Praising god, what fun is there in that? But cursing god – or whatever higher power you don't believe in – this has a lot more entertainment value.
Over on the terrific science blog Pharyngula ("Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal"), I ran across a post about a Indian man who volunteered to be put to death by a Tantrik magician.
On live TV, no less.
The laughing fellow on the left is Sanal Edamaruku, president of Rationalist International and atheist. The cranky old man in the robes on the right is Pandit Surinder Sharma, a self-described Tantrik Magician. The scene is in a studio on Indian television, where the magician is trying to kill the atheist with sorcery. Sharma had said he could kill anyone with sympathetic magic inflicted on a doll made of dough, and that he could accomplish this in a mere three minutes … so Edamaruku confidently offered himself as a victim. The old fake went on for hours and failed.
Then Sharma took a crack at plying his black magic at night, when it supposedly would be more effective. The result was the same.
A laughing Edamaruku. That's what I enjoyed the most about this show. The skeptic's laughter.
So many people are infected with a fear of god. Or of guru. Or of some other metaphysical power that they believe can raise you up or cast you down as it likes.
The best response to this nonsense is bring it on. I curse god a lot, along with the guru who initiated me thirty-seven years ago. Both have ignored me, so I figure they deserve more than a little profanity.
Try it yourself. It's liberating. Whatever religious entity, person, symbol, or such you used to have the highest regard for (or maybe still do), curse it to the limit.
Now, I suppose it could be argued that this negative attention to religiosity reflects a lingering belief. I don't go around cursing leprechauns, because I've never had any faith in them.
But I think it's healthy, and an interesting experiment in self-awareness, to see what happens when you call a previously revered divinity every obscene name in your vocabulary. If you feel any hesitation or anxiety, some belief is still mixed in with your faithlessness.
When my computer acts up, and I call it a fucking piece of shit, I don't worry that it's going to bite me back.
However, the first few times I said this to my long-dead guru, the thought came: What if this pisses him off and he really does have godlike powers?
Well, I'm still here. Just like Edamaruku.
I figure that if the supposed divinities I curse (sometimes I cast obscenities at Jesus, God, and Allah also) don't like how I'm talking to them, they can damn well make an appearance in my consciousness and tell me off in person.
So far nobody's showed up. Guess they're either pansies or non-existent.
I enjoyed the comments on the Pharyngula post. Here's some of my favorites (#15, #21, #27, #41).
If a thousand magicians tried this a thousand times each, and in a single demonstration the target suffered a sudden heart attack, this would become the event many declare to be proof that the magic works. Much like prayer really.
Wow - apparently I have this amazingly strong force called "atheism" protecting me, and I don't even have to worship it. All I have to do is NOT believe in any god at all. I feel powerful! The tide is turning...
This is true, you know - Sanal was protected by something, even though it isn't really a god and Sanal doesn't really worship it. I call it "reality".
We can all do the same, and I have a number of times. When a believer is assaulting my ear hole with the supposed power of god to bring down lightning bolts from the heavens on unbelievers, or some other load of bull, I've called on their god to do exactly that, right now, within that specific minute. And I stand there waiting smiling. Amazingly, they step back like they actually expect something to happen. Of course, nothing happens. I remind them that dying 20 years from now of a natural death does not count. Since it's demonstrated their god has no actual power when nothing happens, all they can do is bleat "blasphemy".