Chandler’s Honesty Part 2: Chandler and a Unicorn talk Religion
Chapter 0: Confusion
Chandler was confused. He was confused about many things. At 31 years of age, he was still wondering who he was. He knew what he could do. He worked at Hy-Vee and took dance lessons. He also experimented with computer programming and geometric art. He was happy about the things he could do well but there was something that annoyed him. He had certain thoughts about his identity. Was he merely the sum of the things he could do or was he something beyond that?
One night, as he went to sleep, he wished for someone he could talk to about his thoughts who would not criticize him and freak out. He had come to face some of his greatest fears once before in another dream where he had met a unicorn that was surprisingly wise. No matter how angry Chandler became or how he insulted the unicorn, the unicorn had no signs of being annoyed or angry with Chandler. In the end, the unicorn told Chandler that it was actually Chandler’s subconscious mind. He even explained why he took the shape of the unicorn. As Chandler fell asleep, he wished that he could talk to the unicorn again and come to understand some more of his memories and the topic that bothered him the most recently. His wish would soon be granted.
Chapter 1: Nervous
Chandler was in a dream. The unicorn with the silver horn was in front of him and talked.
H: Welcome back Chandler! You wished to see me again, didn’t you?
C: Yes, we still have so much to talk about. I have a situation I don’t know how to handle.
H: What’s going on?
C: Well you see I have a dance recital coming up and I’m nervous about the people.
H: Why is that?
C: They are going to be people I don’t know and I’m scared of how they will treat me. Part of it is because Susan sent me an email and said: “Just want you to know this recital is Christian oriented. Hope you can be OK with that… but the program guide and the kids dances are worship dances. Wanted to touch base with you about this. Let me know your thoughts. “
H: And this made you nervous?
C: Well yeah. After all if I’m around a bunch of Christians, there are so many things that could go wrong. They might ask me where I go to church or something. Or maybe they’ll tell me my hair is too long like some Christians might because they have strong beliefs that men must have very short hair.
H: You fear them greatly I see. How do you plan to handle it?
C: Generally, the idea is to avoid conversations with people. However, if in the event that fails, I’ll end up telling them the truth or perhaps telling them I don’t want to talk about those things.
H: There is nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to tell them anything you don’t want to, and if you do tell them the truth, there is nothing wrong with that either.
C: Yes, I know there is nothing wrong with that but still I’m afraid.
H: What are you afraid will happen?
C: I’m afraid they will keep asking me questions that I don’t want to answer. Or they’ll see the look of fear in my eyes and wonder what is wrong.
H: Do you really care so much about their opinion of you? What’s the worst that could possibly happen?
C: The worst case scenario is that they’ll find out I’m an atheist and not a Christian of any sort. Then they’ll start rumors and judge Susan for having an atheist dance student.
H: But that’s her business. She doesn’t have to teach students that agree with her religious beliefs or anyone else’s. Besides she already knows you’re an atheist and she doesn’t mistreat you because of it.
C: Yeah, you’re right. I don’t know why I’m so worried. Something about the topic of Christianity really bugs me.
H: Maybe we should talk about that. You want to overcome your fear of religious people don’t you?
C: Yes, although it will be tough after the experiences I’ve had. Every time I hear somebody mention that they are a Christian or say something about Jesus, then I have memories of my bad church experiences and all the times I was afraid of going to hell.
Chapter 2: The First Doubt
H: Maybe you should start from the very beginning. Tell me about your experience with Christianity and what led you out of it.
C: I grew up attending a variety of protestant churches. My mother took me with her to whatever church she went to at the time and I found it incredibly boring. I did not understand the stuff the pastors were talking about. My mom read me bible stories and I specifically remember being horrified by the Noah’s ark story. I could not help but wonder why my mom was reading a horror story to me.
H: So it was something you feared and did not understand?
C: Yes. I didn’t like it and yet as I grew up, I came to understand that the stories in the bible were not just a story but something that apparently my mother and the people in the churches claimed was fact. They believed that these stories were real, or at least they said they believed it.
H: Did you believe it?
C: At the time I did because it was the only thing I was being told. I was a kid and didn’t know anything about the world. However, my experiences in life later severely made me question things.
H: When did you first start to suspect that something was wrong with the bible?
C: I suppose I always believed there was something wrong with it. However, although I found it terribly immoral and the god it described to be very hateful, I still believed that it was true because that’s what people told me.
H: And when did you start doubting it’s truthfulness?
C: It was so long ago that I can’t even remember what the first time was.
H: OK, then what is the earliest you remember at the moment?
C: I remember when my best friend, Tanya, who I knew since childhood asked me why my mom saw a therapist. She said that God was her therapist.
H: And how did this affect you?
C: I got really confused. I fully understood why my mom needed counseling for her emotional problems. I know about her abusive parents and also how cruel my father was to her. If anybody needed professional help, she did and I saw nothing wrong with it. But then when Tanya acted like there was something wrong with it, I had many questions.
H: What kind of questions?
C: I wondered whether Tanya was right or wrong. Should God be enough to help people heal from emotional damage or was the help of other humans required? Was my mom right or wrong to get counseling or was it, in fact, Tanya who was wrong?
H: How did you decide who to believe?
C: That’s the thing, I didn’t and so I came to an interesting conclusion. Clearly the God described in the bible was powerful enough to fix the emotional or mental problems of people, yet somehow this wasn’t happening for either me or my mother. I have had emotional problems and been suicidal at many times in my life and so clearly God was not helping me and wasn’t enough to help my mother and so she needed more help than god could provide
Additionally, I also had another thought. Clearly if God had wanted to, he could have prevented me or my mother from being abused in the first place, yet apparently he wasn’t interested. While I believed that God existed, I very much doubted if he cared at all about me or my mom.
H: You believed he didn’t care because he didn’t prevent the abuse, but what made you so sure that God had the power to stop it.
