Editor’s Note: The following is Part Eleven of the Reed Secular Alliance’s prisoner letter feature. Throughout this series, a prisoner who receives literature from the Freethought Books Project has been writing letters, to tell more about both prison life and atheism behind bars. Prison Bob is a pseudonym for a real, living, breathing inmate in Oklahoma. To check out old additions, start with the first prisoner letter feature.
It has been a busy few days here in the ol’ Barbed Wire Monastery. As temperatures cool and people are kept indoors more, forced interaction peaks. This isn’t a good thing. In trying to get away from this forced by-play, I ended up with more material to write about. IT started another of my famous discussions. The loud talk began with my recounting what I overheard our newest Ultra-Christian [Jad], whom I’ve written about previously. He’s the one who was gay, but now is getting “married” if and when he leaves here. He got picked out online like a puppy from the pound.
Anyway, Pubby Boy is a freshly minted Christian with all the inherent blind spots. He was holding forth on what an “awesome and relevant” tome the book, “Jesus Freaks” is. If you haven’t read this work, keep it that way. I’ve read most of it. It could be a powerful tool of indoctrination for new seekers looking for any port in a storm. The basic gist is: If these modern people, facing torture and execution can hold onto their faith “unto death” – why can’t you? (The book is a list of martyrs.)
Hmm…because II have survival instincts? Because I realize that I can do Nothing when deceased? Because this deity you tout is a myth to me?
My point in the oncoming argument was, that type of ideological fealty is the stupidest damned thing a human being can do. My buddy, temporarily turned adversary said, “No, it isn’t stupid. It’s glorious. They advanced the cause. They’re martyrs and saints now.” Sometimes he likes stirring me up.
I don’t believe they furthered any cause. It does them no good to be martyred. They are dead.
So, as always: The following are my opinions after considerable hours of pondering the point.
A) If you feel it valorous or morally obligatory to die for your beliefs when a simple, if illusory, change of mind would keep you from being terminated, good riddance.
B) If you are not smart enough to know that the only sacrosanct and inviolate area we have is the mind, and you are stubb0rn enough to die instead of lie about a concept, see ya. we’re better off as whole without you in the gene pool.
C) To exist is the foremost goal, the primal directive, if you will. Humans are evolved to think and survive. Only when misguided intellect interferes do we get things like religious martyrdom.
You are able to effect change only if you exist. You may be a catalyst for change after your demise, but what can you care? You’re dead. At that point, nothing matters to you.
As humans, we come chock full of survival instincts. If you ignore millennia of conditioning, in the form of instincts, you die. When something causes pain, we do what is necessary to stop the pain, or we suffer and/or die if the pain is too detrimental. This is how humans learn.
If you’re not smart enough to get out of jury duty or say aloud under torture: “Oh, I’m sorry. You’re right. Communism is the best for of governance ever. My bad!” to effectively escape death – then you deserve destruction. Because it is possible to say things you do not believe.
All people die. It is the only thing that all humans have in common. If you die due to a giant game of “My Dad will kick your Dad’s ass,” that’s on you.
If you’re already being tortured, they’re probably gonna kill you anyway. Cost benefit ratio.