Religion, Atheism and Faith
This post is a result of multiple dialogues I have seen between my father and his friends/acquaintances over religion. My father is a staunch Atheist and hasn’t been inside a Church expect for the occasional marriages of cousins/relatives (in those instances for never more than 5 minutes). Most of his friends though are staunch believers (or claim to be so). I am an Atheist by choice, thanks to the attitude of “question-everything-even-if-you-believe-it” that my father and some very special teachers cultivated. I dont strut around saying it to everyone I meet but most of the poeple that know me, know I dont talk about religion or faith. This post is supposed to list the reasons why I dont.
As the Heading indicates, the three things above are very different from each other. I was born a christian, I will most probably die one. But I dont believe in Christ. I dont believe in any of the multiple names that have been created and are still being created for that invisible hand that people claim exists out there.
Religion first. Religion was set up as a method to create moral guidelines for the people. I mean when you move from hunting gathering to a more neighborly system you needed to lay some ground rules. The Gitas, the Bible, The Quran were all byproducts of years of refining the rules and regulations. It is pretty evident too that they have been altered as time moved forward. That is because as humanity and countries evolved, some of the rules had to change. New religions evolved too making moral guidelines that were easier to follow in the present time. So the question most people ask me is “Do you really not believe ?” most of the times with something bordering on shock rather than surprise. I tell the more intelligent ones that ” I believe, I just dont believe in God.” , an answer that leaves most people perplexed at best. Am hoping this post will shed some light, if any of them reach this far.
Atheism defined as a belief that God does not exist, is pretty close to what most people today understand atheism as but there is a big school of agnostics that get clubbed in. For all the so called agnostics that get here somehow, make up your mind. Grow a pair and pick a side. Unless you are a politician, in which case your party most probably will help you with it. Being an atheist does not necessarily mean you question everyone’s faith, make loud statements in public renouncing God, priests and other god men, or that you need to explain your stand to someone else. Atheism takes balls, the open admission that you have not external power to depend on, no magical being to blame, no hero to worship makes it a tough living. Which is one reason why most people prefer the cocoon of religion. Moral dilemma are easily solved, right and wrong defined. Please note that it is this definition or the permutation thereof that is used by various activists – left , right, hindu, muslim, christian for their own particular agendas. Not subscribing to any of them makes it no easier to watch what happens. It is just as hard. So why am I an Atheist ? I like to be held responsible for my own actions. I dont need someone to blame for my failures (not God, not my family, nobody). However my success does get shared. It is my effort, but it is the recognition that gets me the success.
Faith. Now this is a totally different ball game altogether. Having faith in something or someone is easily the closest I come to any form of belief. Faith is necessary. Faith is sibling to my other favorite Hope. Together they make life a lot easier, a lot brighter and a lot more fun. Faith keeps me going day after grinding day. Faith that someone will read this, hope that someone will understand. Faith that somebody else feels the same way, hope that I will meet some of them someday. Faith that someday religion will transcend boundaries set by its creators, hope that it happens in my life time.