I've given a lot of thought to matters of faith lately. I still love the people I grew up with in my church and other people of faith I have known. Many were great examples of how to be a decent human being. I remember countless Sundays spent singing in the pew, and I still have my favorite hymns. This is who I am, and even if I could deny these influences, I wouldn't want to.
All of this makes it that much harder to tell my family that I no longer believe in a higher power. I think I started to lose my faith over 20 years ago for reasons I won't address here. I still believe in the basic decency of most people, and I think people form communities based on common interests and goals. I also think this basic decency is often perverted by others in the name of their "god". If I find anything holy, it is humanity, and more specifically, humanity when it is at its most noble and intelligent. That which I find evil is humanity at its most venal, hate-filled, and delusional. In this sense, Christopher Hitchens was a holier person than Mother Theresa, and Albert Einstein more holy than Pat Robertson. The remnants of my last trip to Taco Bell are more holy and pure than Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, and the rest of the lunatic GOP field, including Huntsman.
To keep the peace, I don't share this with my family. It feels like I lie to them a little every day, even though matters of faith never come up in conversation. Still, there's this part of me that feels like telling people what this atheist with socialist tendencies really believes. I believe the rich should pay more taxes since they get more benefit from society. I believe the poor and working class should have a realistic chance at an affordable (or better yet, free) education and free health care. I believe the infrastructure that is in such a horrible state of disrepair should be a top priority, and that nation building should occur here. I hate war, and feel it should be the absolutely last option. I think our police forces should be demilitarized, and the TSA should be disbanded. I think government should assume adults are smart enough to know which substances they want to put in their bodies. That said, I think government should play an active role in the safety of food and drugs. Finally, I think what we are not doing for our veterans is perhaps our greatest national shame.
I just had to get all of this off my chest.