No, like it or not, I have come to believe that all we have is ourselves, and all we get is this one life. And that’s enough for me. I don’t find atheism cold and comfortless. I do not miss believing in an afterlife in heaven. And I don't particularly fear death. I believe that, like Mark Twain, "I was dead for billions of years before being born and I have not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it." And I can appreciate the beauty of the structure of our magnificent universe without feeling a need to attribute it to an Architect. As Douglas Adams said, "I will take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day."
So why do I come to church? Why do I bother, if I have no belief in god, or an afterlife, or the search for the capital-A Answers to any of the so-called Great Questions? Well, I come for many reasons. I come for the opportunity to join with people in morally meaningful activity. I believe that two hands actually working do more good than a hundred hands folded in prayer. I think that, when I come to church, I am offered valuable lessons in the way religion brings people together with beautiful music and art. I learn how such a coming together can result in good works and social justice. And frankly, I also come for help. Not answers, help. I come for the support which I find there. I believe that whatever immortality any of us has is in the minds and memories of those who know and love us. I believe that when I die, that's the only immortality for which I can hope. If I want Heaven, I need to help build it it here. And if I want immortality, I need to live a life that will have meaning and so will be remembered in my community. And I want God to be simply a metaphor for all that is good and kind and wise in each of us. I can do those things where I go to church, at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg. Where atheists, pagans, Jews, secular humanists, Christians, Buddhists, and every other color in the religious spectrum can get together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding and actually do some good in an otherwise maddening world. Because for all of the pain and horror and suffering that the world can have, there is also incredible beauty and love and joy to be found. I just have to remember to be open to it. Thanks for reading.