HOW CAN WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

It has been two months since my last post. Forgive me. My mother just had open heart surgery and I am sure you will understand when I say my thoughts were not on this blog but elsewhere. She is in rehabilitation now and is progressing, albeit, slowly. I often say I do not want this blog to constantly be about religion, but this seems to be one of those moments when I feel my comments on the subject, carry some extra weight. As an Atheist, I must admit that it is moments like this, that I do believe religious people are more fortunate than nonbelievers (in at least one respect). It is hard being an Atheist and not having anyone to beg to. I can do nothing. Praying (or not praying) will not change the outcome of any surgery. I am left with nothing to do but sit outside the operating room and wait. I can call relatives up North, and keep them informed of my mother’s progress. I can console my nieces. I can (of course) try to take care of my father. I can make sure he is eating - try to get him to go home and get some sleep. That is all. I can’t beg to anyone to ensure the operation will go any better than it is destined to. I am helpless. It is at moments like this that I can see the compelling allure of religion. How nice it would be to think that as long as I pray, I will somehow affect the results of the surgery. How comforting it would be to convince myself, that there is an all powerful being taking care of my mother, looking out for her, a Sky Daddy or Santa Clause to make it all better. It would be so easy to numb the mind with those soothing thoughts. But Atheists get none of that. I know the reality that, religion or no religion, major surgery on an eighty year old woman is not good. It will not be easy, either during the procedure, nor the recovery afterward. That is the hard truth of the situation.


There is a famous Carl Sagan quote. “It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is, then to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” Sagan is the closest thing I have to a hero but I must admit that at this moment, even that quote does not comfort me. But to those of you who think this admission is some subconscious cry to be converted, I assure you it most definitely is not. To clarify my position, let me offer you this quote from Bernard Shaw. “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

So what does an Atheist do? I do not want to do nothing. I do not pray, because in my eyes that is the same as doing nothing. I WILL NOT do nothing. So I do what I can. I call relatives up North. I console my nieces. I try to take care of my father. I make sure he is eating - try to get him to go home and get some sleep. That is all we Atheists can do. It does not sound like much, but I suppose it is important to the people around us, my relatives, my father. Maybe that’s what makes it important. I try to support the people around me and they try to support me. Still it’s not enough, but sometimes that’s all you get.

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