No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it,
Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.”
-Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha (563-480BCE)
It is heartening to get the sense that I am not the only one who cannot stand organized religion. The Buddha was spot on – religion does not make sense to me and therefore I don’t believe.
Pew Research, as well as Gallup polls show that the number of disillusioned agnostics like me and those that are confirmed long-term atheists, has grown over the last two decades from around 5% to around 12% of the world’s adult population, more than 75% of whom are Asians and Africans.
And the number who say that religion is not at all important in their lives is a whopping 36% of all adults in the world. More than one in three adults don’t give a flying eff about God.
Oh, what a fall this is, my Lord, when you and I – everyone – has fallen, while bloody treason has flourished among us.(That’s a Julius Caesar tweak)
Even among the ancient Romans, polytheist and superstitious to the core, there were some non-believers and disillusioned. A few miles east of the Vatican in Rome, in the grounds of the La Locanda Chateau Madama is a 1950-year old tombstone (above) with an inscription in Latin, that says…..
Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman called Charon
No caretaker, Aiakos and no dog named Cerberus.
There is just us – all we who are dead below
Just bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, now go on, traveler,
Lest disillusionment riddles you too
And you take my babbles to heart.
And what of America – the holiest of holy nations? The country that has as many different sects of Christianity as there are vermin living in my backyard. Look at the Pew study below….
An astounding 41% of all Americans won’t give a crap if their Pres was an atheist! And 53% of all Americans say that belief in God is not an absolute prerequisite to being moral. When America starts thinking this way, God, you need a new PR man.
What seems to be the cause of this deluge of indifference to the Almighty? Could it be science?
There was a time when the concept of punishment for making the wrong (criminal) choices was supreme. Everyone believed that there was God and he had made certain rules, by which humanity had to live, that when someone did something that was immoral, illegal, criminal, it was by his own free will and his own choice and he needed to be punished.
No more. Scientific developments during the past 100 years and the discovery of neurotransmitters, endogenous chemical ‘messengers’ in the human brain, has proven beyond reasonable doubt that there is no such thing as free will and that we act according to the way our brains are hard wired and the messages that the neurotransmitters carry to the execution elements within our body.
More and more capital offense cases, that would otherwise have led to a death penalty in the west, are now being commuted because the perpetrators’ actions were inevitable, given the way, their brains were wired and therefore they could not have had a choice to not commit the crimes that they did.
But if it really is science that has made more and more folks around the world stop going to church or the mosque and if everything has been ‘God’s will’, why has he been undermining his own supremacy? Is it possible that he exists only in our imaginations?
It is around this phase of my ruminations that I say, ‘f—k it’ and reach for the beer.
I don’t want to be an atheist – that is too final a statement ta make. Always leave the patio door open, ta let the Gods in. After all, one is never sure. Maybe He is the ultimate prankster and will make his presence felt to me in some strange and very convincing manner one day – by simply arranging ta have his man Friday, Gaby, deposit of a coupla million smackeroonies into my bank account and I’ll wake up just before noon every day, in my own villa on the Cote d’Azur, a naked 20-something Corsican woman pulling back the drapes and letting the Sun in.
For now, if none of that fantasy happens, I’ll languish in the mezzanine floor, the purgatorial afterworld of agnosticism, absentmindedly plucking clover leaves, mumbling ‘he exists…he’s a myth…he exists…he’s a myth…he exists…he’s a myth.
On second thoughts, I’d much rather be Woody Allen…..
“In my next life I want to live my life backwards…..
You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day.
You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and become more and more promiscuous and soon you are ready for high school.
You then go to primary school and you become a kid and you play. You have no responsibilities and soon you turn into a baby until you are born.
And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day…..
And then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!”