Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Don't Shoot Puppies in the Face

As we all know, the world in which we live is very diverse; from cultures and geography to cuisine and clothing. Considering that the human population is damn near 7 billion (way too many for the planet. India, China, I’m looking at you), you have to expect a high degree in different beliefs and ways of life. For the most part, a lot of people embrace the beauty different cultures give us. I mean, the different food alone is freaking amazing (if only I could eat), music, film, traditions, customs; it really is a wonderful menagerie of human existence.

One other thing that is as varied and diverse as the cultures are the multitudes of religions and religious beliefs. Hell, there are some 40,000 different denominations of the Christian faith alone. I am not even going to try to get into the different sects of Islam, Judaism, Baha’i, Hinduism, Buddhism etc.; you see what I am getting at. There are a lot of religions and a lot of different ways in which they are practiced, and because of that, there is a lot of infighting, which, call me crazy, sounds counter-intuitive.

The reason why I am getting into trying to breakdown all these different faiths is to show what kind of diversity we have when it comes to faith, belief and religion. It is as varied as Jelly Belly’s, but most of the time, not as sweet. But there are several that I left out, because these are the most feared for some reason: Non-believers.

Now, if you want to know how to freak people out, tell them you are an Agnostic or an Atheist, basically anything that falls into the non-believer category and watch people stare at you like you just shot a puppy in the face. Seriously, shoot a puppy in the face, and then tell someone one that you do not believe in god, and they will be more disgusted that you do not believe in god instead of the fact that you just shot a poor, cute, cuddly wuddly fluff ball of a puppy in the face. I do not know why such a revelation elicits such a reaction, but it does. You could be volunteering in a soup kitchen, just donated a kidney to a dying kid, cured AIDS and cancer together and made world peace a reality, but you are the devil because you question the existence of god. It really freaks people out.

I fall into that category of puppy shooters. I was raised Muslim (which is a degree above puppy shooting non-believers these days), I used to fast during the holy month of Ramadan, toyed with the idea of praying when I got older, and was for the most part, a good Muslim kid. Yup, I was a semi-practicing Muslim all up until a few years ago, when something changed, and I became Agnostic.

Religion no longer made any sense to me. In the end, the basic tenets of religion is to be a good person, don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t screw your neighbor’s significant other and just don’t be an asshole. Those are all really good lessons, but I did not need a religion or “god” to tell me what was right or wrong.  And here is a thought for you, I believe that god is like Santa. He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake, or you are going to go to hell. Where do you think the lump of coal came from? We use Santa to make children behave, but he does not exist. Then does that not make god the adult version of Santa?

The seeds of doubt have always been there. Being Palestinian, I always thought that if there was a god, why would it make my people suffer? Or why would it have let the Holocaust happen? Why would it have George W. Bush be president? TWICE?  Why do good people die all the time and the assholes live, hell even rewarded? What kind of a god would let bad things happen to innocent people?  And why did you give me this hair and a slow metabolism? I have heard the crap of god is testing us, blah blah. Tell that to the poor innocent children being used as sex slaves and dying of AIDS that god loves them and is only testing them. What the hell did they do?

Also, upon taking a mythology class in college, I learned that every single religion out there was recycled from previous polytheistic faiths. Sorry to burst your Noah’s Arc bubble everyone, but that one was copied and just tidied up a bit. As was the virgin birth, creation, Adam and Eve, the commandments and just about everything else. NONE OF IT was original, and that shook my belief system.  It was like someone shot my puppy in the face.  Even before hand, I never believed all those stories to be literal, but dammit, I thought they were at least original! So why would I still believe in a virgin birth, a son of god, a great flood or a prophet that went up to heaven on a rock when all of it was pretty much made up, plagiarized and written by man several times over? I could not any longer.

So you now have the short version of why I drop kicked religion to curb, however, but not a higher power altogether. I am Agnostic. I do not fully believe in the existence, or non-existence of a higher power. I am on the fence. I really, really want there to be one. I really do. But I am not convinced completely that there is one. It does not make sense. There is no proof. And if anyone tells me “that is what faith is” and “god is love,” I will punch you in the throat. You may not be in front of me, but I swear to your dear and fluffy lord, if you tell me god is love one more time, I will hunt you down and punch you in the fucking throat. That is not proof.

Just accept my belief, like I accept yours, even though we do not agree, and do not look at me like I just shot your puppy in the face.  It is none of your business.  No really, it isn't, just walk away. There are many non-believers like myself out there, many of which I honestly believe are still in the closet about being so just because of the stigma and people trying to save them. We do not need saving, and don't judge us, because according to your beliefs, that is your god's job. We are happy. We sleep fine at night, and we are good people. We give to charities, do no harm to others, and do not start holy wars. We are good for the sake of being good, not for fear of going to hell. And if there is a god, when we die, I highly doubt that it would punish us for questioning its existence if we lived a good and honest life, especially if god loves each of its children. I would be more worried about those using its name to do bad things, like war, murder, stealing, and shooting puppies in the face.