I don't believe in god.
It's funny that I feel the need to say that. But I wanted to get it out right away. It's been the focus of much of my intellectual, psychological and philosophical life (not to mention my romantic life) recently, so it'll be a large part of this blog. The reason that it's funny that I have to say that is that if I wrote, "I don't believe in Ra." or, "I don't believe in Santa Claus." People would be puzzled. Why should I list the things I don't believe in?
Because people assume you believe in god. I don't.
I don't believe in God, Ra, Allah, Yhwh, Odin, Zeus, Jupiter, Krishna, Vishnu, Dieu, the Great Spirit, Huitzilopochtli, Baron Samedi, the Jade Emperor, Chac, Jurojin, or Dievas. I don't believe in fairies, faeries, pixies, leprechauns, sidhe, sylphs, nymphs, or dryads. I don't believe in vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches (though I do believe in Wiccans), or ghosts. I don't believe in Mjolnir, Gungnir, Ogma's whip, Hrunting, Cupid's bow, Poseidon's trident, Clarent or Excalibur. I don't believe in magic underwear. I don't believe in dietary restrictions (although some stuff is just too damn nasty to eat.) I don't believe in heaven or hell. I don't believe in a whole lot of stuff. To list all the things I don't believe in would take forever. But I want to make it clear that I don't believe in god. I'm an atheist.
Let me say it again. I don't believe in god.
Why? Well, that's the sixty-four thousand dollar question, isn't it? There are several reasons why. Today, you get the first.
It's an analogy I've used several times, and I wanted to immortalize it. For me, religion is like chicken pox. I had a pretty bad case when I was a kid, and now I'm immune.
Atheism didn't come easy to me. I was raised Baptist. To ex-Baptists, that says a lot. To people with relatives who are Baptists, that says a lot. To Baptists, that says a lot. As far as religions go, it's slightly on this side of madness. We believed that the Bible was largely inerrant, except for the bits that were metaphorical. We didn't handle snakes. We didn't speak in tongues. We didn't kill infidels. And to be honest, I didn't spend much time spreading the Word (it had a capital "W"). But I spent every day afraid of God, Satan, and the world around me. I was convinced that I was sinful, the world was sinful (Holy Christ, was it sinful) and I was going to hell, except that god had once given me a loophole. I was so scared I took it.
Funny thing, that. When I was about eleven (entering puberty and having VERY sinful thoughts) and God scared the hell out of me. I was reading Chick tracks (available here: http://www.chick.com/default.asp) and hearing all kinds of terrible things about rock music, swearing and homosexuals. So I took the plunge. I asked Jesus Christ to forgive all my sins (past and future, remember that), and to be my own personal saviour. So, I don't believe in god, but I once did, and I was saved then. I believed that I was going to hell. To a lesser degree, I was already in hell. Satan had control of the world. God had given me an out: about two thousand years ago, god killed a guy (or, more charitably, had a guy killed) so I could go to heaven.
I now view the "reborn" bit of my past faith as my "Get out of jail free." card. If god exists, I asked him to forgive me. He had to (so I believed), and so I am forgiven. No matter what happens. It's kind of surprising, really, that more born-again Christians don't fall away from the faith, like I did. Once you're saved, you're saved. There was a particularly good Chick tract that showed a heathen cop going to hell, and a saved murderer going to heaven. Seriously. I could commit genocide, but I'm going to heaven.
If that isn't opening your faith up to all kinds of perversions, I don't know what is.
So, part one of "The Nature of Things", or "Why I'm an Atheist: Because Hell is Cool". Why don't I beleive in god? Because I don't have to. God said so.
Check for answer number two tomorrow, unless, Dubya, Steve Harper or some other politician important to me does something cool.