Friday, March 25, 2011

The Simple Life

It’s been almost two years since I decided that believing in God was, like, totally for squares, daddy-o, and I wasn’t going to do it anymore. My life has changed a lot since then. One thing I can say for sure is this: I like it. I like being atheist. There are many reasons, and today I’ll briefly explore one of them: it’s simpler.

The universe is a complex place. Understanding its finer points is a task far beyond my capabilities. But that’s okay! I know that there are many wondrous things out there that I will never comprehend, and I’m not the least bit upset about it. No one is making me try to fathom how the universe came into existence, or how time can get all distorted by gravity and such, or how consciousness works. There are answers to these questions out there, and I have some idea as to what they are, but their nuances are beyond my current knowledge, and perhaps the knowledge of anyone. Nonetheless, there is a key difference between life before and after my deconversion: I don’t feel any pressure to try to figure these things out.

Life as an atheist in the big city is pretty easy. This is especially true given the fact that I live in a very liberal city—Seattle. My recent relocation to said township has caused a lot of unrest in my life, but I’m grateful for the fact that I don’t need to worry about going to church or anything like that. I work hard enough as it is during the week; I don’t need to waste even more of my free time on the weekend participating in some cult-like mumbo-jumbo. No thank you, I’ll pass on that.

Back to my point: being an atheist is just less mentally taxing than being a believer. Even as I write that I can hear the rebuttal of the theist: “Ah! So you admit that you’re just pretending God doesn’t exist so you don’t have to follow His rules! Checkmate, atheist!” Okay, okay, I’ll address you in a minute. Life is just better if you can live it without worrying about breaking some kind of obscure tenet set down by ignorant men thousands of years ago. I don’t need to wrap my head around why God would allow terrible evil, or how God doesn’t need a creator but the universe does, or why people who claim to believe in justice and goodness can perpetrate horrific crimes against others. All of that stuff is still there, but as a godless person, I can safely live my life without trying to answer those unanswerable questions.

I feel like I’ve drifted around my point here, so I’ll just end with this: I’m not trying to say that we shouldn’t ask big questions or examine our lives. On the contrary, I firmly believe that we should look into our beliefs with care. What I’m getting at here is the idea that as a believer I was called upon to hold a number of contradictory and obtuse beliefs. I was never very good at compartmentalizing those things away; they always gnawed at me. As an atheist, I take time out for science and philosophy. But the time is my own. And if I’d rather just spend an evening playing video games, I don’t run any risk whatsoever of irritating a petty deity.

Argh, this post is confusing and random. Still, more posts more often! That’s my new motto!

On the subject of post frequency

I recently realized that writing blog posts is a) time-consuming and b) stressful. Why is this the case? The answer is plain: it’s time-consuming because I tend to write long posts, and it’s stressful because I’m insecure about the quality/interestingness of each post I create. Naturally, I want to write things that people enjoy reading, and will pass along to their friends. There’s tremendous pressure on bloggers to be snappy, witty, and delightfully entertaining at all times. And while I’m certainly capable of creating texts of that nature, it takes a while. I simply don’t have the time to devote to creating posts like that on a regular basis, given the fact that I have a life and a job.

So, the solution? Shorter posts with greater frequency. Get some meat on these bones. Get that post counter up into the triple digits (eventually). Writing posts about things that I’m pondering, considering, raging about, or otherwise interested in is a good way to get myself in the habit of writing. In time, I’ll be able to create longer, more detailed posts with greater speed and skill. I’ll practice, in other words.

I make no promises, but it’s my intention to write more often. So keep your eyes here, because if things go well, you’ll be seeing new posts soon.