As you lie dying

Memories of my dad as he passes away from his own cognitive biases

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared god, and eschewed evil. So god fucked with Job in the cruelest manner possible.” 

— Translated from the Christian Bible

You are lying in a hospital bed intubated and unaware. I am re-living a childhood filled with great cognitive dissonance and constant questions that you never answered satisfactorily. Welcome to a tiny piece of the history of us.

The story of Job from the Christian book of fables is a primary example of why I rejected your belief system, dad. What kind of person bows down to a monster who, when happening upon a perfect man, then makes a cosmic bet with an agent of evil, whom it also created, about how much torment and suffering it will take to get this perfect man to curse the name of his creator.

Dad, you are dying of COVID-19 as I write these words and thoughts out. I only get my information second-hand these days because I have set boundaries necessary to maintain positive mental health. 

Your demise from COVID-19 was entirely avoidable. Had you not been caught up in a lifelong tidal wave of cognitive biases and the undercurrent of the sunk cost fallacy, you would have pursued the vaccine long ago. You would have made better choices about who to listen to and who to trust. You wouldn’t have wallowed in an echo chamber of those who shared your delusions about the purpose and meaning of life, why this pandemic happened, and what to do about it.

Your god isn’t real, dad. Even if he were, I wouldn’t worship him. Why pray to monsters? I don’t understand how you could have devoted your entire life to such a terrible being. You’re not a bad person, dad. In fact, you’ve spent your adult life helping other people. It makes me sad every day that you needed to wrap it up in the patronizing cloak of the Christian myth. The constant proselytizing was tiresome, and I imagine I am not the only one who found the non-stop need to spread Christian mythology irksome.

Plus, that cognitive weakness inherent in insisting that fantasy is reality. The book you claim is inerrant truth describes a monster who rules by fear. It takes fundamental mental gymnastics to twist that into a loving redeemer. You’ve been a world-class gymnast for a very long time.

Christians, who have already committed to one batch of obvious nonsense, fall for every other scam on the planet more readily. That’s why you didn’t get vaccinated, and it’s why you are dying in an ICU now. You and mom have been falling for scams for years: Amway, Shaklee, timeshares, ionic chargers, and homeopathic miracle cures. You never met a pyramid scheme or snake oil sale that didn’t catch your eye. So you’re pre-disposed to conspiracy thinking. Faith-based when translated equals primed for con artists.

The story of Job goes like this: God notices a perfect man and decides to fuck with that man to see just how loyal he is. He makes a bet with Satan to see just how much suffering it will take to make Job curse god’s name. That’s a super insecure, petty and cruel deity if you ask me.

I once said, “Oh god,” in front of mom because someone had said it at school and she slapped me right across the room for blaspheming. I sure learned a life lesson that day. Don’t fuck with god. Which really means don’t fuck with god’s self-proclaimed agents here on earth. And you and mom were god’s primary agents in my life.

So god and his alter ego Satan are busy fucking with Job. They kill his kids, destroy his property, and give him a bunch of really painful infections that cause him to suffer about as much as a person can suffer without dying. But Job, being the fool that he is, refuses to curse god. He is, in the fable, therefore rewarded for not giving a shit that god murdered all his children and burned all his property by being gifted new children and property. What kind of sick story is that? I never did and never will understand how you bowed down to this nonsense for your whole life.

I do understand how it led you to the hospital bed you are in now. I do understand how it caused your personal heuristics to be extremely flawed. Up is down, north is south, ivermectin is good, do your own research and don’t get vaccinated while you get shunned by the majority for insisting that your invisible sky friend will take care of everything with a little help from hydroxychloroquine and Donald J. Trump. Christianity predisposes people to substituting fantasy for reality.

You weren’t a bad man, but you certainly were weighed down by a lot of bags full of cognitive dissonance. I struggle with the fact that I was sometimes forced to carry part of the burden on your behalf. I cannot forget the time you broke down sobbing because I am going to burn in a lake of fire forever. That’s a scam too. It’s just a pathetic attempt at human behavior modification from many centuries ago. Maybe it made sense in pre-science times, but you had better information available to you and chose to ignore it.

Despite your continuous magical thinking, you have access to first-class medical care. You had access to vaccines and chose to reject them. And now you lay dying. I hope your passing is peaceful when it comes. If your care team is good enough, and your immune system cooperates, maybe you’ll get the chance to cast off your blinders and accept that the world is better without the myths of Christianity. Life tastes sweeter when it isn’t wrapped up in a cosmic game of pointlessly inflicted suffering by cruel, imaginary deities that are just reflections of who we are and have been.

We can do better. You could have done better. You could have cast off your mental chains. I wish you had, but wishful thinking is a waste of time, so I am leaving these bread crumbs here for others who might benefit.