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The Atheist

(Mangia, South St. Louis)

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"There is no God!" Jack exclaimed. "No morality, no universal truth. Nothing but what we make up in our heads. You can't take these things too seriously, get all caught up in moral issues like right and wrong, good and bad, that kind of shit. It'll drive you crazy. Why not start thinking in terms of bood and gad. Be more nuanced -- start looking at these things a little more open-mindedly. Ask yourself this: Just what if none of that exists? God, morality, truth, all that shit. It just might set you free. After all, what are you going to do when that garbage reveals itself to be phony one day? And why would that be so bad?"

"Because it leaves us with nothing to believe in," I said.

"Ourselves, stupid."

"But that's nothing," I said. "That's vanity."

"Well, which would you prefer," he asked, "believing in nothing or believing in a lie?"

"Is there a third option?"

Jack snorted. Maybe he was disgusted. The band was setting up. There were a few girls standing in line for the bathroom. Or maybe they were just standing in what looked like a line, waiting for nothing. The floor underneath my feet was sticky. For a moment I couldn't tell exactly where I was.

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