Happy new year. Happy, happy. I want to be a happy, healthy, hopeful atheist, but throughout the workweek, whenever the obligatory supernaturalism is projected onto incidents by the ignorant around me and I reply placidly that it might be better to go with a reasonable explanation of world events, often as not, I get this tiresome response: "I don't know HOW you can do that- how can you live without believing in something?" And then comes the inevitable, "Well, you can believe what you want, but I believe..."
"Believe" is always the operative word, rather than "think," and as "unbelievers" we have come to accept that that's how it is; we prefer to organize our thoughts and determine facts, while the superstitious majority simply cling to random wishful fantasies, and by clinging, fail to progress. This immobility of theirs is overwhelmingly the "safest" position to take- not to grow, not to discover. How is it, though, that they are the positives and we the negatives/naysayers/UN-believers? They get to frame the discussion, they invent the terms, they give us our names.
I am being defined as hopeless, that I can't be happy and healthy, because I (negative) DON'T believe (positive), and that's a problem. Even here in the rational alternate universe of the Atheist Nexus, I read so many of our comments- and find myself inclined to make them- about what we are NOT, as rebuttals to those attacking us. I am anxious for a new language to be invented- a language of what is real and known. I want to see a clear, neat label on the jar containing DEATH. It's a freakish-looking thing, as a sideshow- but what a distraction from the main event. Why is immortality equated with hope?
It used to be comforting to consider that I would live forever- as long as it was something vague, in the distance. But then I got to wondering what the Hell I would do in Heaven and it got to be a bore. The only interesting conception of Heaven was one of a big, endless concert, just music and more music and dancing and whooping it up, but then, you'd have to be there with all those pruney church people and listen to preaching and endure the wails of the damned and I thought about eternity in terms of a long sermon and could only be horrified. And then I looked at dead animals in the road, and could plainly see that there's no reason to think they "go" anywhere- they just end. Ending isn't as bad as they say, and maybe, forever isn't what we really want.
When do we evolve past being a-theist and start being human beings? I want to celebrate, but not godlessness, not zero. We are something, we have something. We are not a negation. We need a holiday of our own, and a type of salvation that reclaims holiness for the living. Merely wishing for the infinite ain't all it's cracked up to be- there's so much more drama and excitement when a story has an end. The infinite seems so...limiting.