Religious Atheists

The world is one big pyramid scheme. There has to have been one go-to guy who started this mess and delegated others to continue its supervision. That’s where we all get into fighting each other- trying to convince others that our go-to guy is THE guy. Or gal, excuse me. Religion is the set of rules by which we let others know that our god is better than some others.

Then again, it can be that we all actually believe in the same go-to guy, it’s just that we all look at him (or her) from different angles. Remember that game we played as a kid, “telephone”? The one where a bunch of us sat in a circle and one after another whispered into the next person’s ear a secret. By the time it got down to the last person, somehow the secret message was totally changed from its original. So, it is possible that the original message has become garbled through time and we are all chasing the same Biblical tale.

What gets me, though, are those who don’t believe that there is an originator of this mess. We call them atheists. I can understand agnostics- those who aren’t sure if there is a supreme being. I write it off to their being confused and having a bad hair, or should I say hair shirt, day. Agnostics want to believe. They just want proof.

By the way, a good example of an agnostic is a Cubs fan who is uncertain of a player that his team has just acquired who is ga-ga over playing at Wrigley Field. The new team member is looking forward to playing day games while being in the excitement of 40,000 fans fiddling with their cell phones and texting to their friends to find them on tv waving in the stands. The new guy on the block never mentions that his goal is to win the freaking World Series. The paranoid agnostic Cubs fanatic just doesn’t know whether to believe or not that this will indeed be the year.

As a kid growing up in the 1960’s, my family lived on the first floor of a two-flat building. The head of household of the second floor family was a tough walking and talking carpet salesman for Sears. Sam was no-nonsense and of little patience but he was obviously a good salesman because he was able to spoil his three kids with whatever luxuries they wanted.

At some point in his life Sam decided he was an atheist. Probably because he was mad at the guy upstairs in heaven. His oldest child, a boy, was afflicted with polio and had to wear clumsy metal braces on his lower legs. It didn’t prevent Don from going to regular school or interacting normally in society but it did have an affect on his stride, speech and hearing as well.

Can one retroactively decide that there is no deity? He can make an argument that he has been abandoned and that his soul is up for grabs. But it may also be an opportunity to do soul searching and see if there is justification for his bad luck. Most shoppers do not go back to stores that have an “absolutely no returns or refunds” policy. They learn their lesson and go on to do business with those who are willing to bend a little. Maybe the guy upstairs also is willing to do some bending.

Sam didn’t quit smoking after the 1964 Surgeon General’s warning linking it to cancer. Neither did his wife. They both died by the early 1970’s leaving three children to grow up all by themselves with the same existential feeling about life. That’s what happens when you forget to walk the dogma.

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