One of the many common misconceptions and myths that we atheist parents hear from the believers around us, usually said with a horrified or frightened tone, is the question What if you’re wrong? What if my belief system of guilt during life and heavenly reward afterlife is true?
What if you’re wrong about that science stuff? What if you’re wrong about how you interpret the fossil record with the concept of evolution? What if there is a glorious afterlife to reward a life time of worshiping our silent, absent, and often-cruel god? What if there is a hideously agonizing afterlife to punish for free thought and using logic and reason during life? What if we were right to heap shame upon anyone who was not a white, straight, male, monogamous follower of our god? What if we are supposed to carry the shame of being born a human being on this planet?
What if the sheep herders in the Middle East truly do know more about the best way to live life than any thinking person in the current era who uses compassion and love as a starting point? What if our earnest belief in a water-walking carpenter from Bethlehem is absolutely essential for an eternal reward? What if the hominids of the past million+ years of time were alive a mere six thousand years ago? What if dinosaurs are truly misunderstood dragons? What if violent murders or silencing of innocent victims of rape by elders is truly the preferred way to handle the inappropriate sexual acts of those trusted, respected, or feared elders?
What if women are truly here on earth in order to populate the planet until their bodies break down? What if the words of men were truly law? What if shaming normal or natural expressions of sexuality was the favored way to handle burgeoning young people? What if an all-powerful entity was truly responsible for the entirety of human existence on this planet? What if we had to seek authority outside of our own conscious to forgive ourselves for events that lead to lessons learned? What if there was truly a god who actually eased the suffering and pain of everyone on the planet?
What if a father blindly following voices of the unseen, insisting that he murder his own child, actually made the agonizing plan to carry out that demand? What if a flood of global proportions had destroyed every living thing? What if a teacher taught mercy but received none for himself? What if freaky Armageddon events were planned for all inhabitants of this planet by an unseen god or spirit?
What if I’m right?
What if natural laws like gravity and the laws of thermodynamics allowed us to understand much of the movement of the universe around us? What if human ingenuity and rationality allowed us to fly beyond the furthest planetoid in our solar system as well as to explore the deepest crevices on the surface of our own planet? What if the intellectual facilities of some humans on this planet caused us to begin to understand the progressions of eons of time, eons that are nearly impossible to truly conceive of within the human mind? What if human perception allowed someone to imagine particles smaller than the human senses can detect, and then someone found a way to actually detect them?
What if our species was able to figure out events that had happened here on this planet millions of years before our species ever became sentient mammals? What if the absolutely predictable movement of objects in the universe taught homosapien sapiens that natural laws govern movement and existence? What if we began to understand how our own bodies worked and were able to move toward better health without the need of magical incantation or intervention? What if our species began to understand that further research will improve understanding and that saying I don’t know is the impetus for more opportunities to learn?
What if we gave up the enslavement of fear and embraced the questions? What if we began to truly appreciate all extrapolations of life and living? What if our people as a whole chose to explore true justice, equality, peace, global living, and appreciation for our limited resources? What if, just this moment, everyone on the planet considered the possibility that…what if I’m right?
This blog previously appeared on Karen’s blog entitled My Own Mind.