A Prayer From An Atheist

When there are millions of lives in the world living through corruption, oppression and violence, why I am so fortunate to have personal freedom from such persecutions? What did I do to be blessed with this rare and privileged life? What did the rest of the world do so wrong to be cursed with such suffering?

Is it because I was born American? Born white? Born male? Is it because I was Baptized and ate the body of Christ? Maybe if I still believed then God would give me the answer. But looking out from these rocks at the sun setting in front of me I find it impossible to believe that this majestic world was created by the same God that created us in his own image. That God would have built a big casino with air-conditioning and luxury suites.

These are not new thoughts, they are not profound, but after spending these few weeks in a paradise witnessing it's annihilation in the erection of massive resorts by and for rich foreigners who exploit the (cheap) labor of the locals for our own temporary escapism, these are important thoughts. Ones that seem very rarely to enter the thoughts of our ego-centric and entitled minds. Instead, conversations I had were with guys who are "amazed" at how easy it is to "make a fortune off these people" and how cheap it was to buy up their property. Not a single thought about where these people will go or what will become of that beauty once we build our temples of luxury, our alters of convenience, and our dens of iniquity. We are looking to get away from home and yet we bring it all with us.

We remake foreign lands in our own image pretending we are gods. But, like God, when our creations fail we become angry and wonder why they would betray us. We bring plagues and floods upon them when they fail to make us happy. We are not happy because it is not our home we are looking to get away from, it is ourselves and we cannot escape ourselves. So we create hell by destroying Eden.

Then we go home. Like God I can go back to my life of privilege. I am American. I am white. I am going home. But I cannot forget that there are others who must live in the wreckage of the world we have made. So I pray for those people. A prayer that goes unanswered because there are no gods to hear it. There is only us. Hopefully we will one day learn to live with ourselves.