Thursday, March 29, 2012


My daughter called my attention to an ecard that got me thinking. It showed two guys talking. One said: "That was a very well laid out rational point. But, I will still hold to my emotional opinion based on no facts or evidence."

All of us non-theists encounter that attitude constantly, either in person or via print. It's called faith, which Greta Christina has defined as "an irrational attachment to a pre-existing idea regardless of any evidence that contradicts it."

Why would otherwise intelligent and highly capable people cling to such irrationality? Indeed, why did many of us, in our deluded pasts, cling to the same approach?

Pure and simple, it's FEAR. Nearly all human beings are walking bags of fear! Fear is a tremendous motivator, and political and religious "leaders" take full advantage of that fact.

We fear what might happen to us and our health and economic security in this present life, and we especially fear what might happen to us when this life is over. We possess our wonderful awareness that our animal cousins of varying degrees have no inkling about. Our beloved little dogs are aging every day and, without us, they would be up that proverbial creek with no paddle or anything else. Are they aware of their precarious position?

Not in the least. They sometimes show fear and anxiety, but not in the same way or degree as us humans.

We humans are filled with concerns, worries and anxieties. They motivate us every day.

We had occasion to spend some time with a dear friend of my wife early this week. She's in her early sixties and has clawed and worked her way to the position of executive head of the Arizona chapter of a famous and important national organization. Her husband is also a successful man with an important and high paying position with a major company. They're wonderful people and our stay with them was a delightful mini-vacation.

As I look back on the visit, I see that, for all the success and the seeming security of their position, fear looms over their lives, just as it looms over the lives of every other human being.

When Phyllis first became fast, lifelong friends with her, she was a stuggling female "working stiff" and an ardent democrat. Now she's a fanatic Republican and denounces Obama as "that socialist." We basically just listened to her tirades and tried to figure out her reasoning.

Her husband is a non-believer similar to Phyllis and I, but she clings emotionally to the concept of a god and an after-life.


Fear. She is afraid that what she has striven and sacrificed for will be diminished or taken away by "socialism." She's knows she's going to die one day and desperately wants for that not to be the end of everything. In case there is a "hanging god" judge and a real hell, continuing to at least pay lip service to him protects against that eventuality, or so people hope.

Do I worry about what the future may hold? Of course I do. I wouldn't be human if I didn't. I have the awareness, so I have the concerns.

I've just progressed to the point where I don't have to resort to irrational belief systems for comfort. Instead, I realize that what a former friend said about fifty years ago when I was commenting on my insecurities is a truth. That friend pointed out that even if everything "went south" for me, I would survive because of the social programs then in place to provide for those who were victims to total deprivation, however marginal that survival might be.

Since I realize there is no big "sugar daddy" up there somewhere and there likely is no existence beyond this brief life, I simply do the best I can each and every day, try to take care of myself and my health and keep the big picture in mind as much as I humanly can.

It sure beats being a bundle of corrosive fears and letting those fears tie me up mentally and emotionally.

1 comment:

  1. Right on, Al! If I could relocate a known quote from one of the ancient Greeks, I would include it here. Very fitting. In a Google search for "religion based on fear" quotes, we find ample evidence that many of the intelligent seekers of "truth" etc. are aware that fear is probably the greatest common denominator in the belief realm. Yet most of these still do as that meant-to-be humorous card expressed; they stick to the irrational anyway.

    You and I shared a heaviness of fear that gripped our minds during that unholy time when we lived for the "second coming" and constantly repudiated any human worthiness. Life was less than truly living, for me, as I sought to be what a phantom being purportedly wanted me to be. I FEARED not to reject my own life! How sad.

    I'm so glad we escaped that fear and idiocy!