Saturday, September 18, 2010

30 Days of Blasphemy - Day 18 - Atheism, Depseration, and God

Why do atheist say "Oh, my God!" in a perilous or life threatening situation, when they don't believe in God?

This is an anonymous question from the Ask Me Anything Page of this blog. I think this is a fair entry into 30 Days of Blasphemy because it does run counter to many theist perceptions. Regardless, it's funny even though it probably doesn't warrant Allah killing me (that counts as blasphemy!)

Though the writer may not have meant to be insulting she has probably succeeded with some Atheists. I picked up this general rule a few years ago. The rule is, Do not turn a person (or group of people) into a characterture. By turning people into a two dimensional figure we assume that they always act a certain way. Religious people are always anti-gay (not true). Children never listen to their parents (though it may seem that way) and Atheists say Oh my God when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan. This seems to be a default setting we humans seem to have as a species. We want ideas to be simple and easy to digest. In the same vein we want people to be easily understood.

That, my friends, is a potentially fatal flaw.

There are many ways to answer this question.  I could talk about the Atheists in the military or the multitude of Atheist therapists and social workers who face real evil every day and don't call out to God for divine intervention. However, I will bear witness and talk about how I almost killed myself. No, it wasn't a suicide attempt, rather a simple example of how I can be a complete idiot.
This was about 8 years ago. We (the wife, the boy, cat, and dog) had been in the suburbs for 6 months or so. When we moved my wife was pregnant and had Will a few months afterwards.  I was still fat Andy (clocking in at a ripe 220-ish lbs). Fat Andy meant that I had allergies. Previously I had been living in Boston and there wasn't a lot of that nasty green stuff....what do they call them? Oh yeah, plants, trees, shrubbery,etc. Since moving to the 'burbs I discovered how much allergies suck. I had gone to my doctor and gave me a bag full of free drugs and said, "Good luck."
So I was on Dad duty one day and my boy was asleep. Who would've guessed that infants can sleep for 3 hours at a time during the day?  I used that time to de-fat myself (exercise) as well as write scripts and play way too much Civilization 2. Way too much. I was motivated that day and decided to shower. I wanted some relief from the aforementioned allergies and took an inhaler before turning on the water. I like hot showers (this has relevance on what happens next).
I'm in the shower thinking about killing zombies and the steam was  filling the room - all was right in the world. I then noticed an interesting effect from the inhaler I had taken moments earlier - bronchial restriction.
I couldn't breathe.
The steam from the shower must've exacerbated the effect from the inhaler (which, I imagine was to get the phlegm outta my lungs).
I couldn't breathe.
I was in the freakin' shower naked and I couldn't breathe. What a complete idiot.
I bent over and tried to cough.
Nope, not working though I was wheezing. This is a good sign. If you're wheezing then some air is getting through. Not a lot, but some.
I work with brain injured men. I know what happens when your brain doesn't get enough oxygen. Bad things. Really bad things.
I vaulted out of the shower and ran to the kitchen phone dripping wet. No towel, just me and the open windows. I reached for the telephone to dial 911.
I hesitated. What if I call 911 and it turns out that I'm fine in a minute or two? I'd have to explain what just happened and they'd look at me like I'm some schmuck. I'm feeling kinda schmucky right now and I don't want other people to confirm that perception. What if I don't call? The wife will find my body in a pool of water. Not the optimal way to be found dead. My ideal way... well suffice it to say that I'm hoping to avoid that as long as possible (fingers crossed for cryogenics). Oh, what about the cat? Did I feed it today? That is one crazy cat and I don't want it to nibble on my dead eyelid.
I am not lying, that was my thought process.  By the time I had processed out that thread my breathing was much better . I didn't call 911. In retrospect, I should've.
What's important to note is:
  1. I was an Atheist.
  2. I really thought I was about to die.
  3. At no point did I say any variation of, "God please save my fat, stupid, and soaking wet self!"
I hope that personal anecdote helped.

This is Purgatory.

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