Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Now that I see that Mark Zuckerberg is no longer an atheist, I’m doubling down on my own unbelief. Anything to mess with the man who brought us Facebook.
I never understand this kind of conversion. I mean, it’s not as if evidence of the existence of a god or gods has improved in the past year or two. Believers are making the same arguments they made five hundred years ago, and atheists are going, “I don’t think so.” What happened to Zuckerberg was an internal thing, probably a sense of mortality striking him as he cruises into his thirties after a whirlwind decade. Or worse, he might feel somehow chosen.
I’ve never been the kind of atheist who criticizes believers for their belief. Reality looks different from different angles, like the famous cartoon of several blind men describing the elephant they’re touching. (The one touching elephant scat says, “An elephant is soft and mushy.”) From my point of view, nothing points to a supernatural clockmaker who loves each and every one of us. From where my mother sits, though, the comfort she takes from her religion trumps any argument I could ever make against it. To her, that’s reality.
I’m the kind of atheist, on the contrary, who has never doubted — my atheism, that is. I’ve been impenetrable as far as “proofs” of God’s existence are concerned. But that makes me wonder if Zuckerberg was ever really a nonbeliever or, instead, just the kind of super-busy nerd who didn’t give these things much thought. He has a wife and a kid now, and it’s maybe a little hard to believe that the same thing happens to the fabulously wealthy after this life as to the shelf-stocker at Walmart. How can that possibly be?
These are mysterious things. But I hate to break it to Mr. Z: What one believes doesn’t change what is. Maybe he’s taking Pascal’s side of the wager, that it’s safer to believe than not, since the consequences can be bad with the latter if in fact God is out there watching. On the other hand, he’s one of the wealthiest men on Earth and the eye of a needle isn’t getting any bigger. What’s a tycoon to do?
Sometimes I think public people are outward faithfuls and inward atheists, knowing that PR is a great way to buy a halo. After Trump, MZ might have notions of running for president one day for all we know. But whatever the case, I wish I didn’t know what Mark Zuckerberg believes and that it didn’t really matter either way.