It’s gonna be
I live in a neighborhood (just South of Nashville, TN) with a lot of evangelical Christians. This seemingly majority belief in my community is usually not a big deal. The only time it gets annoying is when leaders force a truly evangelical prayer onto the festivities – something that was done a few weeks ago at our neighborhood Fourth of July celebration. It’s completely inappropriate and insensitive to those who believe differently, but in the grand scheme of things it’s still not a big deal to me. For me it’s no different from having a leader thanking a Sun god or asking a blessing from ancestral spirits. It’s all just modern day mythology, and I’m just happy nobody is sacrificing a goat, or worse, a virgin.
While I tolerate the evangelical god-speak at community events and in neighborhood email newsletters, there is one thing that has me continually irritated, and that’s IGBOK. It irritates me, because it’s a patronizing statement based on a false hope.
It’s gonna be
The first part of IGBOK I agree with. At least they recognize what I would call the ineffectiveness of prayer.
God’s “o.k.” doesn’t mean that the cancer will be healed, the relationship fully restored, the physical pain or emotional ache will go away in this life.
However, the second part – the O.K. part – is based on delusional false hope. The hope that even if life is giant ball of shit, you will still spend a blissful eternity with God.
It means that because He has entered and overcome our brokenness…we can live this life with real hope — a hope that knows one day everything will be set right forever in the life to come.
Hope is the drug of choice for Christianity and many other religions. Similar to antidepressants, the false hope of life after death is meant to mask reality so you can better cope with your problems. All you have to do is believe.
Is religious hope a bad thing? I don’t have a good answer for that. If hope for a better afterlife helped keep my daughter from killing herself, or my son from living in despair now, then I would be more accepting of it, regardless of my own philosophical differences. That’s simply based on wanting my children to be happy and to thrive.
However, like most drugs, there are side effects. In order to sustain hope powered by religion, a person must fully immerse themselves into its religious dogma. That means a denial of what is rational and logical (from a scientific perspective), and buying into a worldview that perpetuates exclusion and hate onto other people in the name of love.
Philosophically, I think the only true statement that can be made is, “It’s gonna be.”
As I’ve written before, the idea that anyone can explain the existence of life, let alone what happens after we die, is greater than or equal to bullshit. For me, clinging to a mistruth during a time of grief is both living on false hope, and dishonest to your being.
If you take away all of the things that cannot be observed – the superstitious beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation, and whose origins can only be attributed to human imagination and creativity – we are left with existentialism. There was a time when we didn’t exist, and now a time when we do exist. And like all living things, we will return to the same state as before we existed. There is absolutely no reason to believe otherwise, even though our survivalism mixed with higher reasoning would have us believe otherwise.
“It’s gonna be.” There’s nothing that comes after that, and that’s O.K.