This is a pretty good read about what causes people to become atheists vs. what makes people continue to believe. My wife and I definitely fall into this paradigm. She always seems frustrated by my almost mechanical way of analyzing everything and trying to use logic to make an assessment while I always roll my eyes when she goes “with her gut”. Check the link above out.
This was not a planned entry, but this just happened and it was awesome and I just had to blog it right away. Somehow, two Jehovah witnesses sneaked into my building and were getting their preaching/recruiting mode on, when they had the bad fortune of choosing my door. They tricked my sister-in-law into thinking they were UPS or Fed-Ex, so when she opened the door she was in for an unpleasant surprise.
Fortunately for her, I was just getting out of the bathroom (which happens to be next to the entrance), to get my shower stuff. I noticed she was just standing by the door and her arms weren’t moving to receive a package so I turned off the ventilation fan to hear what was going on. As soon as I heard, “in John…” I knew what the situation was.
Both my wife and sister-in-law are nice. Too nice to a fault. So naturally, my sister-in-law was just standing there politely listening and wasn’t going to tell them to leave. It didn’t help that they were two elderly women talking down to her in a motherly fashion. (mind your manners and all). I, of course, have no such inhibition (and I had a shower to take). This is how the rest went down.
Me (Stepping right behind my sister-in-law): “you’re not allowed to solicit in these premises. If you don’t leave now I’m going to have to call the police”
Jehovah Witnesses (looking offended): “we’re soliciting?!”
Me (with a straight face): “yeah you are. You need to leave now”
I calmly close the door as they shamble out the building and quickly take my shower so I can get this post up. What a great story, right? Well maybe not but I thought it warranted telling. My wife thinks I was too rude but I thought it was rude for them to sneak in and harass uninterested people to buy into their religion. Give force in kind and all that.
I was listening to back episodes of “This American Life” and I came across a story of somebody trying to commit suicide. This story got me thinking. Never in my darkest moments did I ever want to kill myself. The closest I came to that notion was wishing that there was a magic reset button so I could start my life over with a clean slate.
This made me look into myself a little more to find out why. The person in that episode felt utterly miserable and saw no reason to continue living a sad existence. Being an atheist I know there is no afterlife. I also have no impulse to procreate and continue the legacy of my DNA. I have no real ambition for greatness nor am I living a life of glamor. Yet despite these factors I don’t see suicide as a viable option. My life is pretty devoid of any meaning or grand vision. Yet I want to continue experiencing my mundane existence for as long as I can.
There is so much TV to watch, so many books to read, so many podcasts, audiobooks and music to listen to, so much comedy to experience and so many precious moments with my wife to foresee. I value the ordinary dullness of my life despite its lackluster. I have bad days like anyone else but eventually they go away.
It’s not even leaving those behind that might guilt me into staying alive. I just don’t want to miss any of my existence. Which isn’t to say that I want immortality or that long a life. I can’t imagine living past my 80’s with all the ailments that entails. I’ve embraced my mortality and don’t fear it. And I don’t think I’ll leave this earth with any real regrets. But I also don’t feel inclined to shorten my existence. It’ll come when it comes.