The Religion Of

Atheism.

It came to me — like a bolt of lightning out of the sky. KRAAACK as it fired on my brain, the lights and the explosive sound reverberating in my skull. When the smoke settled, I sat there, dumbfounded at the revelation that came to me. It was a brief moment but in that short time span, I suddenly realized the truth about belief and — god.

It was Joel Osteen, the vibrant, mega superstar of the pulpit with is $200 haircut and $10,000 dollar smile. A man so perfect in his perfection that one wonders if he is actually of this world — or more the stuff of folklore and superstition. The perfection of what he’s selling has millions congregating to get a glimpse of and, to hear the word of one of the world’s most prolific prophets in modern time.

He came from simple enough beginnings and eventually would rise up and build a $105 million dollar church that holds 56,000 people. Yes, you heard right and no, that’s not a typo. A church that cost $105 million dollars to build.

Currently, Osteen has approximately 7 million people that tune into his televised evangelical ministry every week and they say about 20 million world wide subscribe to his weekly series.

That’s a big reach. Not exactly a god like reach but something that would definitely get god’s attention?

I never really gave him much thought as he showed up in the occasional talk show with his wife, portraying this evangelical, save the world in their thousand dollar designer outfits and proclaiming their mission to bring god into the hearts and soul of mankind. Whew. I guess someone has to take on this burden.

Today, Joel Osteen is a certified, 100% bonafide celebrity. He has the look, he definitely has the swaggar and most importantly he has the fame and the money to back it up. Shit, he’s so much celebrity that he even has an IMDB page to back that celebrity up.

And with that celebrity, we’re talking some serious moola, cake, deniro — or whatever denomination you want to refer to when thinking about the massive collection plate being passed around his 56,000 person arena. Did I mention that Joel got robbed back in March? Yup. Someone broke into his residence and stole 600 grand from the safe. It was was the weekend’s take from his latest service.

What’s he worth? Well, considering his organisation is religious, considered a charity and is not subjected to the normal regiments of taxation — his net worth is somwhere around 40 million dollars and to accompany that, he has a 17,000 sq foot mansion to hang around in when he’s not proclaiming the word of god…

That lightning that smacked me in the head? It was the realisation that even as a self professed atheist — I’m still probably light years behind Joel Osteen in my practice of atheism. If there ever was a poster boy for not actually believing in god — Osteen would have to be it.

Say what?

Think about it for a second. If you were a true believer, a actual servant of god, fearing and trembling at his almighty power, his ability to create life and to take it away — would you really give him the big fuck you by taking money from the poor, the elderly and the — well, I’m just going to say it — the stupid so that you could live a life of luxury?

I seem to remember Jesus running through the town square and ransacking the churches, turning over tables and shaming the wealthy priests in their lavish synagogues dripping with gold. You can correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me that he wasn’t so happy about that shit.

Joel’s not alone. The fucking pope. Check that shit out. Ya, they got lots of gold and money and power…all the stuff that Jesus dude condemned. He was the son of god. Maybe he knew what the sccop was. Maybe he was just a fraud, or an agent provacateur — stirring up shit to help keep the masses in line.

What’s ironic about all these revelations I’m having about god and religion is the realization that maybe I’m not as atheist as I once thought. I mean, I could never stand up in front of a crowd and talk about god and the word and have my hand out — taking in my own personal reward for speaking the word.

Like a dancing monkey; Osteen performs week in and week out while reaching into the pockets of the unsuspecting. Those people that think salvation is in giving up a percentage of their hard earned money to the beautiful man with perfect hair and teeth.

It dawned on me that while I have issues with current religious ideologies and the Dogma that goes with it — I actually have a healthy fear of the unknown and the idea that a motherfucking entity that’s way beyond my understanding is waiting in the dark shadows to deal with my Earthly transgressions. Not a devil or satan as you will but just a reckoning for the deeds I accomplished or, failed to accomplish while given the chance with my time on this planet.

Joel Osteen has a big powerful voice. 20 million isn’t quite the 3 or so billion that the pope has but it’s a lot of responsibility. And what’s he doing with it? His quest certainly isn’t one of humility or servitude as the bible would have one acknowledge as being the true path to enlightenment.

So…Either Osteen isn’t really up on his scripture or, and I’m really going to mess with your minds here, he knows exactly what’s up but doesn’t give a fuck because he doesn’t actually believe. Think about the balls on this man — raking in 10's of millions of dollars on the backs of those people who think their redemption is following and giving their money to a man they believe speaks for god.

If there’s a real god that we will all have to answer to one day, and part of me believes there just could be — based on my fear of being as brazen as one Joel Osteen, then it’s possible we’re actually looking at the anti-christ. A man who by his very actions shows you that the way to salvation is through a perfect smile, lots of money and many words. Actions — we’ll leave those to the warriors in the street. Those people helping one homeless, drug addicted or mentally ill person at a time. Joel Osteen Ministrys is his own charity — in Canada recognized as a registered charity organisation.

“Beware false prophets.” My catholic upbringing and all this shit just sort of percolates to the top at times like this. Religion is a farce. Fodder for the masses. Those consumed by the ideas that a week’s worth of sin and shitty behaviour is erased by a Sunday of listening to douche bags like Osteen and opening up their checkbooks.

Good behavior and good deeds are not exclusive of religious belief. Some of the kindest, most generous and most giving people I know have no denomination and would consider themselves atheist, like me. But perhaps atheist really isn’t a disbelief in god but more a disbelief in the deplorable behaviour of the religious right. those who hide behind words of convenience.

While I don’t believe in the gods of the Osteens or the pope, perhaps there is a higher power in this universe keeping score. And perhaps those of us who don’t buy into the current Dogma aren’t actually dammed but in the end, the people with the most clarity — prepared to move on to the next celestial road bump.

Ahhhh, but what the fuck do I know.

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