If you are a family member that wants to maintain some facade of "Goodie Goodie Jesus Rah Rah Yea" then you may not want to read ahead.
For the rest of you intrepid intellectually honest intellectuals, let me tell you a story.
If you want to know where my wit and cleverness comes from, it comes from one person and one person only:
My Uncle Jeff.
Jeff was like me. Small, skinny. But while growing up I noticed he was INCREDIBLY quick, clever, and even charming. It wasn't until I became a student of Victor Borge did I realize what qualities and traits both had in common. And so from the age of 13 or so, I fashioned myself after Uncle Jeff.
This decision sent me on the trajectory that landed me here today and is (what I would boldly guess) is why many of you tune into my blog/podcast/whatever. I'm not the same ole same ole. I come up with the occasional witticism. And above all else, I'm a little bit smarter than the average bear.
Thank my Uncle Jeff for that.
Sadly, Uncle Jeff contracted cancer at a young age. Fight it as he may, in the end he lost and died in his mid 50's. Knowing this was coming and feeling bad I had not spent as much time with my psychological mentor as much as I would like, I drove from Minneapolis to Appleton to visit him at the hospital.
When I visited him he was still, without skipping a beat, good ole Uncle Jeff.
Witty, clever, and smart.
And though we never really had a ton of time together, there was an understanding that he was my uncle, I looked up to him, and maybe he could have picked up a clue or two that I fashioned myself after him. He was happy I was there, and I was feeling guilty for not spending as much time with him as I would have liked.
But, as would be the case with all men facing cancer, death, and mortality, our conversation took a turn towards him reflecting on himself, his life, and his beliefs. But unlike most of the automotonic-Christians that had visited him before, I wasn't a Christian. I was the black sheep of the family. He knew I didn't care about the afterlife. He knew I was the outlier in the family. And so, because I had this reputation, our conversation became rather and ironically...
It was there that my Uncle Jeff admitted that deep down inside, despite 50 years of TRULY RELIGIOUS ADHERENCE to the faith and Christ, he really didn't know if he believed any of it. This coming from a man who was the epitome of devout. He attended every Sunday. No doubt tithed. Donated time and volunteered at the church. You could NOT be a "better Christian" than Uncle Jeff.
But there he laid in the hospital bed, hooked up to an IV, and after half a century of life plus, admitted to me that deep down inside he didn't believe it.
I had nothing to say. NOthing religious anyway because I got rid of religion as quickly as a sailor can get rid of the clap. But being out of the "system" for 20 years didn't leave me without explanation or thought on the matter. And so I told my greatly-respected Uncle Jeff what I thought.
"You don't know, I don't know, and nobody else knows what's on the other side. But I'll tell you this. It can't be anything great, grandiose, let alone horrible, and CERTAINLY NOT LONELY because 50 billion people have gone before you. And you, nor I, nor anybody else is special."
I don't know if it did anything to assuage him, but based on the smirk I got, I like to think it did. That where some guy nailed to a cross, and 50 years of unsubstantiated lies, and an entire religion without empirical proof FAILED to provide one of its most devout followers solace, an asshole heathen with a bit of streets smarts, cynicism, and elementary logic succeeded.
Within a month we were at Uncle Jeff's funeral. There in attendance was the preponderance of good Wisconsin Synod groupies including everything from my former-pastor father, to
There is no doubt my great and awesome Uncle Jeff was a good Christian.
There is no doubt that my Uncle Jeff was one of the best people to walk this planet.
But if there is a lesson to take from Uncle Jeff it's that deep down inside that the VAST MAJORITY of you Christians (as well as all other religious folk) KNOW for a FACT it is all
I am at a point in my "philosophizing" where I no longer care about arguments, facts, truth, statistics, etc., as much as I am the MIND-BLOWING ability of the average human mind to IGNORE AND REFUTE said things. That I am flabbergasted as to how much time, effort, resources and money childish human minds will KNOWINGLY go to defend an FACTUALLY WRONG AND ERRONEOUS system.
Fuck "social networks."
Fuck "fear of ostracism from society."
How can ANYBODY believe in such poppycock as religion?
The simple answer is, "they can't" and "they don't."
It's all a fucking show for superficial reasons.
Networking, familiality, tribalism, survival, you name it. In the end it is just an elaborate version of "the emperor has no clothes."
And thus, I wanted to plant that mustard seed of doubt. Because I know, I KNOW FOR A FACT
have that doubt in your heart.
And based on the quality and caliber of most "christians" I see today, you fail, EPICALLY against my Uncle Jeff in terms of sincerity, penitence, honor, and self-reflection.
Thus relegating your "religion" into nothing more than a god damned social club.
Enjoy "hell"...that is of course assuming you ever really, truly believed it in the first place.
Post post - apparently this is needed. I'm agnostic. Not atheist.