Sunday, July 20, 2008

You're a non-believer too, you just don't know it.

For some reason people look at "Atheist" as a dirty word, as if being an atheist makes you mean or angry. Personally I think it is often misused, it's almost implied that if your an atheist, you want to forcibly convert all religious people of the world to your way of thinking.

But in reality we are all non-believers, ever heard of Zeus? Or Xenu? How about Apollo? Bet you don't pray to them, do you? Well guess what, millions of people either did or do. Many Christians despise atheists yet they don't believe in Mohammad, Jews don't hesitate to disregard Jesus - but still call themselves believers. So what makes atheists so different - we just believe in one less God than everyone else.

Believe it or not, all modern religions are just ancient ideas that have been rehashed. There's nothing original in any of them, even in Judaism which is the father of "The Big Three". Religion - like human beings - has evolved over thousands of years, into what we see today, every generation wholeheartedly accepting what the one before taught them, without rethinking what they'd been told. Imagine applying that same rule to astronomy, or medicine - what was thought to be true only a few hundred years ago is now laughable, but I digress.

When I started exploring the world of knowledge, outside of what I was raised with, one of the big questions to me was, how could there be so many people out there that are just as certain as I am in my beliefs? I'm a pretty cynical guy, but I don't think the Pope is consciously trying to deceive anybody, I'm sure he believes every word he says. As terribly misguided as I think the Tusher Rebbe is (just an example), I still think he means well, and is sincere in his convictions. If these guys are so certain that they are correct, how could I be so sure of myself? I understand the arguments for and against belief, but one belief against the other is just two straw men - it doesn't work.

It was kind of a big mental hurdle to get over, but it force me to think. If every religion says that theirs is the right way, and the others are 100% wrong, than whom do you go with? Don't they all cancel each other out? Is it purely by chance - I was born to Jewish parents so I'm Jewish, but I could have easily been born to anyone else and raised to believe in something else entirely?I asked my dad that question, and he had an angry and expletive-filled answer for it, but that's a story for another time.

The bottom line is we're all non-believers, we just pick and choose what not to believe in, I personally have chosen to throw God out along with The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and The Boogy Man.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Memories of July 4ths Gone By

The fourth of July meant very little to us growing up, all we knew was that the goyim were going to put on a fire-works show, so let's go to RCC and watch it.

The first 4th of July I ever spent away from that, was during boot camp in Fort Leonard Wood misery, I mean Missouri. Our Drill Sergeants would have loved to have made it a miserable holiday, but Army policy says they have to give us the day off. I was only a few weeks into training, but it was a welcome day of rest. The first few weeks of basic training are generally the toughest.

We were marched over to a parade field where there was an Army band playing some of the worst music I've ever heard, but I didn't care - to me it sounded beautiful. Before we were let loose, we were told in no uncertain terms, that if we did anything stupid, especially anything that would embarrass our Drills- that day would end very badly. (My First Sergeant made me reconsider my belief that there is no devil)

So after that happy thought, we were released into the field to drink soda, eat candy and junk food, all things we hadn't been able to do for weeks now. The most exciting thing to me was walking normally again instead of marching, which is how we got anywhere during training, it was such a relief not to have to stay in step with an entire formation of people.

Like the rest of basic training, it was extremely surreal, and alas it was over too soon. But it was the first time I felt happy and proud to be doing what I was doing. I always loved my country and secretly dreamed of joining the Army, but I felt like an outsider and never expected my dream to come true, and here I was actually living it out.

It will definitely stay with me forever.