Growing up, I feared the eyes of god. This was back when I was maybe five or six. By feared, I mean I would lay in bed at night searching my memory to ask god for forgiveness for all the sins I committed over the course of a day. I was scared that I would miss something and god would send me to hell for forgetting a minor altercation. These were my prayers for many years.
In my mind as a child, death was an extended sleep. I equated death to not waking up. There wasn’t anything bad about sleep. In fact, sleep was often great. It was the threat of the devil or ghosts that scared me at night. Those ideas kept me up, and I retain a little anger about my parents teaching me about hell and demons, because of the amount of sleep I lost. Up until the last few years, fear of sleep has been one of my biggest “demons.”
Since I’ve started this blog, I have found that sleep and paranoia of sleep has subsided drastically. I digress.
As a youngster, I had no idea where I was in sleep. All I knew was, at around 8 p.m., my parents put me in my room. And around twelve hours later after I fell asleep — twelve hours is a life time to a child by the way — I would emerge from my room, rubbing my eyes, hungry and needing to pee.
I remember coming to the conclusion that sleep was no different than death, and if I could have held onto that rationale instead of being influenced by religion, I would have easily concluded that god was unnecessary even then.
As far as “sinning” was concerned, I was more afraid if someone physical, like my mom or dad, saw me do something wrong. Disappointing god meant some punishment in the hereafter. The threat of getting caught by my parents … that meant a paddling or a grounding.
Yes, hell scared the bejesus out of me. But the threat of a paddle … a piece of wood landing with parental power on my bare ass … that frequently had more staying power than burning in hell.
I just saw a story about two teachers who might not have gotten into trouble over pretending to give a lap dance if it weren’t for the viral video that surfaced on the Internet. The lap dance happened at a high school pep rally.
Here’s the video:
I would hope that you and I would agree that this was inappropriate behavior. With or without the video evidence, if a gym full of students saw two teachers engaging in superfluous sexual behavior, it shouldn’t fly.
What scares me is the way the story is told, the teachers may not have been suspended if it weren’t for the video. YouTube raised its mighty sword and screamed, “I HAVE … THE POWER!”
Big brother is a scary threat. Christians already believe in a “big brother” in heaven watching their every move. As an atheist, I have no such threat. But I must say I value the need for a high standard of morality. Since the bible proves that it has no major sense of morality, I think Christians and non-Christians get morality from similar sources. It’s secularism that has helped Christians edge out immorality like inequalities and slavery. It will be secularism that helps Christians edge out homophobia, and it will be secularism that helps Christians become more Christlike and help disadvantaged people get affordable healthcare that they rightly deserve.
I’m sometimes torn over the ubiquity of cameras.
On one hand, you have more people obeying the law thanks to security cameras. Check out how great traffic cameras can be. In Chicago, I refuse to run red lights to the point of paranoia, because if you run a red light a traffic camera will take your car’s picture and in a week you’ll receive an orange envelope in the mail with a $75 or more ticket.
Take it a step further. Having more people drive safely will mean less accidents.
As a photographer, the pervasion of cameras have confused the need for a “photographer.” Kids are conditioned to have cameras in their faces, just as their conditioned to watch a lot of TV. There’s nothing thrilling about getting a photo done anymore.
With the changing zeitgeist, I must adapt.
YouTube, and social media, is becoming a better threat to immorality than god is. Social media might just edge god out of the national need for something bigger in the universe. Something bigger does exists, and you’re likely staring into its face right now. “God” is your computer.
Nothing changes minds faster than the prevalence of information. And I hope as people start seeing, reading, watching and hearing what more and more people think, there will be more and more changes for the good of humanity.
It’s bizarre to me that the inspiration from this post was a video of two teachers doing a public lap dance.
What do you think? Do you think social media is replacing the public’s need for god? Do you think the Internet is doing any good to edge out erroneous thought or do you think it contributes to furthering it?
I’m dying to know.