Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Super Athiest

I have an online acquaintance who is disabled.  She speaks often of a struggle she has, which she calls the “Super Cripple” complex.  (Read her blog here).  Are you familiar with positive stereotypes? A positive stereotype is a belief which infers imaginary abilities to a group or subgroup, such as black people being better at sports or Asians being better at math, etc.

She deals daily with the struggle to accept herself as she is, rather than a Hallmark Movie caricature of herself crafted of positive stereotypes. She calls this caricature “Super Cripple”.  SC never gets tired of campaigning for human rights. SC can wheel-up gradual stairs.  SC is super, she doesn’t need help from ANYBODY!  The reality, of course, is that disabled means “less able” and she does need help.  The real strength is accepting the reality of needing help, rather than trying to pretend she doesn’t by playing the fictional part of SC.   Accepting this every day remains a challenge for her.

My struggle, or one of them, is to not be Super Atheist.  Super Atheist finds purpose and joy without God or religion.  Super Atheist doesn’t need faith; Super Atheist has reason!  Super Atheist never believes sincerely with one part of his mind something that another part of his mind knows is actually false.  Super Atheist finds happiness in holidays like Easter and Christmas, because even though he knows there is no God to celebrate, he is with his family and that is what really counts.  Super Atheist never wants to go to church, or take communion, or pray for the broken of the world. Super Atheist can do anything!

But the thing is, I’m not Super Atheist.  I miss the comfort of the God hypothesis.  The idea that I am here for a capital “P,” Purpose, a participant in a grand narrative.  I miss the afterlife hypothesis.  The idea that what we do on earth has a greater meaning than the handful of lives we touch, and that evil which is not caught in the here and now, will someday be punished in the after life.

I miss crappy church.  I miss getting dressed up and going and singing once a week.  I miss real church…a lot.  I miss sitting in a room full of adopted family, and singing and praying and feeling loving and loved.

I miss speaking in tongues and the emotional high that it brings.  Actually, come to mention that, I really miss it.  Someone would come forward and we would all put them in a group hug.  We’d all go around the circle and “pray a message of God’s heart for that person” which amounted to telling the person how valuable they were, how loved, how special.  It felt great to do and to have done to you. Then we’d pray in tongues.  The reason part of the brain idles down, and the emotional part revs up.   I’ve never taken 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (Ecstasy) but speaking in tongues seems to have the exact same effects.   From wikipedia:

  • Mental and physical euphoria
  • A sense of general well-being and contentedness
  • Decreased negative emotion and behavior such as stress, anxiety, fear, and paranoia
  • Increased sociability and feelings of communication being easy or simple
  • Increased urge to communicate with others.
  • Increased empathy and feelings of closeness or connection with others
  • Reduced insecurity, defensiveness, and fear of emotional injury
  • Decreased irritability, aggression, anger, and jealousy
  • A sense of increased insightfulness and introspection
  • Mild psychedelia (colors and sounds are enhanced, mild closed-eye visuals, improved pattern recognition, etc)
  • Enhanced tactile sensations (touching, hugging, and sex for example all feel better) Ask any married Pentecostal if you don’t believe me, by the way, sex after praying in tongues is an amazing spiri-sexual experience.)

And I miss them all.  Above all I miss feeling like I was apart of something really special:  a 2000 year old Royal guard, still fighting the rebels to have the kingship of the true and most high King recognized.  There is a romance to words like “Kingdom”, “Knight of the Cross”, “Sacred purpose”, “Most High”  that words like “country”, “community advocate”, “special reason”, and “President” simply cannot match.  Though administratively identical, they are rhetorically worlds apart.

I am not Super Atheist.  I confess, I have a desire in my heart to gather with believers, to sing songs of worship, reverence, sorrow, penitence, and heroic victory.  I long to kneel, to dip the broken crust in the wine, to speak the words of my heart to a friend and Lord.  My only caveat is that he not be imaginary.  I desperately want to sing, worship, kneel and gather my community around a real God.

I long for a god, a religion, a purpose, and grand narrative.  I long for everything worthy religion gives man.  My disbelief in God is not the result of a lack of longing, but a lack of God.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Politics, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Slice of life, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

It’s all just pretend.

Thank you all.  It’s so great to have comments.  Sometimes I feel like I am shouting into a dark empty room.  I confess, I had a secret hope that when I started that my blog would be so good I could make a living at it.  I know, thats a pretty stupid, empty hope, but don’t laugh.

I’m still writing my decon story.  I had yet another realization today.  I was a Christian.  No, seriously, I was a Christian.  That means so much.  First it means I really was.  All those years waiting for the magic feeling I never got?  All that time carefully looking at others and trying to decide if I was what I was supposed to be?  All that time I was a Christian, because (Point 2) that’s what Christianity is, and (Point 3) I’m not any more. (Point 4) because it’s all just pretend.

That was the question that got me to really question Christianity in the first place.  It hit me one day.  I was waiting for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit to hit me, watching my friends roll around on the ground.  And I thought, “What if it’s all just pretend?

Though I’ve called myself an atheist off and on for about 6 months now, but I guess in my heart, I thought of myself more as man God called to be damned to atheism that truly accepting the fact that there is no personal God.  And now, I’ve truly accepted that there is no God.

This makes my mortality a bit stranger.  Though I’ve long known I wasn;t going to heaven, I didn’t want to go to hell.  Now, I don’t believe in Hell.  When I die, I’m just gone, like data in RAM when the power goes out.  Gone. Forever.

And there is no story.  If something happens to my wife or daughter, just gone.  There is no ultimate justice that says I get to see them again.  We are not part of some cosmic play, acting out our lines to a great hidden script.  I seems horribly wrong that my daughter, so full of life and sparkle, could be removed from earth by the random selection that says 1 out of x number of children will die before they see 10.  But she could. Or me.  Or my wife.

My best friend leaves for Iraq soon for one of the most dangerous jobs available.  We are both sons of the church, rejected, and happily apostate.  If he dies in a firefight, it’s not because our Heavenly Father decided it was time to take him home. It’s because 2 objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, and his brain, the seat of his beautiful mind, cannot occupy the same space as 7.62mm slug doing over mach 1.

I love him like a brother.  I don’t want him to die, I want him to live.  But wanting bad enough doesn’t change physics anymore.  It never did, but I used to believe that it did.  I can’t change that he leaves.  I can’t change whether he lives or dies.  The only thing I can change is how I am a friend right now.  That’s the morality of atheism. Accepting reality makes me a better friend right now, because it matters right now.

And when I really think about, every truly good thing I ever did for or with God, everything that every really helped someone, I accepted my powerless where I was powerless, and took what action I could. Even when I was a Christian the most moral acts I did where the ones that were the most godless.

November 30, 2008 Posted by | atheism, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment