How to Be an Atheist: Working out the Worldview of a Skeptic, Free for CAPC Members
Mitch Stokes’ ‘How to Be an Atheist’ shows the work of the worldview of a skeptic.
Every Wednesday in LOL Relics, Luke T. Harrington digs through your church’s closet, finds a random piece of junk, and then writes 600 words about it. Because apparently there’s an audience for that. We’re as surprised as you are.
It sits alone in a closet.
A lone solider, a thin black line standing resolute, attached to a black rectangle. A black rectangle exactly like some sort of black rectangle. Standing eternally, next to the rat traps, waiting patiently for the moment it will be called upon to do its solemn and unavoidable duty. The cobwebs have grown around it over time, but soon it will shake free. Soon it will burst forth from its hideaway to reclaim the floor for the Kingdom.
None of the parishioners are sure how or when the carpet sweeper showed up in the closet.
It’s a strange beast, the carpet sweeper: not a broom, but not quite a vacuum cleaner; sort of like a Roomba, but with no brains or batteries and no place for cats to sit. In short, it’s the Segway of carpet cleaning devices, and no one on earth has deliberately bought one since 1957. But there’s never any shortage of people willing to dump their useless crap on the local church. Everybody loves tax write-offs, after all.
What I’m trying to say is, this is a metaphor. A metaphor for, like, how nobody actually gives their best to God, or… something.
No, wait. Too on-the-nose, I know.
Let me try again. I can do better.
Like all extant carpet sweepers, this one is an antique, marked with a corporate insignia forgotten to time, and marred by a janky wheel that skids along the carpet, refusing to spin. It makes loud grinding noises when you push it, and it always pulls to the left like a hobo’s shopping cart. Every time they take it out, someone mumbles about how they really ought to get it fixed, but they all know that will never happen because the last carpet sweeper repairman died in 1963, and anyway, it’s a stupid carpet sweeper. It’s a terrible invention, even when it works.
By this point, everyone has forgotten the original color of the carpet in the fellowship hall, because for every crumb the sweeper picks up it grinds seven or eight deeper into the fibers, and the carpet is the color of whatever it is people crumble up to put on top of their casseroles.
Speaking of which, enough with the casseroles, people. Other types of food exist.
So, I guess, maybe this is a metaphor for human weakness? Like, when we try to make things better on our own, we only make them worse? And we need… Jesus?
Nah, sorry. Too sappy. I’ll think of something else.
I’m seriously doing my best here. Just…bear with me.
Most days of the year, the sweeper slumbers in the closet, waiting for the light to shine on it, waiting for its tomb to split open. Then it bursts forth into the light to absorb the dirt and dust of the world.
Okay, that’s just… just way too obvious, isn’t it. Like, not everything has to be a Christ metaphor. Let’s try to give the biggest cliché in Western literature a rest, all right?
I can do better.
But sometimes, despite everything, when the carpet is swept, it picks up every bit of dirt and grime, and the strange-but-familiar aroma of incense fills the air. The janky wheel spins, and the bristles comb their way through the fibers, and the rug emerges spotless and white as snow (which is weird, because it was blue to begin with). And the parishioners stand by, looking on in awe, pondering what a miracle and a marvel it is that even the most broken among us can be used to bring order to a chaotic world.
That’s a good metaphor, right? I feel good about that one.
Also, that line about the incense, right? Pretty deep-ish.
Eh, who am I kidding.
It’s just a stupid carpet sweeper. They’re the worst thing ever.
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