C: I figured that because God was powerful enough to create the world and all the life forms in it in the first place, he also had the power to prevent his creations from hurting others. In fact the stories in the bible are where I got the idea. The story of how God helped the Israelites escape from Egypt was proof enough to me that when God wanted to, he would even go so far as to kill people to stop them from abusing others.
H: Did you want God to kill people to stop them from abusing you or others?
C: Not really, but I figured that God could find a way to change people rather than kill them. However, I’ve never understood why he didn’t do so in the bible stories. Surely he could have just turned the Pharaoh into a nice guy and then he would order everyone else to let the Hebrew slaves go.
H: It makes sense. You questioned why God would kill people when he had other options.
C: Yes, there would have been no need for those plagues if God had simply changed the hearts of the Egyptians. That was how I saw it then.
Chapter 3: The Problem of Evil
H: It sounds like you were dealing with the ancient problem of evil. This is a common dilemma.
C: Yes it is. Many people have asked the question of why God allows all the evil to happen. I don’t think there has ever been a good answer.
H: What is the common answer people give?
C: People said that God gave people a free will and that they can choose to do what they want and god is either unwilling or unable to stop them from what they feel like doing.
H: But you don’t think this solves the problem, do you?
C: Not at all. For one thing, if god is unable to stop them, then explain how he did stop people from doing certain things in the bible. He interfered with human choices plenty of times in the bible. Additionally, if God gave people the choice to do evil in the first place, then basically he is pro-choice.
H: And that bothers you greatly doesn’t it?
C: Yeah, specifically because abortion is such an emotional issue for me. The idea that God is pro-choice, not just about abortion but also pro-choice in regard to everything else. Most importantly, it means that we cannot expect God to rescue us from those who have the power to hurt us.
H: And you wished there was someone to rescue you when you were a child?
C: Of course. I also wished my mother had been rescued from her parents.
H: So you stopped looking to God as a solution to your problems?
C: Yes, I have no promises that God will do anything to stop what others do to me, my mother, other humans, and the billions of animals that humans are killing. Moreover the bible is complete trash to me now. There is plenty in there about God not only approving of killing but actually commanding people to kill other humans and plenty of animals in ritual sacrifices. God, as described in the bible is pro-death. He even killed people himself with miracles.
H: So what happened after you gave up on God?
C: I began a new quest to learn the truth about things. I began questioning my purpose in life and even if God existed in the first place.
H: Did you feel better as you asked questions and tried to learn new things?
C: Not really. I was very confused and alone. I didn’t have someone to talk to about these things. I also became increasingly afraid that I was going to hell. I already had been taught that people who didn’t believe in god the right way or live a certain way made God angry and he wanted to burn them forever after they die.
H: So you were afraid of God at the same time as wondering if God even existed?
C: Yes, and it was a very conflicted feeling and one that I never want to experience again.
H: But now you don’t believe in God at all do you?
C: No, I think that he was an invention of humans. Humans want to hurt and kill so they make up stories that God commanded them to do so. It’s the ultimate excuse to be as evil as they want.
Chapter 4: Transition
H: What happened in between the time that you were afraid of God and when you stopped believing he was real?
C: So many things. Mostly I learned that there were scientific explanations for things that contradicted the bible. In time I learned about more and more contradictions in the bible and at the same time I learned the theory of evolution. Looking at the anatomy of humans and other animals makes much more sense when you don’t see it as being designed. There are so many flaws in the design that it makes the idea of an intelligent creator laughable.
H: Can you give some examples?
C: Yes, starting with my own body: the testicles. How inefficient to have balls hanging in a sack outside my body. They get bruised really badly. I’m always hurting them by accidentally sitting on them and especially when riding my bike. This is part of the reason I plan to have them surgically removed. It would make much more sense for them to be somewhere safe inside the body so that they can’t get hurt, sort of like women’s ovaries. Aside from that, I absolutely hate the useless hair on my face and butt. It keeps growing back no matter how many times I shave or cut it. Someday I’ll probably have to find professional help getting that removed permanently.
H: What about women’s bodies? Are there things you see as design flaws in women?
C: Of course, while women don’t usually have the same problems I do, they have menstruation and have blood coming out of them every month. Additionally their breasts get in their way and sometimes get so large that they cause back pain. Overall, I’d have to say that looking at other men or women as some kind of genius design only promotes the idea that God is the sadist described in the bible and wants people to experience pain and annoyance.
H: And does evolution explain these flaws?
C: I’m sure it does and the scientists who have studied biology extensively can probably give explanations. However my basic understanding is that evolution is just a process by which certain genes are more likely to get passed on than others. For example, the reason that most people will be heterosexual is because only heterosexuals are likely to reproduce. Mutations sometimes occur for infinitely possible reasons and so, sometimes you end up with people like me who are simply not going to reproduce.
H: Without the theory of evolution, would you still be believing in God?
C: No. I still don’t think that a God explains things. In fact I think that the belief in God is just used as an excuse to not learn things. People simply believe “God did it” and therefore they have no need to learn science to answer their questions.
Chapter 5: A World Without Religion
H: Do you believe that the world would be better if people no longer believed in the idea of gods?
C: Absolutely, for many reasons.
H: Can you mention a few?
C: For one thing, people would no longer be able to excuse their evil by saying God told them to do it, or do what they want and then say that it’s God’s will because he allowed them to do what they were going to do anyway. Secondly, people would try to find answers through their own quest rather than just believing an ancient book provides all the answers.
H: Do you think that people might use different excuses to do evil things or to stay ignorant?
C: Possibly, although I don’t think it would be successful.
H: How so?
C: Because people are becoming smart enough to see that racism, sexism, and species-ism are wrong. However, the main way that people defend the way they treat blacks, women, and other species of animals is by using religion. I believe that without religion, there would be more equality between men and women and also more people would be vegan.
H: Do you think that being an atheist was required before you could go vegan?
C: It’s hard to say for sure but personally I believe, yes. While I still believed that God was the moral authority and that humans were given dominion over other animals and that God commanded those animal sacrifices, I wouldn’t be able to be a vegan without the feeling that I was disobeying God.
