Extraordinarily Rare Gift
The traumatic events of September 11th, forces all of humanity to come to grips with our mortality. It is a life-changing event and possibly an evolutionary catalyst. The events of the day were so traumatic that 7 out of 10 Americans are dealing with depression (per an NBC news report). In order to avoid mass hysteria, most Americans have turned to religion as a coping mechanism. In this way, religion is serving a useful function. I don't know who would argue that mass hysteria is a good thing for any society. In the long run, however, we must confront the reality of the situation and we can't ignore the role of religion as a cause of this event.
As atheists, we must suffer through the "angst of self-consciousness" (see "In Search of God: Is Atheism the Only Alternative to Theism?" by Bishop John Shelby Spong posted on your web site) without the help of any deity. To accept the premise that no loving, caring God protected us from these horrible atrocities requires courage and wisdom. The pain we are feeling is the evolution of our consciousness. After the initial shock wears off, there is no doubt that many Americans will question their religious beliefs. Fortunately, Positive Atheism is waiting like a shining beacon of light to guide those who are ready to the truth.
My favorite all-time Guru, R. Crumb's Mr. Natural, sums it all up very simply. When asked, "What does it all mean, Mr. Natural?" He responds, "It don't mean sheeit!" So there we have it. Thousands of lives were wiped out in an instant. Billions of people around the world must examine their own mortality and ask the question, "what does it all mean?" The truth is that in the history of time, it will mean nothing. Thousands of years from now, it will be but a footnote in history for those who are alive. Millions of years later even that history will be obliviated in the mass destruction of Earth when the Sun expands prior to its own death. All that ever was or ever will be on this earth will vanish into the void.
So how do we deal with this now? By living each moment of our lives with an appreciation for the great gift of life. Love and respect our fellow humans and enjoy our short time on this earth. Probably, there is no life beyond the one we have now, and if true, what a marvelous, extraordinarily rare gift it is to live.
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