Friday, August 24, 2012

Giggling In Disbelief

A valid complaint about “modern” atheism is that it posits no pleasant alternative. If there’s no Ultimate Reason, why bother doing anything? Like every other know-it-all philosopher, pastor, and “life coach”, I have the answer.

Fun. I’m here to enjoy life. To maximize pleasure and minimize pain. It’s what mankind has always tried to do, by codifying it with religion and culture, or justifying it with cold hard reality. Most of the ancient moral codes remain valid, they are the basis of stable societies.

Acting fairly and honestly makes people more likely to return the favor. Cultures based on such simple precepts thrive for millennia. Cultures based on greed and violence eventually break down in chaos, fighting among themselves for the scraps. Hmm. So I will “do as I would be done to,” because this makes life calmer and more pleasant. Why not use our energies for building and bettering, instead of brawling and bombing? Way more fun.

My offspring are the keepers of the sacred DNA, my only “after-life.” I try to parent well since this is my only chance. I love every precious moment with them, right here, right now. Seeing them thrive brings me joy. This is not magic, it is instinctual survival of the species. And we have lots of fun!

If you have no family, simply find somebody to love. Plenty folks out there need some, gods know. Those who love are, by definition, part of a loving universe. The vicious and greedy create the opposite.

Since nothing really matters, life is stress-free. No need to be depressed when you screw up, it doesn’t really matter. If you feel “successful”, good for you, but stay humble--it just doesn’t matter. Relax and enjoy!

Those who die owning lots of crap have traded their time on the planet for cold plastic and steel, industrial crap spewing from mines and oil wells and manufacturing plants. Sounds like hell!

If work or life sucks, grit your teeth and get through it, chin up. Accept the problems you can’t fix; buck up and fix the ones you can; then go have as much fun as possible. And instead of praising a corpse, do something useful, like, say, helping people. This counts as fun because it feels good, whether for humanity or for the Ineffable.

Special bonus: some of the natural instincts you were taught were ‘sinful’, like using intoxicants and getting naked, are lots of fun! Two survival rules: Moderation In All Things, and, Consenting Condom-using Adults Only.

If you want to believe in an Invisible Super Being, or any other Infinite Cosmic Explanation, go ahead. Even some atheists still pray when all else fails. Prayer has the same power it always had. Why not, if it makes you feel better? (Prayer made me feel childish and silly—if I was a god I would tell my followers to quit groveling and get to work.)

God knows I tried to believe in It. But the more I read and studied and, yes, prayed, the more plain the truth appeared. Every religion is “true”, which means none are literally true. We are a cosmic miracle, wonderful and exciting all by our silly selves. No other explanation is required. So why not have a little fun?

“Do not believe in something because it is reported. Do not believe in something because it has been practiced by generations or becomes a tradition or part of a culture. Do not believe in something because a scripture says it is so. Do not believe in something believing a god has inspired it. Do not believe in something a teacher tells you to. Do not believe in something because the authorities say it is so. Do not believe in hearsay, rumor, speculative opinion, public opinion, or mere acceptance to logic and inference alone. Help yourself, accept as completely true only that which is praised by the wise and which you test for yourself and know to be good for yourself and others.”

The Buddha, The Kalama Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 3.65, Sutta Pitaka, Pali Canon

Life is one long dark comedy, and laughter our chief survival weapon.


Lisa Tan said...


Rebecca Chesley said...

Jeff, I was just eavesdropping. I'm glad to know you're giggling. Here's my take - when we pass back through the veil, some of us are going to be disappointed, some pleasantly surprised, and a small minority will hardly notice. No idea which group I'll be in. Randy

Redjones said...

Good work Bro. Spoken like a Prophet. That is the real message of good religion (the kind that binds us together) as apposed to the labeling and division that drive us apart.

Redjones said...

The simple day to day relationships and challenges are our ultimate reason for being. And yes, following the simple moral principles we learned in primary makes this reality measurably more tolerable. Labeling yourself an Athiest merely draws another imaginary line in the sand. We are all a result of the same creative force. Creation is not over. We are part of an ongoing expression of Life. Some attribute this to an amazing cosmic accident. Some say it is all by design. In a practical sense, it makes no difference.

Jeffrey Jones said...

Thank all you peeps for spending some of your valuable time with me.

Thank you Sister Lisa over in the amen corner. I joke to my dad that this blog is my weekly Sunday School lecture.

Thank you Brother Randy/Rebecca. (I experienced similar spousal computer name confusion when I shred an e-mail account with Dudine. Also, women get higher class spam than men, I noticed; weight-loss pseudo-science and Discount Coupons rather than BonerMaxx.)
“Through the veil” is a nice death euphemism, and I like your afterlife reaction options, especially since none were “screaming in Brimstone Lake.” Due to a profound youthful near-death experience, my wife’s afterlife is real as life. But considering the common fate of humanity heretofore, I won’t believe in any post-life community until someone can point it out on a map. Eavesdrop anytime bro, my nonsensical yapping is on the Interzone for Everyone to suffer.

Thank you Brother Red. You are right, “belief” or lack thereof makes no practical difference. Recently a goodly Christian woman kept “witnessing” to my “unsaved” ass until I finally said, “Look, even if there was a god, what good does that do me?” Y’ still got to get up and go to work in the morning, y’ know?
My grander intent was to counter the atheist stereotype. We’re not baby-eating suicidal nihilists—not every day, anyhow. (Baby meat is too expensive!) Also, for the record, I ran with the Baptist gang for a while; their “once saved, always saved” theology means I already have a Golden Ticket, just in case!

Thanks again y’all.

Lisa Tan said...

Oh my goodness! Is that what the Baptists really believe? If so, why doesn't everyone just get a Golden Ticket and then live life to the fullest?

Jeffrey Jones said...

Depends on which Baptists, but, yes. They offset their theoretical forgiveness with judgmental ass-holiness.

Funny how that works. The Mormons have no hell, and three heavens, the worst of which is so nice we would kill ourselves to get there, they say. Yet they are as inflexibly rule-bound and sanctimonious as any Jesus Club.

M. Hart said...

Mr. J, keep up the good work man! I enjoy reading your shit. For the most part its all exactly how I think on a daily basis, especially this write up.

Jeffrey Jones said...

Thanks for reading Mason, glad you enjoyed it. Hope Yuma is treating you well.

M. Hart said...

Yea man everything is going goo down here. I will be up in the Wood for most of December and half of January so I will make sure and stop by and say hi you you and Mrs. J

Jeffrey Jones said...

Please do. I work nights but we're always up and aboot in the afternoons. We'll always feed ya, too!