The Secular Humanist Pantheon: Introduction

Say you’re a Secular Humanist, like the BeliefNet Belief-O-Matic says I am. Despite your complete lack of faith in any deity, or indeed any kind of supernatural force, you might nonetheless from time to time find youself doing something resembling praying.

It’s almost always during a particular kind of moment, when nothing you do can effect an outcome you desire. And it makes sense for that to be the case, because if there was something you could do, you’d be doing it, instead of just praying. You know no-one’s listening. You’re completely confident that no effort of will on your part can in any way change what will happen. And yet still, you find your thoughts completely consumed, even if briefly, by a mantra: “please, please, please, let X occur.”

I found myself wondering about this the other day. If you are praying… then to whom?

Actually, I’ve thought a lot about this question since it occurred to me, but the full report on that line of reasoning is for another, more serious, post. This post is about a frivolous and yet effective answer.

It all started when one day, as I waited on an NYC subway platform for a train. There I was, thinking “please, please, please, let a train come soon,” when in a flash, it hit me – I was praying to the deity of NYC public transit, the great and powerful (and capricious) M’Ta-A. (That’s pronounced “mm-ta-aah”.)

So now you know. When you’re on a tight schedule, and your 1 train downtown pulls into the 72nd street station, and there’s a 3 train just waiting for you across the platform, and you have been favored by M’Ta-A. If you mutter thanks, M’Ta-A hears it. And should you find yourself assed out in Queens at 3am waiting for the G, you know who has forsaken you.

Mike Doughty sure knew it, when he wrote Thank You Lord for Sending Me the F Train.

Thus was revealed to me the notion of the Secular Humanist Pantheon. Now that I know, it’s so obvious, and as a Pastafarian, I already worship one of the supreme lords of this pantheon.

In future posts I may elaborate on the members of this pantheon.