Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Atheist in the Foxhole

It feels like everyone wants me to have faith. Or, more specifically, a faith.

Yesterday afternoon, I got an unexpected visitor. How I wish it was only a pair of Mormon missionaries or a Jehovah’s Witness. I know how to handle that. But it was a private investigator. I can’t talk about it much right now. But I can tell you that I am a prosecution witness in a criminal matter. And I will tell the whole story here the minute I can.

A private detective representing the defendant was at my door, wanting to ask me questions. I didn’t know how to handle it. And there was absolutely no one I could talk to about what was happening or what to do. There was no one I could talk to after she left. My mother criticized me for speaking to her, with no concern for the fact that I was blindsided, ambushed, and I didn’t know what else to do. My sister brushed it off.

And the one person that I have relied on for the last two years to help me limp through this particular version of hell is gone from my life. Has pushed me out of his life. I literally had no one that I could talk to about this. I have never missed Mr. E more than I did last night. Last night, I was completely and totally alone.

I am telling you this as a preface as to why I can’t believe there is a God.

I keep getting offers of spiritual advisory. People want to pray for me. Honestly, skip it. Don’t waste your energy. I have gotten more than a handful of Twitter followers that are trying to spiritually navigate their own chronic illness and think that their faith can comfort me. I feel much more pissed off than comforted.

Here is my problem with God. If he has a plan, then why bother praying and asking for things? If it isn’t part of the plan, you won’t get it. If it is part of the plan, you will get it anyway. And, since he is all knowing and such, he’s not going to change his mind because you asked him to.

Why pray for anyone to arrive safely? Your prayers are not keeping that airplane in the air. It either will fly or it won’t, and you asking for its safe landing will not change the outcome one bit. That is, if you believe that everything is part of a plan.

If you really, really believe in God, you wouldn’t pray at all because you would trust that whatever happens will happen regardless of your prayers. I read once there are nothing BUT atheists in a foxhole. The faithful believe they can pray their way through the hail of bullets. That has not been my experience. I need to duck and cover.

For me, having faith is a lot like our criminal justice system: the burden of proof is on the person making the claim.

I’ve said it before: I think people have a soul. I am not sure how to define that soul. But I don’t think there is any benevolent deity playing with the chess pieces of my life. Or an angry, vengeful deity that will strike me down if I publicly announce that I think he is not real. (I guess time will tell on that one...) Sometimes, I wish there was a god that would simultaneously protect me and smite my enemies. Again, this has not been my experience.

I have no faith. None. I have no faith in the people who make promises to me. I have no faith in the justice system. I have no faith in me.

I like the idea of belief. I greatly respect that faith helps people through this mostly-miserable existence. I wish I had just a little bit.

All that being said, things like this do still  tickle me:

On February 2, 1395, soon-to-be-canonized Lidwina of Schledam fell while ice skating, breaking her rib. That fall was the opening salvo of a debilitating disease, marked by walking difficulties, headaches, and pain. By the time she was 19, she could neither walk nor see. This Dutch mystic experienced 34 years of deteriorating health until her death at age 53.

Lidwina had MS.

Saint Lidwina is the patron saint of the chronically ill. And of skaters. I shit you not.


  1. Let’s say God exists, k? Therefore, if God’s the Dealer, we’re mere poker players, able to ‘roll-the-dice’ with FAITE ACCOMPLI (French: deed is done), come what may; nevertheless, you’ll loooove our exploded plethora of produce which’ll plant the seed for YOU to grow to great heights!! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN WISK:

    Greetings, earthling. Not sure if we're on the same page if you saw what I saw. Because I was an actual NDE on the outskirts of the Great Beyond at 15 yet wasn’t allowed in, lemme share with you what I actually know Seventh-Heaven’s Big-Bang’s gonna be like for us if ya believe/accept: meet this ultra-bombastic, ex-mortal-Upstairs for the most extra-blatant, catch-22-excitotoxins, cogently-ironic-metaphors, guhroovaliciousnessly-delicious-endorphin-rush, pleasure-beyond-measure, UltraIdyllic, FirepowerAddiction in the Great Beyond for a BIG-ol, kick-some-ass, party-hardy, robust-N-risqué, eternal-real-McCoy-warp-drive you DO NOT wanna miss the sink-your-teeth-in-the-rrrock’nNsmmmokin’-hot-deal: PLEASE KEEP HANDS/FEET INSIDE THE WIDE UNTIL WE MADE A CIRCUMFERENCE OF the OUTSTANDING, NEVER-ENDING, THRILLIONTH-RED-MARKER-POSSIBILITIES …with eXtra eXciting eXtroverts!!! Puh-leeeze meet me Upstairs. Do that for us. Cya soon, girl…

    PS “It is impossible that anyone should NOT receive all that they have believed and hoped to obtain; it gives Me great pleasure when they hope great things from Me and I will always give them more than they expect”
    -Our Lord to Saint Gertrude

    1. I wish I could be as sure as you seem. But I think that if there is a God, he would never fault me for using the brain to doubt. Especially the brain he may have bestowed on me. So I am OK with rolling my atheist dice and seeing what happens.

      Besides, any way you cut it:
      Vie suce et puis tu meurs .

  2. Why would He fault YOU of all people for using your deliciousNnutritious mind to doubt? Exactly what God made U.S. for, girly. Grrr. To realize with a zany protagonist there's only 2 places after our demise... and 1 of 'em ain't too cool. Doesn't matter if you're an atheist, for if atheists are a step above the rest in their IQ factor (as you are), then God expects YOU to wiseabove the world BEFORE you croak. Come with this ex-mortal and tok in the Great Beyond o'er a BIG-ol cuppa joe. We can share. Wanna? Live the life God has so lavishly bestowed upon this fallen, human race which is only here for maybe a week --- Tell ya what I'll do, girly-whirly (yes, I can call you that cuzz I'm far older than what my visage appears. So there). I'll text my Popculture who's a priest in Nigeria (long story) and ask him to pray for YOU cuzz
    Faith, hope, and love -
    the greatest of these is love:
    jump into faith, babe...
    and you'll see with love.
    God bless you.