This is something that I’ve had pointed out to me a few times ie: ‘ok, so you don’t believe in anything, but what’s positive about being atheist?’. I think that all of us need to ‘vent’ our frustrations and anger about the dangers of religion and the actions performed by some who believe they have ‘god on their side’ etc, but eventually we come to the position of just accepting that there will probably always be religions, so just accept it.
I can understand that, but I personally feel the need to educate. If not for the sake of those generations to come (including our own grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren), then for the current huge number of people who are in the ‘I’m a kind of believer’ category. They aren’t lost to rational thought and with a bit of encouragement can be helped to live a satisfying, normal life.
So, here’s my positive contribution for the day.
Do you have doubts about your faith? Do you wonder if it’s really fair that your church leaders are getting increasingly wealthy while you struggle to pay the ‘donations’ to them? Or do you just struggle to reconcile your beliefs with what you have learnt about the world?
Ok, if you do but you still feel the need to continue your beliefs, then here’s some help.
I believe that most people have faith for two main reasons -
1. they have a fear of what happens after they die and
2. they find comfort in prayer to a ‘father’ who is always listening.
Did you realise that you can leave your faith in a supernatural ‘sky-god’ behind but still believe in an alternative that satisfies both reasons for your need to believe? Well, you can.
You can be an atheist and believe that there may be a ‘place’ or a ‘plane’ that your soul (for want of a better word) can exist after death. Call it heaven or whatever you like but you can believe that a place exists like this (in the natural rather than supernatural universe) if you desire. But here’s the important part – believe that this place exists for EVERYONE regardless of whether they believe in a saviour or a god – EVERYONE.
Why on earth would a god create a place like heaven but then insist on a ‘membership card’ that you can only get if you praise his name. Is he that lacking in self-confidence that he needs the praise of mere mortals? No, sorry I am absolutely certain that if such a place exists it will be accessible for all, regardless of race, religion or creed or whether you prostrate yourselves at the feet of a super being.
Now to the second common fear.
We all need to feel that someone cares about and listens to us. Sometimes we feel desperate to have this feeling. It’s completely normal and human.
When I was going through a very low point in my life I remember walking along secluded beaches and believing that I was holding some kind of conversation with my dead father, or a ‘spirit guide’. It comforted me greatly. I’ve since grown as a person and am in a far more happy life situation and I personally no longer need to have this belief, but I can completely understand and accept people who do.
So, why not do this instead of praying to a god? I find it far easier to believe that some kind of ‘soul’ of a deceased close relative or a ‘guide’ (you may believe it is someone who has been ‘allocated’ to you) would listen to my thoughts than an omnipresent god who must be far too busy calling for people to join him (ie: killing) or creating worlds to be the slightest bit interested in my humble affairs.
So, there you have it – simple, positive and entirely practical. No mysticism required. No religion. No god. As John Lennon said, ‘Imagine’.
Finally, know that there are dangers in this that you should know about. Firstly, you are very likely to be able to release your past beliefs extremely quickly. This may well give you problems, especially with friends and family. Some faiths require your belief as a condition of their ‘fellowship’ – you don’t need that kind of false friendship. Find friendships that are based on mutual respect and love not conditional ones. Hopefully relatives will be more accepting of your change of beliefs – just be open and honest and respectful of theirs.
Secondly, you may experience depressing episodes where life seems pointless, but trust me, you will get past that when you understand how wonderful life is and how precious every minute of being alive is, you will find a true ‘inner peace’ that is far more satisfying that any false religious ‘experience’. I find myself more positive and happy with every day. I don’t feel any sense of ‘inner loss’ from finally accepting the reality of life as it really is, in fact, I enjoy life more now than ever before.
I really hope that this has been of some help to you.
Oh, and no, my words are mine alone. They are not ‘the devil’s’ or any other fantasy creature, just honest words from a fellow human being who actually cares what you are experiencing. That’s why I wrote them. No other agenda.