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A Conversation between Two Atheists

Written with help of discussion from Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, and Bill Nye.

A Conversation between Two Atheists

“Excuse me, master.”

“Yes?”

“Are you busy? I don’t want to interrupt.”

“No, I’m not busy at the moment. Please come in. What is it you need to discuss?”

“Race.”

“Race?”

“What is it? Does it truly exist?”

“Of course it does. Not that it should truly hold a stake in so many people’s beliefs like it does. Why do you ask?”

“I was discussing gender with a middle easterner and this would-be Christian interrupted us to discuss race. He says chemically we’re all the same. Race doesn’t exist. That we all evolved from the same species, and race is merely a figment of human consciousness.”

“Doesn’t sound very Christian.”

“That’s what I tried to tell him, yet he still preaches Catholicism.”

“And what else did . . . he?”

“Yes, it was a man.”

“Alright, what else did he tell you?”

“That nothing disappears and that I’ll always be in existence, which by the way, was his definition for God.”

“Existence?”

“Yeah. He defined ‘God’ as ‘existence.'”

“So …”

“So he described himself as God, me as God, his pack of cigarettes as God … pretty much everything is God. I asked him to give me a concise, accurate definition of the word ‘God,’ and he said that God is all, nothing, and in between.”

“And he is a church-goer?”

“Actually, no.”

“Well, I would hope not. With as strong of pagan beliefs as that, I’d think he’d be excommunicated.”

“He said that I would always be in existence.”

“You will?”

“My anatomy, the atoms that make up my body will always be in existence. Those atoms are what I call me, hence I’ll always be in existence.”

“But is that really you?”

“Of course. I look in the mirror, and I see me.”

“You can’t see yourself in a mirror.”

“I can’t?”

“Well, you can see your physical representation, but that’s not you. You’re not your body.”

“Well, he didn’t believe in human consciousness either.”

“He didn’t believe in race or human consciousness?”

“Yes, he only believes in what’s physical.”

“Which I suppose explains his ideology of what God is, but race is certainly physical. We can see physical differences between races.”

“But we can’t see it under a microscope, so how do we know it’s real?”

“Well …”

“I mean, here we are refuting Christian beliefs because they cannot be proven in science. How can we say race is real when we can’t see it with a scientific eye?”

“A decade or so ago, emotions was relegated to the fringes of science because scientific researchers lacked the necessary instruments, and what’s more, most scientists didn’t recognize the far-ranging and long-lasting effects emotions can have on peoples’ health. Just because we can’t prove something to be true doesn’t mean it’s not real.”

“What? This idea is the basis of my beliefs. What is proven in science is real, what is not is not real.”

“But you see, just because we can’t see it now, doesn’t mean there won’t be scientific advances in the future that will enable us to see what we can’t now.”

“More reason for theists to continue believing what they do.”

“Well, the same can be said about a teapot orbiting Saturn. It’s impossible to prove it untrue, so, we use both science and logic in scrutinizing between what is real and what isn’t.”

“Right.”

“There is still much to be learned. Nature’s imagination is so much greater than man’s. She’s never going to let us stop learning and just relax because we know it’s all connected. We are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, and to the rest of the universe atomically.  So, to know nature in its entirety is to know ourselves.”

“I know that the molecules in my body are traceable to phenomena in the cosmos, which makes me want to grab people in the street and say, ‘have you heard this?!'”

“The cosmos is definitely within us, we’re made of star stuff, afterall! We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

“Going back to emotions, I wonder if most people realize its uselessness.”

“Uselessness?”

“Why feel sadness? Why feel any emotional pain at all? There is no sense in feeling sadness. Why feel anything? It doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. Why does sadness truly matter? It’ll end and then I won’t feel anything. I won’t have sadness-”

“But you won’t have happiness either.”

“I won’t have anything because I’ll be nothing. My feelings don’t truly matter to how I end up. Loneliness is permanent. I will go out of life the same way I came in, alone, and it won’t truly matter that I’m alone then, nothing will. Why struggle to find happiness and succeed when the day you leave this earth, it all disappears as if we hadn’t battled and strived our entire life to get it. The stress and the pain of actually living won’t pay off in the end because our end leaves us with nothing.”