H: So you view your current lifestyle as being the opposite of Christianity?
C: Yes, because Christianity is a death cult that celebrates animal sacrifice and the crucifixion of Jesus. I respect life and therefore cannot be a Christian.
Chapter 6: Who is Jesus?
H: You mentioned the crucifixion of Jesus. What is he to you?
C: I’m not sure. I don’t even know if a man anything like the Jesus from the bible existed.
H: But when you believed he was real, what did you think of him?
C: I saw him sort of as a teacher or philosopher. I liked some of his teachings but I always felt that the way he spoke and the things he did in the bible were so contrary to how Christians I’ve known have acted.
H: What would you say is the biggest difference between Jesus and the Christians you have known?
C: Jesus spent time with the people that were considered unclean or sinners. Modern Christians, however, are cruel to others who they consider to be in the wrong. Their treatment of atheists, homosexuals, and people with mental illness is not something I can imagine Jesus doing.
H: So what does that say about the Christians who claim to be followers of Jesus?
C: It means they are hypocrites. If Jesus was real then he would probably say the same, just as he did to the religious leaders of the people in his day as described in the bible.
Chapter 7: Moral Questioning
H: So obviously you don’t like the way most Christians act but do you think Jesus is a good example to follow?
C: Maybe in some ways, but I don’t think I would follow him as a guide for my life.
H: Why is that?
C: For one thing, there is no indication that he was a vegan. And even if he was, it wasn’t mentioned in his teachings.
H: So you would have expected him to be a better moral example? Why would you expect this?
C: Well, considering that the claims of Christianity, assuming he is literally God, surely he would have at least known that killing and using animals was wrong. And if he didn’t know it, then it means God is morally flawed, which is the same as the old testament will tell you.
H: And if he was just a man rather than God, would that make a difference?
C: Yes, because at least I could understand his ignorance in that area just like I do with other humans who don’t see the other animals as equals because they’ve been brainwashed. Whether Jesus was just a man or whether he literally was the same as God, the supposed creator of the world makes all the difference as far as Christianity goes.
H: I see, but does it make a difference to you?
H: Why does it not matter to you?
C: Because either way you slice it, I know better how to follow the golden rule than Jesus or any of the people who falsely claim to be his followers. They can’t prove for sure that he existed or what he really did or taught anyway, so what are they following except the words that humans made up about him? That’s pretty much what religion is in general: Stories that people make up while fighting over who has the true religion or the right “interpretation” of some old book.
H: If you had information that could settle the debate once and for all about which religion, if any, was true, would you tell people?
H: Why is that?
C: Because I want people to find out the truth for themselves rather than just believing what I tell them. I don’t want people calling themselves Chandlerians and fighting over stories about what I said or didn’t. If they don’t care enough to do their own search for the truth then they might as well believe the lies they want to.
H: So you’ve given up on trying to tell people their religion is false?
C: Yeah, people have tried it but only been criticized and sometimes killed for challenging religion. Although I strongly believe that Christianity and most other religions should be destroyed, I also know that people are unable to give up their beliefs and since I don’t want to kill them, I have to let them do as they like. It’s not like I can stop them anyway.
Chapter 8: The Golden Rule
H: Morality is greatly important to you, I can tell.
C: Yes, more important than anything else I can think of at the moment.
H: And how do you define morality?
C: Morality is doing your best to follow the golden rule. If I do to others as I would want them to do to me then I can be consistent rather than a hypocrite.
H: How well do you think you follow the golden rule?
C: Fairly well, I’ve had lots of practice at thinking deeply about my actions.
H: When you do fail to follow the golden rule, do you feel bad about it?
C: Of course, why wouldn’t I?
H: I’m not saying you wouldn’t. I would just like to ask where that feeling comes from.
C: From my own experiences of how I’ve felt when others hurt me, simple empathy.
H: Do you think others can learn to follow the golden rule in a similar way?
C: I sure hope so, but who can say?
H: Nobody can, I suppose. However, is one of your goals to teach people to follow the golden rule?
C: Of course. All my writing and speaking about veganism is the main way I do it.
H: And when you explain veganism to people, are you following the golden rule?
C: Yes, because I was grateful for other people explaining the truth to me so that I ended up going vegan.
H: But is it possible that others don’t want you to?
C: Of course, they don’t like being told that they have been murdering animals all their life.
H: And when you became aware that you, yourself, had been contributing to the killing of animals, how did you feel?
C: Absolutely horrible!
H: And how did you handle that.
C: I simply changed what I did and tried my best to avoid buying any products that I knew were obtained through the breeding and killing of animals.
H: Do you expect others will change as easily as you did?
C: In the past I did, yet I soon learned that they are unwilling to change.
H: Why do you think this is?
C: There could be all kinds of reasons for it, but I suspect that most of them are not willing to follow the golden rule to it’s logical conclusion. The cost is too great for them.
H: What is the cost of the golden rule?
C: It means a lifetime spent on doing the right things rather than going the easy route that gains approval from society. People who go to church and call themselves a Christian are considered good people. That’s why politicians make a big deal about how religious they are. People who are omnivores and will eat anything gain the social benefit of enjoying meals with friends and family without the emotional pain a vegan must endure and they are not criticized for their diet because they eat the same as others. Young people do drugs, drink alcohol, and have sex with people because it’s considered to be cool and you are considered more fun when you do the same things that the rest of the crowd is doing. A person like me who does none of these things because I have strong reasons not to is looked upon by the rest of society as somebody who is different. People know I am different and there is no way to hide this fact even if I wanted to. Some may like or dislike me for being different, however I get no pleasure in being different.
H: Why do you get no pleasure from being different.
C: Because my desire is not to be different but to be the way that everybody should be.
H: And you think everybody should live as you do?
C: Not in every way, of course, but in the things that matter, yes. I believe I have the right idea and all the things I do and don’t do are in fact based on the golden rule and it’s not too hard to explain them individually if I have the chance.
