Before I begin I just want to thank everyone who read and commented on my “coming out” post. Your comments were kind and a lot nicer than I thought they were going to be. A lot of atheists report horrible backlash when they finally decide to share with people about their atheism. Atheists are viewed by a lot of people as evil and lacking in morals. One study found that people distrust atheists more than rapists. My decision to tell everyone about my atheism was, in some ways, directly tied to this stigma; I want to give a voice and face to what an atheist looks like. There are so many people out there who are atheists or agnostic (I’m going to write a post about that later) and most of us don’t even know it.
Now, on to the actual point of this blog post.
I wrote the song Stardust back in July (of 2013) sitting in a south facing 20th floor apartment in Manhattan. It was sweltering hot in the city; the heat indexes were some of the highest in recorded history. The apartment was only slightly cooler as the A/C unit struggled to keep up with the temperatures. The view, however, was incredible as the picture window took up almost the whole south wall of the apartment; the Freedom Tower the primary focus. And how could it not be? The southern Manhattan skyline once more dominated by a towering height of steel and glass. There was a guitar in the apartment and as I sat on the bed strumming the strings, I was ruminating on the damage that “faith” (a word Peter Boghossian defines as “Pretending to know things you don’t know.”) has had on humanity. All the things that people have done because “God” told them to, or because they had “faith” that it was the right thing to do. To be sure, it wasn’t Christianity that brought down the Twin Towers, no. It was a group of people who ardently believed that Allah wanted it; people who believed just as firmly as the Christians; just as firmly as the Hindus; just as firmly as the Jews; just as firmly as the Mormons, etc. that what they believe is the ONLY right way to believe.
I thought to myself, How profoundly sad that most of us live waiting for an afterlife. That people think, “One day I will be in heaven and won’t have to deal with any of this anymore.”
I want to live for now. I want to die trying to make the most of NOW.
And so the words poured out:
Waste away in buildings built
To ease our sorrow, ease the guilt
Supplicate to the up above
Hate to say no one’s listening, love.
Time was lost to a fairy tale
Forbidden fruit that led to nails
And born to see but rendered blind
By mankind to save mankind
Oh we’re stardust
And we must
Make the most of this
While we’re breathing
No more living
For after dying
No, I’ll die trying
To make the most of now
Ate the body, drank the blood like
Every good boy and girl should
Babies raised on bread and wine
Let your little light shine
Oh let it burn
Let it shine
Oh watch them burn
Below is a rough recording of the song that I started with Deke Spears. The song is still in its infancy. Deke and I recorded in the performance hall at KSU – he played the acoustic guitar and I played the gorgeous Steinway Grand piano and sang. We messed around with backing harmonies and then, later, Deke threw some drums and bass on the track to see how it felt. I’m not sold on it but it’s all I have to share with you right now.
Please know that it’s not mixed or mastered and most likely will end up sounding different. However, I’ve found that nothing I do will ever meet the standards I have in my head, nothing will ever be perfect enough, and so I need to get over my stupid self and share whatever it is that I have at that time. Capiscé? Hate it? Love it? What do you think? Be honest. Honesty is a very very good thing.
Many thanks, everyone.
( By the way, I know that some of you are going to hate this; it’s going to make you very uncomfortable. I’m sorry for that and yet, I really hope that this gives you reason to consider why you believe what you believe. Stretch your brain a bit, it won’t kill you. I promise. )