MEMBERS ONLY: The Meaning Of Faith 

by Justin Rosario

These past two years have been, to profoundly understate it, difficult for me as a liberal. Between the screaming hissy fits of the regressive left insisting that I’m actually a conservative and the screaming hissy fits of conservatives insisting that I’m actually a radical socialist bent on destroying America, it’s been a nonstop barrage of idiocy from both sides.

But let’s be honest, as whiny as the “I hate Hillary” brogressives are, they’re nothing compared to the balls to the wall hate of the resurgent white nationalism plaguing our country. With Nazis marching in the streetsrunning for office, and sitting in the White House, these are dark times.

The President of the United States is a fascist whose corruption is beyond anything we’ve ever seen in America. The Republican Party has completely abrogated its constitutional responsibility to act as a check on the executive branch and is, in fact, doing everything possible to protect Trump from the law. Throughout the country, GOP-controlled states have rigged their elections and gerrymandered their legislatures, disenfranchising millions of Americans, mostly minorities. Our democracy has never been so vulnerable to collapse.

At the same time, the rich have inflicted massive amounts of damage on both the environment and our political system, pouring polluting chemicals into the former and polluting money into the latter. They own the entire Republican Party. They’ve built a media machine designed to create an alternate reality for conservative voters. They poison our food, our water, our air, our land, and then have the police violently break up our protests. They steal trillions from us and then have politicians tell us that it’s for our own good because something something “gay marriage is bad.”

And while all of this is happening, half of the American electorate cheers it on because it makes liberals cry. Sure, they live in the same house that’s burning to the ground but if they can’t be the landlord, if America can’t be theirs alone, they’ll pour more gasoline on the fire out of pure spite.

Despite this avalanche of horror, which the above just barely scratches the surface of, even at my lowest points, when everything looks bleak and horrible and the light at the end of the tunnel is all but eclipsed by a deranged orange Death Star, I know mankind will get past this. I know that one thousand years from now, humanity will be free from the cruelty and greed and hate of modern conservatism. I know this because I have something that conservatives will never have: Faith.

If you’ve followed my writing for any amount of time, that probably surprises you since I’m a militant atheist. I don’t believe in God or Zeus or Jesus or anything supernatural. That doesn’t mean I can’t have faith. I do. And it’s a powerful faith, far stronger than the alleged faith of conservative Christians. They believe in a tiny God who punishes those they hate and rewards bigotry and greed. The believe this because it allows them to be horrible people and feel good about it. That’s not faith, it’s the rationalization and justification of evil.

My faith is in something far greater and much more meaningful. I have faith in mankind. I have faith in our endless ability to overcome every obstacle and continue to rise.

When we first came down from the trees, we were defenseless against predators so we learned to make weapons and taught ourselves how to kill…everything. It didn’t matter how big or how fast or how strong it was or how many teeth or claws it had, we humans learned to fight, and then to hunt, the most dangerous predators nature had to offer. Forget Jurassic Park, if dinosaurs had survived, they would be our bitches.

When the Ice Age froze the world, we learned to how survive in conditions that wiped out every species not already adapted to the cold and even some that were.

When the ice melted, we continued to spread across the planet, recklessly launching ourselves across the oceans, having no idea if there was anything on the other side. Why? Because we thought it would be interesting.

We’ve survived plagues and famines and droughts and the collapse of more civilizations than we’ll ever know existed.

We crossed mountains because we wanted to see what was on the other side.

We dived to the deepest parts of the ocean just to look at weird fish.

We live in scorching deserts, in frozen tundra, in arid mountains, in steaming jungles; there’s not a place on earth that humans have not made their home because we felt like it.

And that’s just the prelude to the really cool stuff that’s coming.

The other day, I was talking to my 4-year-old donor son, Kyle, and he was telling me about how the Sun was going to expand someday and swallow the Earth but that was OK because we, meaning everyone, would all be dead by then. I corrected him and said it was just as likely that we would be living on other planets and in other galaxies long before that happened and that the human race would be just fine. He expressed some disbelief about this possibility.

I explained to him that a little over 100 years ago, the Wright brothers built and flew the first airplane; that just a century ago, we didn’t even know how to fly. But now, we have jumbo jets, planes that can fly faster than the speed of sound, and rocket ships. We’ve even landed on the Moon and come back, all in less than 100 years after the first airplane took to the air.

If we can do that in 100 years, what will we do 100 years from now? Or 200? Or 1000?

Kyle is still chewing on that.

There’s a line from Doctor Who that kind of summed it all up for me:

You lot. You spend all your time thinking about dying. Like you’re going to get killed by eggs or beef or global warming or asteroids. But you never take the time to imagine the impossible. That maybe you survive.

I believe that we do survive. I have faith that no matter how hard the worst of us try to drag down the human race, humanity will eventually break free of them and rise up again. It may not be in my lifetime (although I would like to see it begin) and it may not be in my children’s lifetime. My great-grandchildren my not even live to see it. But I have faith that that glorious future will come and so, unlike the “faith” of conservatives that lead them to only revere the here and now for themselves, I do what I can to help make it happen.

There’s a proverb, allegedly from ancient Greece, that informs my faith: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” I’m not that old and part of me hopes I’m lucky enough to catch a little of that shade before I kick the bucket but I’m OK with not knowing what comes next. Why? Because I have faith that even though my bit part will come to a end, the story itself will never end. Climate Change will come and go, fossil fuels will be discarded, disease and poverty will be no more, humanity will leave its cradle and leave behind the childish greed and hate of modern American conservatism in pursuit of a grander destiny.

And nothing Donald Trump, his Republican enablers or his white nationalist supporters can do will change that.

Amen.

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