H: And the other people, do you think that they want you to be like them?
C: I used to think so, however I’m not so sure anymore.
H: What aren’t you sure about?
C: I’m not sure whether others really care what I do as much as I think they do. I can’t read their thoughts and this worries me greatly because I don’t know what they believe and I can’t predict their actions.
Chapter 9: Nobody Has the Answers
H: Why do you need to predict the actions of people?
C: To prevent them from hurting me.
H: So, you think that if you can know them well enough and what they believe, then you’ll know what they plan to do?
C: Yes. The only problem is that I have no reliable way of knowing what people believe. They say they believe something but then they do the opposite. People are liars and say things they don’t mean.
H: Can you give an example?
C: Yes, on the one hand they say that they believe Jesus is their savior or something like that and that they are going to heaven when they die which is supposedly a place of happiness. Yet at the same time, they fear death greatly and grieve over the death of friends and family when instead, they should be happy that the person is in a better place.
H: I see what you mean. And you see this as them lying about their beliefs?
C: Yes, because it shows they don’t truly believe somebody is living somewhere else and being happy. Additionally, there is the problem that sometimes they aren’t sure if they went to hell instead of heaven. They have no evidence of an afterlife anymore than they have evidence that a god created the world and made a man out of dirt.
H: Is this one of the things that led you to stop believing?
C: Not exactly. I think it just showed me that I truly didn’t believe the stuff Christianity taught me. Additionally, I didn’t find the bible to be clear on what conditions cause God to send someone to heaven or hell. Nobody agrees on how that system works.
H: So you didn’t have a clue what to believe anymore.
C: Yes. I had to start all over and take a practical approach to life. There are questions that no human really has answers for. I will not listen to anyone who talks about God, the bible, heaven, hell, or anything else that reminds me of Christianity because it has only painful memories for me.
H: If you don’t think that humans have the answers, who do you suppose does?
C: My guess is nobody. I don’t think there is any living thing that has the answers that people have attempted to answer through religion. Science won’t find the answers either because when the questions are about the past, we can never know what really happened, and the future is even worse because we can’t know what will happen. I say that we focus on what we can do right now as we live our lives each day.
H: So you’re no longer interested in finding answers to those kind of questions?
C: Not anymore. I have other priorities.
Chapter 10: What do you believe?
H: So you’ve lost interest in answering the ancient questions of where we came from or where we are going, but certainly you believe something about these things. Everybody has their beliefs.
C: Yes of course I do but it’s also wrong to tell people my beliefs because I can’t prove anything any more than they can.
H: I’m not asking you to tell people what you believe. I’m simply pointing out that in order to live by your life, you’ve made certain assumptions upon which you base your decisions.
C: This is true, but what is your point?
H: I’m just saying that maybe you need to take a deeper look into what you actually believe about life and death. You may not have knowledge of the truth but what do you think happened in the past or will happen in the future?
C: It doesn’t really matter what I happen to believe at the time, does it?
H: You, yourself, wanted to know the beliefs of others so that you could predict their actions. Have you considered that they may feel the same way about you?
C: No. Why would they care about my beliefs? I’m not the one causing harm, therefore whatever I believe is not a problem that needs to be fixed.
H: So you see that when others do terrible things that their beliefs are wrong?
C: Yes, wrong actions come from wrong beliefs.
H: Then what beliefs do you have that make you do the things you do? You have vowed to live a life of veganism and celibacy. From the perspective of other people, you could even be seen as a religious person because people associate religious belief with people making promises to do certain things. Consider the catholic priests who vow celibacy. They wouldn’t do it without a strong reason.
C: Yes but they do it for the wrong reason.
H: But if the action is good, does it matter if it comes from a false belief?
C: Yes, it does because as soon as the person no longer believes the same, they will lose the behavior flowing from those beliefs. If somebody for example only gives money to the poor, vows celibacy, or tries to prevent abortion because they think there is a man in the sky that will reward or punish them for their actions, then they are doing it for selfish reasons than out of love.
H: What is love?
Chapter 11: What is love?
C: I don’t know what love is exactly.
H: But you said you wanted people to do things out of love rather than because God will reward them for it or punish them if they don’t.
C: Yeah, well I didn’t know a good word to use.
H: But let’s talk about love. What does love mean to you? When your mother says she loves you, what do you think she means?
C: I guess she means that she wants what is best for me. That’s why she fought my father in court over custody of me. She knew he wouldn’t take care of me.
H: Yes, and in a similar way it could be said that you love the animals of the world and want to prevent them from being killed by humans and even prevent them being bred in the first place. Your veganism says a lot about you.
C: Yes, but what does this have to do with God or religion?
H: You believe that not only should people do the right things but also that they should do them for the right reason. Where does this belief come from?
C: From the fact that anything based on a lie will eventually fade away as soon as whatever a person bases their actions on is found to be false. This happens quite often, in fact, when people stop believing in God. Some people change for the better and some people change for the worse.
H: Why do you think that is?
C: Because what happens as soon as they stop looking to God for information for their life, they do what they want to do rather than what they think God wants them to do. Whatever their true desires are, they can only be released once the chains of religion are gone.
H: Do you believe the world would be better if everybody was an atheist?
C: Absolutely. People would have a really hard time coming up with threats of hell or doing violent acts toward gay people. Additionally, I truly believe that more people would go vegan if they started seeing themselves as animals rather than pretending that they are a special species that God gave dominion over the animals.
H: You have explained the benefits of why the world would be better if people were atheists, but what do you think would happen if there really was a God and everybody was wrong?
C: In that case, all I can say is that if this hypothetical situation happened, then humanity being atheists was God’s will.
H: Why do you say that?
C: Because if God is the creator of us then surely the things we do must have been what we were programmed to do. What else can we derive from what we see in the human race and the animal kingdom? Men are stronger and can hurt women in any way they like. Carnivores can tear herbivores apart with their teeth while the herbivores feel the full pain of it. If we are designed by a deity of any kind, he is most certainly cruel for creating these evils. In any case, even if God did create me, he created me in a way to be sure that I would end up an atheist. Given my genetics and experiences, the result was certain to happen.