“But our striving and battling does pay off. We work hard to leave our mark on this world, to leave a lasting impression through our children, our friends, and our work. If we so much as touch one individual’s life then our life-”

“Short-lived life.”

“Our short-lived life, as short as it may be, is somehow meaningful. We don’t have to leave a mark through material possessions. It can be through the gift of compassion to the human race.”

“I’m this guy standing on a planet, but really I’m just a speck. Compared with a star, the planet is just another speck. To think about all of this … to think about the vast emptiness of space … these billions and billions of stars, billions and billions of specks. If I compare my short-lived life to the earth’s lifespan, or even the universe’s, I find that I’m a small, miniscule, insignificant part of it. We all are. How tiny we all truly are terrifies me to no end. Think about just how tiny the human race is in comparison to just our solar system-”

“I’d have to say the Human race is a pretty big thing in our solar system. We have satellites and space shuttles all over our solar system. I’d say that the Human Race is quite a big deal in our solar system.”

“But what kind of impression is that on the entire universe? If the universe is infinite, doesn’t that make our impression on one solar system of hundreds of solar systems in one galaxy of millions of galaxies throughout the entire universe so unbelievably insignificant?”

“But you can’t think of it like that.”

“How can I not? This is the truth. This is what’s real. Not their iconic, controversial God who is sometimes blood thirsty and sadistic, while other times, He’s a compassionate forgiving God. It’s so contradictory.”

“But you don’t see the point of religion.”

“I do. It is a mind control game. It was birthed by a people that wished to seize control of the entire Human Race. To make people do what they want them to. To make people believe what they want them to believe.”

“No, these questions you have about the link between nature and human beings are not present in the Christian mindset because, to them, it’s already been answered. Religion was to keep our focus on what’s important: Life here and now.”

“I think you’re giving them too much credit. They’re rather fixated with this whole rapture and heaven and hell thing. That’s certainly not what’s right here, right now.”

“People who are religious don’t have the self-battles that you and I do. They believe in one thing, and it works for them, and in some ways that’s better. Perhaps they’re wrong, but who cares? They are doing what should be done.”

“What? Preaching hatred, breeding hostility, and loathing all those who do not agree with their outrageous claims? Religion is nothing more than ignorant naivté in a seemingly meaningless universe.”

“We can bring meaning to it though.”

“How?”

“Like I said before. Through our kin, our friends, and our hard work.”

“But what does that matter if we leave it all behind?”

“We don’t really leave it behind. If we leave a mark on the world, we can in a sense, live on forever.”

“Not when the person on whom we left an impression dies. We die then too.”

“No, that individual will have passed on knowledge that we had instilled in him or her to another person. Don’t you see? It lives on. Our morals live on.”

“But that’s common throughout all of mankind. Most morals are the same. Who’s to say that it was my morality that was passed on?”

“I don’t think I understand what you mean.”

“My morality is similar to yours, yes?”

“Huh?”

“We both value hard work, believe in love; we both consider theft, vandalism, and murder crimes. We both do not claim religious beliefs …”

“Right …”

“Well, who’s to say that those values are mine if they’re instilled through my compassion.

“If they’re instilled into others through your compassion, then those are your morals.”

“Okay, that’s not what I meant to say, then. I mean there’s no way of telling if common morals between another person and I are because of my instillation.”

“Well, I know there is one value or moral that I have that you don’t.”

“Uh, what’s that?”

“The perspective that life is productive. I mean whoever said that this life was about you?

“It’s my life, so I say it.”

“That’s why it’s wrong.”

“Because I believe that my life should be my own?”

“But you don’t really believe that it is since you loose it after you die.”

“Everyone does.”

“So, in a sense, everyone’s life is not their own.”

“Well, if you want to put logic into it. Alright, if they are not our own lives, whose lives are they?”

“The race’s. The only reason you or I are here is to further the human race. If that weren’t true, you and I wouldn’t be here. Think about it. Other animals, other species, plants, viruses, bacteria … any one individual’s goal is to continue living. Why? To buy more time to reproduce. Every hour longer gives more time to conceive and reproduce.”

“Furthering your species …”

“Exactly.”

“I think I get it now.”

“Good. Now, go home and rest well. You have a big day ahead of you tomorrow.”

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Dyeing Scarlet

Historical reference: “dyeing scarlet” was a term used by Shakespeare in Henry IV to mean “inebriated or drunk.”

