The Healthy Humanist
A friend of mine once said, “Life comes at you fast.” I couldn’t agree more. As we mature the amount of knowledge, experience, and personal responsibilities we soon accumulate a huge mountain of ideas, thoughts, and actions that take up a huge amount of our time. There is simply not enough time in the day to process or act upon it all. I think that in America there are two parallel situations slowing nonbelief from becoming the status quo.
1) Life is busy. Going to work, going to school, dinners, social gatherings, family time, the commute, etc etc. Most people don’t have the time to sit down and really hammer out their belief system. It’s simply an afterthought. Put in an hour at the church, say hi to everyone, and cut out for some Sunday afternoon football. Need to defend your beliefs? Just grab some quotes, watch an apologist video, and BAM! BeliefShield is up and running.
Scientists, bloggers, journalists, students, and other critical thinkers have a portion of their day dedicated to thinking about the world/universe. It’s not a 30 minute Discovery Channel snippet to them, but an active part of their life. Shaping a worldview around reason and knowledge comes much easier to these types of people.
2) Life is easy. We have one of the richest non-working poor populations in the world. Our national infrastructure is fantastic compared to Third-World countries. Getting that next drink of water is as simple as turning a faucet head. I can go across the street and drink out of my neighbors hose if I really wanted to. Thinking about a benevolent god is easy to do when the hardest thing you have to do to survive is earn a wage.
So how do we reach a population of spoiled easy-going Americans?
Education, Education, and Education. The more we push for better education funding, ensuring good science is taught, and becoming politically active the closer the world comes to leaving its mythology in the past. It won’t be quick, but it will be worth it.
I love the faces I get when I tell people I’m an atheist and secular humanist. They’re so filled with confusion, shock, and sometimes confidence. The other day I was getting ready to close at work and a gentleman came in to inquire about some different items we sold. He was real energetic and was sporting a band t-shirt. I asked what band it was and turns out it was a Christian rock band.
“Do you listen to Christian music?”
“I’m an atheist.”
His eyes about popped out of his head. “Really?!”
He then starts walking around my POS area asking me questions about who my favorite philosopher was (I responded that I was my favorite philosopher.) He asked prying questions about when I became an atheist, why I did so, and why I originally left the faith. Turns out he’s a minister at a local progressive Baptist church. A bit more bantering goes on and then comes the cocky comment that I could not stand and sternly responded to.
“Well man, we should get some coffee sometime, talk about this thing called “Atheism”, and this thing called “Secular Humanism. I know where you’re coming from and I want to share where I’m coming from.”
“I already know where you’re coming from too.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Yes actually, I do.”
He seemed a bit off kilter with my resolve. I took his card and sent him an email that night saying I’d like to get coffee and have a discussion. I have yet to get a response.
I’ve gotten a membership at Gold’s Gym and I’ve been busy working, getting into the new routine, and going to sleep early. I had forgotten how much fun going to a gym was. For the past two years I’ve been pretty lonewolfish when it comes to working out. Only once, when I included a friend, did I see great success. I decided a change was needed and I sought out personal training. I can’t afford any package but I was at least able to get enough money to have a program tailored to me by a professional trainer. I’m really not that much of a gym rat so I like having a list of things I’m supposed to do and I can just go through them and get things done. The best part of belongs to a gym again is the social aspect. People comment on my tattoo, my USMC shirt, etc, and it gets people talking and interested. Apart of that is the motivation that eminates around the whole place. There are some seriously jacked guys there that I admire and aspire to be like. It’s a great experience so far.
I know that the gym scene has its critics but so far I’m enjoying my time.