Neil Coppen

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UP IN THE AIR ATHEISM

November22

Finding Atheism a godzillon metres above the ground,on a SAA flight to San Paulo, might not be the most advisable of epiphanies to find yourself having.Best wait, might I advise, till grounded on more substantial terra firma . Such was the lesson I was to learn last week, after reading- mid flight- Richard Dawkins impassioned (if not all together- life changing) ¨”The God Delusion”. So convincing is his polemic :Religion shown up to be the supernatural hoey that deep down our rational minds have always suspected it to be. So irrefutable the evidence ( his Darwin for dummies approach, particularly insighful) that one can only hope that the god fearing nutters, who govern and war beneath the dictates of a dusty volume of out dated fairy tales, would take a good and preferably long, open minded look.As novelist Julian Barnes claims on the overleaf ” This book should be read by everyone from atheist to monk. If its merciless rationalism doesn’t enrage you at some point, you probably aren’t alive.”

Thankfully “The God Delusion” doesn’t express the bleak- well now that gods dead does that mean we are destined to crawl and suffer uselessly across the face of the earth- type existentialism. Rather it provides a ridiculously enlightening and liberating re-education into our scientific (sans the big bearded guy in the sky) world of wonders. A reminder of the here and imminently miraculous “now”. Forging purpose and truth no longer in non -sensical speculation of yester year, relinquishing the terror of past incarnation, the horrific potential of future damnation. In short read it, for its a cause worth believing in. Before attempting to save the whales, the ozone, the decimated rain Forrest’s, we should turn our efforts to salvaging humanity’s logic from its own perilously over excitable and gullible imaginings.

And so it is with this revelation, that upon completing the book (several minutes prior to landing) I exalt- God damn it I’m an atheist! No longer afraid to concede my agnostic indifference . Dawkins encourages us to avoid playing it safe, you know the just in case , cowardly fence sitting stance to which most of us are guilty of. You either in or you out. So yes, I decide I am a full blown, out the closet & proud of it- Atheist. I say it now without a hint of fear. Safe from ever having to dread providing the tortured flesh to Beelzebub’s eternal barbecue. I realise only a moment later that such confidence may have proven, well, a little premature. For just as our flight is coming in to land, the plane suddenly lurches upward, causing horrified gasps from the passengers. A terrific storm has broken and rain begins to lash the aircraft windows. Suspicious engine noises hum below.

At this moment I begin to reconsider (hell even curse) my new found Atheistic leanings. Ones memory has the habit of working in the most torturous of ways, and I find myself recalling the recent slew of South African Airways calamities, ie: a plane engine (Ala Donnie Darko) plunging unexpectedly from aircraft wing mid flight. Then of course there is San Paul- the very wet runway our plane is destined (or not) for, which just three months ago saw a TAM Airlines Air Bus collide, killing all 200 hundred of its passengers.

Now I attempt to swear myself a Mormon, curse Dawkins and his delusions and wonder whether I have packed a high factor sun tan lotion- for my lengthy new vacation in hell.

‘Er..hello God, hi its me again, I’d like to maybe retract one or two of the comments I made earlier, can have ‘un momento’ to rethink my options-yes? NO! The plane shudders, rain pelts, children start to wail. No word of re -assurance comes from the cockpit. I clutch my Saint Christopher, worn under my late grandmothers insistence (but also, if I may confess-for superstitious fence sitting purposes.) Now I mumble the semblance of an apologetic prayer but to what avail? I have willingly, yes even foolishly just expelled the skies of my celestial hearing aid. I’m an atheist remember-and atheism (like Africa I suppose) is not for sissies. There’s no turning back. Despite the separation anxiety, no dialling Nirvana 911 as imminent catastrophe looms. You’re on your own kid and so with no one left to turn to, I contemplate weeping my last rites into the bosom of a Brazilian mama beside me but am thankfully spared that humiliation when rubber bumps tar and an announcement apologises for the turbulence, welcoming us to San Paulo International.

Upon landing I find my Saint Christopher necklace wedged in sweaty palm, a token akin (and about as comforting) to still wearing ones wedding ring after having just undergone a brief but nonetheless very messy divorce.

2 Comments to

“UP IN THE AIR ATHEISM”

  1. On November 22nd, 2007 at 1:50 am Neil Coppen Says:

    YOU GOD HATING SCUM BAG-SIES ON YOU

  2. On December 5th, 2007 at 6:14 am Bruce Says:

    Atheism is a huge leap in faith. Welcome to the party.

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