An asshole once said to me, “What difference does it make if people have health insurance or not? The probability of dying is 100 percent.”
This is an example of taking a truth and expanding it into something really stupid.
I replied, of course, “The difference is what kind of life will it be? A life of enrichment, helping people, challenging goals, accomplishments and experiences of pleasure? Or a life of pain? I think it matters, at least to the people involved.”
Then, when someone finds out I’m an atheist, they ask deep thought-provoking questions like, “Why don’t you run around killing people?” Erm? Somehow I’m able to restrain myself.
You don’t need a deity to value life or encourage you to have morals and ethics and strive to do the right thing.
Your little brain really has trouble understanding things, doesn’t it? You believe in concepts like right and wrong only have meaning because of God. I choose to recognize a different standard and assume such things are of importance even if I don’t believe there is a god. I can understand your point of view. Why can’t you understand mine?
Then he goes on to say that nothing matters. “20 years from now no one will even know who you were.”
I conceded that was mostly true. I probably won’t even leave a grave marker behind, one likely to last a few hundred years before it crumbles, is overgrown with grass, becomes unreadable and/or gets disposed of to make way for a new Walmart in the year 2335. But 20 years? My wife will remember me. My son will remember me. And I know a lot of people in their twenties. Theoretically they’ll also remember me from time to time, at least until the oil runs out in 2050 and anarchy envelopes the world.
But even if my purely theoretical tombstone somehow lasts 500 years that’s only a nanosecond in the cosmic span of time.
But what about 50 years from now? Or 500? Or 1,000? What difference does anything we do today make in relation to that?
I replied that I believe it matters. I can’t explain why. But, somehow, being kind is being better than being a shitheel. Helping myself and others, including small furry creatures, live a pleasurable life instead of one with pain, is a good thing. I believe in being moral and ethical and living by the golden rule. You don’t point a gun at me and I won’t point one at you.
When I adopted two young beautiful kittens, I knew at the moment I adopted them there was a great probability I would one day watch them die. I don’t know why their lifespans are less than mine, but that’s the reality of this existence. I also knew I’d love them quite a bit and that moment would hurt real bad. I still signed up for it. And even if the universe won’t remember the moments of now that we have together like a million years from now, I still believe that when they jump on my lap and I give them love and they purr – those moments have meaning.
I could say, “Nothing matters anyway a million years from now” and run around and kick the shit out of every helpless creature I see. I could do that but I choose not.
The moments of love, pleasure and happiness that we share matters. I choose to believe that. I choose to believe that I’m alive. I think I know what feels good and I think I know what hurts. Call me weird, but I prefer what feels good. Even if one million years from now the energy and matter that makes up the universe won’t give a shit.
Hell, I even apply this belief to assholes with weird-ass opinions. Leave me alone and I’ll do the same. And that is pleasure enough for me.