- Valerie: The whole world just seems to be going to shit. It's not so much bothering me as "Well there's another shitty issue over there and yet another over here."
- Me: I think it's shitty, but it's getting better. A government can rule only as long as the people let it. Once the apathy disappears, the government can't stay in power. They either have to quell the people or kill them all, and it's no fun playing kickball by yourself. I wish the human race was more prone to peaceful change, but the new world is forged from the blood of the old.
- Valerie: I think that's actually the most comforting thing about the world I've ever heard.
- Me: It's what I believe. For all our fancy little toys, humanity is a brutish, primitive, violent animal, no matter how deep in denial we are. Perhaps there's hope in evolution for change, but we are who we are. We have an enormous capacity for greed, hatred, rage, and violence, but somewhere in there is juxtaposed an incredible amount of kindness, passion, and love. It is the latter that we strive to attain because it makes us feel better than our past. It is a glimpse into progress.
I just had an intellectual discussion with a man on the topic of religion. It was fascinating to listen to him speak and watch him. He told me a lot of things about Christianity, and as he spoke of God and of Christ, the adoration and love shone in his piercing clear blue eyes. He looked at me and told me that it was obvious to him that we were created, just by looking at the sheer complexity of the world around him, at the human eye, at the brain. That, he said, was why there was no excuse in the judgment of the Lord for not believing in God. He spoke rapidly, as if trying to say the most he could in the least amount of time, and ended up dominating the majority of the conversation. He asked me what I believed and I told him that I have trouble accepting things without logic or proof. He told me that he didn’t understand everything about his religion, but that it was a comfort to him because if he knew everything, he would be God. The idea was, of course, preposterous. “I’m so glad that someone perfect and all knowing is in charge,” he told me, “and not an idiot like me.” In that moment I knew why he believed, even if he did not himself know. I saw the fear behind his eyes as some tiny part of his mind behind locked doors was screaming, “What if this is it? What if you are in charge of your own life? What if there is no one to guide you, no plan, no purpose?” Religion promotes an external locus of control, allowing a shift of responsibility. He talked about our eighty years on this planet as a “blip” in comparison to the eternity that awaits in heaven. “How depressing it would be if this was it. I mean, I’m 42. I’m half done. Wow that went fast.” He chuckled and quickly continued. It’s not depressing to know that I control my destiny. What would be depressing would be wasting those eighty years hoping for more instead of making the most of them now.