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My New(est) Religion

October 7th, 2009 . by Andy (TANcast's #1 Ear-Rapist)

Andy’s October of Suckage: Day 7

I know I’ve played this tune before, but listen up, heathens: Daddy’s got something new for you to worship!

First some background, just in case you aren’t up to date on my drama:

I’ve recently been confronted with the uncomfortable fact of my own mortality and the realization that I might have 20-30 more years (tops) instead of the 40-50 I’d been planning for. As a friend pointed out this means I’m due for a mid-life crisis right about now.

I don’t fit in tiny little sports cars and my wife’s in her 20s so there’s no need to chase 20-something tail. That leaves me with “crisis of faith” or “binge drinking”, and as the son of an alcoholic son of an alcoholic the latter seems… ill-advised.

Crisis of faith it shall be!

Ahem! Ummmmmm. (cough) Aaaaaaaaah. Can you all hear me okay? Alright, here goes.

There is no God.

It’s weird to say that; almost like I’ve abandoned my childhood.

Still, it’s oddly freeing.

I’ve always been uncomfortable with the much-beloved (especially by the modern brand of fag-hating, GOP-worshiping, Ten-Commandments-should-be-stamped-everywhere, born-again evangelicals) idea of Santa God sitting up in cotton ball clouds handing out goodies to all the little homeschooled kids in modest prairie dress who pray extra super hard. It just bugged me, theologically speaking. Even so, I’ve gone through life with the semi-conscious belief that all good things are God’s Gift and all bad things are God’s Unknowable Plan.

When I stepped back and reevaluated myself, I realized that I haven’t seen a single thing that’s not more rationally explained by science and reason than by a supernatural being or process. Physics and biology get us from the Big Bang to the moment I type this just fine. You don’t need a spooky puppeteer, just math.

The wonder of my little boy’s birth is the outcome of millions of years of evolution shaping biological imperatives (me likey the sex!), thousands of years of human cultural development (existence of dedicated medical professionals), and hundreds of years of scientific advancements (steroids to help his lungs develop). It’s no less amazing just because I can understand and no less special when credit isn’t given to someone theoretical. My world is no less beautiful today than it was a year or a decade ago. I am no less ethical and no more of an asshole.

If there is nothing else, if we are all sacks of self-aware flesh, then real morality stems from these simple truths:

  1. There is only this life, only this justice, only this chance to do right and good.
  2. If we are all the same then nobody is superior to anyone else.
  3. There are no “chosen people”, no “righteous few” whose actions are blessed by a higher power, just all of us meat puppets trying not to suffer.

I’m heading into dangerous waters, though. Atheists are mistrusted and discriminated against. Glenn Beck and others are accusing atheists of destroying America. I may have joked about becoming a member of an oppressed minority, but truth be told that’s a lot of drama.

Skimming the research, it seems it’s the actual lack of belief in a higher power that engenders the negative reactions. Even if my God hates your god, we can at least understand that it is because my God loves peanut butter and your god has a severe nut allergy. If Bob has no belief in a deity then he exists outside our understanding. How does he resolve the great Nut Question if he doesn’t believe that my God OR your god exists?

To steal a quote from my friend, every group of people everywhere at every point in time has felt the need to create a deity. There’s just something about us that feels the need to have something bigger than us.

So now we’ve come all the way back to the beginning of this post. I’ve created a supreme being.

I call it Super Panda.

The non-Super Panda

A (non-Super) Panda

Super Panda has nothing to do with everyday life or the course of the universe.

Super Panda eats celestial bamboo in a place we can never observe and takes frequent naps that do not affect the outcome of anything.

Super Panda does not care if you do or do not worship it or anything else.

Super Panda does not listen to prayer, grant wishes, usher souls into the afterlife, cause rain to fall, or demand sacrifice.

Super Panda is not aware that you exist, and nothing you ever do will change that.

Super Panda may have pooped out the Big Bang, but probably not.

I know others have created parody religions before, but that is not what this is. Super Panda-ism is as different from parody religions as parody religions are from mainstream religion, but in the other direction. Parody religions point out the futility of faith by aping its trappings. Super Panda-ism accepts the futility of faith as a simple matter of fact and then gets on with life. It doesn’t matter what type of silly hat you wear or what color you believe your invisible unicorn to be. Both are equally meaningless to Super Panda.

So if you like saving time but don’t want to be one of those damn dirty non-believers, join me in the New Chirch of Super Panda. Services are held on the 15th of Never. There will be no request for money as there is no such thing as a “Chirch” so there will never be anything to build. There are no rules to follow; just be the same decent human beings you already should have been (that’s a personal request, not cannon).

There’s no need for the Ghost of Damnation Yet to Come if you just maintain the standard expectation that people should try not to be douchebags.

6 Responses to “My New(est) Religion”

  1. xapnomapcase Says:

    Sir, it is as if you’ve reached into my head and pulled the words out. Which is kind of gross, but there you are.

