Atheism, Southern Cities, and Why Wealth Sucks

Ah, the drafts saved in my dashboard right now, waiting to be written. Such a number of things have made me groan of late that I’ve started and stopped mid many a rant. Then, they pile up and I get stressed out by my own procrastination, and I want to delete my page and go cry in a corner.

I’ve also been writing many other things lately that are higher priority, so I’ve been neglectful. I do hope, though, to get back on track. Starting right about now.

To kick things off, let’s dive right in with pretty much everything I’ve been meaning to say in one tidy package.

Atheism: Humanity by Another Name

I don’t know why, I haven’t sought it out, but I have stumbled onto the strangest hodgepodge of stuff about atheism lately – like how an atheist soldier was told he needed moral guidance by the U.S. military, because he wasn’t fit to serve without belief in God, how a large majority of Americans would never vote for an atheist, and, then, unsurprisingly to me, how atheists are more moral than their religious counterparts.

I am a quasi-atheist. I believe that there is something, but I don’t even pretend to know what that might be. I look at humanity and see no sign of gods. I look at the natural world and see nothing but the hands of gods on everything. I am certain there is something to the universe, something above and beyond us. As certain as I am that there is something, I am just as certain that whatever that is is no god being worshipped by any modern religion.

I saw a question asked on a website the other day about atheism that corroborated something I have often wondered about religion and the god-fearing legions.

My question: What would religious people do if they didn’t fear God?

Their question: Where do atheists get their morality?

Well, I wouldn’t dare answer for all atheists/agnostics, but, for me, it’s called conscience. It’s called humanity. And, if you have to ask, I am incredibly thankful religion exists to scare human decency into you.


Last week, we drove to Richmond for the day for the Chihuly exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It was a day of glass, local coffee, surreptitious gum-chewing, and a surprise O’Keeffe masterwork.

I did get Pollocked, but after exposure in dozens of modern art exhibits, I think I’m finally starting to build up an immunity.

As a kid, I spent quite a lot of time in Richmond. It was the birthplace of my dad’s mom, and a regular stop on our way to other exotic places. Like Orlando.

As an adult who’s done a lot of traveling along the East Coast, I was struck by what a unique hybrid Richmond really is in terms of architecture and feel. It’s like the Northeast. And it’s like the South. That’s a powerful mix.

Sometimes the diversity of this country is striking. The landscape, the culture. What remains.

In Richmond, it struck me in the form of a little white country church still standing on the grounds of the art museum. The setting sun filtered through the stained glass, and it was possibly the most breathtaking thing I’d seen all day.

Or at least better than a Pollock.


If there is one group that I am prejudiced against more than any other, it is the wealthy. I freely admit that.

It’s not even a fair assessment, because I’ve worked with a few wealthy people who were very decent human beings.

And a few who weren’t.

Still, I view the rich unfairly. It’s one of my many flaws that needs serious work.

It’s just that there is little one truly needs, and there is only so much one can buy, own or use in a lifetime. So, when I read that the one-hundred wealthiest people in the world earned enough last year to end global poverty four times over, I don’t understand how these people live with themselves. All that excess gives them the god-like power to alter the world, and they leave the world destitute.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, and if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. But you can’t charge a man for fishing lessons, then take three-quarters of his daily catch, and act as if you’ve done him a favor.

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