Fear.

No, not that movie with Mark Wahlberg playing the incredibly hot psycho opposite Reese Witherspoon and Gil Grissom. Shit, remember that roller coaster scene? OH MY GOD it set my little adolescent hormones all a flutter when I first watched it. Yeah, this is not about that.

One day, I’m going to die.

Maybe it’ll be a car accident, or a stray bullet, or a aneurysm, or maybe I’ll just get old and fade away. That’s fine, I guess. I’ve never been one to fear much of anything, not even death. It’s never even made me intensely uncomfortable in the way that the ocean at night does, or roaches and bridges do. There is something as enticing as it is frightening about the void, the unknown. It’s hard to think about one day…not existing. About how there will be lives lived after I’m no longer here, about the descendants I may have that I will never meet. Contemplating your own mortality can be a pretty tough thing to do, but I’ve done it. After you get past the whole, you know, dying thing, it’s not so bad. It’s actually a pretty fascinating bit of introspection.

Anyway, one day I’ll be dead and there is no way to know what happens after that. My common sense tells me that nothing happens. That I am just no more, that I am as unaware of life – of what living means – as I was before conception. My ashes will scatter somewhere, or maybe sit on a shelf in the living room of one of my daughters that can’t let me go. Maybe someone will roll me into a blunt and smoke me like The Outlawz did 2Pac. Whatever happens, I’ll not know, because I won’t be. Yes, that’s what my logical thoughts lead me to believe.

Yet, I am afraid of going to hell. Yes, I am an Atheist: I do not believe in hell. However, I am also Agnostic: I do not know if there is a hell. What if there is?

Christianity planted a silent seed in my mind when I was a child: that if you don’t do what you’re told you will displease the most important and only omnipotent authority figure in your life and He will burn you to death as punishment for your transgressions. After, of course, you stand in front of Him and He reads from His book to you exactly what those sins are, and even though you beg for mercy and another chance, He will cast you back down to Earth and rain fire down on you, and you will try to hide but there will be no where to go, no escape. You will burn with the rest of the wicked, with sociopaths and unrepentant psychos – with Lucifer himself – because all sins are equal, and so is the punishment.

As preposterous as that all might be to me – it. is. terrifying. – and that why I’m so against introducing religion to my daughters at a young age. Here I am: almost 26 years old and because of my upbringing, the only thing in the world that I fear is something I don’t even believe in.

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