Fasten your seat belts. Parts three and four only get worse.
Me: So you passed over. Was it peaceful?
George: It was a fucking piece of shit.
Me: Oh, no! Why?
George: You know, I think I bought into the real estate—I bought into the idea that this tunnel of light was going to save my ass, and it was going to tell me it was beautiful and fine, and it was going to hold me like a baby and let me nurse on some big woman’s breasts, and everything was going to be well.
Me (laughing): Oh my god, George.
George: Sure enough, it was what I’ve been saying all along. When the lights go out, the lights go out. And they went out for a long time. Do you know, what saved me—?
Jamie laughs and then sighs to compose herself again.
George: —is that I started laughing about it. I started laughing, and I had this moment of realization that what if I am God?
Jamie and I giggle.
George: You know, that trick of the mind got me rolling so fast that it actually turned the goddamn lights on!
Me: That’s the magic password, maybe. Not “Open sesame,” but –
Jamie: I AM GOD!
George: The damn lights came on, and—
Me: Were you clapping your hands like with The Clapper?
George: Yeah, twice!
Me: Okay. There we go! God invented the first Clapper.
George: And yet again, I was disappointed. Nobody greeted me with flowers; I won no award; there was no gold watch, no golden streets—
Me: Aw! Poor baby.
George: –no Pearly Gates. If it’s not true, tell me why people set themselves up for failure. We do it. We buy into this when death is really simpler than life could ever be.
Me: So, back up and tell me a little about what beliefs you had before you died. Were you an atheist? Is that what you’re saying?
George: I grew up Roman Catholic. I got put into the schools; I got hounded. You know I grew up in White Harlem.
Jamie (laughing): Is there such a thing?
Me: I don’t know!
Jamie: I guess it’s like the bad neighborhood, but filled with white people.
(God I hope this doesn’t get me into trouble.)
George: Everything was rough. Hope was just as strong as having a bullet to the head, and you didn’t know whether you were going to have hope or the bullet in the head. Which one is going to be better? So, I quickly grew to be very cynical and sarcastic. It’s my outlet. To be nailed to the wall and be told what you’re going to believe and how it was though the fucking people teaching you had never—
Jamie (flustered, trying to keep up): Phew!
George: — been there themselves, then why the fuck are you going to believe in this?
George: So, I renounced everything, and atheism quickly became my thing, my way of living. There was nothing about it that bothered me. And trust me, it’s not that I shut off and didn’t want to believe anything. I explored. But through my explorations, it gave me more strength to become an atheist.
George on God and Religion
This YouTube really gives you an idea of George’s journey to atheism.