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You have a penny.

June 14, 2010

Note: I know I haven’t posted in 8 million years, but it’s finally summer, and I’m not working 55 hours a week and going to school full time, so I’ll have more time to write. I plan to make a weekly top 5 or something of the sort and start organizing all of my blogrific ideas. Now for the post…

I don’t talk about religion very often because I find people’s reactions to my viewpoints to be less than accepting. Even agnostics find my views dismal. Many people don’t want to hear about my views, and some find them offensive. I am often told I’m going to Hell, or that whoever I’m speaking with feels sorry for my lack of ability to possess any kind of spirituality. I agree, it is probably sad to those who thrive so much on their religion, but they fail to recognize that religion simply plays no role in my life whatsoever, and I am fulfilled without it.  So I offer here my commentary on my lack of religion and lack of understanding religion and, using a clever analogy, why this is so.

First, I must declare that I am an atheist, however, I go beyond the simple tenets of atheism to adopting a philosophy called absurdism, which is often confused with nihilism. Nihilism states that there is no meaning or value in life and that everything is chaos. Absurdism states that making any kind of statement as to the meaning of life is absurd for one reason or another. In short, a nihilist would say, “There is nothing,” and an absurdist would respond, “I don’t care that there is nothing.”

Here is a notated analogy of my understanding of religion…

You have a penny (1).

In having a penny, you inherently hold an opinion as to the value of that penny. You either believe that a penny, being the smallest unit of currency in the U.S., is so close to nothing that it is worthless and will not benefit you or anybody else in any way (2), or you believe that a penny, being the smallest unit of currency in the U.S., must in some way hold value because without it, the $100 bill cannot exist. In addition to this, you may also believe that your penny holds some kind of value and may benefit you, possibly if you want to pay for your large Diet Coke at McDonald’s with exact change, avoiding breaking a second dollar for the $1.07 charge (3). Statistically speaking, more people believe the latter than the former (in terms of the analogy).

So, having established this value of your penny, you probably also have an opinion of how that penny came to be in your possession. You may believe that you earned it (4), or that it was given to you (5), or you simply have no concept of the acquisition of your penny (6), among other beliefs.

Unfortunately, there must come a time where you will lose your penny. At the loss of your penny, you may believe one of several things.

You may believe that your penny’s location in its eternity away from you is determined by whether it landed heads or tails side up (7). If it landed heads side up, you believe your penny is picked up by a coin collector and stashed safely in his book of pennies, atop some shelf in his den. If it landed tails side up, you believe that it may have accidentally been thrown away, and is now in a landfill, accompanied by other worthless, discarded materials, never to be of value again (8).

You may believe that it doesn’t matter where your penny is now, but that it served its utmost capacity to benefit you while you had it, and that its time with you was important (9). Possibly in addition to this belief, you believe that your penny was at a bank for a short time with many other pennies, but is now in the possession of someone else (10).

You may believe that your penny still exists somewhere, but that you acknowledge that it can be in one of many, many other places. You strive to learn about these possibilities and accept some, but not all, of these possibilities as your own personal beliefs (11).

You may believe that, through inaction, your penny is on its path and, being away from you, is one step closer to its destiny of becoming a $100 bill (12). Similarly, you may believe that action, such as obedience to the state by claiming it in your taxes, guides your penny to its destiny (13).

You may believe that your penny is closer to being in that guy’s coin collection if it is used in the exchange of marijuana (14).

Here is the notation:

1) Life; 2) Non-believers; 3) Believers; 4) Eastern belief; 5) Western belief; 6) No belief; 7) Life of good vs. life of evil; 8 ) Christianity; 9) Buddhism; 10) Hinduism (or any other religion with the belief of reincarnation); 11) Unitarian Universalism; 12) Daoism; 13) Confucianism; 14) Rastafarianism.

I would like to conclude this entry by letting you know that the only way I can understand religion is by relating it to something I know a lot about, in this case money. I took a class on religion and failed it miserably. If you too have this problem of being unable to comprehend religion, I hope this analogy helps you. If you perfectly understand religion and possibly participate in an organized religion of your own, then you’re probably pretty mad at me right now, and that’s okay with me.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    June 14, 2010 11:23 pm

    zomg you posted again *glee*
    I really liked it – it was concise and funny… and easy to understand even without your key. Reads almost like an internet forward, light easy to understand, without the [OMG JESUS IS TEH BEST GUYZ] ending that most them have.

    • June 15, 2010 1:32 pm

      Yay! Yeah, I didn’t mean for it to be terribly intellectually stimulating or anything, but I’ve wanted to post an entry on religion for awhile now.

  2. bjulman permalink
    June 15, 2010 3:48 am

    Much brilliance, of course & you know I shall always be your compatriot in non-belief.

    2 quibbles, however:

    1) Calling your own analogy clever. I’m sure it was meant as comically exaggerated blogster egoism, but it could be off-putting to some.

    2) Saying “I’ll spell it out for you” before listing the footnotes. It smacks of intellectual snobbery.

    As I’m sure you know, I adore you & these are but constructive criticisms.

    But all in all: an excellent distillation of the major religions & just why they are so ridiculous.

    • June 15, 2010 1:31 pm

      Ahaha, I didn’t notice my snobbishness. With #1 you’re right, and as an entry devoted to proclaiming my lack of interest or respect for the plights of religion, I feel “clever” is well put. #2 goes along those lines, but I’ll probably change it. John complained about some things too that I’ll fix.

  3. bjulman permalink
    June 15, 2010 3:59 am

    This is only the fifth or so entry, I’ve noticed – and which you’ve addressed by way of the opening note. But I ask: more, please? Specifically, more like this and the last two. I am charmed by your life updates but you make for a wonderful, if jaded (in the best way), critic.

  4. Lauren Rinehart permalink
    June 26, 2010 12:16 am

    AHH! Pennies went from ok, pennies to SO SUPER CONFUSING in about 30 seconds. I kept trying to think about the religion aspect but all I could think about was how bad I feel for never caring about where my pennies end up, I really hope none of them are in a landfill. Otherwise I wouldn’t have spent them… Why do I feel sympathy over inanimate objects, psychology lady?

    Also, I got an A+++ in religion class so I guess I’m one of those people who understand religion without having to bend other peoples’ brains to explain it to myself in a blog. You really hurt my brain. And my feelings about currency. All I got out of this was that I will be using my credit card for EVERYTHING now.

    • June 26, 2010 12:53 am

      Bahahahaha. Why is your comment funnier than my initial post?

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