One question that comes from believers confuses me.
"Aren't you afraid of finding out there is a God after you die?"
My answer is no. When I did believe (and that was for half a century), I didn't only believe in God's existence. I trusted the God I believed in. I trusted that he would always do the right thing. I trusted that in his omniscience, he could see the difference between a mistake and a sin. If I am mistaken and a god does exist, then I trust he will forgive me for my doubts. What is confusing to me is that many believers do not share that same faith in their God.
It all breaks down to the question of belief. You can believe a creator exists and not believe that creator is worthy of your reverence (e.g. Jonas Salk, Steve Jobs, Nikolai Tesla, Michelangelo). You can even believe in a creator’s divinity, but the real question is what form your belief takes.
When one person tells another, "I believe in you," belief takes on a different meaning. Belief becomes Trust. For many ideologists, that's where belief stops. They believe in their God's existence, they believe in their God's divinity but, in substance, they do not believe in God. Belief in existence and divinity alone would not be enough for any god that I could respect.
Is God Dead?
I am not one of the people who believe that God is dead. It is only my faith that has died. After all, what kind of creative genius would care about my fealty or my faults? I am but one person out of billions, one byte out of billions of terabytes of energy in the universe.
The idea of a single being creating this masterpiece that we call the universe became untenable to me. It is not possible to oversee each molecule of our bodies. It is unlikely that any entity could oversee a universal creation. Yet, we humans expect that of our gods. Additionally, we expect a god will solve our unsolvable problems. We expect a god to ease our pain. We expect a god will endow us with prosperity and success. "Ask and it shall be given," we are told.
Isn't Each Life Special?
Humans use the idea of god to make an individual (often themselves) special, despite the sufferings of others. After the recent bridge collapse in Florida, a young woman said she was going towards the bridge when she decided to turn. She thanked her God and attributed her safety to him.
I'm not proud of it, but my first thought was pure sarcasm. "She must have been very special for her God to save her while he ignored the many others who died."
Still, I don't begrudge the woman her faith. I do wish, though, that she would widen her lens and zoom in on a world beyond herself.
Aren't You Grateful for Your Life?
Without question! I am grateful to my biological parents. I am grateful to a stepfather and a mother who supported me as I acquired the skills to live life on my own. I am grateful to friends and family who stood by me through all the trying times in my life. I am grateful to every plant and animal that has given its life to nourish me and keep me alive.
I am grateful that life gifts me with pleasure and privilege. I am grateful that I am blessed with the faculties to enjoy each day from sunrise to sunrise. I find no reason to question where the blessing comes from.
Our world has evolved with self-protective processes. It cleans and rejuvenates itself with phenomena like disease and drought. It uses storms, fires, and floods to destroy and recreate. What is stunning and beautiful is that we humans are not victimized by this system. We are a part of it.
Wish He Was Here
I'll admit that sometimes I miss believing in a god, but god was never real. Yet, it's as if I have lost a dear friend, like I have closed the cover of a good book. The characters lived only on paper. Now they live only in my memory.
It was always easy to pray, "God help me" instead of facing my problems head on and trying to solve them. It was always easy to write off the natural preservation methods of our world as "acts of God" and excuse them with a platitude, "God works in mysterious ways." Instead, I acknowledge that we humans are a minute part of a grand system. That is the ultimate privilege. We are not blessed with life. We are blessed by life.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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