    I’ve been an Athiest since childhood, and have had to deal with a lot of people of faith coming down on me for it. The most memorable of these was in High School Spanish class. There was a substitute that day, who just happened to work for the Catholic Church.

    So, there was this one kid who was a friend of mine, who was talking about me to this other kid, who happened to be the son of a pastor. It was mentioned that I didn’t believe in God, which shocked the PK beyond belief. So…we happened to be in Spanish together, and he saw fit to spread it to everyone. They all became indignant, and thought it would be a great way to pull me back into the faith by standing around me at my desk, yelling at me because I didn’t believe just as they did. It was almost the entire class, mind, so I was surrounded, and had nowhere to go.

    Remember the substitute? Did he say something to anyone, stopping the ruckus? Did he bollocks. He just sat back and watched.

    I’ve found this kind of thing happens to me whenever I’m around those with strong faith. Perhaps not quite as extreme, but it’s still uncomfortable.

    So, you can imagine that as a fat, bisexual, athiest female, I’m just the person who is bringing down society, one moral code at a time.

  2. Bryce Says:

    BeIng a skinny, straight, atheist male isn’t easy either. I work at a shipyard surrounded by mostly older black guys who can’t read, cheat on their wives, and always talk about how devoted they are to the bible. I’m honest with them and a lot of them can’t even look at me once they realize I’m a “sec-ulah sadin-ist”. I mean, fuck, I used to be in a teen church about eight years ago teaching the shit, but by that point I was heavily doubting shit. Especially when I opened my mind up to philosophy and other religions. How can they all exist? If I was born somewhere else, I could have only known THAT religion. Would that make me a bad person? No.

    Being an atheist makes me enjoy life more. To me, this is it. Heaven and hell. Just be a “good person”. The guys at work think that without a higher power, I have no reason to be good, therefore I’m evil. Fuck’em. I’m good to everyone I meet until they’re a dick to me. Then I just ignore them. I’m good because it makes me feel happy to help others and I’m understanding of other’s beliefs. If you’re a christian, good for you. Buhdist, Satanist? Cool. Just live your life and I’ll keep living mine. As far as I know, I have one life. I’m just doing the best that I can.

  3. Nate Says:

    Well put Andy, I’ve labeled myself as Agnostic for the majority of life now. I think that’s because I associate, probably wrongly that atheist’s are like the anti-missionary’s that some faiths have in that they are out there calling people sheep and actively trying to abolish their faith. Honestly I’m just too lazy for this, but then I think about it now and that’s just as silly as those extremist on the other side who would corner xap and try to bully her into “seeing the light”. I think now I am more inclined to say that I’m agnostic because it makes it easier on my wife. She doesn’t come right out and say it but I’ve stumbled over a diary of hers and it’s full of her dialogue with god. I realized then that she had a good deal more faith than I knew and was being kind to me and not forcing it on me. It was very humbling to know that she had this part of her that meant so much to her but she wasn’t expressing it because she knew it would make me uncomfortable. What can I say love makes you do some crazy things. That’s when I made the decision that I would let her raise our kids in whatever faith she wanted. I wouldn’t be a part of that in so much as I wouldn’t be guiding their spiritual development, but I would support them and answer their questions when they would ask “Why is daddy a heathen?”

    I think my lack of faith has shaped me well, as Bryce put it just because we don’t believe doesn’t mean we have no reason to be good. If anything it’s more of a reason to treat people right, because there is nothing waiting for us. We have this life, and only this life and it’s important that we enjoy it and live it without regrets. I’ve always lived by the golden rule not because it was religious but because it’s logical and right. I want to be treated well, I want people to go out of their ways to make me happy, so I’m going to lead by example.

  4. Geoff Says:

    Nice blog, Andy. I like the idea of Super Panda only because I think pandas are cute. As a lazy man’s fake religion, it’s not quite as interesting to me. This is because I have no need for such a thing. The only time in my entire life when I felt uncomfortable being an atheist was when I purposefully put myself in a situation where I was surrounded by people of extreme faith (I attended a youth group at a local church for a while during high school). Otherwise, I can honestly say that I have never felt “mistrusted and discriminated against”. Yes, we are a minority, but most people I’ve known don’t really care. Maybe it helps that I’ve spent most of my life on the West Coast.

    Furthermore, even if I did feel hated all the time by the people around me, I wouldn’t mind being “one of those damn dirty non-believers”. You either believe in God or you don’t. Pretending one way or the other to make life easier, even in jest, does a disservice to both groups of people as well as yourself.

    Of course, I can hardly condemn anyone for wanting to avoid the hassle of admitting to being an atheist (assuming that is the point of Super Panda), mostly because I can’t justifiably condemn anyone for anything.

    In conclusion, it’s spelled “canon”.

  5. Andy Says:

    The artillery that fires shells only has one “n” in the middle? I’ll go fix that.

  6. Tim Babb (TANcasts #1 Host/Editor Fan) Says:

    YES!!! Andy made a typo! Suck it, Mr. High and mighty blogger! Don’t you wish there was a God now to absolve you of your sins, you condescending fuckstick?! HAHA HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

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