Saturday, January 30, 2016

I'm Worried Bruce Springsteen Will Die Before I Can See Him in Concert, and the Fact That I'm an Atheist Compounds My Anxiety

I'm not basing this fear on any specific medical intel, but doesn't it look like Bruce Springsteen could just keel over and drop dead at any second? The man is pushing 70 and he still brings it like he's 27. How long can this possibly go on? Seeing The Boss in concert is on my bucket list, and I'm worried that his bucket list will come up for God's cash-in before mine does.

Which brings me to an embarrassing confession. I'm an atheist. This is embarrassing only because we live in America where it's important to believe in God, and where most people do believe in God or some version of God, anyway. But the fact of the matter is I was raised by secular Jewish atheists and I've carried their nihilistic teachings with me into adulthood.

I wish I did believe in God or a higher power of some kind. I've got good friends and family members who do, and who would like to see me saved and salvaged, and who worry for my soul. I'm not offended by that--I'm flattered that they care about me, and I hope they're right. If I thought I'd see everyone I ever knew in Heaven some day, life here on earth would feel a lot easier to me. If I thought God had a plan for everything, then the things that happened, both bad and good, would feel less arbitrary, random, and scary.

But I just can't do it. I just can't make myself believe that there is a man or woman in the sky or even some sort of magical force field in the driver's seat who's going to make it all OK in the end. I certainly believe in being good to people. I certainly believe in doing all the things most religions (on their best days) tell you to do, like love your neighbor and all of that. But I just can't convince myself of any of the rest of it, and some of it is downright crappy in my opinion.

Nor can I get behind the modern atheism movement which feels like a religion in its own right: aggressively campaigning against religion and trying to convince the world that God isn't real and pointing out all the damage that religion does. While I don't disagree with the basics of some of that, the approach seems very hostile and I'm not into hostility.

This was all a big digression from the point of this post, which is that I really want to see Bruce Springsteen in concert before one of us dies. And as far as I can tell, it's only by a stroke of luck and happenstance that this will happen.

Fingers crossed.

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