religiosity

Mature Atheism, Military Service, and Cookies

Mature Atheism, Military Service, and Cookies

As an Atheist Airmen, I do not sacrifice for the betterment of society with the belief that I'll be rewarded in the next life.  I do so knowing that, if I am called upon to sacrifice, it is not a matter of divine providence, but of personal choice. This doesn't make me heroic, but it certainly doesn't make me villainous to simply want that distinction recognized and respected. Every service member is more than their military service; we are first and foremost American citizens who deserve the same respect and rights in which our civilian counterparts are afforded.

Rather than thank us for our service (a hollow gesture), take a moment to recognize that we're a person outside of that uniform.  A person with whom you may disagree on a great many things; a person who may be a novelist, an atheist, or an engineer. Do not typecast us into a group of people deserving "hero cookies," but understand that our military service, like your day job, is mostly office politics and paperwork; it's fairly rare that we do anything "heroic."

The God Filter

The God Filter

Her name was Jae; and she was a sophomore at North Pulaski High School in Jacksonville Arkansas when she passed away at the end of Spring Break in 2004.  I remember Jae as having been this very energetic, compassionate, and charismatic individual with whom I shared many classes, a few smiles and passing conversations, and the mentorship of one influential role model.  Coach Travis Lyda, our advanced placement World History teacher, had just asked us a question the Friday before:

What would you do if you only had one week left to live?

You see, we had reached the era in history known as the Dark Ages, and we were discussing the manner in which various sects of monks dealt with the disease that was ravishing Europe known as The Black Death.  Lyda was contrasting the methods of those who practiced flagellation against those who chose to live life to the fullest; which prompted the question:

What would you do if you only had one week left to live?