More and more, I've found myself thinking about religion and what it all means for the way the World works. I often wonder who the first human being was that looked around and decided that the only way things could be explained was by making up some story about a higher being. History is full of human beings living their lives according to one faith or another. I have no idea how many religions there really are, but I suspect it's in the thousands. Each is a little bit different, some more crazy than the others, but when you get right down to it, it all seems pretty silly.
Nearly every single setback in human history has been the result of one religion or another, often times all of them. The Catholics hated the Protestants, the Jews hate the Muslims, the American Christian Taliban hates the Muslim Taliban and nearly everyone hates the Scientologist. Wars have been fought over which religion was right and who's God was more holy. Millions and millions have been killed all in the name of God. We've destroyed the planet because the Bible tells us to have dominion over the planet.
Imagine where we would be were it not for the Dark Ages, that time of anti-science thinking that set humanity back hundreds and hundreds of years. We might be exploring other stars and planets by now instead of being happy with a space station in low Earth orbit. We probably could have cured cancer, stopped heart disease and made contact with some other civilization. But we will never know because the church held us back and it's taken centuries to recover.
Now, as is pretty evident by just opening your eyes, the worst elements of religion seem to be taking over once again. One need look no further than Sarah "Fucking Idiot" Palin to grasp how scary this is. She is adored by the most religious people in this country and is seen as some sort of savior, here to bring God back into our schools, our homes, our communities and our laws. It doesn't matter that our Founding Fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, had absolutely no use for religion.
If you are on Facebook you probably know what I'm talking about. I can't tell you how many messages I get from otherwise sane people asking me to pray for this or that. When someone tells me that they are praying for me, I want to tell them "thanks for doing nothing". I don't say anything of course but if I were to comment on the offending post I would be branded a heretic and told that I was going straight to hell. Heck of a religion you guys have there, one that wants to damn people to an eternity of misery.
So, today I am taking the plunge and officially announcing that I am an Atheist. I do not believe in God, none of them, but that doesn't make me an evil person. When is the last time you read about an atheist going on a shooting spree because voices told him to? Anyways, coming out as an Atheist is not an easy thing to do in this country. If I were living in France or the Netherlands, people would react with a yawn and say "what took you so long." In America, it will get you uninvited from "Good Company".