H: So what you’re saying is, God would not be a loving being but the designer of all these causes of suffering?
C: Exactly. That’s not a God that could be called loving. Since Christians say that God loves us but that he is also our designer who made us in such a way that we would feel pain, there is a contradiction.
Chapter 12: An Explanation
H: So you don’t believe that any of us were designed by God but what do you think does explain us being the way we are and the things we do.
C: I believe that life has evolved over time by natural selection and other factors as well.
H: Besides natural selection, what other factors do you think take place that cause us to evolve in various ways.
C: The things that we do and the complex reactions from other beings. Not only do animals pass on their genes but they also pass on behavior to their children and all other animals around them. Religion itself is a great example. People are Christians, Muslims, or another religion not because they inherited beliefs genetically but because they were taught that the teachings of those religions were true. Because of books and audio/video recordings, humans have completely nullified natural selection because now, all of a sudden, it doesn’t matter if you’re physically the strongest. Your chances at living longer or reproducing are dependent upon whether your beliefs conform to your general society. You could be killed by religious people for not conforming to their religion. The things we are taught to believe and act on are now the primary reason society has evolved to what it is. As a result, our physical bodies caused by different genetics make almost no difference at all anymore. Human society is just a mess of psychological tricks to fit in with society and if we fail we face terrible danger.
H: And the other animals, do they have similar structures in their societies that can endure over time?
C: I think they probably do but only they know the answer to that themselves.
Chapter 13: The Beginning
H: Do you have a belief about the origin or beginning of the universe?
C: No, because there never was a beginning.
H: What makes you so sure of that?
C: Because the definition of universe that I use is everything that exists. I think it’s insane to imagine a time when nothing exists.
H: So you don’t believe we came from nothing?
C: No, because I don’t believe there is a nothing! How could there be a time when nothing existed? I don’t even know of somebody who believes such a thing and yet they talk about the beginning of the universe as if there was nothing and things started existing.
H: So you believe that all matter, whether living or not, has always been there?
C: Yes and I don’t think there is anything that would suggest otherwise. Whatever experiments scientists use to try to create matter requires the use of matter! If they use their brains to think or use any machines or chemicals, they are using already existing matter. For this reason the question that there was a beginning is not even a scientifically valid question that can be answered by experiment.
H: And how do you react to the claim that God created the universe?
C: It’s nonsensical because if God existed then he would BE the universe and that would be something that existed. A god creating something out of NOTHING is an impossible thing because a god would be SOMETHING.
H: And what do you think qualifies as a god? How does this compare to the Christian God with a capital G?
C: I think of the word God with a capital G as being the God described in the bible who created life on earth and then spent the rest of his time trying to destroy it with a flood, plagues, and ordering humans to kill other humans and animals. The lowercase g version of god just refers to the god of another religion and I have no opinion on other religions because I wasn’t raised in them. My only feelings in regard to the existence of God are the pain I experienced at the hands of Christians who justify their evil actions by saying that God commanded them to do it or that he allowed them to do it because he gave them free will.
H: So you’re an atheist to the Christian God but do you think it’s possible that the gods of other religions exist?
C: I’m agnostic on that topic because I don’t have enough information to form an opinion but I admit it may be a possibility.
H: But you don’t think it’s possible that the Christian God exists?
C: No, because the description of God that Christians are living by requires the Bible, which is a contradictory book. I know the whole thing can’t be true and I often wonder if we can verify that anything in any of the books of the Bible actually happened. And even if there was a god, it would not match the descriptions that Christians are believing. For this reason I call myself atheist in regard to the Christian god and agnostic on any others.
Chapter 14: The Purpose of My Life
H: You believe that there has always been matter in existence, but you don’t refer to this as God. Why is that?
C: Because the word God has implications of a human-like being that sits on a cloud somewhere and gets angry at the things humans do even though he created them to do exactly what they are doing.
H: But is that really what Christians believe?
C: Who can say? Yet they talk about God being loving or angry all the time as if God was something that experienced emotion something like the humans who created him.
H: So you truly see God as an invention of humans?
C: Yes, of course. Humans create God in their own image. Men have always ruled over women and so they create a male God which also seems to have a problem with women. The sexism in the bible and in the churches I’ve attended is hard to miss. My mother has experienced some of the worst of it.
H: Yet your mother says she believes in God. Her experiences from church don’t seem to stop her faith.
C: I know she says that she believes in God and even goes so far as to say she has a personal relationship with the true God.
H: But if you’re an atheist, does that mean you don’t believe her?
C: Right. I obviously don’t think there is an actual God that she has a relationship with yet she simply has to believe or her life would be meaningless.
H: Why do you say her life would be meaningless without her belief in God?
C: Because, quite simply, everything about her life has been terrible. First, she is abused by her parents as a child, then she married my father who abused her more, then my sister has been cruel to her and perhaps breaks her heart more than anyone. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, I’m her son and I’m an atheist. She probably sees me as a failure or perhaps sees herself as a failure because she tried to raise me to be a Christian and yet I’m nothing of the sort.
H: You mean to say that you think her purpose in raising you was to make you believe the same as her?
C: Yes, I’ve believed that for years.
H: Assuming that you had children, would you have that same goal in mind when raising children? Would you want them to believe the same as you do?
C: I imagine I probably would. That’s all the more reason for me not to be a parent. I’ve thought maybe I would adopt someday and yet I know that my emotional problems would be projected onto my children if I had any. Remaining a single virgin for the rest of my life is a sure way not to hurt anybody else.
H: And you think your mother should have done the same?
C: Absolutely. It would be better if my mother had never even met my father or married anybody. I wish she had just stayed single and continued her musical career.
H: And you would not be here if she had. Do you think she would be better off without you?
