Saturday, March 5, 2011

Welcome to the Bible Belt...

Been awhile. Mostly because I've been working, combined with a complete lack of consistent internet access. One of those, in fact, is the subject of my first gripe of the night.

I'm working the register at a local gas station, and a young (mid-20s) woman rings up her purchases to the tune of $6.66. She panics. Literally. Suddenly she has to buy something else, in order to avoid the dreaded "Devil's Number." There was actual terror in this girl's eyes at the realization that she had bought six-six-six of something.

The most ironic part of all this? Her soda cost $1.66. The rest was lottery tickets.


Welcome to the Bible Belt.

There are literally more than four dozen churches in this town...and we're talking about a town of around 50-60 thousand people. And most of these aren't little community buildings, but multi-million-dollar monuments to Middle-Eastern mythology. (Alliteration is awesome:P) Apparently all these fundamentalist Christians were so busy counting the money in their collection plates that they forgot the thing about how "the meek shall inherit the earth."

I drive by these monumental monstrosities on my way to work, and my atheist brain simply can't believe that these behemoth eyesores are tax-exempt. When your church building costs millions of dollars to construct and has its own dedicated broadcast TV station (yes, you heard me correctly), you're not "non-profit" anymore.

And oh yeah...I'm an atheist now.

Now my regular readers (assuming I still have any of those left, or I can even call them "regular" anymore when I haven't updated this blog in months) might be a little confused right now, as I've previously drawn a bold distinction in this area: namely that I was an agnostic, not an atheist.

I am an agnostic and an atheist.

What changed my mind? Merely a more correct definition of "atheist." An atheist is nothing more or less than someone who lacks belief in any deities. And I do. I am what is commonly known as a "weak" atheist, in that I do not necessarily believe that no gods exist. But I am an atheist because I don't believe in any gods. I disbelieve all of the gods I've heard of. (That isn't news to anyone anymore.) But while I admit that there might be some sort of deity unlike any of the human constructions I know about, I can't claim to believe that there is. There might be gold in my backyard--and in fact it's not even completely implausible--but that doesn't mean I believe there's gold in my backyard.

I should never have moved to the Bible Belt. But then again, I should never have moved to Utah five years ago either. I wonder if there's a pattern here whenever I move to a rabidly-religious area...