 

Dyeing Scarlet

His mind in orbit of hallowed halls

Cases of glass germ made to scare

Anxiety pulsating her tender walls

Where Scarlet alone, his lady fair

A crevasse her castle, he surely won’t find

In the deep, dark depths of his heart

The bubbles of celebration: fates intertwined

Scarlet should have known from the start

But she was naïve, too blind to see

That sociality had become an obsession

Now it’s too late, she’ll never be free

From the bubbles that trigger his aggression

Nothing to do for the crimson is seeping

Nearby, her children are silently weeping

B wif Mi fo Eva

B wif Mi fo Eva

She loved her daddy’s lemonade

Pounds of sugar he put in one pitcher

It made him a hero in her eyes.

They walked together under shady trees

She on his shoulders, bouncing with each big step

He pushed her in the tire swing

She threw her head back and felt the warm summer breeze caress her

Like her daddy’s hands brushing her young, rosy red cheeks

Sipping the sweet lemonade, she said, “B wif mi fo eva”

And he promised her he would be

How could he resist her lively charm and youthful glow?

But his time came sooner than expected

Surgeons did all they could to save him

She loved the way he looked into her eyes

That gentle glow, taking her hand in his

He called her back after she hung up during an argument

He turned to his friends and said, “That’s her”

Hopefully gazing after her

He kissed her forehead and listened to her heartbeat

While in the grass under a moonlit sky

He called her beautiful day in and day out

And with him, she, for the first time, began to believe it

He kissed her in the blackness of movie theatres

With a mouthful of popcorn, she said, “B wif mi fo eva”

And he promised her he would be

How could he resist her beautiful face and strikingly audacious personality?

But betrayal bit bone and they grew apart

Arguing led to fighting led to leaving

She loved the way he’d hang on her every word

He was such a good little boy

Intent on seeing his mother proud

And she was, she was proud of him

He was her in the flesh, she saw every bit of herself in him

He grew up quickly, much faster than she would have liked

She sacrificed all she had to make him happy

She worked hard and he was grateful

Through melodramatic sobs as he left for college on the other side of the country,

She said, “B wif mi fo eva”

And he promised her he would be.

How could he resist their maternal bond and her helpful hand?

But he moved to Asia for Archeological digs

Met his new wife and had two beautiful daughters

She loved how he had been there always

Throughout her entire life

He was her savior in the sky

Giving his life to set the world on fire

He listened to her grievances and answered her prayers

She worshipped his questioned existence

Praised the Day of Atonement

In her bed of last breaths, she softly said, “B wif mi fo eva”

And he was.

 

Log of the Disgruntled Worker

I wrote this during my eleven month employment at greasy, gritty, grimy McDonalds:

Log of the Disgruntled Worker

Upon entering its golden arches,

The smell of grease swiftly rises on the air

Walking passed the rows of empty tables

To the manager’s red eyed stare

Back behind the counter

Where the disgruntled workers relay

Wanting to get out of the filth

Money bounding them to stay

Passed the loud cling clang

Of the employees in the grill

To the all mighty time clock

Under a board, saying not to eat their fill

My number punched in

Its time to whine

Back to the counter

Where others leisurely dine

I enter my work of damnation

The gluttony that burns them all in hell

Looking at the space left behind

Where many a drink had fell

Coffee, Sprite, Coke

The stains of fat sublime

Taking a rag to the spills

To clean the dirt and grime

The conveyor belt sounds

Signaling another car

‘Hurry! Under 90 seconds!’

‘He isn’t too far!’

Readying the napkins, ketchup, and salt

The condiments that lead to their demise

But the real joke is on them

They are in for a big surprise

The lettuce was on the floor

The mustard’s two months old

Just rack ‘em up, stack the meat

It’s out the window and sold

Cars run through, passed me

More grease out the window

From inside the prison

Where tension and anxiety soon grow

Working our tails off

For pennies on the hour

‘Please sir, with the nuggets

I need Sweet and Sour’

I’ll give you your sauces

But give me the money

It’s 15 cents extra

For that little drop of honey

Old people, young people

all of ‘em come through

The jocks, the Goths, the workaholics

Doesn’t matter who

All of ‘em love the arches

A mystery to me

Handing them their heart attacks

They smile full of glee

‘Go on you break’ the manager commands

‘Start your half hour of freedom now’

What do I get, the same grease that I give out?