C: I have had that thought many times. However, if she really believes in God, surely she must also believe that God could have arranged other people to help her in so many ways instead of me. So you see, if God exists, then I don’t need to. The fact that I don’t see God helping her and that I’m the one who has to help her because other humans are unwilling, it only makes me more strongly believe that the loving God she believes in does not exist.
H: And if God doesn’t exist, do you think she needs you more?
C: Yes, because right now I’m the biggest help she has. I earn money at my job and help her buy food and pay bills, I massage her muscles, I help with housework, and sometimes she just needs a friend to talk to and so she talks to me. I know that I’m a huge help to her but still I wish it was someone else and that I had never existed in the first place.
H: And you think your mother would be happy if she had been helped by others more than you?
C: Yes, other humans and any gods that might exist would be more powerful than me. Most importantly, it doesn’t matter how much you love someone if you have no power to help them. Even if my mom is right and there really is a loving God that she knows, clearly it lacks the power to help her. She’s stressed out from all the things going wrong in her life and I don’t see that her belief in God really helps her in any way.
H: And does your belief that there is no such thing as God help you in any way?
C: Actually, it does because at least our suffering makes sense when you see life evolving as a result of natural selection. I don’t believe there is any real intention or purpose to our lives and since I already know there is not going to be divine intervention to magically fix things, I no longer waste time praying like I used to when I was a Christian.
H: So you believe there is no purpose to your life?
C: On the contrary, I have a purpose in my life because I’ve created my own purpose. I believe that each of us will find something that we are capable of doing and this becomes our purpose. It’s not a purpose put there by God but something we discover.
H: And what do you think your purpose is?
C: My purpose is to reduce suffering of all animals as much as I know how. This is why as long as I live I will continue to promote veganism and also do anything I can that will reduce the influence of religion on people so that they will not be hurt the same way my mother and I have been.
Chapter 15: Goals
H: What things do you plan on doing to promote veganism and reduce the influence of religion?
C: First, as far as veganism goes, I’ll continue to do as I already have. I’ll share information with people who are open to learning about veganism. It’s too bad most of them don’t care about animals but those who do have a chance at understanding. I think about Lucky and Elsa a lot recently. Elsa loves her dog like no human I have ever seen. I do believe she’ll come to understand how I feel about the other animals someday. I think that’s why I like her so much. Lucky loves his dog and cats I can see and he already knows I’m an ethical vegan though I feel like he does not truly understand, at least not yet. My mother has come to a better understanding of me and that I apply the golden rule to other animals and not just to humans. I literally cannot do anything to another animal that I would not want someone doing to me. I won’t even ride a horse because I cannot obtain consent from them unless they speak English like you do, but then again you’re no ordinary horse, you’re a unicorn that I dreamed up.
H: Well said, and as far as religion, what do you think your actions have to do with religion?
C: Well, the way I see it is that by following the golden rule I am being the opposite of the Christians I know. They talk about the love of God while they munch on hot-dogs for lunch after church service. It would be nice if Christians were inspired to truly follow the golden rule and lived the same life of veganism and celibacy as I do.
H: Do you think that following the golden rule requires celibacy as well?
C: Yes, over time I’ve come to understand that truly following the golden rule means that I cannot ever have sex even if I wanted to and luckily I have no desire for that anyway. I’ve often thought about what Jesus said when he mentioned eunuchs.
H: What was it that he said that you think about often?
C: In the book of Matthew chapter 19, there are three verses which I have never forgotten because they mean a lot to me.
“9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” – Matthew 19:9-12
H: What did these verses mean to you?
C: It meant to me that being celibate was sort of a higher spiritual ideal. A more proper way to live. I felt like Jesus was supporting this message but he also said that “All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.”. I felt like I was one of those to whom it was given.
H: And did you ever tell anyone this?
C: No, I knew they would think I was crazy and say I was misinterpreting the bible. However, it sure meant that to me when I was a Christian.
H: And what does it mean to you now?
C: Now I look at it in a whole different light. Celibacy is the only way to fully follow the golden rule. However, I know others cannot accept this saying. It doesn’t matter to them whether Jesus said it or not and it doesn’t matter to me whether Jesus actually said it either because I still know it to be true.
H: And how do you know this is the right way to be?
C: Because no matter how much pleasure people get from having sex, the fact that it carries the risk of forcing children into existence where they will suffer in this world makes it morally wrong. I don’t know of any other person who truly understands as strongly as I do that heterosexual actions are a bad idea.
H: And what about homosexual actions? That does not result in procreation so is it the same?
C: No, it’s different. Sure it sounds gross to me and I would avoid it myself at any cost, but even so, I see it as harmless by comparison to the evils that come from men and women having sex. Without the possibility of pregnancy, there can be no abortions that result from this. Additionally, since there are no children produced by homosexual acts, they can’t grow up to be the future carnists of the world who kill animals for food or sport.
H: I think what you said explains a lot about why you cannot be a Christian. You see that, although the Bible condemns homosexuality as an abomination, you would prefer everybody to be homosexual rather than do something that risks creating children.
C: Yes, that’s exactly right. For this reason I felt that my desire was completely the opposite of what the God of the bible wanted. He wanted humans to be “fruitful and multiply” and I want the human race to go extinct. I truly believe that every other species of animal would be better off without humans. So you see, even if God exists, he is wrong. By creating sex and procreation, he unleashed all the suffering of all the animals. My entire life is about stopping suffering and so I am against the God of Christianity who supposedly, not only approves of procreation but was the author of it!
H: So are you saying that one of your goals is to promote the idea that procreation must be avoided?
C: Yes, that is something I want to do, although I know not how. After all not everybody can receive this saying!
Chapter 16: Life Debt
H: You say not everybody can receive the message of celibacy yet you are able. Why do you think you can and yet others cannot?
C: I believe that because I’m asexual, I do not live in the delusion that sex is a good thing. Additionally, I see that celibacy solves the abortion problem. If people who don’t want children could just avoid doing the one thing that gets women pregnant, then they will never even face the choice of whether to kill the baby or not. I also think that even if the children are born and live a happy life, they will still be taught by society to kill other animals by paying for meat, dairy, eggs, and honey which inevitably pays industries who breed these animals and kill those that they can’t make a profit from. No matter what, evil always comes from new humans being created. Either they are killed before birth or they live to kill others.
