Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Jesus Envy

As an atheist, it's hard not to let church funerals get to you on practically every single level. There you are spurting and spluttering into your woefully inadequate hanky, whilst all about you, these beatific Christians are sitting peacefully nodding and gently smiling; it's enough to make you experience a surge of envy, which is made all the worse for realising that you wouldn't be experiencing this nasty emotion if only you subscribed whole-heartedly to strictures of the faith. You end up feeling like a nasty, shrivelled old party-pooper as you inwardly discount all the comforting Christian platitudes that are being so kindly offered around.

Almost inevitably, you start to recall all those stories about how Christians have lower rates of jumping off bridges and swallowing bleach. It doesn't really help to recall the few isolated examples of Christians one has met, who have been so depressed that they couldn't see the point of moving their eyeballs. Instead, you rather suspect there is some truth in the assertion that God stops people getting the blues and topping themselves.

Then another theme starts up. Not only is it not fair that I cannot quite bring myself to believe, and that a somehow more credible product could not have been created...(you see I could almost go for physicist David Deutsch's conception of future humans as potential gods, see last chapter of his most wonderful book, Fabric of Reality, Penguin), but you then also start to envy the whole Christian construct, the community, the setting, the guidance, the cathedrals, the music, the Caravaggios and Van Eycks.

We poor atheist humanists: there is no regular irreligious broadcasting for us, no inspirational seminal texts left in hotel bedside tables, no comforting Sunday sermons on how to live ecstatically in a godless multiverse. By the nature of our faith in the power of human reason, we are (perhaps) meant to make it up as we go along, which is rather tough cheese when all you really want is to perfect the art of bringing a dead body back to life. Will just have to rustle together the odd 100K so my remaining loved ones can get frozen till mankind works this one out.

1 comment:

Leo said...

If future people bring anyone back it will be out of curiosity, like tomb raiding. They will not really care. People from today will not have any relevance in the future.