Witness Nothing, You Will Live Longer

One of the things that really bugs me, ironically, is people telling me their way of doing things is the only correct way. You know the type: they see you doing it your way, but that's different than their way, so they come over to tell you in five thousand words or more why your way sucks and their way is great. Fortunately, this is something that doesn't come up too often. The place it happens most frequently? Religion.

Now, there's a relevant difference between what I'm talking about here, and what this site is about. What I do is point out what I perceive to be flaws in society around me, offer (sometimes) logical arguments against them, and then suggest reasonable alternatives. I probably call you a moron at some point too. The point is I'm not saying "Mine is the only way," I'm saying "Mine is a way that may be better." The religious zealots I'm teeing off on today walk up to you and say things like "You're going to Hell if you don't do it my way." This article is a long one, so buckle yourself in and hold on to something friendly.

As I see it, religion exists for two reasons:

  1. To explain the unexplainable. We take comfort in knowing that there is a reasonable explanation for everything, because the unknown confuses and frightens us. If there exists a universal explanation (God) for why things are the way they are, it eases some of the mental burden we're under.
  2. To give people something bigger than themselves to believe in. Some people, not to their detriment, feel a lot better knowing there's more going on around them than what they see. It comforts them to know there's some kind of grand plan in motion, and that they are a part of it, whether significant or not. It comforts them.

Personally, my belief in myself is enough for me, and I don't care about the unexplainable because odds are it will never affect me. We don't know why light exhibits the properties of both particles and waves? Good for light. Pulled a fast one on us. If I ever meet light, I'm buying it a beer. It won't be able to drink it though, because it's not light beer, so in essence it earns me a free beer. The point is that the unexplainable doesn't creep in to my life, so it doesn't matter to me.

That's what I believe religion is for, now here's what religion does for you:

  1. Gives you a general code of ethics and morals to believe in.

Yep, that's it. I think the whole "good people go to Heaven, sinners go to Hell" analogy that is replicated in most religions is going a little overboard, but what can you do. Religion is basically there to tell you how to behave, by which they mean "how to be a good person according to us." My code of ethics is simple:

Don't suck. Help others to not suck.

Some religions are twisted when it comes to telling people what to do, though, which is where my beef with religion (and thus today's profanity) really starts. Take, for example, Jehovah's Witnesses (JW), the universal pain-in-the-ass religion. Their religion tells them that in order to be good JWs they must only date and marry other JWs, and that it is their solemn duty to convert at least one person every six months. The numbers there may be off, but that's what I heard from someone once. That's why they go door to door bugging people. God tells them to.

What God doesn't tell them to do is use dirty tricks to try and help convince you. Take for example the JWs that approached my door last month. There were two of them. One of them started talking at me, and I ignored him and scanned around the items they had brought with them. Among them was a copy of The Watchtower, the JW book of choice. Also among them was a small boy.

Wait, a small boy? What the fuck? That was my first thought at the time, too. Very loud in my mind, and very angry sounding. More like "WHAT THE FUCK!?" I managed to restrain myself from verbally dismembering them in front of one of their sons, and instead managed to say with a minimum of bile "What are you doing bringing your son around for this. You should be ashamed of yourself." It was okay up to that point. They'd done their thing, I'd voiced my opinion, and that was that. I was closing the door. Then he hit me with the bombshell:

That's not my son, actually.

Who the fuck does he think he is taking someone else's kid along for a brainwashing session? If I was interested in being a JW, I'd fucking ask someone about it. I don't need you abusing some child to help convince me. And that's just what it is, folks: child abuse. Going to Church on Sundays is a habit, and if the kid gets bored he can fall asleep or let his mind wander. You can't do that if you're spending the whole day being dragged along the streets from door to door watching your Dad (or whoever happened to bring you along today) get yelled at by people who're pissed off at him for interrupting whatever they were in the middle of at the time. It was all I could do not to step outside, put my nose against his and yell in his face:

What the fuck are you doing bringing a child along with you, let alone one that isn't even yours!? That's child abuse, and if you don't get the fuck off my property in five seconds I'm calling the police to report you for trespassing and abusing a minor! ONE!

I restrained myself though, and simply closed the door on him. There are, of course, much more amusing ways to deal with JWs. When one comes knocking at your door, after he's (it's always a dude) finished his initial speech, lean out slowly, look cautiously from side to side, then look him right in the eye and say "Do you have any virgins? I'm a Druid, and Solstice is approaching, and we need a virgin to sacrifice to the tree in my front yard, but we're fresh out." Bonus points for keeping an absolutely straight face. It doesn't matter if Solstice is really approaching, because he'll never know the difference.

Or you can take the more disturbing way out: "You have a book? Great! It'll help mop up the blood. How many copies can you give me?" Sadly, Jehovah's Witnesses are just part of life, so the more creative and amusing you can be while dispatching them from your house the better. If you feel like sparing others the same pain, you can invite them in, engage in a long, drawn out conversation with them about being a Jehovah's Witness, get their hopes up, then tell them to shove off. It adds the extra touch of washing away their enthusiasm and optimism, especially if you have the patience (and time) to draw it out for a number of hours.

Since they go around trying to convince people to convert to their religion, I may as well try to convert you to mine.

Atheism is wonderful! Heaven and Hell, and God, are inventions of religion; Atheism doesn't have them. In Atheism, whatever you believe happens after you die is what really happens. If you believe you'll be with your loved ones, that's wonderful. If you believe you'll get to live out a second life as James Bond, sure. If you are convinced you get to come back as Rosie O'Donnell's underwear... well, frankly I pity you.

Since there's no Heaven, Hell or God, there's nobody to impress. You can do whatever you want, and you don't have to worry about lasting repercussions, and thus you don't have to worry about appeasing or pleasing any kind of higher power. No confession, no church, and no sin beyond what's disallowed by the law (which, for the most part, is what the 10 Commandments covers in the first place).

The simple truth is that after we live, we die and become food for the worms. Our bodies all degrade and are consumed, either by small living organisms or by fire. As for our souls, nobody knows. It's unknown, and unexplainable. So who cares? Odds are, when you die, your soul goes nowhere and you simply blink out of existence, except for whatever memories and legacy you leave behind for others. You die, and you're gone. But hey, that's life. You only get one. I recommend using it to live, as opposed to using it to tell others how to live. You'll find you enjoy yourself a whole lot more.

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