You know, being an adult can sometimes be a pain in the ass. And yes, that means things like going to work or taking care of children. But it also means that we have to understand things that are complicated. Being an adult, we hope, implies that you understand how to operate a motor vehicle, manage money, pay taxes, and have a high school education.
Being an adult, we assume, means you have a basic knowledge of the organizational structure of businesses and governments. An adult should understand there are often multiple steps to take in order to get projects done. Adults that “adult” have the capacity to think ahead and recognize potential problems and take steps to prevent them.
When you are an adult, usually, it’s only you and you alone that can take care of your problem. It’s probably the worst part of being an adult. You can’t just throw your hands in the air and cry, because that doesn’t fix anything. Nope, as an adult, you have to take care of things. If you don’t take care of the problem, it will remain a problem and most likely get worse.
And the worst thing of all, when you are an adult, you can’t solve problems by getting pissed off and yelling what you wish would solve the problem. As many times as I thought just leaving, or just punching someone, or shooting an appliance, or barking an order for someone to do something sounded like a fun and satisfying way to solve a problem, it turns out that doing so never seems to actually solve the problem, and you still have to take care of it. Stupid adulting.
I keep saying “we hope” and “we assume” and “usually” because not all adults actually are good at adulting. This either means someone else is pulling the weight, or things are not getting done. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. And this means you are acting like a child.
The best part about being a child is adults take care of things for you. This is what is meant by the term “child-like innocence”, in that children don’t understand the difficulty or complexity of meeting their needs. Being ignorant of the time, effort, thought, and money that went into feeding or entertaining or keeping them comfortable, they are just free to enjoy the ride. Even better, children get to have fairy tales to explan stuff in a way that is much more entertaining than the reality. Santa Claus is immensely more fun than fighting lines in stores, and of course it is just simpler if chocolate milk just comes from brown cows.
Now, I’m not here to judge people that don’t adult. Far from it, if you don’t want to take care of yourself that’s on you. But as a society, somebody has to do the adulting. Somebody has to pull the weight and get things done. Yet we have an entire institution dedicated to keeping people from growing up and adulting. Yes, religion not only allows people to fantasize about simple fixes to complex problems, it actually encourages it.
Religion is easy. Super easy. You don’t need any understanding at all to be religious. In fact, religions caution against understanding. If you think you see a problem, you just need to stop thinking and trust that your particular deity knows what he/she is doing. Let the deity be the adult, just enjoy the ride.
Being religious means you don’t have to work hard to solve complicated problems anymore, you just blurt out simple, stupid answers that make you feel superior and satisfied. Do religious people adult when questions of major social conflict arise? No! Do they have a deep understanding of the problem and the mechanisms by which it came about? No! They yell some stupid line in their dumb holy book that may or may not be poetic, but solves nothing.
“They took our jobs.” “Build a wall.” “Pray to Jesus.” “Jesus take the wheel.” “Only two genders.” “It’s a baby.” “Put God back in school.” “Christian nation.” “Constitution is based on the bible.” “One man, one woman.” “Get a job.” These bumper-sticker length policy positions are actually bumper-sticker in depth as well. I personally have done fairly extensive analysis of “build the wall”, and I am here to tell you that even thinking a little bit about the problem destroys the idea. If you look at how, where, why, who, and when illegal immigration or illegal drugs enter the US, it is a fact that a wall is the most expensive, least effective thing we could possibly do to solve the problems.
I’ll say that again, it is the MOST EXPENSIVE BY FAR, and LEAST EFFECTIVE BY FAR measure that could be taken to solve the problems. However, walls are pretty cool. You can easily and cartoonishly imagine a big wall that people walk up to, attempt a cursory and ill-fated climb, then sheepishly walk away. THAT is simple, childish imagery, and it drives the entire wall movement. Childish imagery. How much less “adulting” can anyone possibly do?
As a result of this fairly widespread, religiously motivated, childlike behavior, the US is failing on many fronts. Without adults that “adult” when elected to represent us, the US constantly fights policy positions of substance and instead chooses policy positions of childlike ignorance. This means, of course, that problems never actually get solved. Americans are getting dumber, less healthy, and falling behind the rest of the world on almost every metric. They, of course, have the excuse that it is because god isn’t in school or some such bullshit. But that’s another childish fantasy. The reality is we have United States Congresspersons that literally tweet about how useless the government is. Think about that for a second.
Imagine if a newly seated bank board member immediately started tweeting about how stupid and useless banks are. If you can imagine such a stupid thing, you are imagining Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert, who is so childish that she literally talks crap about the US government, of which she is a member. And although she said it stupidest, she certainly is not the first elected official to convey the attitude of distrust for the government. People in government that think the government is useless will, of course, make the government useless. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy.
And let’s make sure we use Boebert to complete my point here. Guess what else the dime-store Barbie doesn’t understand? The separation of church and state. Yep, joining all her other anti-government, religious, racist reich-wing peers, she doesn’t think the government should improve, she thinks some people deserve worse treatment, and is against promoting the general welfare (you know, the things in the constitution). Meanwhile, she believes that Christianity should be the law of the land. (you know, in violation of the constitution). And what do we call someone that does the opposite of the constitution? Well, if you are a child, you can call yourself a “Strict Constitutional Constructionist”, which is a fancy way of saying you think the entire constitution is just a rule allowing unrestricted gun ownership. Again, childish.
Look, I know adulting is hard. I know thinking is hard. I know figuring out how to solve problems can be really, really hard. But it’s what adults do. So to my readers that can’t help your 6th grader do math homework, but believe yourself to be a constitutional or immunization expert, I say, grow up. Grow up and adult. And if you don’t do it, you are just fucking the rest of us over. Look, children. Government has a purpose, which means government has a job to do. Let the government do that job well. Signed, adults.
The Spartan Atheist