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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

013: The Here and Now

There has been a lot of noise the past several years about religion, on many different fronts. What it seems to boil down to is, those who believe very devoutly can't abide the thought of the rest of the world not sharing their faith, or at least being subject to its rules, and those who do not believe can't abide the thought of having what they consider to be a superstition forced upon them.

I am in the latter camp. I was raised Lutheran, then Methodist (my lame joke about it is that I worship ways to kill Superman)... but I was a reader and a science-lover, and my Sunday School teacher could never explain why dinosaurs weren't in the Bible. A nine-year-old kid invoking carbon-14 dating really threw her off.

As I've grown older, I've gone through various degrees of hostility towards organized religion. Right now, I'm actually in a fairly benign phase, as long as no one mentions attempts to curtail reproductive rights because Jesus Loves Babies. But, some weeks ago, this song hit. Can't remember what particular news item set me off, probably something again about attempts to legislate "intelligent design" into science classrooms. But, when I started writing it, I almost immediately discarded the idea of being... well, mean about it all. So this is my attempt to explain politely -- as in, to my mother -- how I feel about the rational world vs. the existence of God, and more importantly how you don't need God to be a good person.

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The Here and Now
Words and Music © 2006 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike License



Welcome, friends! Welcome once again to the
Atheist/Agnostic/Humanist/Realist
Olde-Time Down-Home Gospel Hour!
My friends, I am here to bring to you the GOOD NEWS!
The GOOD NEWS!
That this is a beautiful and dangerous and mysterious world we live in!
That there's a lot we don't know!
A lot we may NEVER know!
There may be a heaven!
There may be a hell!
There may be a devil!
There may be a GOD!
But there ain't no PROOF.

No hard-core science!
No Road Map of the Stars to the Pearly Gates!
No interview with Gabriel in Hot Archangels Monthly!
We've got to take it all on faith!
And that's a little difficult for some of us!
You hear about free will!
You hear about making your own choice!
And you'd like just a little bit o' proof.
And at some point, you realize there may not be no proof a-comin'.

And at that point, you realize
There may NOT be a heaven!
There may NOT be a hell!
There may NOT be a Devil!
There may NOT BE A GOD!
And you say to yourself, well, what am I doin' here?
If there ain't a god, what am I doin' here?
What is my purpose in life?
And I am here to tell you that your purpose in life
Is EXACTLY THE SAME either way!
If there's a God, your purpose is to LIVE!
To help people!
To make the world a better place!
And if there's NOT a God...
Your purpose is to LIVE!
To help people!
To make the world a better place!

Now, I know that some of you out there want there to be a God
for a very different reason.
Because you feel alone.
Because without God, it's a big, bad, scary, random universe out there.
Let me tell you right now,
it's a big, bad, scary, random universe out there WITH God!
Bad stuff happens.
Good stuff happens.
Stuff happens!
If it doesn't happen, you're DEAD!

But here's the important part:
You are not alone.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
You've got a family of SIX BILLION right here with you.
You think they don't know your troubles?
You think they don't know your heart?
They know yours as well as they know their own.
You think the world ain't a scary place for them?
It's a scary place for everybody!
But it's also a fantastically beautiful place!
And it's the only place we know for sure we've got.
So it is our DUTY, our PURPOSE IN LIFE, our REASON TO BE,
to make this the BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS!
Lemme tell ya!


God made the world, so they say,
And he did it in only seven days,
But they can't tell you if those days were short... or... long,
And they think their God is threatened if the dates... are... wrong.

God made Adam, God made Eve,
Kicked 'em out of Eden 'cause they were deceived (hiss that snake),
They had children, one was good... one... scum,
Cain killed Abel, then got married -- where'd his wife... come... from?

There's all those little problems where the story doesn't jibe,
If God created all of us, why single out one tribe?
Why weren't there any dinosaurs on Noah's floating zoo?
Why tell us all these fairy tales when we've got stuff to do?

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
Things happen, it's only natural to ask how (ask... how)
But there's no reason to trust mytho...lo...gy,
The world right here and now's enough for me.


God made Commandments, God made rules,
God said "to build a better life, these are the tools",
He said the first four... are to wor...ship... me,
If you don't, you will be tortured for eter...ni...ty.

But what if this world is all there is,
What if, when you die, there ain't no final quiz,
No hell or heaven? Well, that's all right... with... me...
We'll make it heaven here on earth, just wait... and... see.

Why punish us forever for an arbitrary rule?
Why set us up for failure? Does God have to be so cruel?
Why give us all these instincts for committing mortal sins?
Why give us all these ways to lose before the game begins?

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
There may be nothing, al-Akhirah, or the Tao (eternal Tao)
But I've got present responsibi...li...ty,
The world right here and now's enough for me.


We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
And you know we're gonna make it somehow (some... how)
But I ain't countin' on eter...ni...ty,
The world right here and now's enough for me.


There may be God, and there may not
The world we're livin' in might just be all we've got
That ain't no problem, 'cause, whether spawned... or... made,
The only way to live is not to be... a...fraid.

We've got our minds, we've got our hearts,
We've got our souls and they're the most important parts,
We don't need threatenin' to tell what's right... from... wrong
Just mind your business, clean things up, and get a... long.

The world is filled with wonderment and beauty near and far,
And trying to understand it is just being who we are,
If there's a God, he told us that the world he made was ours,
We're almost done exploring here, the next stop is the stars.

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
And we're gonna reach the heavens somehow (some... how)
It's up to us to fulfill our des...ti...ny,
The world right here and now's enough for me (enough for me).

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
And you know we're gonna make it somehow (some... how)
Find God within you -- the rest comes na...tura...lly,
The world right here and now's enough for me.
I say, the world right here and now's enough for me.
That's right, the world right here and now's enough for me.
Ohhhhh... yeahhhh!

6 Comments:

At 5:16 PM, Anonymous cr0wgrrl said...

You just sold me a copy of your album with this song. Just... wow.

 
At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

*falls to knees*

I am not worthy!

More, I tell you! Tom Smith, a king amongst songwriters/writers! From South Africa with adorations.

 
At 10:28 PM, Anonymous weetzie said...

How do you do it? How do you keep topping yourself week after week?

 
At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for that.

 
At 12:44 AM, Anonymous doulos12 said...

Your Sunday School teacher was ignorant. The Book of Job describes "Behemoth," which, by the description, is some kind of sauropod.

As a Lutheran pastor, I'm embarrassed and saddened. Too many people check their brains at the door when they enter churches.

That said, I'm a big fan of your work. You rock. More Cthulhu, please. :)

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Secretly Mike said...

Great song. This is the closest I've ever seen in music to my personal philosophy.

 

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