The Deterioration Of Belief

In the wake of my most recent tragedy–the death of the love of my life–I’ve heard a lot of well-meaning words as to what his death means and what I should take from it.

Only a few hours after I learned of his death, the new wife of his oldest friend told me that they had been talking with Male about coming over to god in his last few months. “He is with Jesus now.” Not only is that fabricated bullshit, but I found it incredibly tactless to say that to me at the time. Actually, I would find that annoying at any time.

Male didn’t believe in anything. He didn’t believe in god, destiny, fate, reincarnation, aliens, astrology or any of the other things people believe in. He believed that we are born into this chaotic world, make of it what we will, and then we die. We don’t move on to a higher plane of existence. We don’t go to heaven or hell. We don’t come back as ghosts or spirits. We live, we die, that’s it.

I share his beliefs, but he was even more ardent about it than me. I am open to possibility. I’ve always said that if a god came down with a thunderbolt and somehow proved without a doubt that it was factually a god, I’d believe. Faced with irrefutable, empirical data, it would be folly not to, but unless that day arrives, I don’t believe in anything. I can’t; not after everything I’ve been through.

I was raised in a religious family. We were Presbyterian, or as I call it, lazy man’s Catholicism. Presbyterians essentially believe in the tenets of Catholicism, but with much less animation. We only stand up to sing. There’s no genuflection or kneeling, which makes it that much more difficult to stay awake in church.

From practically the time I was born, I went to church every Sunday. I hated it from day one. I don’t remember ever really having faith, but when I was seven years old, I tried to believe. I prayed and prayed that someone would stop the pedophile from dragging me out of bed at night. Not only did it not stop, but it escalated when the monster moved into our house. For a year, he lived just down the hall. He’d come collect me at night, tie me up, gag me and rape me. I was seven years old.

I prayed. I uselessly prayed to a god I didn’t really believe in that someone would save me. No one did–not my family and not god. Eventually, the pedophile left on his own. He was never prosecuted.

That was the last time I ever prayed, though I was still forced to go to church every Sunday until I became a teenager and adamantly refused to go except on holidays.

When I was a teenager, I met a monster who physically abused and psychologically tormented me for eight years. He very nearly killed me. I called the police and tried to get him arrested. Due to the ridiculous laws of man, which included stupid things like jurisdiction and statute of limitations, he was never prosecuted. He was never even arrested for attempted murder. He is free and clear now and forever since all the warrants have expired. There is nothing I can do. There is no justice.

After all of that, I decided that, since the laws of man had failed me so abysmally, that the laws of the physics would surely come through. I tried to apply Newtonian laws to humanity. To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts. In essence, karma’s a bitch. You can’t put evil out into the world without receiving it in return.

Newton’s Laws of Man, as I imprudently called them, gave me solace for a time. I forced myself to believe that both the pedophile and the attempted murderer would get their comeuppance one day. It never happened. They’re still out there as free as the day they left my life. I stopped forcing myself to believe in karma, not that I really believed it anyway. It was just something I needed to get through it.

I don’t believe in anything now. I have no faith–not in god and certainly not in man. I don’t believe in karma, god, fairness, a plan, or even that there’s any sort of meaning to our existence at all. There is no justice in this world, neither from man nor god.

I have no faith. I don’t want any. It’s proved entirely useless to me in the past as it has only set up unrealistic expectations.

I’m sure some of you who have faith think that my non-belief is scary. How could you possibly live in a world believing that there’s nothing but unfairness and chaos? Well, to be honest, my friends, having zero belief is liberating. It means that there are no expectations and no limits. It means that my hopes of justice and fairness won’t be dashed, because I don’t believe in them in the first place. It means I have free will, and with it, complete power over and responsibility for my actions. I am free in a way that believers never will be.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t question. I always question as yesterday’s post proves. I believe in the scientific method to life. Hypothesis, test, theory, test. Test, test, test. Nothing is set in stone. I am open to possibility, but that doesn’t mean that what consoles you will console me. It doesn’t. Hearing that Male is with Jesus or that there’s a purpose to his life and death, quite frankly, does nothing but irritate me, because he would entirely disagree.

At times like this, people intentionally or unintentionally force their beliefs on others as a well-meaning–but honestly, disrespectful–way to comfort. Trite phrases are dragged out again and again. “It’s god’s will.” “He’s in a better place.” “He’s watching over you.” Yadda yadda yadda. While I appreciate the intention of support in applying meaning to Male’s death, I don’t need it and I don’t want it. I don’t believe it. Neither would he.