Friday, November 11, 2011

Why I Adore Atheists

Ira Glass is a staunch atheist. So is my boyfriend and many of my friends and even some family members. What do they all have in common? They are the most moral, selfless people I know. Atheists believe in living for today, because when we are dead and buried, we'll just become worm food (Though, I doubt that's true. We've decided that destroying the Earth while we are alive isn't good enough. We must preserve ourselves to the point where even our bodies are not decomposable. Why do something half way?).

I am not a fan of religion. I actually think, personally, that religion can be a dangerous thing. It can also be what an immoral person clings to as a saving grace should they be hit by a bus. In my view, religion is an invention of man, providing some explanation for our existence. It's helpful to many people, so I would never actually preach that it be banished. I am a very "live and let live" kind of person. My mantra is, basically: Be a shitty person if you want. But please try not to if you can help it.

On the other hand, I am quite spiritual. I do believe that we step into a different plane of existance when our physical bodies die. I don't claim to know much about said afterlife or parallel life or whatever, but I do feel strongly about its existence. I believe that there are only 2 things we are responsible for in our physical lives: to love unconditionally and to help others when we are in a position of being able to do so. And guess who are models for this way of life?


Take Ira Glass for example. He is not a perfect person, true. No one is, really. But he has done an enormous service to the world by creating and continuing to broadcast This American Life. It has become an important tool for learning about other people's lives, their triumphs and tragedies, their inner most struggles and how their moral compasses direct them. The program evokes many responses from the listener: empathy, sympathy, judgment, self-reflection, self-judgment, happiness, pity, sorrow, helplessness. It is, in essence, a multifaceted portrait of the human experience. When Ira interviews his subjects, he is gentle, kind and humorous and there is something about him, his voice, his persona, that you trust. You are comfortable revealing things to him, even though you know that it may be broadcast nationally. I think it's beautiful.

Lots of atheists walk the walk. And isn't that the whole point? To live in the now? Not to think about how many past lives we've had or what heaven is going to be like or if there is a hell? If we really want to advance ourselves and humanity, I think we could all learn a thing or two from the people who don't believe in God. As crazy as that sounds.


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