H: So, do you believe that the bad of new humans being created always outweighs the good?
C: I would say not always but most of the time. In fact I’d say less that 1 percent of humans truly live ethical lives and help other beings more than they hurt them.
H: What about yourself? How do you view your own life and do you think others are better or worse off because you exist?
C: I currently feel that although many humans benefit from my existence, I still cry over the fact that for the first 25 years of my life I was a Christian and a non-vegan. I regret the first 25 years of my life because I knew nothing and hurt others and myself more than I helped. I was a confused person and I will spend the rest of my life trying to undo the damage I have caused.
H: Do you feel guilty as though it was your fault?
C: Not at all. I truly understand that choice is an illusion. Each of us strives toward our strongest desires using the information we have at the time. I know that, given my background of abuse and being misinformed about the world by Christian teachings, what I did was the inevitable effect of prior causes. I know it wasn’t my fault but that does not mean that I was a good person or that it was a good idea for my parents to create me.
H: Do you think you’ll ever reach a point where you will feel that the world is truly better off because you lived your life rather than if you had never been?
C: That I cannot know but I would like to believe that eventually I will be at peace with my existence. I have already started a new path in life toward reducing suffering. Going vegan myself and teaching others the path of non-violence is my goal. I also support anything that destroys the lies of religion because nothing causes more harm than false information. I have a life debt to pay off.
H: A life debt? What do you mean?
C: Many more animals have died from all the years I paid for meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. Even worse is that I had no awareness. The effects of my actions still caused harm regardless of how aware I was of what I was doing. Perhaps by the time I am 50 years old I will have inspired others to go vegan sooner than they would have otherwise. Perhaps even a few will understand the path of celibacy and how it is the only way to guarantee that they do not cause another being to come into existence who will make the very same mistakes as they did and possibly even more.
H: And if people understand you correctly and follow in your footsteps, then will you be glad you were here?
C: Yes. If that happens, the good will finally overcome the bad and I will finally be at peace when I die.
Chapter 17: Jesus vs. Christianity
H: You know, you’re a lot like Jesus.
C: My mom said that once. What does it mean?
H: Like Jesus, you are revolutionary. You teach people a better moral way to live than what they currently know. Similarly, religious leaders are also unhappy with the things you say because it has the potential to free people from their control.
C: I suppose so, but people have no reason to listen to me and in fact, they don’t.
H: Well, apparently people didn’t listen to Jesus either or those who claim to be his followers would be doing things a lot differently than they do today.
C: How do you mean?
H: For one thing, they would be following the golden rule. They would also learn to love their neighbor as much as themselves whether their neighbors are humans or other animals.
C: That sounds nice but doesn’t it contradict with the rest of the religion?
H: You mean the religion that humans made up which has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus anyway?
C: Yes of course. All the stuff mentioned in the old testament as well as all the stuff about believing that someone goes to heaven or hell based on whether they believe Jesus died to save them from their sins.
H: Of course the general message that Christians teach is quite different to what Jesus in the Bible said. But at the time when Jesus said these things, he obviously was not concerned about making his teachings compatible with the Jewish laws. He certainly was not trying to make it compatible with the rest of the new testament either because even the Christians would have to admit that it hadn’t been written at that point.
C: I see what you are saying, but still there is the question of whether Jesus existed and whether he really said all the things in the gospels. We also can’t say for sure which translations of the Greek and Hebrew texts or interpretations are accurate historically.
H: I would suggest that we bypass that issue entirely. When you derive moral teachings from movies or cartoons, do you worry about the fact that they are fictional stories?
C: No, of course not. I don’t expect them to be a question of historical debate because everybody already knows they are fiction.
H: Then why do you think the Bible is any different? Maybe you can take the parts you like and ignore the stuff that is obviously false or immoral.
C: But isn’t that hypocritical to cherry pick like that? Don’t I have to accept it all as a package deal?
H: No. Wherever did you get that idea?
C: It’s something that I heard in church a lot and is sometimes even in the official statements of belief on church websites.
H: Why are you letting their ideas dictate to you what you have to believe about the Bible?
C: Because the entire reason I quit calling myself a Christian was because I knew I didn’t believe the whole Bible. At the time, I believed certain parts might be true but I knew that if I quit believing even a single verse, I was not one of the Christians and did not belong in their church. I also knew that if I called myself a Christian, I would receive questions about why I did not act as the others did.
H: And you feared being questioned?
C: Yes, because I did not want to get into it. It’s a very long conversation and here I am having it with a unicorn in my dreams!
H: And the best part is, I’ve got all the time you need!
C: But why are we talking about this in the first place?
H: Because this is the very thing you told me you were afraid of in the first place! You were afraid of Christians asking you where you go to church and afraid of them finding out you don’t even believe in God in the first place. You fear these Christians and I am here because you need to overcome this fear.
C: But how? How can I answer the storm of questions that results from my appearance and behavior which is so contrary to the way humans are taught to think in their churches? How can I tell them my experiences that showed me why their religion, the most important thing to them is false and immoral?
H: Who said it was your job to answer their questions?
C: uuuuuuuuuuuuh, I have no idea!
Chapter 18: Silly Fear
H: The source of your fear of Christians asking you questions seems to come from the fact that you feel obligated to answer them, but you’re really not!
C: I thought I was because if I don’t answer their questions then they will question me about why I don’t want to answer their questions!
H: Yes, they might but that doesn’t mean you have to answer questions about their questions either!
C: You’re probably right but if I refuse to answer their questions, doesn’t that make me look like I have something to hide?
H: Do you have something to hide?
C: Of course! I’m trying to hide the fact that I think they are totally insane for believing that their 66 books of their Bible are all historical facts!
H: And if you do reveal that you think they are insane about this, what are you afraid will happen?
