An Atheist’s Understanding

Although I am an atheist, there are times where I understand why people would choose religion over belief in themselves and science.

I don’t agree with being born into a religion–to have a true religion, you must realize this yourself; you must be put into a position in which religion can only benefit your person in regards to mental strength. Nor do I agree in labeled, categorized, institutionalized religion. I believe that a religion can be whatever you make of it–as long as it helps only you. I don’t believe that anyone should ever advocate or force his or her religion on anyone else only because their specific religion may not be the best for the other person.

Having said that…

Recently, I’ve been having a difficult time–thus the lack of activity on this site, for which I apologize. I now know what people refer to when they say they’re lost or have lost their way. There’s no other way of describing this passionless, meaningless existence that I currently find myself in other than with the word “lost”.

Much like in Eat, Pray, Love, I, too, found myself huddled in bed, crying today because it was a particularly bad day. I have lost motivation in anything I do–except for the activities that concern people I love. I have lost purpose. I have… lost. I. am. lost. And, again like the book, I found myself turning towards something else; some greater entity–not a single person, but the universe.

I found myself asking, “help me. Please, help me. What do I do?”

And at that moment, I felt different. Less weighed down. This gave me pause. After over 20 years of being an atheist, had I finally joined the ranks of those belonging to a religion? What religion would this be, then?

I thought about this for a while. I thought about how I felt and why I felt like this. Why, suddenly, did I have strength to carry on; to believe that everything is ok?

No, this wasn’t god, I decided; this wasn’t because I found religion. This was because I put my troubles and emotions onto something or someone else to carry.

Although I disagree with the belief that turning towards a god means that you are no longer lost, I understand why it’s a belief. When you turn towards something else, when you hand your destiny to the universe, you feel less lost because of the renewed belief that there is a purpose, despite the fact that the purpose may not be your own.

I understand the temptation that a faith offers someone–a belief in something when belief in yourself falters. I believe that people do find strength in god because strength in themselves falters. And only the toughest can survive like that.

Though I am, and always will be, atheist, I no longer scoff at certain practices of the religious that truly believe and gain strength from some entity. However, I will say that I admire most those that do not and rely on the strength in themselves. I hope in the future I can be one of those people. But for now, I will use–sparingly–this unknown entity as a crutch in finding my own strength.

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One thought on “An Atheist’s Understanding

  1. I liked the thoughts you shared. I so wish we could find a more positive title for the way we think. “Atheist” is so negative. I refer to see myself as “post religion”, or a recovering christian. In the near future I am going to do a posting on religion and what a mess it makes of people and cultures. Coming from my background there is much to say, especially to the blind “believers”, the ultra right christians and fundamentalist, and the too dumb to think for themselves. Should be interesting to see the feed back!

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