the concept as a means of explaining existence, facing death, or just controlling other individuals.  Think of all the innocent lives that could be saved, and guilty lives that might have remained innocent, if our children had never even heard of this god business.

Acknowledging that independent thought is not an option for everyone, a thinking man might conclude that there is no imperative to participate in these religious battles.  Other than instant enemies, which one must regard as evil, it seems all the shamans have to offer their recruits is a promise of better times after one ceases to exist on Earth.  Why be fooled by promises of paradise after death?  If there is such a thing as a “hereafter,” and there are silly, jealous, angry, and vengeful gods about, why believe they would limit their battlefield to planet earth?

The word “godless” is usually considered a pejorative, but consider whether society is better off for all the piety and unanswered prayers.  Power hungry politicians would still create mischief in a secular world, but at least they would have more difficulty recruiting idiotic suicidal soldiers for their purposes.

I, for one, choose to live my life in the here-and-now by the simple principle of: live and let live.  If there is a hereafter, I will face it then and refuse to throw away my life for the promise of some unknowable paradise after death.  Nor do I care how others choose to live their lives, as long as they don’t forcibly interfere in my life.  The gospel according to Dave: Do right and leave others be.

Unfortunately, religious fundamentalists cannot accept such a peaceful philosophy.  A tenant of most dogmas is that non-believers of their god must either be converted into believers or vanquished.  I see no relief from this madness in the foreseeable future, but I, for one, will no longer cower behind the more socially acceptable label of “agnostic,” as if I were still seeking truth and had yet to settle on a faith.  I am now an unabashed atheist and ready to join an association of Godless Martyr Makers dedicated to hastening intolerant and violent religious fanatics earning their just rewards. -Dave


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