8/12/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S ~
This is a letter I might have written, were I a younger man:
My son, the reason I am in Afghanistan is that thousands of Americans were killed by men who believed they would live eternally by killing them. So, the first thing I will tell you is that nobody lives forever. Don't listen to such eternal life nonsense; many lives have been destroyed by believers who cheapened the only lives we have. It is said that those who caused the 9/11tragedy were "extremists," but that is just a polite way of labeling those who completely believe what their religions teach. With their belief in an eternal life, this life on earth means nothing to them, and beware the man who has nothing to lose. They value their beliefs more than human lives.
Image by Spatial Mongrel via FlickrYou may wonder why I write to you about religious beliefs. Some guys think my criticisms are unwarranted, but here, a few months ago, some of our men were killed while observing a funeral of a fallen soldier. These soldiers prominently displayed a cross for this rite. What message did the enemy get from this, in the land of a different religion? And there are people here distributing bibles to the citizens. I resent the label "warrior" used in the States to describe us, as in “Christian warrior.” Our lives are endangered even more because of these things. So, we have true believers, extremists, on both sides, and we are caught in their crossfire. Don't they know that culture will triumph? I think of Egyptians, Peruvians, many sects of past beliefs . . . their gods are extinct, but their cultures continue to influence modern people. The gods get discredited, even You-Know-Who. Maybe someday you'll see that god gone too, and his spokesmen silenced.
But, another reason I am here fighting is because of another enemy: indifference. People who believe aren't usually committed believers. They choose to ignore much and don't give a shit about what they believe not being true; they aren't interested in "true" at all. Observe how they act, not just what they say, and you'll see what I mean. You will find out how little believers actually believe. Their indifference allows much evil in this world, for the good people by the millions are a perfect cover for the purveyors of this nonsense, as the "good believers" excuse and forgive them, and afford them respect and preferred status.
All of your life, I have been honest with you. I am not about to change, to ever lose your trust. There are many in this world who are not honest - who lie not only to you, but themselves. They will tell people to believe in things without proof - ridiculous things. For instance, they preach Jesus, and yet no historian of the time of Jesus' purported existence ever mentioned such a person. These priests, pastors, rabbis, mullahs and theologians of all the religions, these "experts" who constantly contradict one another, are intellectually masturbating monkeys in their chosen zoo. They might as well expound on the life and legends of Pecos Bill, Robin Hood, or Aladdin. They're like those seers of olden times, reading omens in comets and entrails for the Roman emperors and barbarian chieftains. Honestly, those with their heads in the clouds can't see where they're walking . . . or want to.
Your father is an atheist, and there are states where the message to outsiders like me is, even if I am in uniform, “If you do not believe as we do, you are not welcome here.” (That also goes for Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, etc.) I can be wounded or killed protecting their right to hate, degrade, work against my rights, and to live freely while doing so. These are the believers who assert, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” What about men like me, who could be wounded in body, brain, or even die, for such enemies to myself? They assert, "There are no atheists in foxholes," and yet here I stand. (And how many of them have been in the military?)
Last year, I saw a man from one of those states wearing a t-shirt with a cross on it. "This symbol is banned in 15 countries," it said. I wanted to ask him, "How would you like to be hated in 50 states?" My own Supreme Court tells me I have no standing to protest abuses to the Constitution that I defend with my life, the government I pay taxes to! My father told me of the civil rights struggles in the 1960's, the struggles against bigotry and prejudice. Mine is a war on several fronts, for civil rights, against prejudice and indifference, and against the tyranny of the majority who see themselves as privileged as the Taliban to enforce their opinions on society.
So I write this to you in hopes that you will keep it, and re-read it often, for I know not what the future holds. As I sit here in my camo fatigues, I think about how good people, again, are good camouflage for the bad ones. Thousands of boys like you have been physically and emotionally abused, even raped, while their abusers hid in religious skirts, in plain view. Thousands of other boys have seen their mothers killed as witches, or heretics, or for family “honor,” by the “righteous,” who were protected within the enfoldment of massive memberships of believers.
This is what happens when religions get the upper hand, here or in the States. And yet, here or there, I am the enemy! Funny, how a person can go from being a friend to being a mortal enemy just by saying, "I don’t believe.”