I sure don’t want to look like those cows

Back on the clock

No more than ten minutes late

If I were to be back late

A write up and I would surely have a date

Write up! Write up!

Can everyone say it with me

Be punctual and mind your manners

That’s truly the key

Back to the booth from hell

The day slowly turns to night

Handing out the bloodstained carcasses

Of which all the customers want a bite

The clock strikes one hour

That’s all that has passed?

Let us have some fun

So this shift can fly by fast

Serving the orders

One by one

Making the stock lists

Now that is fun

Oh what a demeaning job

My months here have been the worst yet

My low pay at McDonalds

The worst fate I have ever met

The Devil You Don’t Know

The Devil You Don’t Know

Don’t you realize the error of your ways

when giving into him?

His head of evil thoughts

with all of his lecherous sin?

Oh sure, his face might be smooth,

his hair not course, but fine.

His pale complexion soft as silk,

his figure truly divine.

But deep behind this masquerade

there lies a man you do not know.

His angelically glowing, blue eyes

is but only a show.

When his strong hands reach out

to caress your virgin skin,

can you feel the pernicious prickles

poisoning you within?

Do you see where his scalp turns red

and his horns protrude through?

Once you see his evil, forked tongue

there’s no escape for you.

When his eyes sneer to a blood red

and his sharp fangs then protrude,

It is then you’ll realize, there’s no escape!

No way to end the feud.

So stay away, far away

from the whirlpool of their sin.

From the claws upon their hands,

from the evil upon their grin.

When you see a devil walking down the street

You’ll know to turn and run.

But how are you to know it’s him

when the fangs are none.

How will you know that it is he who will  leave you soulless,

trapped in a pitiful despair?

When the horns that once protruded

aren’t really there?

Can you keep on the look out

For this atrocious beast?

Keep at a safe distance

Where his minions aren’t released?

So stay away, far away

from the curse of the unknown.

Because the all apparent evil

beats the horns that aren’t shown.

 

Into the Sea

Into the Sea

A man casts his dreams into the sea

The vision sent floating toward the rising sun

Captured in the tranquility of the tide

On a journey of many miles toward the morning sky

A man puts a boat into the sea

Following his dreams toward the shards of eternity

Conquering the overhead sun

Closer and closer to the afternoon sky

A man dives into the sea

Helping push his dreams against the rough tide

Kicking away from the sturdy dock

Swimming toward the setting sun

A man walks from the bank into the sea

The fierce tide producing rock crashing waves

Walking upon the rocky sea bottom

Watery visions soon covering his head

Because he must conclude his melody

Beyond the forgotten circles of hope

Watching the current drown his dreams

He, himself dissolving into the fall of night

 

Old People

Old People


Oh, no! They looked me in the eyes!

What am I to do?

Their evil eyes from their porch,

Where the vultures silently cue.

So we walked upon your property.

We stepped upon your lawn.

‘Was it you? Was it?

That broke my plastic swan?

Oh please give us a break!

Go back inside and drink your tea!

So my dog may trot on your grass

And finally be able to pee

So I may do things that aren’t quite right.

Is it your business to spread?

No! I wasn’t the one!

I didn’t shoot paintballs at your God Damn shed!

Old People, Old People,

What have you done?

Sour milk is on the table

And your cat is on the run.

Will you ever be able to forgive yourselves

In your long hours of the day?

Sitting upon your porch,

Watching the children joyously play.

‘I saw bicycle marks

upon my garage door

Was it you?’

No it wasn’t you old bore!

People watchers, People Watchers,

Can’t you find something to do that’s good?

Than to tell my personal acts

To the entire neighborhood?

I just want to move away,

Far away from the old people

But where ever I go, they’re always there to judge

Especially under God’s steeple

Oh no! A new Lincoln

I’ll be sure to stay away from that!

For if I come within four feet of that car,

I’m sure to get spat at!

Why must your yard be so perfect?

Your driveway newly paved?

Hoping God will see your hard work,

and you will surely be saved?

I’m sure it may be hard

From your porch because of the sun’s glint,

But can’t you find an actual productive activity

In your days of retirement?

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