By Ben Gonzalez
I assume I’m writing this as a means of being tactful, or nice, or something like that. Perhaps I’m writing it for the exact opposite reason. Maybe I want to offend the reader. Maybe I want to say “fuck it all” and “fuck you too if you don’t agree.” Let me put it simply: I’m tired of explaining how I can be a nihilistic, cynical, sacrilegious, blaspheming son of a bitch and still be able to live my life comfortably and without some cosmic fear of being judged for my, what do you call those things you accrue when you piss god off? you know, those things we’re all “born with”. . . “Sins!” That’s right. Let me backtrack and call myself out on my own bullshit right now. I’m most likely writing this because I, along with undoubtedly numerous others, am simply trying to make sense of the world I see. Unfortunately the only adjective I can conjure out of my vocabulary to describe it all is, well, “BLAH!”
The twenty-first century is a difficult time to retain ones belief system. Whether your beliefs involve Jesus, Allah, or Justin Bieber, is it really easy to maintain your belief with all the bad press (I hear Bieber’s been knocking up hood rats). Each new tabloid of a priest tickling a bible boys private parts, every bomb set off in the name of a god, and the myriad of other fucked up aspects of the world that are so readily available for all of us to see with a few simple clicks on our smartphones make it nearly impossible to believe there is some sort of cosmic relationship to all these acts of depravity.
Being born into a very religious family may have left me predisposed to succumbing to worldly hedonism, but I know way too many in the same situation that are so dogmatic they remain virgins for Jesus. Yes, I am not crazy, people save their “v” card for some guy who existed more than 2000 years ago. Talk about a player! If Jesus does come back in the clouds I’m hitting him up for his secret of being irresistible to women.
We live in the 21st century. No one needs to tell you what to believe anymore. We have information if we want it. Decide for yourself.
I had ample opportunity to see god in the millions of pastors, teachers, and other church affiliates who tried to shove Christ down my throat as a child (at least I wasn’t Catholic and no church officials attempted shoving anything else down my throat). Let me try to remember how god made himself apparent in my childhood. When I was a kid I learned what the word “embezzle” meant far earlier than my fellow peers. I learned that many pastors and church workers weren’t thinking of god when they stuffed loyal offering and tithe money down their pockets. Additionally, and I kid you not, I learned that pornography existed on the Internet because so many pastors didn’t know how to delete there web history. Due to their electronic incompetence in cyberspace, my parents were left with explaining to me why Pastor Bob wasn’t allowed around children anymore.
As a college student at a private Christian college (WARNING: do not attempt to receive Christian education beyond the secondary level, they do not let girls touch you.) I received a sampling of the judgment Christians claim to relegate to god. Drinking, smoking, sex, music, clothing, food, caffeine, condoms, even playing tennis on the Sabbath were all reasons to be suspended, expelled or excommunicated. Well, I certainly didn’t feel the “love of god” when my room was being stripped and CSI’ed for contraband. Of course, what I mean by “contraband” is anything from having a J wrap to a female hiding in your closet. Well, I didn’t see god in the religious folk, maybe I need to give Tim Tebow a call, that guys seems to have it all figured out.
Some may ask, “You never saw any good people? You never felt true compassion in anybody?” To that I say, “YES!” I’ve met great Christian people. I’ve also met great Buddhists, Taoists, junkies, gluttons, sinners, and yes, atheists. Some of the nicest folk I’ve ever been blessed enough to meet (yes, I just used the word “blessed” I’m a hypocrite.) have been non-believers. I believe that people can decide to do good and people can likewise decide to do bad. Let’s stop taking all the credit away from those who decide do good; it’s their prerogative, goddamnit!
So where am I now? Do we need a god to give us morals? Are we all devoid of morality without submitting to a deity? Is there reason to existence without cosmic purpose?
Most importantly, should we be sad about our possible insignificance? My answer: hell no! The twenty-first century is making us all jaded cynics; confused and without direction, but hell, what wrong with not knowing. While we wait for an answer why not live for the betterment of self and humanity?
Without believing that all morality is contrived from some butthole in outer-space we can recognize that if we are not seeking to better ourselves, we are inevitably worse. Without the safety net of god and eternal life, shouldn’t we all seek to make life better, safer, and more interesting right now? Why not spend the time you would be in church and actually do something for the world. Hell, why not do something for yourself! If you are like most Americans you (yes, I am deciding to use the word “you.” Sorry I just wanted to get real personal and shit. So, for the rest of this article pretend you’re by a warm fireplace drinking a nice glass of Cabernet and getting real cozy.) are overworked and very overstressed. Take an hour to feel. Hopefully we can all still do that. How about the next time you remind yourself that you can feel, remind yourself that you don’t have to feel guilty about it either. We are not born with sin. We are born with senses. Drink up to impurity and pestilence, and any other biblical word that has always kind of scared the shit out of us. Words mean nothing unless you believe in them. Why not listen to your senses and tune out the Billy Graham’s and Pat Robertson’s of the world, those guys seem like such a drag. (Who would want to go to heaven if Pat Robertson is going to be at the first Pearly Gate mixer?) And, if for some crazy reason those guys are right out about it all, kill me now and send me straight to hell.