Today I’ve decided to join the radical extremists who impose terror on Judeo-Christian-Islamic etc. nations. The whole religion “thing” just seems too farcical for my taste. David Foster Wallace offers this compact little anecdote to connect the dots.
There are these two guys sitting together in a bar in the remote Alaskan wilderness. One of the guys is religious, the other is an atheist, and the two are arguing about the existence of God with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer. And the atheist says: “Look, it’s not like I don’t have actual reasons for not believing in God. It’s not like I haven’t ever experimented with the whole God and prayer thing. Just last month I got caught away from the camp in that terrible blizzard, and I was totally lost and I couldn’t see a thing, and it was 50 below, and so I tried it: I fell to my knees in the snow and cried out ‘Oh, God, if there is a God, I’m lost in this blizzard, and I’m gonna die if you don’t help me.'” And now, in the bar, the religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. “Well then you must believe now,” he says, “After all, here you are, alive.” The atheist just rolls his eyes. “No, man, all that was was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp.”
The nonreligious guy is so totally certain in his dismissal of the possibility that the passing Eskimos had anything to do with his prayer for help. True, there are plenty of religious people who seem arrogant and certain of their own interpretations, too. They’re probably even more repulsive than atheists, at least to most of us. But religious dogmatists’ problem is exactly the same as the story’s unbeliever: blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up.
Throughout history, religious wars have made up the lion’s share of imprudent killings. It’d be easy to suggest that terrorism against a Judeo-Christian-Islamic etc. nation is, in essence, an anti-religious act and therefore another stain upon humanity in the name of religion. However, I’m going for something on a grander scale. Let’s just wipe ‘em all out. Thin the herd, as it were.
Think about it. All we’d have left is a few agnostics and a bunch of athiests. No one to question where we came from or whether evolution is theory or fact. The toughest question would be whether the chicken or the egg came first and, more importantly, whether either is on the breakfast menu. We’d have a whole host of new places to hang out. Lord knows churches, Mosques, synagogues and shrines etc. are as ubiquitous as Starbucks, not to mention the better seating options. Imagine all those vacant street corners without the religious zealot – his worn-through Birkenstocks and sasquatch-like beard and expired breath mint – preaching the words of some prophet to all within listening distance. Imagine just letting a sneeze or an orgasm go without comment. Imagine how much more fun you’d make your life if you knew this was all there was.
Ok, so you caught me. This is an April Fools diatribe. I’m not joining any radical extremist, anti-religious terrorism group. I just thought that the Sunday morning before Easter might be a fun time to fuck around with the Almighty. I’m hoping the big fella has a sense of humor.