C: I’m afraid that people will suddenly see me as an enemy and that Susan will stop teaching me dance or that I’ll lose my job because the people who are bosses over me might be Christians and not want someone who challenges their religion in their store!
H: But you don’t talk about religion whether at dance class or at work. If other people make an issue out of it then it’s their problem not yours.
C: But couldn’t they still make issues about it and punish me for not believing as they do?
H: Yes, they could.
C: So far I’m not feeling any better about this. Maybe we should stop talking about this because all it does is make me feel worse.
H: Hey, you wanted the truth and I’m giving it to you. Before you go away, I must tell you one more thing. Yes, people may in their ignorance punish you for not being the same as them but whatever happens, when people treat you unfairly, there are still others you have that can fight for you. Even if you lose some things important to you, remember that you’ve gotten this far in your life and proved that you are a good person both at work and in the way you live your life. Don’t let others compromise your words, beliefs, or actions just because you are afraid of their reactions.
Chapter 19: Questions For the Unicorn
C: I have a few questions that I need to ask you. First of all how did you figure all this out when you’re just a part of my dreams anyway? You seem to know a lot.
H: You’re only using a small percentage of your brain and there is information that you know but can’t access in your daily life because of your high stress and emotional issues. In time you will learn that you’ve only scratched the surface of your potential. I am a part of you and can speak the truth without fear because nobody can hurt me here. This is the dream land where there is never pain or death.
C: I’ve talked to you for all this time and yet I don’t even know what to call you. Is your name Chandler because you are me or do you have another name?
H: I go by many names. I am a unicorn after all and I represent the purest of all animals. You can call me H. I like the letter H because I am a horse and because my name is Honesty.
C: Is this because you represent truth?
H: Yes, I am Honesty, the element of harmony, which you have said is the best policy! This is why my horn is a mirror made of silver. I reflect the truth of what you really are even though you have forgotten.
Chapter 20: Who Am I?
C: OK then, Honesty, will you tell me who I am and what it is that I have forgotten?
H: You are an animal just like every other and yet at the same time different. You are an expression of life beyond description just as every other human, horse, cow, sheep, dog, pig, or cat. You have tried to love your neighbors as yourself in everything you do but you have forgotten to love yourself!
C: Love myself? How do I do that? What does it even mean?
H: Think of it this way, you go out of your way to avoid killing an ant or a spider because you respect them as a form of life. You value the lives of the unborn babies even though they are merely a clump of cells in the opinion of other humans. You go so far as to devote yourself to a life of ethical veganism and celibacy to not risk harming anyone else but you do not follow the same rule for yourself.
C: You’re right but I don’t see the value of my own life because I see that no matter how hard I try, I’m never good enough. I can never avoid harming everyone and I can never say the right words and people misunderstand me.
H: Do you think your value depends on the things you can do or the opinions of the other humans?
C: Of course, why else am I here? What point is there in being alive unless I can actually do something for positive change in the world.
H: And what about the other animals? Do you view them as less than you because they can’t even do the things that you can? You can sing, dance, write, play games, and do well at your job. You have more abilities than most humans, not to mention the tiny insects, but you still care about them? Why not care about yourself the same way?
C: You have a point and I’m sure I’ll think about this for a long time. I don’t see myself that way because I know my own flaws that nobody else knows.
H: And others know their flaws and have issues with their self esteem too. The people who seem smart, beautiful, and talented and are loved by everyone around them still have problems. They have eating disorders, they self harm, they take drugs to numb their emotional pain, and many other things. You think others are perfect only because you’re blind to their flaws and they know little about yours.
C: Yeah we’re all messed up, but what is your point?
H: The point is that you need to look a little more on the bright side of life and the good things about yourself and others rather than acting like it doesn’t matter because we have our dark side as well.
C: But isn’t that kind of positive thinking just dishonest? Isn’t it living in a fantasy where we tell ourselves good things to feel better?
H: Fantasy? You’re talking to a unicorn in a dream! This isn’t the time to be realistic, Chandler.
C: But aren’t you all about truth? You just told me your name is Honesty!
H: Yes, and reminding yourself about the good things you enjoy doing is not being dishonest. I was just joking with you a little bit. The things I said are true and it doesn’t matter whether someone in the “real” world told them to you or if a magical unicorn in your dream tells you. Truth is truth whatever the source. Don’t worry right now about how good or bad you are, just keep being real! Whether unicorns are real or not, you are very real by any definition because here you are and your dreams are truth to you and each person is part of life and part of truth. Individual living animals may die but the truth never dies! Now go, live your truth!
Chapter 21: Back to the “Real” World?
Chandler awoke from his dream and was rather confused as usual. He still had more questions for the unicorn but perhaps that would have to wait. Honesty had given him a lot to think about. He considered that people might still be learning truths from their religion regardless of whether God or Jesus existed or not. He also came to understand that his fears about other people really didn’t matter because he was not going to lie to people so why worry about what they’ll think if he told the truth.
And was the unicorn real or was this just another dream that showed how mentally ill he was? In any case, the line between reality and fiction was invisible. Chandler wanted to be honest but he also wanted to believe that he was a valuable animal that mattered just like anyone else. Was it the truth or was it just wishful thinking? However, the unicorn had a point because Chandler certainly cared about others in spite of their imperfections and decided that perhaps it was time to love himself as much as his neighbor and do to himself what he would do for others.
Although Chandler continued to have his problems like everyone else, he also could see that, although everyone is a mess, he loved others for what they can be rather than what they currently are. Regardless of what gender or species somebody happens to be, they can always be a better version of themselves than they currently are. He came to realize that the value of life comes not from what they currently are but because as long as they live, it’s not too late to change. He had changed before when he went vegan and knew that if he needed to change again, he could do so again.
But most importantly, he finally understood what the unicorn told him. The truth did not depend on him and would exist no matter what happened to him. The unicorn’s name was Honesty, its horn was Truth. Chandler knew that the unicorn would never die because truth cannot be killed.