left biblioblography: Platitudinal Retreat – Invoking The Void For Victory

Monday, October 12, 2009

Platitudinal Retreat – Invoking The Void For Victory

As of yesterday, I called out a religious person on his view on atheistic morality. Sadly, it’s as I’ve stated prior: the claim doesn’t withstand actual scrutiny. But wait! His response is as follows:

And, for the atheist, what, after that? Nothing. No consciousness, no nothing. No seeing what has happened to your descendants. No caring about anything. No existence. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada. In an atheistic universe, the dead cannot care. Therefore, any caring they may do must be done in this life, the only life they have.

Newsflash: Yep, the dead don’t care. Yes, the caring needs to be done in the here and now, seeing as there’s no afterlife.

And why might they care? About anything? To whom do their lives matter? And for how long? Does the cold, atheistic universe into which they arrived by complete accident care? Does that same universe have a purpose for them? The very thought provokes laughter. Even if someone misses them once they're gone, that will matter for less than a hundred years, too, probably less than fifty, since those people will die and not care about anything, either. And eventually, their country will pass away, then the planet, then everything, and none of it will have mattered, none of it at all. Their morality, such as it is, will have served no purpose other than to perpetuate the species before the planet is scorched when the sun turns red, and that, for no reason at all, it simply being what happened by sheer accident.

I’m not too crazy about an uncaring universe either, to be honest. That weird evolutionary mechanism makes me care about me a little too much for comfort, and it makes us all way too introverted. But the fact remains, that the religious have this incredible hubris about existence. They think the whole of reality was put here as a tribute to their own existence, and Dog forbid you should take that special fuzzy wuzzy feeling from them – because as miserably as we are designed, we not only think the universe revolves around us, but that anything that makes us happy is to be defended to the death against the ravages of reality.

Atheists have a limited, very limited window of opportunity, a very short time in which to enjoy the accidentally-animated sack of protoplasm they walk around in, and absolutely no reason whatever not to do whatever they please, as long as they can get away with it.

As opposed to a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card that any serial killer, child molester, or any other slavering sub-human can employ at the last minute? “Oh, I feel genuine remorse, lemmee in heaven!” One might note that atheists tend to be better behaved than the religious lot, regardless of the old tired canard “Just seek sybaritic pleasure!” As if somehow, those of us not invested or entrenched enough in the supernatural seem to find less value in others. No, actual reality shows us that we obviously imbue others with more intrinsic value, not less.

And what do they choose to do with that limited period of time? An astonishing number seem to have arrived at the absurd conclusion that the best, most enjoyable (apparently) use of their limited time is to try convincing theists that they're wrong. That's right: their mission in life seems to have become convincing people about whom they will shortly cease to care, people who will, in turn, shortly cease to care about anything themselves, that there is no God.

Well, it is a fun diversion, but it’s hardly something I lose sleep over, or wrestle with regularly. I am more concerned that there are Dominionists who want to turn the USA into UST (the United States of Theocracy), and that End-Timers are trying to jumpstart what they view as Armageddon because of their book of fables (that’s all three ‘people of the book’ not just Christians), the religious are trying to tell adults what adults they can and cannot marry, and the intrusion of non-science into our already beleaguered and financially strapped public schools. So, no, I’ve got no problem with people and their fantasies. I’d be more than happy to leave them to their own devices. But the actual enforcement of their religious beliefs in my life? Yeah, I don’t think so. Time to be vocal. Time to let them know they can’t just shove their way to the front of the line for consideration.

Good luck with that one, atheists. Last time I checked, though they disagreed on much about God, you have a couple of billion people, at least, to convince of His non-existence. And for what? So that they will have--you think--better lives in the short period of time remaining to them on this miserable mudball? In the most literal sense possible, why care? It will matter to any particular individual for a maximum of 115 years, and then--poof.

“If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” – Anatole France. Really? An argument from numbers? How numb. Because the here and now do matter, and despite the void that swallows us all, I was constructed (no, not designed in the religious sense, it’s obvious to anyone with a critical eye that we’re very poorly put together) to give a flying damn about others in my species.

And that’s not a bad thing. That there’s no afterlife? Why should the lack of such a thing make me any less of a decent person? The answer is no…it doesn’t.

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