Thoughts of a Dying Atheist

October 30, 2011
By ohmygoshitsjenn BRONZE, San Ramon, California
ohmygoshitsjenn BRONZE, San Ramon, California
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth


I’ve always hated the smell of hospitals, ever since I was a little kid, even. It smells like broken dreams and wishes burned at the stake. Yes, burned at the stake. Pinned to the cross and burnt alive, crisped dreams and wishes. Steaming. Cooked through. Bon appetit. You’d think the people who work in hospitals would want to make the place smell happier, more alive—like spring. Who wants to be in a place that smells like the coffin they’re destined to be in someday?


Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to tell the hospital psychiatrist that. Now she coddles over me like I’m suicidal or some crap like that. Keeps an eye on me, makes sure I don’t grab some sterile, sharp equipment and stab my eyes out with it. Stops by frequently to ask how I’m doing. I always respond with, “great, simply superb. It’s a great day to be alive, don’t you say?” What else is a terminally ill thirty year old man supposed to say? I can’t say I’m depressed or afraid of death, because then she’ll really worry over me, which is the last thing I want at this point in time. Well, except for those religious pamphlets she’s been giving me. She tells me that I should get in touch with God, have a nice chat with him—that it might help me out a bit.


I don’t even believe in God; been an atheist since who knows when. Dear old dad was one too, and my mom was agnostic. Some of my religious friends invited me to their youth groups when I was younger and I went, and I still thought religion and God were a bunch of make-believe hypocrisy that people thousands of years ago made up as a security blanket to cover themselves with before they died. Don’t get me wrong, I have respect for those who can believe in it—I just can’t, and I hate it when people try to shove religion down my throat like cough syrup. Like the hospital psychiatrist. She really seems to want me to come to light with Jesus, for whatever reason.


However…when you are just within death’s grasp, and have no clue where you’re going to once you’re gone, that security blanket seems somewhat nice. Might keep you warm along the way when you’re traveling down the tunnel to shake hands with the bright white light. I’m not going to die a hypocrite, though. I didn’t live my life a hardcore atheist only to have a fake come to Jesus meeting at the end. But God—and no pun intended—it’s nice to think there is something after this sad, pathetic thing called life. Wouldn’t it be great to emerge into the full splendor of heaven and realize that all the hardship you put up with was totally worth it? It’d be incredible to even be among all the wise old souls that once walked on this earth—Aristotle, Plato, Einstein, Faulkner, Hemingway. To meet the man who started it all, God himself.


Or you meet Satan. Your soul isn’t worthy of the purity and grandness of heaven, so you go to burn in the pits of Hell. I remember when the hospital psychiatrist was trying to force her religious handouts on me, I asked if she had any Satanic ones. She didn’t think it was funny like I did. I mean, if there really is a heaven and a hell, I’m going to hell, so I might as well get started, right? Funny how everything else was okay—Christian handouts, Buddhist pamphlets, Islamic booklets—just not the Satanic ones.


I’m so afraid to die. The end of me is looming in the ever near future. And it’s threatening to consume me whole. It will, in time. But I don’t want it to. Your whole life, you take all these things for granted. The way pavement smells after it rains. The supple skin of a young woman. The sapphire blue of the sky, the mystery of the ocean. Christmas Eves and Thanksgiving dinners, trick-or-treating and searching for Easter eggs. You just expect to have these things your whole life, and then they get snatched right out of your hands, and you’re left cold, alone, and bare. And God, how you want it all back. It’s possible you could have it all back, if you want to believe in heaven. Maybe I should try to have a come to Jesus meeting before it is too late.


But then again…if God was disturbed enough to create a messed up individual like me, to let entire continents of people suffer in poverty, to allow crazy murderers to get away with their crimes, to enable greed and selfishness to infect people like crippling diseases and let the good rot away like forgotten fruit—his forgotten fruit—then maybe I don’t want to meet him. Maybe I’d rather just die, and let the bright white light take me to wherever I’m meant to go, and if that means nothing, then nothing it shall be.


It all seems like such a magnificent, glorifying way to look at life; honorable. But I just can’t buy into it. It’s just a fairytale to me.


The end is scaring the heaven and hell out of me.

The author's comments:
Inspired by a conversation a group of friends of all religious and nonreligious denominations and I had.

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