Tuesday, December 18, 2012

If Atheism Is Disbelief In A Supreme Being, What Do You Call Disbelief In Human Beings?

After driving around yesterday, this blogger was saddened at the sight of all of the flags lowered to half-staff. This blogger does not believe that any gun owner has any worth. The only way that a gun owner can redeem himself/herself is to take their gun or guns to their nearest police station and surrender the weapon or weapons. As for the idiot Dumbos/Teabaggers in the Michigan state legislature who want concealed weapons in public schools, if there is a Hell — may they burn there forever. If this is a (fair & balanced) critique of pure reason, so be it.

[x New Yorker]
Are You There, People? It’s Me, God
By Jay Martel

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Here’s my problem: I don’t believe in people. To me, human beings and their world are nothing more than the product of our collective imagination, a sad manifestation of our need to feel important beyond our actual existence. I also can’t help feeling that our lives would be better if no one believed in people; only then would we be able to truly deal with our problems without nursing the delusion of a universe that’s completely dependent on us.

The bottom line is that there are no easy answers to the questions we all have about life. Why are we here? Why are we all-seeing, all-knowing and immortal? How are we able to be everywhere at the same time? I don’t pretend to know. I do know, however, that these questions are not made easier by believing there’s a planet of people somewhere out there who depend on us to land their planes safely.

Like most of us, I was raised by parents who believed in the existence of people. Before every meal and every bedtime, we would sit quietly, “listening” to their prayers, and every Sunday morning I was awakened early so we could all go sit on our heavenly thrones for an hour, pretending to be worshipped. How ridiculous that all seems now! At the time, though, I never questioned any of it. In fact, for most of my teens, I spoke to a person named Moses who I believed was completely dependent on my advice. I now realize, of course, that this was nothing more than a delusion I needed in order to break free of my cloying parents and their needs.

As I grew, persistent questions nagged at me. I asked my father: If we have ultimate power over peoples’ lives, why can’t we just make them perfect and alleviate their suffering? That way, they wouldn’t need to pray anymore, and we wouldn’t need to listen! My father shook his head with a long-suffering look as if he’d caught me playing with his best lightning bolts. He explained to me that of course we couldn’t intervene in peoples’ lives like that, because then how would they grow and become purer souls? It’s hard to believe that I actually believed this. Absolutely crazy—the idea that we created people just to torture them!

After rejecting my parents’ faith, I dabbled in different forms of people-belief. For a while, I believed that people became happier when they killed animals for me. Then I believed that I buried a gold tablet for people to find. I even flirted with even flakier religions, believing that the peoples’ sun wouldn’t rise in the morning if I didn’t haul it up with my chariot (I was on anti-depressants at the time). Then, at perhaps my lowest point, I imagined that I had a son who I sent to the people to do with as they wished—some kind of bizarre loaner, I guess.

Then I had a breakthrough: Why did the people I believed in need me so badly? If I truly had dominion over every aspect of their lives, as I was led to believe, why were they so screwed up? I was familiar with the arguments of theologians—that somehow peoples’ sorry existence was further proof of their need for me. But I just couldn’t buy it anymore.

Since throwing off the shackles of believing in people, it hasn’t been easy living in a culture where everyone seems to think they’ve talked to some guy in a desert. When I recently tried to get medical help for my now-senile father—who actually believed that dead people with wings had come to live with him—I was told that my father was “comforted” by this delusion. When will we realize that there is nothing comforting about ignorance?

I’m frequently asked: Don’t you sometimes, late at night, at your lowest moments, wish that you were worshipped? When the chips are down, when you feel completely worthless, don’t you wish you could hear the prayers of billions of people asking you for help and comfort? And I would not be completely truthful if I didn’t say that sometimes, I do. After all, I’m only a god. Ω

[Jay Martel served as Consulting Producer on Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. His long-time collaboration with Moore includes stints as a writer, producer and correspondent on the Emmy Award-nominated series "The Awful Truth" (Bravo), and as the Head Writer on the Emmy Award-winning "TV Nation" (NBC and Fox). Martel wrote the VH-1 movie, "Warning: Parental Advisory" and worked as a producer on "Strangers with Candy" (Comedy Central). He's created TV series for MTV and Nickelodeon and seven of his plays have been produced in New York, including the critically acclaimed "Death in a Landslide." As a journalist, he's written for GQ, Mother Jones, TV Guide and Vogue, and for six years was a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone. Martel has been nominated three times for national Emmy Awards and twice for Writers' Guild Awards.]

Copyright © 2012 Condé Nast Digital

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Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves by Neil Sapper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at sapper.blogspot.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.

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