Sunday, November 15, 2015

What's God Got To Do With It?

Am I an atheist?  Maybe.  Merely faithless?  Could be more accurate.  Agnostic?  That much is for sure.  For the purposes of this blog, let’s just go with atheist.

I don’t allow more than one chance in a million that God exists as he is described in the literature, and I only put it that way as a kindness to believers.  That’s one ten-thousandth of one percent chance, and generous at that.  (You can check my math.  I’m a lawyer, not a scientist.)  But if there is a God, and we must pass some kind of test in the end, I’m pretty sure that I’ll pass.  Why?  Because I try to treat people well, that’s why.

Day to day, day in and day out, I try to validate people.  I flatter and encourage them; I try to make them laugh.  I always try to help others to have a good day.  I comfort sufferers.  I do this for friends, co-workers and total strangers.  If anything, my attentions favor the less fortunate.  I appreciate the security and housecleaning staff wherever I go, and I make sure that they know it.   I’m a good tipper, even in Thailand where people think tipping is ridiculous.  (After seven years, my barber still smiles and shakes his head when I tip him.)  When I was younger, I lost my temper frequently, but it hardly happens at all anymore.  Now I’m all about bringing happiness to the world, one smile and a half-a-buck at a time. 

Honestly, I don’t know why I behave this way.  God certainly has nothing to do with it.  It’s certainly not as a gesture to that ten-thousandth of a percent chance that I don’t believe in anyway.  Is it for others?  For myself?  Because I believe that it’s the right thing to do?  I couldn’t say with any confidence.  Maybe it’s just my personality.  Maybe it’s because I desperately wish that I had been treated that way during the difficult passages in my life.  

One thing is for sure: we don't need God looking over our shoulder to behave well in this world.   

In spite of all of this excellent behavior, I don’t think of myself as a particularly good person.  This could be because I know what goes on in the darkest corners of my psyche when the lights are out.  Or perhaps because I have known so many people that were more worthy than me.  Most likely it’s because I can remember so many times when I was less than good. 

Come to think of it, I’m not a very good person at all.  I probably try to be a positive presence in the lives of the people around me to make up for my shortcomings. 

Mea maxima culpa!  I hope that it’s enough. 

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